Property renovation series. Nick Knowles and the team enlist the help of the local community in Stoke and renovate a home for a family battling terminal illness.
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Hello, and welcome to DIY SOS, this week coming to you
from Stoke, with my team, but also with a huge army of people.
Yes, every single person here
has volunteered to help us make a difference to a family
who, to be honest, have had a tough time of it.
This is DIY SOS - The Big Build.
This house has not been looked after for years.
The house is dying.
It's one of the biggest jobs we've ever attempted.
I'm going to go and get a hard hat.
We don't have problems, we have solutions. Don't we, boys?
When this came out, I took a second look and thought, "We've been living in this!"
It's months of work.
One, two, three.
But we've got just nine days to transform this house into a home.
I can't believe the difference this will make to this family.
We're here today to help Haydn, Jenny and their three daughters, Sarah, Sophie and youngest Sasha.
They live here, in this three-bedroom terraced house in Stoke-on-Trent.
Well, we bought this house as an investment opportunity originally.
We definitely wanted to buy some more.
Yeah, we saw ourselves in the future
as being some sort of property tycoon.
Wow, how we have dreams!
But their dreams were shattered when Haydn started to suffer severe
bouts of stomach pain and had to give up work as a skipper of ships.
Doctors discovered Haydn was suffering from a rare abdominal cancer.
A neuroendocrine tumour is unfortunately what they found,
and instead of it being like a lump it's like a spattering through the cells.
It's a hormonal cancer, and it's very difficult to detect. It's untreatable.
We don't like to think about the inevitability, of course.
But if we can prolong it and be as happy as possible
in the in-between bits, that's what we're aiming for, really.
With money very tight and none to invest in the house, Haydn tried
to fill the holes in the brickwork using expandable foam just to try and make everything watertight.
Needless to say, it hasn't worked very well.
And inside, two of the three bedrooms are still uninhabitable.
The family are all forced to sleep together in just one room.
This is Mum and Dad's bed.
This one's Sophie's.
This one's my bed.
And then this one here is Sasha's bed.
It's not just the sleeping arrangements that are causing this family of five stress.
They all share this dingy bathroom, which is not ideal considering Haydn is battling abdominal cancer.
My dad's not very well,
and he needs a bathroom in the morning,
and then we can share one downstairs or upstairs, it doesn't matter, and he can have one to himself.
Eventually, we thought we'd just tell
the kids so they'd get used to it, so when it happens it's not a shock which might make it worse for them.
And sometimes it hits them the same. They wake up, especially Sophie,
I think - she'll wake up and she'll say something like, "I hate that cancer,"
and gives her dad a hug and weeps.
And then instantly gets over it.
-With Sarah, it's inspired her to want to be a doctor.
She really wants to be a doctor, go to university and find a cure for it.
There's tremendous love.
I find out while I'm in the bathroom they give me so much time, they've tiddled in a bucket
rather than disturb me. And it's quite touching
when you find out they didn't moan about that sort of thing.
It's so sweet.
Where are they? Oh, here they are.
The trouble is you've had to stay in one room, haven't you?
You're living at the moment pretty much in one room because of the state of the house.
So what are you hoping for?
What's the most important thing? if we could only do one thing...
-The most important is that Sarah's now coming up to 12...
..and I'm awkward in the night, so this timing is fantastic,
cos I was starting to think, "It's not right."
So bedrooms for the girls.
Bedrooms for the girls is the key thing.
We're going to do as much as we possibly can, obviously, cos despite the fact
that you weren't aware, or really aware, of the situation you were in,
-this isn't a home.
-We've made it home,
but because we've actually ignored the state of the walls,
-the state of the windows, because if we looked at them, I'd be tearing my hair out every day.
I mean, when this all came out, I really did take a second look
and think, "Oh, my God, we've been living in this."
And we have only tackled, as you are well aware, the bits of the house that are liveable.
And if you worry about that all the time, it does make you ill.
I was sort of pretty close to a nervous breakdown a couple of years ago
with all this kicking off, and I had to let something go.
And one must not worry about it as long as we're well and happy.
We'll do as much as we can, but we can't promise where we'll get to...
-..because it depends who turns up.
Looks like we're going to need an army to get this house sorted.
Just as well it looks like an army's turning up.
The tradespeople of Stoke have done us proud.
OK, thanks, everyone. Bye!
-See you later.
A pretty good turnout, isn't it?
It is, isn't it?
It's the most we've ever seen on the first day.
-How will we get them all in?
-I don't know!
And we've got one more person to jam in as well. Our designer this week is Charlie Luxton.
From designing pavilions for the Olympics to suburban semis, he's done the lot.
Charlie's background is in architecture,
and his ethos is to create simple, beautiful, timeless buildings underpinned by sustainability,
and it's the fusion of architecture and design that we need on this job.
We're completely redesigning the space inside to make the house more family friendly.
So, what can you do on a semidetached in the middle of Stoke?
A lot of what we're doing here is about space planning
and making the building work for the family. They're cramped into very few rooms.
A lot of it's about trying to get them the bedrooms they need,
about extending the building on the two floors here,
but also, in doing that,
we've also tried to try and keep it
with as small a surface area as possible.
If you think about seals that live in the Arctic, they're kind of fat
and round, so they've got a small surface area so they keep warmer.
At the moment this building's got a big outrigger at the back
and it's got lots of surface area, so we'll make it more boxy
and, in doing that, add some more rooms and then wrap the whole thing in insulation.
