Episode Ten : The Finale

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In writing this blog post, it is harder than ever for me to put words to the extraordinary experience that was The Apartment : Style Edition. It is difficult to bring everything down to earth, to relate it to the rest of our lives before and after the show. In my mind, our participation in the competition was always an abstraction, completely incongruent with our former routine and far from our foreseen futures. Now that we are at the end of it all, and more importantly now that we’ve won, I find myself having to join two very separate worlds… I have the incredible chance of incorporating a surreal fairytale into my life. A glimpse of the behind-the-scenes craziness, as follows:

Photo courtesy of Vika A.

Photo courtesy of Vika A.

Photo courtesy of Vika A.

Photo courtesy of Vika A.

Photo Courtesy of Mera N.

Photo Courtesy of Mera N.

Photo courtesy of Vika A.

Photo courtesy of Vika A.

The Apartment Production Crew, big thank you to all of you!

The Apartment Production Crew, big thank you to all of you!

It’s strange to admit that going into the final was somewhat relaxing. It was a relief to know that we had at least made it to the end, that we would not be walking away empty-handed and that our hard work had at least not gone unnoticed. Phil and I loved our house. We were excited at the thought of going back through all the rooms, reminiscing about old challenges, reviewing our progression as wannabe designers and improving our existing work.

All Rooms

As always, we had an endless list of projects. Although we did not feel the need for any major overhaul in any of the rooms, we did have a lot of small additions and changes we wanted to complete. We divided our list of about thirty items into rooms and priority level, and began to work.

For the first time during this entire competition, Phil and I enjoyed the challenge and the pressure was turned into excitement and anticipation. Putting finishing touches on the house felt much like setting the table before a family gathering, or decorating a Christmas tree. We had already put so much effort into the rooms that now it was more a question of a few loving touches here and there, knowing that soon doors would finally open… For a brief soirée we would be able to play hosts and invite people to enjoy our home as a whole, and forget all the segregated challenges that composed it.

Our countdown for this challenge was 24 hours.

The sun rose while we were pasting our giant sticker-print of clouds onto some closet doors in the hallway. At seven a.m., after working all night, Phil and I shared a beer in our back garden, walked through all the rooms hand in hand, and went to sleep in our Master Bedroom, for two hours before waking up to Finale-Day craziness. It’s one of my favourite memories of that day.

Everything from that moment on is a blur. Shouts awoke us as photographers, cameramen and cleaners flooded our house. Meanwhile we had to film interviews, meet Lisa S., get makeovers and prep the caterers. Before we knew it, evening had arrived and so had our guests.

Seeing our friends walk through our front door was incredible. Having been so isolated for weeks, it felt wonderful to be able to include them finally in our secret experience. As our rooms filled up and the former contestants joined us, the atmosphere in our house was amazing. Phil and I walked through the rooms with giddy pride, happy at last to see the house teeming with people.

 At this point, the competitive aspect of the night was far from our minds. Phil and I were very calm, proud and content. We knew we had absolutely done everything in our power to present a finished product we were proud of, and it was a relief knowing that from here on out, it was out of our hands.

Thank you Matthijs, Joy & baby Tyson for attending!

Thank you Matthijs, Joy & baby Tyson for attending!

Thanks for your vote Ash!

Thanks for your vote Ash!

With this in mind, we joined our fellow finalists in the waiting area as guests and judges convened in the Design Court to determine the final verdict.

Phil and I noticed very early how lucky we were to compete alongside such genuinely affable people. Although after editing some may not believe it, the truth is that we never felt any fierce rivalry. As the challenges passed, we grew together as designers, shared in common struggles and always made time for an after-work glass of wine. It is not a small feat to have made such great friends in an environment clearly destined for competition.

Thus, as we were “standing-by” (something we had become very good at by this point!) it was with great respect and mutual admiration that we were able to enjoy a few last drinks with Alex and Chelsea.

Suddenly we were all on stage, and I heard Laurence’s voice as if in the distance as I stared at the room full of people, happily finding some familiar faces to steady my thoughts.

I heard the result at the same time as the confetti canon, and it all seemed more fantastic than ever.

In the perfect culmination to our achievements, Phil and I decided to stay Team Dali for life.

It’s a story worthy of the Disney movies I would watch. One which I look forward to telling my grandchildren, who will probably dismiss it as an old lady’s wild exaggerations until I show them the video!

