Michael and Carlene are very proud of what they’ve achieved since their dreams were shattered on The Block: Glasshouse.
Having won the most room reveals that season, they were the bookies’ favourites to take out the entire competition.
Making it even worse, in the previous season – which aired just six months earlier – returning faves Brad Cranfield and Dale Vine took home an incredible $507,250.
And the season before, the ‘losers’ took home an impressive $205,000.
“No one expected that… not the producers, not the audience, and definitely not us,” explains Carlene.
“There had been some clangers in previous seasons, but because they were now operating at this bigger, better, more luxurious scale, it was more shocking. At the time it was surreal. I think everyone was in shock.”
The devastated couple returned to their kids, Paddy, now 14, and Stella, 12, and their own half-renovated home at Tallebudgera on the Gold Coast.
They were determined to capitalise on their new-found fame if not fortune.
WATCH NOW: The Block 2014's contestants react to devastating auction results. Article continues video.
In a strange twist of fate, they found a whole new legion of fans when they decided to renovate a vintage caravan – because it was all they could afford!
Carlene says they were flooded with requests for help and more information from fans after their videos documenting the reno “captured people’s attention”.
The couple went on to renovate four more vintage caravans, and have just released their how-to book, This Old Van, through Hardie Grant.
Carlene’s interior design business, Cedar and Suede, is also booming on the back of big building projects and more affordable virtual consultations for homeowners, while Michael is now working as a first officer with QantasLink.
One of the perks of the job is his staff discount and Carlene jokes she’ll be using it to fulfill her husband’s promise to take the kids to Disneyland with a trip to Tokyo.
Looking back on that terrible auction result, and the bitter disappointment they felt for a few years while they scrambled to get their lives back on track, Michael and Carlene now feel blessed to have been part of one of the most tumultuous The Block seasons ever.
Their reality TV fame saw them earning money from sponsorships, scored them trips to Fiji and Singapore, and even led to two other TV shows, Ready Set Reno and Reno Rumble.
“We don’t regret it for a second,” Carlene says. “It was life-changing!”
Carlene and Michael's reno book is out now. Shop here.