-Ah, I knew we'd get to insulation!
-We'll get there somewhere.
So you're going to turn this house into an Arctic seal?
The same strategy as a seal, yeah, the same thinking as goes with a seal and a tea cosy.
Charlie's got some big plans for this house.
Along with wrapping a thermal layer or tea cosy all around the exterior of this property,
we're knocking through downstairs
to make a large contemporary kitchen/diner cum family room.
Upstairs, we're completely changing the layout so the three girls will each have a bedroom of their own.
Mum and Dad will have their own room, too,
with the en-suite bathroom that Haydn so desperately needs.
To do all this, we're going to have to increase the footprint of the whole house
by adding a two-storey extension, yes, two-storey extension, at the rear.
To keep the build on schedule, this extension has to be up in the next two days.
-And you're doing the extension bit, the sip erection?
We're going to erect your extension up here, ground floor, first floor, roof on.
How long do you reckon that'll take?
With luck, we'll be done today.
Why is it so quick? Is it a prefabby kind of thing?
It's all off-site manufacturing.
It's all being prefabricated in the factory to drawing.
Just lift it off one piece at a time.
-Up you go.
-Nice. And what do you do on the team?
-I own the company.
-Oh, it's your company? Is that right?
Oh, that's nice! That's good.
-Thank you. But you've donated this, haven't you?
Erm, a bit of a difficult one.
I saw my surgeon last night, and...
-..I haven't got a lot of time left, either.
So it was a bit of a synergy between
the householder and me.
Yeah, so that's...
So you're in trouble with cancer as well?
Yeah, I've got a tumour. I saw my surgeon last night, so they're
getting me in for surgery. What will be will be.
-Should you be at work at the moment, then?
-Well, what am I going to do?
Sit at home and do nothing and climb the wall?
No, you've got to do what you've got to do.
Life goes on, doesn't it? And if I can help, well, why not?
Well, we'll try and have a laugh over the next couple of days, shall we?
I'm only going to be here today, maybe tomorrow,
-and then I'll pop back on Friday.
-We'd love you to.
What an amazing woman, and I genuinely didn't realise Jasmine's situation was quite so serious.
Yet she's here to lend a hand.
The family's predicament seems to have touched a nerve with the local trades,
and they're continuing to turn up in their droves.
Do you know we've got 50 people on site today?
-Is it 50?
-How many is it?
There's about 50 people on site today.
I've counted it up. It's got to be nearly 50.
I gathered that myself. I counted them up.
-And how many was it?
-I got about 50.
'Hold on a minute, seriously, if we've got over 50 people
'in this house - let me do a quick calculation.
'50 x 12 x 14,'
carry the 6. That's over four tonnes of people in there, and Jules hasn't even had his lunch yet!
Don't want to prop nothing up in case it goes.
I think it may be an idea to strengthen it,
cos there's a lot of blokes upstairs.
There's a few cracks in the house, isn't there? Yeah.
It just looks a bit like a bag of biscuits.
It just looks like it could crumble at any point.
And the banging of the jackhammer, the vibrations, it's all working its way down.
The scale of this job is ridiculous.
A roof light could go in here, which is why I want
to get this as high as possible, so that we can get as much light as possible down through there.
Charlie's changing just about every internal wall in the whole house,
which means we're going to be making one hell of a mess.
You think that's better than keeping that one, do you?
If people have got to nip up and down stairs because Haydn's in bed, it's just a shorter route.
He's also overseeing the more designery stuff for us,
so that means cushions, colour charts and fluffy things,
all the things that will make this house a home.
-You're quite in touch with your feminine side, aren't you?
-I don't know how to take that, but I'll take it as a compliment.
-I mean it as a compliment.
-A lot of men think they have to be...
I think the thing is that the more you do design, you don't design for yourself, you should design
for other people, and therefore it's about stepping into other people's heads and sort of picking up
on the little things that you notice about them and the way they live that you can then design for them.
We design for the people, not ourselves.
-You're not trying to show off here?
You're very confident in what you do. You don't need to show off.
This man's expensive. He's difficult to book.
"Book early to avoid disappointment" Charlie
That's what they call him!
It's clear Charlie's got some big ideas,
but is this worn-out building simply too far gone to handle the change?
With all the bashing and banging we're doing inside and out, a huge crack has appeared,
and it looks like one of the end walls is starting to come away from the house.
Hang on a sec.
It's looking a little bit loose through here, so that crack goes all the way up.
So much movement, and if you put your head against the house here... Oh, my goodness.
You can feel that, can't you? That is extraordinary.
All the work going on in the house is literally shaking it to bits.
Whoa. Whoa, whoa!
What moved up there?
Right, OK, move away from the corners.
Can you get the camera out, everything?
Oh, my God.
It's blowing the gable out.
It's blowing the gable out.
Tell them to steady.
If the end wall of the house falls down, that will be it, game over.
-Where was that movement, mate?
-This really is as bad as we've ever seen.
We've got to solve this problem before we can carry on.
This house has not been looked after for years. The house is dying,
it's basically dying on its feet.
Everybody's on edge, including Simon, the structural engineer, and that's worrying.
There's been a subsidence problem in the corner in the past
and the gable wall has peeled out
-and that's caused the vertical cracks between the two windows.
So there's now nothing holding that corner back.
