Hidden battle behind Block couple
MODEL Elyse Knowles and her partner Josh Barker have unexpectedly become Australia's loveliest property moguls.
Selling the house they've lived in for the past three years was a bittersweet moment, Knowles told news.com.au.
"This is our first baby," Knowles said of the three bedroom, two bathroom Californian bungalow they will vacate in two weeks' time.
Knowles, 25 and Barker, 28, have spent the past two years renovating the house and agonising about every little detail.
"We lived with no walls for ages because we'd knocked them all down. It was freezing in winter because the wind was gushing in so we slept in our puffer jackets, sometimes on the floor," Knowles said.
"We showered outside in an outdoor shower that we built because we ripped down the rest of our house. We showered in our bathers outside, saying 'Hi neighbours!'
"We put so many hours and blood, sweat and tears into this thing and now it's sold to someone else. It is difficult, it makes me really upset that we have to leave everything.
"But it's time to move on and we're ready for the next renovation."
The young couple was praised by fans of The Block for their down-to-earth attitude and their decision to avoid the petty drama that preoccupied some of the other contestants.
They met in Byron Bay - Barker's hometown - 4.5 years ago and settled in Melbourne together shortly afterwards.
The pair recently attended several high profile media events together, including the Spring Racing Carnival, and now they're regularly stopped by fans on the street.
Knowles says the publicity boost has helped her book more modelling gigs since the show's finale aired last month.
"Our whole lives for three months were exposed so everyone knows a lot about us," she said.
"It's really nice for people to express their love for us and that they actually really care and they know we're there to have fun.
"I think we're just relatable to a lot of people and that's what we wanted to be. We came across as best as we could.
"It can be a bit strange having people comment on your relationship, but we just have to get used to it now."
But renovating together doesn't come easily. Living and working with each other at all hours of the day and night was tough, Knowles said.
"We do have to try and separate work away from home, which is pretty hard when you're living in your renovation and that was a struggle for us," she said.
"You sit down to have dinner but you'll literally be sitting on the floor of the house thinking 'We have so much to do'. You can never get away from it.
"If we were stuck in the house for too long, we would get mentally drained. That's what The Block, does because you're there 24/7 and you're always working. You can never escape.
"You get stronger and your relationship gets stronger as well, because you can't fight about the little things. You have to build a bridge and get over it."
The couple aren't big on public displays of affection and Parker was famously reluctant to kiss Knowles on camera throughout the series.
But when the final result was announced, Knowles was so overcome with joy she couldn't help herself.
"We're not ones for PDA and we've always been like that. And to make him kiss me in front of the camera, that was pushing the boundaries a bit, but it was a special moment," Knowles said.
She plans to spend her summer relaxing, spending time at the beach and finding their next renovation project.
Knowles is an ambassador for Thongs2SaveLives, a national fundraising event on the first day of summer - Friday December 1 - run by Havaianas and Surf Life Saving Australia.
On that day, the thong brand will donate $1 from every pair of Havaianas sold to paying for surf life savers to patrol our beaches.