Kristie may seem like one of House Rules' toughest competitors, but the final interior renovation almost broke her.
She says she felt physically ill from stress while she and husband Leigh were working on Toad and Mandy's house in Candelo, NSW.
"Toad and Mandy's reno took me to places I never want to go to again," she tells TV WEEK, sounding tearful.
"Even talking about it now, that reno was shocking for me. It was pretty horrendous. I'd never felt depression in my stomach until then, I'll tell you that much."
Kristie, 36, and Leigh, 33, were coming off a stressful renovation in Perth, where they felt "targeted" by being given the bonus room. It particularly hurt that it came from Mel and Dave.
"The bonus room was pretty much given to us as, 'Here you go, we hope you fail, we need you out of this competition for us to win it,'" Kristie says.
"And they were actually our close friends. Mel and Dave and Jess and Jared – we six were very close. That's why I was so shocked."
The Victorian couple also felt the judges had been scoring them "a little bit" low, especially for Kim and Michelle's property.
"Tweed Heads [in northern NSW] was pretty outstanding for us, I thought," Kristie says. "We nailed Michelle's room and the laundry was [like] a display home."
The stresses built to make their week in Candelo the worst yet.
"We couldn't control anything," she explains. "We were pretty much fighting for our place in the competition."
Kristie says the pressure got to Leigh as well. Given he's a chippie, they set themselves high standards.
"The pressure to leave those zones perfect was enormous, because we wanted perfection," she says.
The couple found themselves butting heads more than usual during filming. One of those times was when Leigh became snappy with Kristie during the renovation in Maryborough.
"It took us to some dark places," she admits. "You just react in that moment. And I stand by Leigh, because what we went through – everybody – it was just stressful. I'd just prefer not to do that again."
But Kristie insists going on House Rules didn't strain her marriage.
"It probably made us closer, because you learn to communicate and listen to each other," she says.
"We are strong people."
House Rules airs Monday to Wednesday, 7:30pm, and Sunday, 7pm, on Channel Seven.
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