So when we're working in that area, the corner's wobbling and there's a danger that it leans out.
-So if we don't do anything, it could be a big problem.
We should consult our own genius.
Are you worried about the end of the building falling off?
No, no-one's said anything.
-'He's either fearless or stupid.'
-That won't fall off!
Answers on a postcard. I know what I'm going with.
See ya later.
Work on the dodgy end of the house has had to stop until we solve the problem,
but the crane is up and running, so we can start putting up the two-storey extension.
It's basically like a flat-pack piece of furniture, but on a far bigger scale.
We should be able to knock it up in no time, or at least I know a lady who can.
That's my lunch box!
It's funny, cos people look at timber frame and go, "Oh, yeah, but timber, it's not like brick."
But then, some of the Elizabethan houses,
they're all timber framed, and they've been around 400, 500 years.
Saxons were using it. That's what they built with.
-They're still finding the remains of them.
Now, you might be asking yourself why are we building an extension
onto a bit of house that appears to be falling off.
Well, my Rubenesque Devonian friend can explain all that.
This trying to hold the house together has held us back quite a bit, hasn't it?
It has, cos the extension will help, and that will obviously give it...
Once the floor joists are in and the roof's on, that'll give all this corner more stability.
That's one part of the solution.
The other part is clever, too.
What we're going to do is strengthen the end wall that's falling down with small steel bars.
These bars are held in place with epoxy resin,
which is basically incredibly strong glue which is used to stick wings onto aeroplanes.
Luckily for us, it works on brick as well.
It's similar to coopering a barrel, when you get a timber barrel, you wrap steel cables round it.
We're giving this building that's collapsing and sagging tensile strength. It's a brilliant system.
That's the great thing about this job. There's always someone,
out of all these people, has a way round something.
That's the thing, getting round things, not running away,
getting round it, getting over it and getting it finished.
At long last, it looks like we're actually getting somewhere.
The foundations are going in, ready for the extension
and we're holding that gable end of the house on
with resin fixings and steel straps.
Then we can drop the big, insulative tea cosy over the top and make it nice and warm.
-What are you up to?
-Hiya, mate. Organising the labourers.
We're getting the architraves and skirting boards, all the old stuff from downstairs out.
Why don't you go and see what Martin's up to?
What we've got going on in here
is we're sticking a new steel structure in here,
which is going to do two jobs.
It's going to put strength back into the building and make this an all-open-plan living space.
Julian's over there, and Chris. Find out what they're up to.
Ripping all the skirting boards and the architraves off,
so as soon as the electrics are done, we can start plastering, get these walls plastered.
And this is going to be a hallway.
There'll be an opening through there
and an opening through there to free up the bedrooms.
And finally, my little electrician friend.
I've got loads of electricians all round the house.
We're rewiring it, all the old stuff's coming out and all the new stuff's going in.
Just goes to show, miracles can happen. Billy just made sense.
After a scary day of things almost falling down,
it's a relief to see the first floor of the extension starting to go up.
That's quite handy, isn't it? That's the first one, Jas.
It's all cranes and construction. I love it.
Impressive, isn't she?
Compared to the time it would take to build a conventional brick extension, this is remarkable.
The thing is that the Americans have basically been building buildings
in a very similar way for years and years and years.
They call it balloon framing, so they'd make a timber frame on the floor
and then just pull it upright and nail it together.
It's an impressive system,
especially with the speed with which it goes up.
That was last night. This is today.
Morning! Yes, a new day and almost a new house.
The extension's coming along and I've got no reason to be grumpy.
I'm going to make a concerted effort to be less offensive today, whatever the boys throw at me.
It was a good catch, that, wasn't it?
Ah! Morning! How are you?
They're not gloves! They're women's gloves! Look at them!
Where did you get them, a little backstreet shop in Rome, did you, down by the Spanish Steps?
I thought you might be in a better mood today.
I am. That's cheered me up no end, that.
Or at least, I thought it had.
Overnight, some windows have been smashed in the house.
It's not the first time the family have been victims of vandalism.
It must be terrifying for them, especially the girls.
They were the victim of criminal damage, I believe, last year, in November.
But overall, in the electoral ward which this house falls into,
of which there are about 14,000 residents,
you know, we average one, maybe two damages a week.
What happened is they're worried the area will get a bad name
cos we're here when something horrible's happened!
I can tell you straight away, it's a lovely area.
The people have been so supportive.
People say, "It's a rough area, it'll be difficult."
It's fine. Most of the people are really nice round here.
It has a strong sense of community spirit.
We really had that come through.
They're decent, hard-working people.
Well, you can see that by the number who've turned out to join in here.
Do you know much about the family?
No, only what I've read.
He's very ill and he's only got a little bit of time left.
Got to be hard for the family, you know what I mean?
-But also, living in this...
Well, it's mind-boggling to me.
I just can't see as they've lived in it.
Extraordinary that they lived in this environment.
-So you're happy come along and help out?
-No problem at all, yeah.
Jump at the chance, really, y'know? Just to help somebody out who...
needs it more than us, y'know?
Things happen, don't they?
But it's nice that there's a lot of the local builders
who can just jump on this and help out, isn't it?
-And the tradespeople of Stoke just keep coming.
-There's three kids.
-They need the rooms.
-And a local fencing company turned up
to see what they can do to stop this mindless vandalism from happening again.
What we're going to do to give them this bit of privacy is to run a timber fence on the top of this wall.
