Dave, 36, admits that they both gained a bit of weight during their time on the show as a result.
“There was always time to get out and have a beer in between renovations so that probably didn’t help my fitness aspirations.”
Back home, their children – Luke, 8, Ben, 7 and Emily, 4 – were looked after by Tanya’s parents, Eddie and Rosemary.
“I don’t know how they survived! They always just said, the kids are fine, keep going with it. You’re there to get your house renovated and you and Dave enjoy some time together,” says Tanya.
However, they do admit that being away from the kids was tough going.
“The longest stint we didn’t see the kids for was two months which was hard for us,” says Tanya. “We missed quite a bit of stuff: Emily’s first day at school and Ben’s birthday.”
But they did get back in time for the long school summer holidays and had a “brilliant time” being back together as a family, adds Dave.
It was their busy, active lives with young children, alongside Dave’s physiotherapy business, which led the couple to apply to join House Rules.
They bought the four-bedroom, one-study home two years ago, and were always aiming to give it a makeover.
“It’s a 1939 bungalow with a ’90s reno on the back and it’s got these beautiful period features that we really loved but it was just really dated inside and needed a facelift,” says Dave.
The couple got going, but admit it was slow work.
“My goal was to paint one room a month but in a year I think I painted two rooms and that was about it,” Tanya says, laughing.
Realising their home transformation dreams could take the best part of a decade to be realised, the couple decided they needed the help of the home renovation show.
Tanya recalls, “We thought, our house is probably too big but Dave just said, let’s have a go.”
Maybe because the couple are so used to working well together as parents, their time on the renovation show was smooth sailing.
But while there have been some tense moments with the other pairs, Dave says no-one took it personally.
“The great thing about the show is after any conflict, with your team or another team, there’s never time to dwell on it. There’s always the next challenge. You move on from it quickly.”
In fact, the toughest people to please, as it turns out, have been their children.
“It was like a hostage situation,” Dave laughs. “They had this whole list of demands.”
“Emily wanted a real unicorn so I’ve had to prep her and say, there might not be a real one,” adds Tanya.
The whole family love their newly renovated home and are staying put.
“This is our home – our forever home. I want our children’s children to come here and say, ‘oh that’s where Mum and Dad grew up.’
“It’s about winning time rather than money for us,” adds Dave.
For more, pick up the latest issue of New Idea. Out now!