Steph and Gian: What’s next for Greek-Italian Australian winners of The Block 2023

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By Sophia Katsinas.

Steph and Gian, a 27-year-old married couple from Sydney, New South Wales, were announced the winners of Nine’s popular renovating series The Block 2023 on Sunday night, marking the end of its 19th season.

Stephanie Ottavio, an architect and third generation Greek Australian, and Gianpietro Ottavio, a tech startup worker and third generation Italian Australian, were not only crowned this year’s winners but made a record-breaking profit of $1.75 million – the most any contestant has ever made on the show.

steph and gian the block 2023
Steph and Gian during the auction of their home. Image: Nine.

Their Hampton East home, named House 4 in the competition, was bought by young businessman Adrian Portelli for $5 million. Fans recognised Portelli as a bidder on the home of last year’s winners, Omar and Oz, who made a record-breaking profit (now broken by Steph and Gian) of $1.6 million.

This year, Portelli also purchased House 5, renovated by Victorian sisters, Eliza and Liberty, placing them in second place with a profit of $1.05 million and House 1, renovated by Western Australia couple Kyle and Leslie, placing them in third place with a profit of $130,000. South Australian couple Kristy and Brett sold House 3 for a $65,000 profit and Queenslander’s Leah and Ash of House 2 passed in and did not sell on the day.

steph and gian the block 2023
The Block 2023 contestants celebrating on “Auction Day”. Image: Nine.

The Greek Herald spoke to Steph at the start of her journey on The Block back in August and heard from Steph again today as she reflected on her journey with gratitude.

“We are feeling overwhelmed. It’s something that we could have never imagined in terms of the outcome,” Steph tells The Greek Herald. “We are so thankful to The Block for picking us and to Adrian Portelli, he’s changed our life.”

“None of it would have been possible without the support and love that we have from our family and friends. It really emphasises how important a good support network around you is and I think we wanted to make everyone proud. We’re so thankful.”

When asked what the future holds, the couple announced they will be selling their home in Sydney early next year and are hoping to continue their renovation journey with another property in Melbourne or Sydney.

They also announced that they are working on launching their own homewares brand called Japandi Estate.

“We really want to help people achieve the Japandi way of life by creating a one-stop-shop with homewares to place into their home to create a Japandi feel,” Steph says.

“We’re working with really close sponsors and connections from the show and that should be launching early next year.”

During the three month break between filming the show and the auction, Steph and Gian moved to Melbourne to build connections with potential buyers of their home. They believe this set them apart from other contestants. Steph also believed their auctioneer Tom Panos and real estate team, Ray White Sunbury, were strong. They were the same team that worked with The Block 2022 winners, Omar and Oz.

“What we learnt from auction was how important it is to have a good auctioneer and a team behind you. The first thing we did when we got the call in February saying that we were on the show was call Tom Panos, we knew that he was going to be the auctioneer. We knew that that’s the person we wanted to represent us,” Steph explains.

Greek Australian, Sydney-based auctioneer, Tom Panos, navigated Steph and Gian’s auction on the weekend with passion, enthusiasm and his popular wit and humour.

Panos told The Greek Herald that he had no plans of doing The Block again (this is his third year as an auctioneer on The Block) but had a “good gut feeling” about Steph and Gian and felt a connection to the couple.

“When Steph and Gian came to me, in my head I wasn’t going to do The Block again. The reason why is that it’s not commercially viable for me… but it all lined up,” Panos says.

“Stephanie is of Greek heritage, I liked her. I really felt a connection with Gian. Stephanie went to the school that my daughters are at. They were the only Sydney couple that were going to be on The Block…We were sitting in a cafe at Haberfield when I made up my mind and I had a good gut feeling about it.”

Panos believes Steph and Gian were “a step ahead” of the other contestants and had a culmination of strengths that led to their successful end result.

“Steph’s creativity through her architecture training gave her a competitive advantage… The dynamics of Steph and Gian, they’re like ying and yang. When one is up, the other one gets picked up… The third thing is, they built a property that they knew was going to suit the masses, not just what they wanted. They thought of the end result,” Panos concludes.

Follow Steph and Gian’s journey on Instagram @stephandgian and sign up to receive updates on Japandi Estate on their website https://japandiestate.com/

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