All these people have volunteered their time to help out
but none of them would be here had it not been for one person, the family's health visitor, Sheila.
Tell us why you decided to write in to us.
I happened to say to Jennifer, "How's your house coming on?",
because I knew they'd come up here and I knew that they were trying to do this house up.
She just kind of said what had been going on,
how poorly Haydn had become and the house had come to a standstill.
And when she showed me what the house was like,
it was acceptance - "This is what we've got and we'll work our way through it."
I came to Jennifer and said, "Would you mind if I referred you to DIY SOS?"
And she said, "Would you do that for me?" "Yeah!"
And it just snowballed from there.
So, having come up with that idea and done it, were you expecting this much to be going on?
I feel quite humbled, really, I suppose!
I just can't believe the difference this is going to make to this family.
And all these people are volunteering and doing all this work.
I think they're going to be excited. I can't think of another word.
It seems not a big enough word for how they're going to feel!
What's happening here is a local miracle, thanks to all the amazing people who've turned up to help.
This transformation is going to mean the world to the Spice family,
making a dream a reality.
Part of Charlie's design is an open-plan kitchen/diner.
To do this, these steel beams are going in so the upstairs
won't fall into the downstairs when we take the kitchen walls out.
All we've got to do now is put them in.
They'll be resting on the last two structurally sound walls left in the kitchen.
At least, they were until we turned up.
The problem is that this morning...
I saw a pencil line on the wall, thinking it was the opening size.
-So I got Mat to stitch-drill a line down.
-So YOU did it!
No-one's pointing any fingers but Mat and Jules have just made a mistake
and they've started to knock down the part of the wall that the beam will to sit on.
This means the wall is now too weak to support the beam.
This is a serious problem and we need to sort it out fast.
If only someone were on hand to come up with a genius solution.
Oh, I hate Knowles, right?
Outside, we were quietly trying to have a conversation about the wall
being stitch-drilled, and old Super Lugs walked up
and he said to me, "Oh, look, there is an easy way to get round it.
"You know the resin they're using at the back of the house?
"Why don't we inject the holes with that?"
I said, "Don't be ridiculous."
The guy from the company walked in and said, "Why don't we pump resin into it?
"It'll be stronger than the brick wall originally was."
This is hurting him so much!
-Not just a pretty face, is he?
Not even a pretty face.
It's the very same epoxy resin system we're using to hold up the wall outside.
It worked there, so why wouldn't it work in here? It's a good job I'm here, really.
That'll to be it now. All night, he's going to be going, "Check me out. that was my idea."
Take the camera off of him.
I can't stick that smug look on his face any longer.
I think since I've reached the point of 40 years old,
one mistake in 40 years isn't bad going, is it?
Very good, Jules!
After a few setbacks, to say the least - no names mentioned, Julian...
Chip it out some more, please.
..it's good to see the second floor of the extension going in.
That's the way to build an extension, isn't it?
And amazingly, at the end of day two, the roof is on!
Let's go home.
Morning, ladies! I must commend you on your roast pork last night, ladies.
It was probably the best roast dinner I had...
Apart from what your wife cooks.
No, it's got to be said. You've got to say it when it's meant.
-Oh, good luck, mate!
-She's been easing off on the roasties.
Do you believe he's actually dissing his wife's cooking in front of six million people across the country?
-I'm not dissing it.
-Claire, I'm saying to you...
-Her cooking is phenomenal.
It's just the quantity of the roast dinners that we're lacking of.
Spread out over the year...
She does a mean roast
but I'd like one every Sunday, and they're not there. They're not happening.
-Remember, as a kid, you always had a roast dinner.
-Do you get a roast dinner every Sunday now?
See, Claire? See?! The rest of 'em do! I'm not!
I have a feeling the only roast dinner he's likely to see is the one that Claire dumps over his head.
Charlie, quick, change the subject. Please, talk about insulation or something.
What's really good about this system is, increasingly what we're realising
is that it's not just how well insulated a building is,
it's about how much draughts you get into it, so by sticking this insulation
over the outside of the building, not only does it make it much warmer,
but it stops all of that air leaking into it.
The critical thing is, our energy costs are going through the roof,
so all of this stuff will be happening all over the country, all the time.
You and I and everyone around here will be doing it
over time, because as energy goes up, it gets more and more affordable.
Charlie, proving that insulation can be fun.
But not as much fun as this...
That's Christopher with a pre-emptive strike, a phone call home to the missus,
saying, "I've done this hilarious thing, I was only joking, love.
"I didn't mean anything by it."
He knows how much trouble he's in about the roast dinner thing now.
Pre-emptive strike for the missus, was it?
"Just having a bit of a laugh with the guys, don't worry when it comes out."
She's moved my bed into the garage.
No. Like I said, you can't knock her cooking,
she's a very good traditional... The best traditional cook. It's just, I think...
she's worn out on a Sunday and the last thing on her little mind...or on her huge...
Oh, dear! Oh, God no.
I'm just digging...
-The last thing on my beautiful...
-I'm not even going to stand by you now.
-It's nothing to do with me, he's on his own.
-The last thing on her mind...
Do you want to move in with me?
-A couple of months moving in with me in London.
-I think you'll have to, mate.
Probably best not to think about it, Chris, just bury yourself in work.
Then, there's plenty to do, upstairs walls for a start. I'm slightly lost up here, now.
Over there you've two bedrooms, two little bedrooms.
