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pillow covers vintage The Block NZ's Sophia and Mikaere share a glimpse inside their home sofa pillow covers

Updated: 2019-09-24 16:00 Views: 182

Nestled on the outskirts of Turangi, Sophia and Mikaere’;s family home is brimming with their creativity. They share the story behind their home and style with their gorgeous daughter, Frida

There’;s been no shortage of conflict on this year’;s season of The Block NZ, and blue team’;s Sophia and Mikaere Gardiner make no apologies for it. “;It’;s almost like living in a board game where every-one is just really rooting for themselves,”; says Mikaere, 32. “;They’;re doing their best and if you need to take a couple of people down on the way, I guess that’;s strategy.”;

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The pair, who married five years ago, have been at the heart of a lot of the dramapillow covers vintage, including a cheating scandal when they were accused of continuing after “;tools down”; was called. But they have important reasons to do their absolute best.

“;It’;s for our daughter, for our family and just to make something of ourselves,”; shares Sophia, 31. “;It’;s really exciting and that’;s enough motivation to get up each day and to keep trying really, really hard.”; And while they both love the vibrancy of Auckland, it’;s a long way from their home on the outskirts of Turangi, the “;trout fishing capital of the world”; at the southern end of Lake Taupo.

“;Turangi has a lovely peacefulness about the place, but not everything is on your doorstep,”; says Sophia about the town that has around 3,500 inhabitants. “;But it does force you to be a little bit more resourceful. Living in a big city, you probably shop a lot more than you need to, but I found Auckland really exciting and stimulating.”;

The couple – who met in Whanganui 12 years ago at the Universal College of Learning, where Mikaere was studying fine arts and Sophia a fashion degree – saved hard to purchase a two-bedroom home just over a year ago. “;We look out of our living room windows straight at Mount Pihanga, so it’;s really beautiful,”; gushes Sophia. “;We have beautiful oak trees all around us and it’;s quite close to a reserve, so we’;re lucky.”;

Their corner property is also where they’;ve dabbled in DIY, painting both inside and out, landscaping the garden and adding a cabin for Mikaere’;s dad to live in. It’;s also an outlet for the pair’;s irrepressible creativity. “;We’;re both very visual people,”; tells Sophia, “;so we like our home to look nice and if we can improve something ourselves, then we’;re definitely going to give it a go.”;

Fans of Three’;s hit show have seen Sophia’;s sewing and crafting skills multiple times and they are something she uses for her own children’;s clothing line, Frida &; Fauna. The busy mum also juggles illustrating, selling candles and beeswax wraps, along with working at a local café! And just like his wife, teacher Mikaere also has many talents. He’;s an artist whose works have been showcased around New Zealand and overseas.

“;I mainly do paintings,”; he explains. “;Large-scale murals are what I was doing quite a lot of before going into teaching. I’;ve been lucky to travel to different parts of the world and be involved in different exhibitions and festivals, and other cool opportunities.”; Having shown his work in Melbourne and with a residency in Austria under his belt, he is part of an upcoming group exhibition at the Taupo Art Gallery in December before it moves to a museum just outside of Shanghai in China.

Mikaere also teaches English, science and art at local Maori immersion school Te Kira o Hirangi, which is just another opportunity for him to use his imagination. “;It’;s really cool because in science I’;m being creative with a lot of the experiments and being more practical,”; he says with pride. “;The kids are loving it. It’;s a really great experience.”;

And it comes as little surprise that the duo named their 10-year-old daughter Frida – who is their biggest fan – after Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. “;We only had one name picked out, so it’;s lucky she was a girl!”; laughs Sophia. “;She’;s a real sweetheart and really creative as well.”;

The couple are thrilled with their early win on the DIY series, which enabled them to choose what they believe is the best apartment – the penthouse. Situated at the top of Kingland’;s old firehouse, it boasts stunning views and puts them in a good position to succeed at the live auction. They haven’;t been able to resist dreaming about what they’;d do with any winnings.

“;Frida is our only child and I want to provide for her education,”; tells Sophia, whose mum looked after Frida in New Plymouth while they filmed The Block. “;It’;ll be a little boost for our family and hopefully we can create some memories with some of those funds.”;

Mikaere agrees. “;It’;s definitely about our family. Whatever we come out with would be something to put forward to make our place a lot better, or maybe take the next step to move to another place.”;

This article originally appeared on Now to love

Words by: Marilynn Mclachlan.

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