2012 has been an astounding year for the two of us. We are very aware of how incredibly lucky we have been, and the best part is that with this lucidity we know not to take a moment of it for granted.

My fiancé and I (!!!) would like to thank, personally some day if possible, everyone who supported us throughout the competition. A big thank you to The Apartment production team and everyone involved with making the show happen! Our families, who all over the world came together to encourage us and whose collective belief in us definitely had some part in the result. To our friends, friends of friends, ex-colleagues, ex-teachers, and everyone who took time out of their day to wish us luck. We have been overwhelmed by the amount of support and kind words we have received.

Iva

Make sure to check out our coverage of our beloved Dali home by clicking here

25 comments
  • Anastasia Y

    LOVE your blog! your life on the boat seems so perfect, i wanna be you guys 🙂 anyway, Congratulations on your win and mostly on your engagement! You two are perfect for each other and I know you’ll have a long, happy life together 😀

    Lots of love, Anastasia

  • Abigail

    Hi Phil and Iva! Although I don’t know either of you I’ve been rooting for team Dali since the show first aired on Starworld. You’re the cutest, sweetest couple and I was so moved by the proposal that I watched the episode three times! A really big congratulations on your win and your engagement!

    • Phil & Iva

      Merci beaucoup Edith ! On the fait signe si on passe par Marseille ! Pour l’instant on est de retour sur le bateau et on se prepare a une croisiere vers les Iles Andamans. Continue a suivre nos aventures surt le blog, et a bientot j’espere ! Bises

  • Jacinta

    Congratulations on your win! It has been so amazing watching your development on the show, and I’m thankful to have stumbled onto your blog. It’s so, so inspirational! God bless your new season in life! 🙂

  • Tiffany J

    Iva and Phil! i have been supporting you guys since day 1. i <3 the spirit that you guys bring, and the way you guys work together just make me speechless. i always upport you guys because youmare so great TOGETHER and you remain STRONG TOGETHER throughout the entire competition! ehwn the winner was announced, me, my cousins (who haven't even watched a single episode) SHOUTED as loud as i ever shouted in my LIFE, SO EXCITED! i was so happy! you deserve to win!!! TEAM DALI FOREVER <3

    • Phil & Iva

      Tiffany!! Sorry it has taken us so long to reply to your wonderful message. First of all a big thank you for your support (and thank your cousins as well! hehe). You can imagine how loud we also shouted at that time! It’s true what you say that we handled the pressure well, we did our best to stay a solid team and respect each other despite the challenges. To be honest, we both agree that it is one of the hardest things we have ever undertaken; physically, emotionally and psychologically. In the end it was all worth it though and now we are happy to have such a great story to share! Thanks again for your message, I hope you keep checking this page for our future adventures 🙂

  • Tiffany J

    i was seriously wishing that one day i will find a person and be as perfect as you guys are. the show TO ME was not about the apartement itself, is more about how you guys handle the pressure and stay STRONG against all the challenges and you guys did that beautifully 🙂 (and sorry for typos!)

  • mnlstateofmind

    HI Iva! I watched the show and I was truly in awe how you live. Your story is so inspiring! Traveling is bliss..Moreover sharing it with the person you love and willing to spend the rest of your life with! :-)) Congratulations!! :–)

    • Phil & Iva

      Hi Natsy, thank you so much for the kind words. We know we are extremely lucky to be able to spend this time of our lives traveling, and even more so after participating in The Apartment. We love sharing our experiences with others and are really happy you’ve found our stories interesting! Hope your year is off to a fantastic start, thanks again for the comment & keep in touch!

  • Lala

    I know it is well passed the PEAK moment but I wish to congratulate you two personally. It’s been really great watching you two worked as a solid team with such a great flair for design. And best of all, you two always stay true to your sense of style. I was happy that I was adamant to watch the winning announcement from my hotel room, while working off-duty station.

    Congratulations also on the engagement! May you two forever surrounded with love and great designs.

    • Phil & Iva

      Thank you for such a heartfelt message! We are very happy to know that others share our design orientation and appreciate the hard work we put into winning the competition. A special thank you for making an exception from work just to watch the finale, very glad you thought it was worthwhile. All the best to you in this coming year and keep checking our page for more at-sea adventures 🙂 Thanks again!

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