YALLINGUP surfing sisters Mikaela and Eliza Greene had the worst FOMO while filming this year’s season of House Rules on Seven.
“I can’t say that I wasn’t keeping up with all the surfing events and wishing I was there,” Mikaela (24) said.
“But it was definitely a sacrifice worth taking. It was an amazing experience to be able to do this for mum and give back to her.”
The sisters applied for House Rules to give their mum a fresh start after her divorce, despite having zero renovation experience.
“The house was a bit of an empty shell and there wasn’t a lot of furniture; we were using a mattress on the floor in the lounge room,” Mikaela said.
“Although the house was functional and liveable, it was old and had a lot of things in it that were falling apart. The kitchen was in disarray and mum’s bedroom was a complete mess.”
Seven producers broke the news they had made it on the show with a Facetime call to all three women.
“They told us to go and get our mum if she was close by,” Eliza (21) said.
“We all just screamed and mum was in tears. It was an incredible moment and you feel things like this don’t happen.”
Being thrown in the deep end where they had to learn to sink or swim, the surfers used their competitive spirit to win the first challenge, indebted to the instability of the ocean environment as training to think on their feet.
“That first challenge set us up with the confidence to stick to our ideas,” Eliza said.
“It made us realise we make good decisions, we just needed to back ourselves.”
It was a baptism by fire for Mikaela and Eliza on the hectic worksites where contestants were given a limited budget for specialised trades including carpentry, plumbing and electrical.
The rest they had to learn to complete themselves.
“If we had a feature wall idea, they would be like ‘Perfect, now go and do it’ and we didn’t even know where to start,” Eliza said.
“And as soon as you know how to do something, they’ll always make you do it. You’ll see me grouting so many times throughout the show now and Mikaela jumping on the tools.
“The more hands-on you are, the more Seven steps back.”
“It’s a seven day renovation and the trades are stretched so thin between everyone which forces you to do the trades if you want your room completed in time,” Mikaela said.
“It’s crazy how hands-on everybody gets.”
Eliza said the best advice she could give other new renovators would be to ask lots of questions in homewares and hardware stores.
“The more questions you ask as complete novices, the more knowledge you’ll be given and you get a whole lot of different people’s perspectives,” she said.
“The brothers (Melbourne chippies Tim and Mat) really helped and took us under their wing, especially on our first paint night with what paint supplies we needed.”
The sisters said that despite not being as physically strong as some of the other teams, they made up for it with their sibling relationship.
“We argue a lot but it’s good to get our ideas and opinions out there and we didn’t have to worry about hurting each other’s feelings,” Mikaela said.
“Whereas if it’s your partner, you still have to worry about it.”
“We hang up on each other any time we want on Facetime,” Eliza said.
“Then Mikaela would save me some lunch and that’s an apology. It’s all good.”
House Rules airs Sunday to Wednesday on Seven.