People and Places
04/05/2018
Rye couple make waves on House Rules By Andrea Kellett

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Australia’s biggest home renovation show, House Rules, is back and this year a Rye couple star in the Channel 7 juggernaut series.

Married surfers Kristie and Leigh are tipped to make serious waves in the competition. “We’re competitive, very competitive,” Kristie, 36, says. Leigh, 33, is all in. “We’re here to do whatever it takes to win,” he adds.

The couple married in 2009 and own a beach shack where they are raising their children Billie, 3, and Kobe, 7. It’s an idyllic spot for this active pair, who moved from the eastern suburbs, drawn to the Peninsula by their love of the ocean and the outdoors. “Where we live is our dream location,” Kristie explains. “But our house is definitely not our dream.”

Leigh, a carpenter, started renovations a year ago but work stalled after they ran out of money. “It’s a huge project to do on your own,” he says. “It’s taken me for ever to get it to where it is and I’m knackered.”

Stay-at-home mum Kristie adds: “The whole house falls back on Leigh. We can’t pay someone else to do it. We’re far from finished and I’m sick of living on a building site.” So they did what any couple in their situation would do, right? They sent an audition tape to the producers of House Rules, and Kristie’s strong-willed yet lovable character and the couple’s feisty pairing caught their eyes.

“We actually had an argument on the tape,” Kristie says, laughing. “I made him do it three times and he cracked it and literally said ‘As if anything’s going to happen out of this. Don’t waste my time, I’ve got to go to footy training’.” They both roar with laughter. 

“What makes me upset is all we tried to do is buy a little affordable house in a gorgeous street and make it into a family home,” Kristie says. “There’s no end in sight. This house is sucking the life out of us.”

Speaking with Mornington Peninsula Magazine just weeks before the show was due to go to air, both agreed House Rules had been a life-changing experience. “It was awesome,” Leigh says. “I loved it,” Kristie adds. “It’s me. I grew up in a tradie family and I can’t sit still. We’re always doing something.”

As for a glimpse of what’s in store, well, you’ll have to tune in. But we did get this: “There’s never a dull moment with us,” Kristie says. “I think we bite off more than we can chew a lot.”

House Rules 2018, hosted by Johanna Griggs, sees seven new teams gambling with the most important possession in their lives. To win the ultimate prize, they have to renovate seven houses in seven weeks. The teams travel the country, hand over the keys to their homes and leave their opposition to transform every room in their house.  

This year’s competition will, producers say, deliver the best results ever seen in House Rules history.

House Rules starts this month on Seven.

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