-Yeah. Then you've got a hallway.
-A hallway here.
So that becomes the en suite to this major bedroom, which is mum's,
leaving you one, two, three girls' bedrooms.
It's flying up, isn't it?
These internal walls are being put up to create the separate bedrooms the family needs.
The problem with walls is - you can't see through them.
Luckily for us, Charlie's come up with an ingenious solution
to make the new rear corridor bright and airy.
I need to get a roof light into here, and what I'd like to do is, see that whole opening up there,
I'd like to make that a light...funnel,
funnel, tunnel thing up to a rooflight to drop natural daylight in there,
so then it comes down into the stairs and lights this whole area.
-But, to do that, I think we're going to have to move the loft hatch.
-Two, three, lift!
Meanwhile, downstairs, things are really coming on and the first steel beam is going in.
This is going to completely open up the kitchen/dining area.
-Yeah, spot on, that.
The extension is up to two floors
and we've got patio doors here. We're going to have to build some kind of step down here, aren't we?
Otherwise it'll be a big jump for them to get out.
Come into the old kitchen, where we've now created a utility room in there,
and where Julian is in there, what'll that be?
-Thank you very much. The acro props are holding up the ceilings here and in there,
because the beam has now been dropped
and is now going to add a piece on there which will go through here.
Complicated steelwork, but it will hold up the whole of the middle of the house,
so it's important. Duck through here.
Back off a bit, not too far, and come with me up the stairs.
Sorry, coming through. That's going to become a bathroom and small dressing room area.
Used to be able to go through here but it's been boxed in and will be plastered over.
You'll noticed if you look past Vic, the wall's been knocked down
to create a balcony that you can look over to the stairwell.
-My buddy, Christopher!
-Hello, mate, all right?
Yeah, who is... You tell them, what are you doing?
Getting this room ready so the plasterers have something to do.
We can crack on downstairs boarding.
-Failing that, me, George and Mat will have to do it.
-The whole house?
And all this in just a few days.
Extraordinary, isn't it?
Why are these people working so hard?
They're here to help a family whose financial and medical problems
have led them to living in a semi-derelict house.
When a family has money troubles, the kids are hardest hit
but despite all that Jenny and Haydn have been through,
they've worked hard to find inventive ways to keep their girls entertained on pocket change.
Explain to me what it is you do. I don't understand what overpainting is.
The flowers here look kind of white and not very colourful.
We get a pink or a red and maybe go over them and make them look brighter and more prettier.
I can imagine the kids love it, don't they? Painting over original paintings, a couple of quid a go...
-Exactly, and it's a bit nicer than painting by numbers.
So, while it's obviously been tough, financially,
at the same time it's sort of meant other opportunities, and...
It's quite delightful, really. We have enough time to go and pick damsons, to pick blackberries,
and to have that much time to be able to do that, that's a luxury in our days.
You're taking a very positive view towards your illness.
Not many people, I think, who had the diagnosis you had would say, "It's great because I get more time
"to spend with the kids and go and pick damsons."
I'm a millionaire, the time with the children now.
Tell you what, I like this idea of the over-painting.
I was wondering if the girls, now that we've chosen one, will you show my friend Charlie how to do it?
If we meet up and show him how to do an over-painting?
I'd love to, it would be really fun.
I think this one.
£4. And then £1.79 for the other one.
Talk to the lady, have a negotiation, see if you can get a couple of quid off.
-It's always good to negotiate.
-It is a charity shop.
You know, you're right, I'm sorry, it is a charity shop, I'm sorry, you're quite right.
See you later.
Wow, what an inspirational family.
It's amazing to see such a positive take on life, considering
the rough times they're going through, and that lie ahead.
Back on site, we're all working hard to get Jenny, Haydn and the girls back home.
The only way we can do this with just a few days to go
is to use brute force and cutting-edge building techniques.
Like this new roofing system, that's gone on in less than four hours.
That is nice.
And we crimp the bottom so there's no raw edges there, and on this side it's crimped as well.
So, it's a very neat-looking system, but the beauty of it is, this will be on very, very quickly.
It's really nice.
And it does look superb, it looks like a zinc roof, but it's about half the price.
-It's half the price of a zinc roof, is it?
New roof, new walls, the upstairs is coming on leaps and bounds.
Good, right then, last trowel and then it's fine-filling these rooms,
ready for the decorators tomorrow morning.
Whereas, downstairs, with only three days to go,
the boys are still knocking through into the new extension to create the open-plan kitchen.
Morning! Time is running out, and this two-storey house is a house of two stories. See what I did there?
Two stories, you see, like in... Never mind.
Upstairs is getting its first lick of paint, but downstairs we're a long way from colour and cushions.
What I'm worried about, we've got to pull up all upstairs, we're going to
pull the kitchen and the family room and that room together.
We'll probably end up losing the front room, because we just haven't got the time.
We ain't going to be finished building by Tuesday.
Yeah, that's how it's looking at the moment.
If this is your house, and you had an outside exterior light,
would you have it centre of that wall or centre of the door?
I think, to be honest, if that's all you've got to worry about, you're in a good place,
-to be honest.
-All right, that's it, I'm not worried no more!
At least on the outside things seem to be going to plan.
The thermal underlayer or tea cosy is almost in place, and the lads can
start to apply the render on top. All the way up the side, there.
It needs a bit of paint now and it'll look lovely, it'll look like a properly, normally rendered house.
