Liz’s Blog | Helping BBC DIY SOS with Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen!
What an exciting end to last week we all had here are Home Flair Decor, the episode of DIY SOS : The Big Build we helped out on was broadcast on Friday 30th May. Until now I have had to be tight-lipped about the specifics of this project which took place in the next town to our admin team’s office. The episode should still be available on the BBC iPlayer for the next few days so why not take a look!
So to start from the beginning, back in January I was checking our Twitter feed and spotted a cry for help from the BBC team behind DIY SOS. They were planning to help a family in distress and needed help from local suppliers and trades who could donate at short notice. With the matter being of urgency I spoke with the powers that be here at HFD and it was agreed that we would help as best we can and as quick as possible. I spoke with the BBC team to confirm our support and to what they needed, they went on to explain the situation of the family in need.
The build was to help the family of Maddie, a 6-year-old with Dystonia and a rare degenerative brain disease. Having looked for a new home to suit Maddie’s ever changing needs they found an ideal house in Bury, this house was to be adapted to give the whole family better facilities and to allow Maddie to gain as much independence as possible. During the improvements things didn’t quite go to plan as complications swallowed most of the budget leaving the family living out of three rooms and a large unfinished extension.
Maddie’s father Rod had been working to complete the extension alone with every spare moment even though his long working hours left him drained. The conditions were having a negative impact on Maddie when the move was meant to improve her quality of life, the lack of space and facilities has meant Maddie has to sleep in bed with her parents which was causing long-term damage to her spine.
After hearing the circumstances of the family we couldn’t be more pleased to help. After the design team had looked through our collections, they found an ideal wallpaper for use in one of her sisters bedroom – which we duly donated. Around a week later we sent out Graham to deliver the wallpaper in person, here’s what happened.
“After finding the site, the streets around were full of white vans from all trades imaginable, so many people were there to help. Deliveries were not being taken in at the house as they were still on with the heavy building work so I was pointed to the local rugby club in the next street, after making my way to the clubhouse I was greeted by the build foreman Mark who pointed me into a Portokabin where he said “hand it to the guy in the lively suit to the right”, as I opened the door and turned right, who should be stood in the corner…. Mr Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen – in a bright tartan suit! He was very friendly and chatty, he accepted the wallpaper from me, he had a quick look and thanked me for the donation.”
The build was to take around 10 days to complete and we were invited to attend the reveal, which again we sent Graham to catch up with how things went.
“On the reveal day, we all had to meet in the rugby club house – we being myself and about 100 trades people plus! Mark Millar stood on a table to give a thank you speech to us all for our help and support over the last nine days. I spotted Laurence and approached him to ask how everything had gone and if the wallpaper had met up to his expectations? He asked which wallpaper we had donated and suddenly burst into praise of it, he told me how well it looked upon hanging and how the decorators had colour matched the wallpaper and used that colour on to the coving, he pulled out his phone and showed me a couple of pictures he had taken. The results did look brilliant with the room dressed. I then asked for a cheeky photo with Laurence – but I blinked at the wrong moment!
I then briefly chatted to Mark Millar, the project foreman about time-scales for broadcast and he did say that generally it can be up to 18 months from filming to get to TV – plus they tend to move the show about in the schedules to avoid football and big events events as DIY SOS : The Big Build gets really good ratings. I had my photo taken with him and waited for the filming to start. We all walked around to the family house ready for the family to come out as they had been inside with Nick Knowles getting the first glimpse of the changes that had happened. It was really emotional to see them come out and thank us, they were so very grateful for all the support that had been given by everyone, they couldn’t thank us all enough!”
The team have been keeping up to date with the broadcasts this series and were surprised to see that it was to be on TV so soon, once we knew it was coming on – we put the word out to everyone, in-house and online so we hope you saw it! Friday night came and I sat down to watch the reveal, the families circumstances really hit home and I was so pleased that we were able to help and that I had seen the call for help! The Steve Leung Wallpaper that was used looked brilliant, I can’t believe how well smart the pattern looks, the family looked so pleased to have had the house finished and relieved that they can start to have a life again. Maddie now has the space to move and the family know she will be safe in the house, she has a bedroom to sleep in and a wet room where her needs can be met.
We would be happy to help the team again on their next Big Build and wish Maddie and her family all the best.