Reality TV

EXCLUSIVE: The Block season one winners Fiona and Adam on life after the show

Could their daughters be the stars of the next generation of The Block?
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One day, Adam Thorn hopes his daughter Shylah might become a chip off the old block and compete on a TV home renovation show alongside him.

Adam – who won the first season of The Block with wife Fiona Mills in 2003 – would “definitely” compete in the reno show again in a heartbeat.

But he might need a new partner before that happens.”One hundred per cent he would do it again,” laughs mother-of-two Fiona. “But I’d have to have a long hard think about it. I don’t think I’ve got a thick enough skin to cope with the social media pressure on contestants today.”

“We had a good shot at it and it was great, but I’d probably have to let Ad go with someone else now. Shylah might team up for a father-daughter partnership in 10 years’ time, you never know!”

The family are ready for the next generation of The Block.

(Image: Phillip Castleton)

Amazingly, for most of their lives, 12-year-old Shylah and sister Aria, 10, had been blissfully unaware of their parents’ top-rating reality TV fame, which still sees them recognised from the Baltics to Bali.

“They didn’t find out about it until about three years ago,” smiles Fiona, who runs a successful cosmetic laser beauty business. “They had been watching one of the recent series of The Block and were really getting into it.”

“We asked if they knew we had been on the show, and they thought we were joking. So we got out the old DVD and they loved it. But you know what? They lost interest before the end when we actually won!”

The couple have kept their former stardom at bay.

(Image: Getty)


Former fitness trainer Adam, now 50, says, “The kids were quite intrigued by how young we looked! But so many things have changed since then, including the way The Block is made.

“A lot of people probably don’t understand that we had to keep our day jobs and build through the night. It was completely exhausting, physically and mentally.”

“Day three of the first week, Fiona fell asleep with a paintbrush in her hand! That kind of set the pace…”

“One hundred per cent he would do it again.”

(Image: Phillip Castleton)

“But Fiona and I thought we were pretty good at renovations,” recalls Adam, who works in design and project management.

“We were both sales reps back then, but we’d already done one house each, individually, and finished one together.”

“So when we heard about auditions for this new show, we decided we’d give it a go. We weren’t in it to be famous. We just wanted to get ahead in life and thought we might win!”

From the get-go, the good-looking, ambitious couple from Sydney’s western suburbs were considered clear favourites.

At the end of the 12-week build, they sold their ground-floor Bondi apartment for $751,000, earning them a profit of $156,000, plus the $100,000 prize.

The family have since moved into their Eastern Suburbs beach house.

(Image: Phillip Castleton)

Their winnings enabled them to buy a Queensland investment property, and they released a book, Adam And Fiona’s Renos On A Budget: How We Renovated Our Way To The Block.

The show also gifted them lifelong friends in fellow Blockheads Warren “Waz” Sonin, Gav Atkins and Amity Dry.

“We just chat and say hello every now and then,” explains Fiona, 48. “The Block became a TV sensation, but it was an unknown situation going into it and we went through a lot together. It was a big deal for all of us!”

Ironically, the couple reckon they probably wouldn’t be cast in the TV favourite today. “They seem to want contestants with really interesting, quirky backstories and that wasn’t us,” says Adam. “We were just renovators, and we still are. We’ve done four houses since The Block.

The family outside their Coogee home.

(Image: Phillip Castleton)

Back in the day, Fiona dreamed of one day owning a house by the sea. Two years ago that wish came true when she and Adam bought a rundown, six-bedroom Federation home in Sydney’s beachside Coogee for $4.095 million.

“It’s taken many, many years to reach this point and we’re still together,” she chuckles. “The Block was a means to an end, and it certainly helped us get where we are today. We’re so thankful to be here in our forever home.”

So no more renovations? Adam just grins and says, “Never say never, hey?”

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