This is a pretty big project, isn't it, to wrap an entire house and extension and all the rest of it?
From our point of view, you've done an enormous amount for us here.
I'm just interested to know why you decided to join in and help out?
I think it's just a worthy cause.
We heard the story about the family, and obviously the gentleman
with his cancer has three young daughters, and it's a fantastic project to get involved in.
It is a fantastic project, and downstairs we're really cracking on with the plastering.
Do you know, my missus is the cleverest person I've ever met, do you know that?
She's lovely, your missus.
Does a mean roast dinner, as well.
Yeah, nice one, Chris, nice to see you climbing out of that enormous hole you dug yourself earlier.
While the boys are making the downstairs pink, Charlie's nipped off
to find his inner artist and help the girls paint the pictures we bought at the charity shop.
I'm interested in what...what is the idea, what are we going to do?
I don't really know what we're going to do.
I know we've got some paintings and some paint, and no-one told me much more than that.
What we're going to do is paint over it.
You paint over that? And what's the point, why are you painting over them?
Well, because you see how dull this one is, and the dresses and the colours?
I know it shows detail, but it doesn't show that much bright colours, it looks pale.
You hang it up and it looks a lot better than it did before.
Because you're the biggest, you can have the biggest paint brush.
So it's a print of a painting.
Nice blue sky.
Tell me, how do you enjoy school?
Yeah, school's great, because I would like to be a doctor when I'm older.
That's fantastic. How long have you wanted to be a doctor?
Since I was little.
Really? I think this is such a brilliant idea.
I've so enjoyed this.
I'm going to have to go home and get some paintings
from the local charity shop and get my kids to do this.
I think they'd really enjoy it.
So you're looking forward to, what,
you've got two days now until you get to see the new house.
I know, it's really exciting.
Are you really excited?
My little girl always says, how many sleepovers until something?
-So you've got two sleepovers until you see the house.
Really exciting because you don't know what it's going to look like.
And there are a lot of people working on it, a lot of very generous people giving up their time.
We're very, very grateful.
For Haydn, I just feel enormously sorry for him that he's not going to see his kids grow up,
which is an absolute tragedy, but also for those little girls not to have their dad around
and also to sort of know that he's not going to be around to see him getting iller,
it must just be very, very difficult.
It really gives you the sort of motivation
to try and get it right for them, to try and get their bills down, because they're really struggling.
They don't have any money.
Everything that we can do to make their life
less expensive, to make it warmer, to make it more comfortable, to give Haydn a nice bath that he can get to
easily from his bed when he's really feeling bad, that's going to make the quality of their life so much better.
It's an amazing thing to be involved in.
I know what you're thinking, ladies.
Attractive, good heart, good with kids...
Sickening, isn't it?
We're on track to finish the house on schedule, but disaster!
Of all days for us to get heavy rain.
Really quite bad news, this, isn't it? Trying to get
the front of the house finished, and you can see it's running
around the back of it, just off the back of the roof there, running down the face of the building.
It's just going to wash everything off.
Until it stops raining, all we can really do is plug the leaks, blow hot air onto the side of this house
and hope the render doesn't wash off.
Looking on the bright side, we've hit a plastering milestone.
The boys have been working like demons.
It's been a mammoth task and the downstairs is almost done.
-How are you, Julian?
I haven't had a chance to chat to you very much - you've been so busy.
-This is the last of it, though, now, this room?
-Last room, last room.
Because your chosen trade is general builder, but you're a plasterer, aren't you?
But you're not really in love with plastering, are you?
I haven't got a chosen trade.
You don't get the joy out of plastering that, say, Chris does.
-He seems to get a joy from it.
-I do it for a couple of days, but then I've had enough.
I want to move onto something else.
I didn't really choose to be a builder, to be honest.
When I left school with no qualifications, my dad just happened to be building a house.
So I just went to work with him.
Then we got caught in the first recession, so then we went jobbing building from that point.
We just recently built five more houses.
That's gone Pete Tong because of this recession.
You've bought perfectly for both recessions.
Yes, yes! It's the planning side of it that's the downfall.
And the timings.
-So, get into building.
-And lose £250,000.
That's cheered him up.
It makes you think, though, doesn't it, really?
We really need to try and pull together to help people who often, through no fault of their own,
have found themselves in difficult circumstances and are struggling with day-to-day life.
While a lot of people are finding it financially difficult at the moment,
because of what has happened, it's been a bit more than financially difficult for you.
I think the finance is really secondary, if you know what I mean.
We've turned from a family that we thought we were doing OK
to virtually destitution, which is a bit of a shock.
And then with illness in the family so heavily...
prevalent and dominating life, it's...
How are you doing with it?
You've got to be strong for the girls, but how are you doing with the announcement suddenly
-that your partner has a terminal illness?
-It really, really hit me hard to start with.
Very tearful. Every time I saw Haydn, it was terrible.
I'd just, like, burst into tears and give him a hug.
Then he said, "You know,
"you can't live like that. We've got to get on with it."
How do you begin to prepare the children for that?
How much do they know?
They know it all. We've been totally honest with them from the word go.
They've really had a lot of their tears already.
Occasionally it hits them.
Something triggers it and they go, "Oh, Daddy, I don't want you to die. We love you."
That really hits us both.
Their dad has said there's no way you've got to spend time mourning me.
Life is for living.
Remember me. I'll live on in your memories.
