All twins Andrew and Jono King wanted was a 'pass' on the bonus room they had completed for Victorian best mates Fiona Taylor and Nicole Prince on the May 2 episode of House Rules. But when the team faced homeowner Fiona, she let them know that although she loved what they did, she deemed it a 'fail.'
In an aside on the show, Jono said with exasperation, "I really don't know how it could be a fail because it was so much better than what they had in the first place." Yet as Fiona reiterated, "This is called House Rules for a reason. They didn't hit the house rules."
Seen by the other teams as unappreciative after her original house northwest of Melbourne — a tin structure with a view towards the Grampian Ranges that had no running water or electricity — was knocked down, Fiona, 44, a single mother of boys Keanan, 11, and Bannon, 14, insists she loves what all of the contestants were able to do for her from scratch.
"As everyone has heard me say a gazillion times over, I'm the luckiest woman in Australia," Fiona tells WHO. "I still cannot believe that I have a new home. It's mind-blowing. And I've got sewage, I've got power, we've got a toilet! And we have water. We can shower! We were actually showering in a clamshell beforehand, one of those clamshell pools that was the base of our shower, so it's so very different now."
Although the admin worker and Nicole, her safety manager mate, did offer some compliments during the walk-through of their completed house, the pair adhered very closely when giving out points and rubbed other teams the wrong way.
Looking back now, Fiona says, "Because my house was first, I suppose we didn't have the understanding of the pressure that was put on all the other teams, which we now certainly can appreciate because we hadn't done anything ourselves prior. It is, as I said, mind-blowing, but we certainly have touched base with the other teams and they know our appreciation and our love for what I now have. "
So how did the best friends come up with the scores they gave the other teams? Fiona says she and Nicole judged and scored each room individually, "then did a mathematical equation to come to the median scoring." They factored in how closely each team followed their house rules as well. "That's why," she says, "Aaron and Danielle didn't score overly well because they did a really good kitchen but then we were really let down in Bannon's bedroom."
Although Fiona and Nicole thought the statement desk in Keanan's bedroom was impractical, thus lowering their score for that room, Fiona says the graffiti art wall created by Troy and Bec was a beloved touch. "Keanan's wall for us is quite emotional," Fiona says, "because Keanan loves his graffiti art and for them to be able to put his actual artwork on the wall for him to see every single day, it pulled at the heartstrings. It's absolutely beautiful."
A grateful Fiona says, "I've got a whole new house! I've got plumbing, electricity, sewage, so much. I've got a beautiful kitchen, I've got amazing appliances, I've got a stove that works, so it's absolutely the entire package, and the fact that I now I have a home for my children."
'House Rules' continues Wednesday at 7.30 PM on Seven.