After months of tradies, toil, triumphs and tears, Stacy and Adam Middleton returned home empty-handed after The Block NZ: Firehouse in 2019, having made zero dollars from their final house auction despite having the most room-reveal wins in the show's history. But even more devastating was what they did come away with – the vitriol of online haters.
"We were trolled so hard that I couldn't leave the house for weeks," Stacy reveals. "They were brutal, especially about me. There were comments saying we should be ashamed to be New Zealanders, that we should kill ourselves… It was really rough and depressing. In hindsight, I actually should have had counselling."
So it's a surprising and brave move to see the Wellington couple, both 28, return to our screens for the new season, The Block NZ: Redemption.
"The opportunity to design an entire house was too good to turn down," Adam says. "It scratches the itch of being able to renovate another house without us having to buy it. And to be able to do it in 12 weeks and with a budget that we didn't have to wait 10 years to save for is such a great opportunity."
"Our real driving force for coming back again was that we made our best friends from doing The Block," Stacy adds. "Lisa, Ribz, Ethan and Sam are our best friends forever now, and we'd have never have those friendships without the show."
In fact, Stacy and Adam became so close with Lisa and Chris "Ribz" Gordon that they were part of the bridal party at the Middletons' stunning Queenstown wedding in February. Te Kuiti boys Ethan Ordish and Sam Whatarangi also attended as guests. They've all spent New Year's Eve together and plan to do so again this year.
With the potential of making more great mates – and after being reassured this season was going to be focused on creating beautiful rooms rather than drama – Stacy and Adam were excited to say yes to Aotearoa's favourite reno show.
Their DIY skills have certainly been polished since we last saw them on our screens too. When the couple applied for Firehouse, their experience comprised solely of painting the exterior of their first house. Now, two years later, they have two full home renovations under their belts – three if you include the firehouse.
"After the first Block, we came home and immediately got to work on renovating our first house," says Adam. "It was 50m2, and we used what we'd learnt to renovate the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and landscaping. Now Stacy's mum lives there and we've been doing up our new home, a 70m2 1970s two-bedroom house in Wadestown."
The couple both work from home, sharing the spare bedroom. It's from here that Adam does his incredible design work, creating plans for robots, costumes, characters and sets for international films and video games, like sci-fi TV show Foundation, Ghost In The Shell, Dune and Blade Runner 2049.
"He's done all Jake Sully's costumes for the new Avatar movie," boasts Stacy. "He's so humble about it all, but I'm his biggest fan, so I like to tell everyone!"
Stacy's also found her passion, spending her days doing interior design for others.
"I'd been interested in interior design before The Block, but I became obsessed after," she shares. "I love to show people the hacks and remind them that not everything needs to be luxury and designer – you can throw a bit of Kmart in!"
Always underfoot or nearby as they work are the couple's two Samoyed fur-babies, four-year-old Boki and puppy Toddy, who is completely blind.
"He is just the cutest thing," gushes Stacy. "We adopted him a year ago, when the breeder reached out. They knew we wanted a second Samoyed, but we didn't have the money to buy one. The breeder knew we'd do anything for our dogs – including a complete hip replacement for Boki after The Block – so they offered us Toddy, who was fully blind from birth."
Sharing a cute video on her phone, she beams, "He's so cool. He hoons his way around the house, so you can't leave things in the hallway for him to smash into. Because he can't see, he's very cautious about going anywhere new."
For that reason, the Middletons had to enlist good friend Izaac to stay at their Wellington house with the dogs while they filmed.
"Being away from them has been the hardest part of doing The Block," admits Stacy. "We've been able to go home and see our dogs this season, but we are just dying to get home to them again."
Help is here
If you're struggling with your mental health, please call or text 1737 at any time to speak to a trained counsellor for free. In an emergency, always dial 111.
- CompetitionsSign up to the Woman's Day newsletter and you could win a Saben Tilly bag
Woman's DayAug 11, 2022
- TVJenny-May's breakfast dream: 'I want to be the first woman to do this!'
New Zealand Woman's WeeklyAug 11, 2022
- Real LifeLife after Gloriavale: 'Our nightmare is finally over!'
Woman's DayAug 11, 2022
- Celebrity NewsMichelle's emotional journey from Hollywood to home
Woman's DayAug 09, 2022
- TVJacqui's unbreakable spirit: 'sensitivity is my superpower'
Woman's DayAug 08, 2022
- Celebrity NewsRadio legend Lorna Subritzky's shock cancer diagnosis
New Zealand Woman's WeeklyAug 05, 2022