Doesn't bear thinking about, really, does it?
Jenny and Haydn's situation has really struck a chord with everyone on site
and they're pulling out all the stops to do the best they can possibly do for the family.
Alan from the local fencing company has really done the business.
We've had a lot of people do amazing things all over the building.
I have to say, this has been one of the things that has worried me
because of the incident that happened on the first day and the family going forward.
-Have you got kids?
-I have, yeah. I've got two kids of me own, so it...
hits home when you've got your own children and you think you wouldn't like to see it happen to your own.
No, well, hopefully people,
now that they know what the situation is with this family, will just leave them alone
to try and get things together and start their lives properly, really.
-That's good, that's good.
The house is really starting to take shape now. The sun is shining and things are looking up.
For the first time this week it's actually warm in Stoke, which means two things -
the walls have at long last got a chance to dry and the weather is causing havoc for our cameramen.
I'll tell you what's happening is, we're in Stoke, right,
and this camera was actually hired in Stoke and it's warm today and it can't cope.
Southern softies, coming up here, criticising everybody.
Hang on, hang on a sec. I've got to ask you, does no one ever say to you,
maybe a change of hairstyle? How long have you had that hairstyle?
I'm never going to be bald.
-That's the kind of question you think but don't ask.
-Is it really?
'Yeah, maybe he's got a point.'
Perhaps I should leave the talking to the others for a bit.
The roof's been insulated, this amazing two-storey extension has gone up,
we're putting the finishing touches to the big insulation tea cosy we've wrapped the whole building in.
Hello, mate. All the plastering, all the woodwork, everything painted out, looking nice.
Here we go, we've created this lovely aperture. We've put the steels in
and we've got a complete walkthrough from the family room into the new kitchen.
Bathroom out the back. Utility room around there.
This was the window that looked through to the back garden.
Now it's a walkthrough into the new extension en suite.
The skylight window is throwing light onto the balcony overlooking the stairwell.
Beautiful, isn't it?
With a workforce of well over 50 trades turning up on most days,
it's pretty impressive to see what we have achieved already.
I'm very pleased to be doing the work.
It's very nice to contribute.
It's really good to be able to come and help out.
It's a real good feel-good factor about the place, everybody
working really hard, trying to get it done for the family. Fantastic.
-You've has been in here, doing this. It's your team, isn't it?
That's been helping us out?
What's the trick to good papering?
So many people try papering and make a mess of it.
-Read your instructions.
There are instructions, are there? I've never known that. I've never even looked. What, on the wallpaper?
Which paste, repeats, soaking time, adhesives.
-All the information.
So I've never once looked at the wrapping on a roll of paper.
I didn't even know there were instructions. Isn't that typical?
It's the final push. Charlie really has played a blinder.
He's gone on a bit about insulation, I know, but that's his thing.
This house will save the family money on their energy bills,
it looks brilliant, and even our site rubbish is going to be recycled.
So you can take any timber off a building site and turn that into fuel?
Yeah, providing it's biodegradable, it can all be recycled and re-used to provide power.
So it actually reduces waste down by about one to seven.
So for every seven skips you have, you'd only have one if you use that machine.
Let's talk about the interesting bit. Let's talk about the tractor!
Love tractors, me.
He really does love tractors.
Come on, Jules, stop messing about. We've got a house to finish.
Looking pretty good, though, isn't it? The scaffolding is coming down and the end is in sight.
I can almost see it. Nothing is going to stop us now.
I shouldn't have said anything, should I, really?
Good job we found it, though, before the plumbers come down really, isn't it?
It's not bad when you think we've had subsidence, the corner of the house nearly fell off,
the wall plates in the roof moved,
we had to rewire the building back in and we had to underpin the building.
And we've had one leaking pipe.
You've got to stop picking these easy jobs, that's why.
Just nine days ago, we arrived in Stoke to find a family with nowhere else to turn.
Because of Haydn's ongoing battle with terminal illness
and the financial pressures this brought with it,
there was simply no way the family could undertake the work to fix up the home they so desperately needed.
We've actually ignored the state of the walls and the windows.
If we looked at them, I'd think, "Oh, my God, we've been living in this."
It was a situation we could never have solved on our own.
And it was only with the help of an army - and I mean an army - of local trades giving their time to us,
that we've managed it.
Amazingly, in just over a week, we've put up a two-storey extension,
firmly insulated and rendered the outside,
and fitted new windows and doors throughout, making the house extremely energy efficient.
Downstairs has been transformed beyond recognition.
We've knocked through to create a stunning kitchen-diner come family room,
which will become the heart of this home.
This elegant space has been designed with simplicity in mind.
Charlie's primary aim here was to give this family a functional yet beautiful kitchen-diner
that will help to see them through the tough times ahead.
The front room is now a bright, happy play area, somewhere for the girls to relax and hopefully
be inspired to fulfil their creative ambitions in the future.
Outside we've managed to stop the end wall falling off the house,
and we've built an extension to increase the space on the ground floor and the first.
For me, it's the upstairs that was the real revelation of this build.
We've completely redesigned the layout, dividing the front bedroom into two,
to give each of the younger girls a room of their own.
We've created a hallway to give independent access to the back bedroom, which will give Sarah,
the eldest, her own room for the first time in her life.
Haydn and Jenny have now got their own bedroom, too.
We've continued the theme of timeless elegance
with the addition of simple cornicing and a beautiful antique bed.
