The team visits Cirencester to help transform an incomplete extension and run-down house into a clean, warm and healthy home for a family on the brink of despair.
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Hello and welcome to DIY SOS.
This week, coming to you from Cirencester in Gloucestershire,
and it's filled with the usual suspects.
We're literally demolishing the inside of this house and re-building it.
We have decided to take a house that's a reasonable shape and totally reconfigure
the downstairs and upstairs and brought in about 1,000 tonnes of steel work.
I think this is the biggest one we've done.
We've got just nine days to complete a build that would normally take three months.
I'm not joking. We are in so much trouble with this property.
We're doing it to help a family on the brink of despair.
It's not nice to see when your family's falling apart.
It makes me kind of sad when she's crying and things
because she's my sister and she gets upset and it isn't really nice.
We could never do without an army of volunteers. Luckily, we've got one.
This is DIY SOS - The Big Build, Gloucestershire style.
Yes, we're here to help a family who've suffered years of bad luck.
Mum Maria, 11-year-old daughter Charlotte, Dad Les and 13-year-old Victoria,
who's been too ill to go school for nearly a year.
They live here, on an ex-council estate on the outskirts of Cirencester.
Les has lived on this street all his life.
I grew up here with my mother and brothers and sisters,
all vying for space.
Slowly, everyone then got married and moved out.
When I met Maria, she moved in here with me. Then, when our children came along, my mother said,
"Right, you need the space for yourself, for the children.
"I will move out." I then bought her half of the house,
which made this, then, our home.
Les got himself a steady job at the Honda car factory in Swindon.
Everything was going well, so they decided to extend
the house he'd grown up in, into a larger family home.
It was so exciting, knowing that
in a few months' time, the builders would come out,
do the extension and we thought, at the time, it'd be finished.
It was moving along OK. Got the money from the bank,
building work started then the recession hit.
The wheels come off Honda.
What next for the workers and the town as the Swindon factory closes for four months?
It's the biggest shut-down in recent industrial history and the knock-on effects are shaking the entire town.
The banks wouldn't lend, the wages dropped,
so there was absolutely no chance of any more further finance coming forward to finish it.
It was just a long, dark tunnel. We couldn't see any way out.
It took a terrible toll on Les' health.
At one point he was admitted to hospital with a suspected heart attack.
That was the stress of the house.
The worry and the stress of the house, the doctor said,
that was causing the chest pains.
So, it just worries me, you know.
Living in a building site for five years has profoundly affected every member of the family.
I can't remember what it was like before the work started.
The first time I invited one of my friends,
they were just looking at everything
and it was a bit humiliating, kind of, because our house is a mess.
We just don't want to come home to the mess
and seeing it all over again. Just don't want to be here. I don't like being here half the time.
Not long after we mothballed it, the depression hit my wife.
Three-and-a-half, coming up to four years now, she's been on medication for her depression.
That gets her very down at times.
To make matters worse, Maria lost her mother and aunt within the space of a year-and-a-half.
My mum's mum has died and she has depression and things and she just
can't really cope at the moment and it's really sad to see her upset.
The situation has affected Victoria as well.
She was having panic attacks.
She couldn't sleep.
Constantly just crying and moaning to herself.
Les and Maria took her to get help and support.
It was hard when we sat there and they said, well, your daughter's suffering from depression.
It makes me kind of sad when she's crying and things because
she's my sister and she gets upset and it isn't really nice.
Since her illness, she's just totally shut herself out from everyone.
Her friends and everyone.
Withdrawn into herself, Victoria doesn't like to talk to anyone but her family.
She just spends her time indoors all the time now.
Her confidence has just gone completely downhill.
She's also developed a severe case of eczema and asthma.
All the dust is getting into her throat and things and it's just affecting her
with her asthma. I think she's getting a bit worse cos she needs her inhaler quite a lot.
She gets really, really wheezy.
Victoria hasn't been to school for nine months.
Home tutored by the local authority,
she spends her days studying, sleeping and eating in a building site.
Just living in the house as it is,
her depression has been worsened by it, certainly.
Just the day-to-day living conditions,
which has triggered on further things with her physical health.
With her asthma and eczema, it's not easy at the moment.
They were just like any other normal family, really, and then
things just started to happen.
It wasn't one thing - it was one thing that then built on
another thing and, as an individual thing, they might seem fairly minor,
but when you put one on top of another, on top of another,
you get this effect that just builds up to life seems almost impossible.
This house has become a nightmare for this family.
It's broken and it needs fixing.
I think it would change my family quite a lot
because, with my mum's depression and things,
it will just make her happier and make my sister and my dad happier, and me.
And make them have smiles on their face.
-So, you've got two children.
Charlotte, the youngest.
She's the little strong one. She's getting by, she is 11.
