The Block’s Darren Palmer is ‘blown away’ by bathroom reveal

It’s very rarely that all three judges on The Block are blown away by a room reveal.

But that was the case on Sunday’s episode, when Darren Palmer, Neale Whitaker and Shaynna Blaze laid their eyes on Luke and Jasmin’s 1910 master bathroom.

Darren could not hide his delight at specific details of the space, particularly the curved tile walls and skylight.   

'I'm just blown away!' The Block judge Darren Palmer (pictured) was momentarily lost for words over Luke and Jasmin's master bathroom on Sunday night's episode

‘I’m just blown away!’ The Block judge Darren Palmer (pictured) was momentarily lost for words over Luke and Jasmin’s master bathroom on Sunday night’s episode 

‘I’m in love, it’s so elegant, so pretty,’ Darren said of the skylight. ‘I’m just blown away by how beautiful that is.’ 

Neale and Shaynna were equally blown away, with Neale describing the aesthetic as ‘exceptional’.

‘This is exceptional. They have given us a very, very modern bathroom, but I think they have remained faithful to those period cues they introduced last week,’ he said. 

Winning design: Luke and Jasmin (pictured) presented a 1910-themed master bathroom, with curved tile walls and a statement black bath

Winning design: Luke and Jasmin (pictured) presented a 1910-themed master bathroom, with curved tile walls and a statement black bath 

Praise: Fellow judges Neale Whitaker and Shaynna Blaze were equally blown away with the space, with Neale describing the aesthetic as 'exceptional'

Praise: Fellow judges Neale Whitaker and Shaynna Blaze were equally blown away with the space, with Neale describing the aesthetic as ‘exceptional’ 

The only minor faults the judges found were the lack of a toilet roll holder and the vanity being too close to the shower wall. 

For Harry and Tash’s 1920’s master ensuite, the judges were in awe of the green tiled wall and feature bath.

Neale said it felt like a contemporary bathroom, but with definite references to the era, while Darren described the space as ‘glorious’ with ‘perfect’ floor tiles.   

Colour palette: For Harry and Tash's 1920's master ensuite, the judges were in awe of the green tiled wall and feature bath. Pictured: Harry and Tash

Colour palette: For Harry and Tash’s 1920’s master ensuite, the judges were in awe of the green tiled wall and feature bath. Pictured: Harry and Tash 

Elegance: Shaynna complimented the bath which she described as having an 'elegant' shape

Elegance: Shaynna complimented the bath which she described as having an ‘elegant’ shape 

Shaynna complimented the bath which she described as having an ‘elegant’ shape. 

Sarah and George also wowed the judges with their 1940’s master bathroom.

Darren adored the mauve tiles for adding a ‘subtle and soft’ touch, while also having a real impact in the space.   

All smiles: Sarah and George (pictured) also wowed the judges with their 1940's master bathroom

All smiles: Sarah and George (pictured) also wowed the judges with their 1940’s master bathroom 

Tiling: Darren adored the mauve tiles for adding a 'subtle and soft' touch, while also having a real impact in the space

Tiling: Darren adored the mauve tiles for adding a ‘subtle and soft’ touch, while also having a real impact in the space 

Shaynna commended the couple for seamlessly using four different tiles in the room, while Neale said the space offered an exceptional level of sophistication.  

For Daniel and Jade’s 1930’s master ensuite, all three judges were captivated by the choice of fish scale tiles on the walls. 

Darren also found delight in the couple going with a matte grey tile on the floor, teamed with a ‘sexy’ gloss finish on the walls.  

Unique touch: For Daniel and Jade's 1930's master ensuite, all three judges were captivated by the choice of fish scale tiles on the walls. Pictured: Daniel and Jade

Unique touch: For Daniel and Jade’s 1930’s master ensuite, all three judges were captivated by the choice of fish scale tiles on the walls. Pictured: Daniel and Jade 

Minor fault: Shaynna noted how well Daniel and Jade designed the space, however Darren would have preferred a bigger vanity

Minor fault: Shaynna noted how well Daniel and Jade designed the space, however Darren would

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Chicago cannot lose the Palmer House, now boarded up and in deep financial trouble

The great Chicago Tribune critic Claudia Cassidy lived at the Drake Hotel. Touring Broadway celebrities would dine with Sun-Times columnist Irv Kupcinet at the Pump Room at the Ambassador East. And at the Palmer House’s famed Empire Room, a 250-seat cabaret venue with an elegance like no other, Phyllis Diller told jokes and early-career stars like Liberace, Maurice Chevalier, Carol Channing and Tony Bennett were launched.



a sign on the side of a building: Owner of the Palmer House Hilton has been sued for $338 million in missed loan payments, in the largest Chicago foreclosure case to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020.


© E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Owner of the Palmer House Hilton has been sued for $338 million in missed loan payments, in the largest Chicago foreclosure case to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020.



a close up of a train station: The entrance of the Palmer House Hilton stands empty on Monroe Street on Sept. 8.


© E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
The entrance of the Palmer House Hilton stands empty on Monroe Street on Sept. 8.

All of that is to say that Chicago’s historic hotels are joined at the hip with our historic and spectacular tradition of live entertainment.

All of that is to say further that, for this writer, seeing boards over the entrance to the Palmer House Hotel, officially the Palmer House Hilton, is every bit as painful as seeing them over the Art Institute of Chicago, or the Picasso statue or Buckingham Fountain.

To lose this hotel would be a loss of unfathomable proportions. And there is a real danger of the unthinkable happening.

As the Tribune’s Ryan Ori reported Aug. 31, the owner of the Palmer House, Thor Equities, has been hit with a foreclosure suit alleging unpaid mortgage payments totaling nearly $338 million. Worse, the hotel is now, in real estate parlance, underwater, being as its current valuation is only $305 million, down from $560 million as recently as 2018.

For a stunning example of how much Chicago’s Loop is losing to the absence of tourists and conventioneers, just consider the size and speed of that drop in valuation.

It’s breathtaking.

That word that could also be used to describe the lobby of the Palmer House, a grand riot of columns, murals, candelabras and a sense of Saturday night urban grandeur that once was the headquarters for the election campaign of Grover Cleveland and, over the years, has hosted enough weddings and conventions to keep half the Loop in business.

The Palmer House long employed a resident historian, Ken Price, who led hundreds of tours to the backstage areas of the Empire Room, where a lucky guests could see stagebills and headshots of the greats who performed there, all lovingly preserved. Price’s tour was about the most fun I ever had in the Loop. And lots of out-of-towners, especially show-business types, felt the same way.

Michael Riedel, the New York radio personality and longtime Broadway columnist, told me this week of his excitement of staying in “the biggest suite I had ever seen” while covering an out-of-town tryout. And, of course, he took Price’s tour. Chris Baum, a longtime concierge at the Langham Chicago Hotel, told me he sent many a guest to experience the history of the Empire Room.

Over

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