But the real difference for Haydn is the en-suite bathroom,
giving him the privacy he'll need in the difficult months ahead.
Although we can't solve this family's problems, we can at least
help make the time they all have left together as stress-free and happy as possible.
I hope you like what we and all the amazing tradesmen of Stoke
have done for you.
Open your eyes.
It's the most beautiful...
-Isn't it big?
-I couldn't believe it would be changed...
It's clean, it's flat-walled, it's beautiful.
-Don't thank me, honestly.
I've done the least of it.
God, thank you, everybody.
The generosity has knocked us for six. Just look at this.
So that's the front room.
-The dining room, somewhere you can sit.
-What a dining room!
-Go on, have a wander through.
-After you, darling.
Look at this kitchen!
This house looks so modern now!
Whose house is it?!
What happens to this derelict we lived in?
Gosh, what a posh cooker.
You got it all in and it all works.
That's really a lovely living space.
-You like it?
-I can't believe...
..I can't believe that other people could do this for us.
I'm astounded. that somebody could paint the wall, or do the outside,
-Oh, my goodness!
Gosh, a vanity unit. The girls will love that!
Gosh, it's fantastic.
You've got to look over your shoulder as well...
Oh, wow! That's so cool!
The first part is a dressing room...
A little en-suite.
New house then?
It's all new house, it didn't exist before.
It didn't exist... nine-and-a-half days ago.
-The idea is that this can be your area so on your bad days...
-I can get out of everybody's way.
-Fantastic. Oh, thanks.
-You can look after yourself in the bath,
take your time in here, the rest of the family can operate out there.
There's another bathroom downstairs they can use
without having to come and interrupt.
That makes it so easy for me.
And I don't get in the way either.
Now that we've shown it to you, how has it changed for you?
I can just say it's like a soothing armchair in the mind, my mind sits in now, going into the future.
Thank you, everybody. Thank you, everybody, that chipped in and gave so generously.
What do you think, Sasha?
This is your room.
You don't know a bed until you've bounced it, do you?
I like pink! I do!
-Isn't it wonderful that when you're a child you can go, "This is how happy I am"?!
-What do you like most about your new bedroom?
-Would you be happy with that one?
That's not yours, either. Do you want to come and see yours?
Yours is at the end of the corridor here, past the balcony, past the skylight window which you missed.
Down past all the pretty lights.
Oh, my God!
You're allowed to try out the bed, it's yours now.
It's really comfy and bouncy.
It's more than I have dreamed of.
All right? You like it?
It's a bit different, isn't it?
It's a lot to take in.
It's a big change, I know.
I know it's a big change.
Doesn't it make your heart flutter?
Isn't it just fantastic?
It's all quite grown-up and arty, isn't it?
It's the best ever.
-Are these happy tears, or sad tears?
A big change, isn't it?
-This going to be a nice place to live now?
You're the best.
Yeah, you are the best, thanks.
-It's all right.
-Thank you so much for all of you.
The picture you did, girls.
-How did we do?
Beyond wildest expectations.
Actually, not me,
what I'd like to do is take to outside and introduce you to some of the people - not all of them,
because some days we had 60 people here
and not all of them have been able to come back -
but some of the people that have been working on this, you can say hello
'and maybe even say a few words to them because they don't get to hear this.'
-YOU guys deserve the clap! Thank you.
-Yeah, you guys do.
I don't know what to say.
Everybody, and all the hours that have clearly gone into this, it's absolutely overwhelming.
You've made our family a dream home.
Thank you, all of you.
Each and every one of you.
And everybody that's not here that's also helped.
I've heard there have been hundreds of you and thank you.
We are absolutely blown away by people's generosity.
We heard there were more volunteers in Stoke-on-Trent to help than anywhere else.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
They even like the thermal stuff, they're excited about that, too!
-It's an absolute transformation.
-It's a difficult question to ask
but I have to ask it because the guys here know the situation of family is in.
But the weight it takes off your shoulders given the circumstances you are in...
I was going to leave these guys an old...
and apparently that wall nearly fell down when you were fixing it!
So any dad, or mum out there knows exactly how freeing that is.
Thank you so much. There's nothing greater.
Thank you, everybody.
-The truth is at this stage I normally make a speech but I can't.
I know this lady.
You going to hospital soon?
-Very good luck.
-What will be will be.
At least you guys are sorted, that's what matters.
This is the lady that started it all.
Our health visitor, Sheila.
We wouldn't have any of this if she hadn't filled out the form. Thank you, darling.
Haydn said to me earlier, "I don't believe there can be
"generosity on this scale" - but it doesn't come in one big lump, it comes in small slices.
It all adds up, though, to one big snowball of good will and that's helped Haydn and the family
look forward to a future, although still uncertain, at least safe and secure.
It's amazing what you can do, isn't it?
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Nick Knowles and the team are joined by guest designer Charlie Luxton. They join forces to enlist the help of the local community in Stoke and renovate a home for a family battling terminal illness.
Dad Haydn Spice was diagnosed with abdominal cancer shortly after buying a derelict house at auction in 2004. Haydn's ill health meant that he couldn't work on the house, and his family have been left living in a building site. He and his wife and three daughters are all sleeping in one bedroom and trying to make the best of the time Haydn has left.
Nick and the team head to the Midlands to rally friends, family and local trades to help turn the Spice family's derelict house into a comfortable home.