An Australian Federal Police officer and a stay-at-home mum with a flair for design are the region’s newest hopes for a win on Channel Seven’s hit program, House Rules, after making their national television debut on Sunday night (April 28).
Katie and Alex Middlemiss from Gundaroo, around a half hour drive from Canberra, believe they are a winning combination and no doubt hope to follow in the footsteps of last year’s winners, down-to-earth dairy farmers, Toad and Mandy, who also hailed from the local region.
Katie and Alex see going on the home renovation program as a great opportunity to get ahead and to have their small crumbling house renovated.
The couple, who are parents to one-year-old Hallie, moved from Canberra to Gundaroo in 2016 with the aim of enjoying a more ‘off-the-grid lifestyle’.
Having both grown up in the country, they fell in love with a little cottage built in the 1800s packed full of rustic charm.
“The eco lifestyle is important to us because it signifies the way we grew up, it’s something we’re really grateful for and can’t wait for our kids to experience as well,” said Katie, 29, who is a qualified midwife who once ran her own healthy ready-meals business.
“We do live the simple life. Eco doesn’t mean candles and peddling for our electricity. It just means sustainable innovative ways to give back to the environment,” said Alex, 32.
However, it turns out that their little piece of paradise is crumbling down around them.
“It’s small and falling down,” said Alex.
“Space is one of our biggest issues. We have zero storage,” said Katie.
The couple say that the kitchen isn’t functional and their master bedroom is a water chamber.
“When it gets cold outside, the condensation comes through the ceiling and literally drips cold water on your face at about 3 or 4 am,” said Katie.
But Katie and Alex, who met in 2014, believe their cottage is bursting with possibilities.
“We’ve always seen the potential in this place and hope that the other contestants will see that too,” said Katie.
“We’ll never have this opportunity again to put our family so far ahead of where we ever thought we could be.”
Together, Katie and Alex think that they have what it takes to win.
Katie sees her strengths as being her ‘out-of-the-box’ design ideas and her ability to keep calm in stressful situations.
Alex’s strength is his work ethic. “I will work until I drop, breaking myself in the process, or die trying,” he said.
When it comes to weaknesses, Katie said that hers is “not backing myself enough and becoming okay with less than perfect outcomes”.
Alex also has an interesting dilemma. “I love learning more about design but it isn’t the easiest thing when you’re colour blind!”
Series seven of House Rules kicked off on Sunday night in a neglected warehouse, which is the teams’ homebase and also the site of their first challenge.
Alex and Katie and the five other teams have each been designated a zone in the house which they must transform. The Gundaroo couple took bedroom two for their zone and are planning to use ‘retro-pop’ pink colours in their renovation.
During her television debut on the program on Sunday night, Katie told viewers of her enthusiasm for the renovation tasks ahead.
“I am quite confident in my design abilities and I’m excited to be able to put them into practice,” said Katie.
Alex said he and Katie would work as hard as they could to be competitive.
“I am a competitive person but I compete through hard work and if we don’t get the result it’s back on us,” he said.
Watching on from their beautifully-renovated home in Candelo, south-west of Bega, were season six winners Toad and Mandy who took out prize money of $355,000 and this year can watch others do the hard work.
“We couldn’t be happier for all the new teams! We’ve been there and know how tough it is but what you get in return insane,” posted Toad and Mandy on Instagram.
“The hard work is well and truly over for us and now it’s time to kick back and enjoy the show!”