Dean and shay for

River bennett ( Photographer River Bennett)



Dean and Shay made their mark on Channel Nine’s renovation series The Block in 2015. The couple's love for clean lines, light design, and a particular focus on high end finishes, resulted in them winning the most room reveals on their season of the show, and then taking home the top prize as winners of The Block. 

After their season on The Block, life became a whirlwind for the Newcastle couple and yet somehow it funnelled them into creating their dream business, The Wild Creatives. With an ever-evolving vision, Shay and Dean create and design products and spaces that are edgy and refined for their clients, yet still exude a sense of creative play and adventure. 

We recently caught up with Shay to find out what set her heart on fire and how she balances life as a working mum. 


When I was a little girl... I was such a mix of girly-girl and tomboy. I loved to play with dolls and wear dresses; I also enjoyed riding bikes, playing in the dirt, and building billy karts, and most of the friends I played with after school and on weekends were boys. I struggled with this as I entered high school and my teens; I didn’t want those relationships to change, but I felt a huge amount of pressure to ‘fit in’ with the other girls. I couldn't understand the concept of spending our teens trying so hard to fit in and then spending our twenties trying to stand out from the crowd, but I definitely understand it now. I want to be a trail blazer and set my own path. Someone I admire once said, “Look at what everyone else is doing and run the opposite way”. 

When I met Dean... It was the first day of high school. My skirt was down to my knees, my polo was tucked in far too tight and my backpack was nearly as big as me. Enter Dean...super cool, calm, and definitely had the girls talking. We became very close friends in Year 11. We would just hang out, watch movies, go shopping or to the beach...all the while I had no idea that he had romantic feelings for me. Our friendship went on until the end of that year, when one night it all just clicked and we kissed. We have been kissing ever since and are going on 15 years together. 

When we dreamed about the future... Our future has always developed naturally out of experience or a desire to try something new. We have never made long term plans for ourselves; instead, we embrace new ideas and challenges head on with a hope that they will teach us more about ourselves. 

Holding Everly in my arms for the first time was... Like our love had become tangible. We didn’t know the gender during the pregnancy, and so there was a buzz of excitement in the room during my labour. When we realised we had a little girl I shed tears of pure joy. We had chosen a girl name and I was secretly hoping for a daughter. We named our precious bundle Everly Victoria, after my nan Beverly and my mum, affectionately called Victoria.

Motherhood is... Diverse. No two mothers have the same experience, isn’t that incredible? We take this journey with no "how to" guide; we fumble our way through it, and we help to shape future generations. The gravity of the task is not lost on me and, at times, it doesn’t always look the way I thought it would, but when Everly cuddles up next to me, looks me in the eye, and sweetly whispers "I love you Mumma", I know I’m doing ok. 

Motherhood and running a business is... Rewarding. I have always wanted to build my own little empire. I wanted to own something that was mine, something I had cultivated and built with hard work and passion. 
[To do this] I juggle being a mother, a wife, a business owner, friend, daughter, and sister, and there are times I feel completely inadequate at meeting the needs of those roles. I have days where I feel like I am being a terrible mother, but then I think about my legacy and what story I want to leave behind. I want to inspire my daughter to follow the desires of her soul and to take the road less travelled. Everly has spent many hours on my knee or asleep in my arms as I type away on my computer or make calls to suppliers. I am not afraid for her to see me work hard; she knows she is loved, and that is what fills me with confidence that it's all ok.

The Block was... Another world. We had watched the previous seasons and thought we got how it worked...little did we know! You live in this crazy ‘block bubble’ (as we called it) and on ‘block time’ which means very little sleep...something I don’t cope well with. The hard work is real. We challenged ourselves each week to produce rooms we were proud of and we didn’t slow down. We pushed ourselves to the limits and never took the experience for granted. We always wanted to honour the opportunity we were given and at times this sent us a little loopy. At the end of the day, we are totally humbled by the experience.

The Block taught us... Our limits are far greater than we think they are. Not to mention that while watching myself on TV I realised I have the world's best resting bitch face.

The Wild Creatives is... Bold renovations, fun interior design, a place to showcase Australian creatives, and an expression of us. Although TWC is still in its early days, we purposely created a business that can evolve with our various projects. We want to showcase creativity in all its forms, and we want to inspire others to be creative.

My dream home looks like... I would love to have an older home that has history. We'd love our own little farm, full of fresh food, a big kitchen, lots of books, loud conversation, and plenty of laughter. We're currently on the hunt for our own little pocket of countryside, so stay tuned!

Predicted autumn colour palette for 2016 home interiors... The pastels have been reigning in popularity for a while now; I don't think the blushes are going anywhere (thank goodness because I love a bit of blush), but I do think we'll see some more deep muted blue, lime, and burgundy coming through to complement the pastels.

If we didn't start The Wild Creatives... I would have made my way back to teaching part time, and also pursued a career in natural health. I have a deep passion for healthy lifestyle and would really like to study naturopathy in the future.

Any advice for other WolfpackMrs mothers who are balancing motherhood while working in a creative industry?
Your "balance" will never look the same as another mother's, so don't waste time comparing yourself. If you love your children passionately, and you share your creative journey with them, then you are blessing them with values that will flourish as they come into adulthood.

For more info on Shay and Dean head to: