Queenslanders Tess and Luke were announced as the winners of The Block 2019, with the duo taking out the coveted prize for their House 2 project. The latest season of The Block saw the extensive use of brick in the architecturally inspired interiors and exteriors. The inspiration was provided by PGH Bricks & Pavers, with the brick aesthetic helping the two young renovators win the popular Australian reality television series.

Tess and Luke’s project, House 2 featured a sophisticated and welcoming interior design scheme, as well as a visually impactful courtyard. Right from the start, the couple were inclined towards using dark tones as well as different textures and materials to create a distinctive home vibe.

Their spacious open-plan living area incorporated the Morada Nero Standard facings and full brick to create a dramatic dining and living zone. The adjoining airy courtyard featured an impressive three-storey high brick wall, using the CORIUM rail system from PGH Bricks.

Morada Nero Standard was applied to the wall of the fireplace and feature column, and matched with charcoal mortar for a seamless monochrome surface. In addition to the materials complementing the darker tones of the room’s light fittings and flooring, the renovators also chose to utilise the stacked bond pattern and ironed joint finish to complete the sophisticated look.

Elevate Building Group director Matthew Menichelli, who oversaw the construction of House 2, emphasised that the non-negotiables for their choices throughout the build were family function and smart design.

“The Block as a whole is all about tight budgets and tight timelines, so it was really valuable to work with suppliers who could still help us achieve a home of this calibre,” said Menichelli.

Due to the architectural nature of the project as well as the attention to detail required to meet the judging criteria, Elevate nominated to use the Morada Nero Standard as a stack stone cladding substitute for the fireplace and living room feature. This luxurious brick suited the home’s style and provided smooth dark tones that infused warmth and luxury into the living space.

“The brick slivers proved an easy lightweight option, given budget and time constraints were a major factor,” observed Menichelli.

Balancing the rich, textured feature on either side of the TV helped to continue the dark tones from the kitchen right through to the courtyard.

For the open internal courtyard, Tess and Luke utilised textures on a neutral monochromatic dark palette and paired it with sculptural items. The CORIUM rail system with stack bond grey/brown metallic bricks was used on the three-storey feature wall, and finished with charcoal mortar. Completed with a striking stacked vertical bond pattern, and an ironed joint finish, the innovative walling system was a fast and affordable solution for laying bricks at height with maximum impact.

Elevate Building Group was also striving for a show-stopping feature piece. “The Morada had already been used in the living room so, as the builder, we were keen to continue the tactile feature of bricks through to the courtyard. The main inhibitor was the sheer size of the area and timeline.”

The CORIUM system from PGH Bricks resolved all of these issues. “We were even able to orientate the rails at ninety degrees to create a vertical stack bond look. An otherwise impossible feat with standard bricklaying,” Menichelli stated.

“I’ve worked with PGH previously and am a big fan; their quality and range put my mind at ease as the builder, knowing regardless of what the client is wanting, we’re able to achieve it with PGH.”

Installer Simon Nott from Ceramic Facades says the CORIUM system is a polished and professional finished product, belying the simplicity of its installation.

The confined work area and restricted access on this project were overcome by using the lightweight modular components that make up the CORIUM system.

“It enabled a fast installation where time and working space were minimal,” commented Nott.

For the rear-facing exterior of House 2, the contestants chose to create a new façade for the garage featuring PGH Bricks in Tribeca from the Manhattan range of bespoke, locally-made bricks.

Morada Nero Standard

The Morada brick range, imported from Europe, has a high-end luxury vibe with the smoothest finishes in solid, colour-through brick products. Available in Standard size, Splits and in a slender Linear, this collection epitomises a stunning architectural selection for achieving European style and elegance.


CORIUM rail system from PGH Bricks offers a genuine brick finish for projects where a lightweight cladding system is required at height. Strong and durable, CORIUM combines the natural beauty of real brick with true design flexibility using a cost-effective, fast-track installation method.

Photographer: Peter Hyatt