Love It or List It stars return with more renovation magic
NEALE Whitaker brings home owners to tears, in a good way, in the new season of Love It or List It Australia.
The design guru, best known as a judge on Nine's reality series The Block, returns to work with homes and budgets of all shapes and sizes in Foxtel's hit renovation and real estate show.
"As much as I love the role I've had on The Block now for so many years, it's very much as a judge," he told The Guide.
"You're always removed from the action in that role, whereas not only am I the co-host in this show but I'm very much in the action. I feel I get to be me more.
"I love getting the opportunity to interact with the home owners and to solve problems for them."
Whitaker's co-host and sparring partner on the show is Selling Houses Australia's Andrew Winter.
The property expert, who became Foxtel's first Gold Logie-nominated presenter earlier this year, puts the case forward for the home owners to sell up and move while Whitaker delivers a jaw-dropping renovation to try to convince them to stay in their current home.
"Mr Winter loves to remind me he's a Gold Logie nominee. I hate to think how my life would have changed if he'd been a winner (laughs)," Whitaker said.
"Andrew and I have a lot of fun in the process of making this show.
"Reveal day is a roller-coaster for us.
"We genuinely don't know what the decision is going to be, and Andrew and I long ago agreed we're totally useless at picking it."
Season two expands from 10 to 13 episodes, and Whitaker says he faces a more diverse array of renovation challenges.
"What we've done in this season is built on the strength and successes of the first season. We've really upped the ante in terms of the quality of the renovations," he said.
"We filmed in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and the Gold Coast, and within those five cities we covered a lot of different architectural styles.
"We have everything in this season from traditional Queenslanders to the most bulk standard 1970s kit-style home and everything in between.
"What I do with each home depends very much on the budget. Some are very modest and I have to be very creative. But we also have extensions being built when the budget allows. There's a very wide spectrum of home owners too."
Five Queensland properties, making up nearly half the season, get the Love It or List It treatment this year.
"We do four properties in Brisbane and one on the Gold Coast. Let's just say the Gold Coast one is slightly unusual," Whitaker said.
"It's not what you would traditionally think of as Gold Coast. I had to inject a Gold Coast sensibility to a property that was lacking it."
Season two of Love It or List It Australia premieres on Wednesday at 8.30pm on the Lifestyle Channel.