Victoria is the older one, 13.
She's really badly affected by it now.
She's off school at the moment. She's getting help from a CAMHS Team,
which is Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service.
So she sees a nurse from there once a week, talks over her problems.
-It's like a cloud's sat over the family for a long time now.
So, if we dare to dream, in which order of importance are the rooms?
-Girls' bedrooms. That's got to be the priority.
-So they can have their own rooms.
They can have their own rooms back. They can go to be on their own.
A bit of space for them.
You see, if we do the house up,
it doesn't make Victoria well, does it? It doesn't mend her depression.
It doesn't put you back in employment, does it?
So...what does it do, if we actually put the house back together?
It turns what is a house into a family home.
Somewhere we want to be. At the moment, you don't want to be here.
It's just a depressing place to be. It's going to be somewhere you can come back to and want to be in.
-Well, we'll do our best. Where you going to stay?
-Were staying at my sister's in town.
-Yeah. Only in town, yeah.
-No coming round and peeking. You know that?
No asking people what's going on. It's got to be a surprise.
It's a huge one, this.
None of the house is any good, we're going to have to change everything,
but we need to do what we can to help pull the Beasley family out of the depressing state they're in,
and it looks like an army have turned out to help.
-What are you here to do, guys?
-Twists and sparks.
-Ah. You're working with Billy all week.
-Sorry about that.
-Where is he? He's over there.
Come through. Don't stand in the queue. Come and say hello.
-Who are you?
Get in there!
-Kelly. Broom technician.
Look at this, look!
It's like a proper little crowd of people.
Gentlemen, it's not like a normal site.
It'll be slightly chaotic.
There's all the trades here at the same time,
all jumping all over this. Have as much fun as possible, please.
Enjoy yourself. Let's see if we can get this family back into a decent house.
And here to help us is architectural designer Charlie Luxton.
His passion for healthy, sustainable homes makes him the perfect man for this build.
So, what's the plan then? Nice to have you back, by the way.
-Really? Is it?
-Well, I thought so.
Tell us what's going on.
Go on, Charlie, what have you dreamt up for us this time?
They've obviously built a lot, so they started the project
and got to a point where they've stalled.
We're picking up with what we've been left.
There's not a huge amount of changes we can make to their design, because they've got so far.
One of the issues they've got is health-related issues -
allergy, depression, they've got asthma.
What I'm trying to think about is rather than it being about
environment as in the world, the planet,
it's about internal air quality, environment with a little e.
It's about reducing the chemicals we're putting in,
getting rid of the carpets, reduce allergy, dust issues.
Put in a mechanical ventilation heat recovery, make sure they've fresh, clean air all the time.
Are you saying the environment we live in in our houses today may be responsible
for some of the illnesses that our children are suffering?
There's research that suggests that and that suggests...
You think you live in a city and being outside, it's polluted,
we're finding that houses are worse for us than being outside, even in a city.
Before we can make this a healthy house, we need an empty house.
Here, sweetheart... My boys. Water for the boys.
Make no mistake, this is a huge construction job.
We're completely re-configuring the inside of this house.
Downstairs, we're knocking out the central supporting wall
and moving the staircase
to the far side of the house by the new front door.
This will open up the living room, creating a much bigger space
leading into an open-plan dining and kitchen area.
Upstairs, we're changing the layout too.
As well as a bedroom for Les and Maria,
the two girls will finally each get a room of their own.
But first, we've got some demolition to do.
There are five holes to make in this house, either for doors,
or to open up the rooms.
Mark's got a plan.
He's setting up a challenge between Chris, Jules and Mat.
First opening's going to be here,
which is going to be the new opening to the new staircase.
-Who's on that?
-Chris, take that one?
We've got another opening here.
-Happy with that one?
-I'll do that one.
-Jules, on the back, we've got to get this opened up.
-Right you are, Paddy.
Upstairs, we've got to make an opening here
and then from bathroom, there's another one to go in here.
That's number five. We need all of these today.
So what are you going to be doing then, Charles?
I've got quite a lot of tea-drinking to do. I've got some walking around...
He's got to save the planet.
Let the contest begin. He who makes the most holes wins.
Each of our boys has got a team to help them.
There's nothing like a bit of competition to get everyone working flat out.
All right, my baby?
When I say flat out...
I'll take that for you, don't you worry.
-Taking his time.
-I'll take that for you, don't worry about me.
With four people doing the work for you, don't over do it there, Jules.
It's not as if we're up against it or anything.
On Chris's team is Gary, a local carpenter and Derek, a general builder,
both in it for the long haul.
-Do you guys have kids?
This house, when you walked in,
it's how they've been living for the last few years.
-Nightmare, absolute nightmare.
-It's weird, isn't it?
Yes, to get so far and not be able to complete the thing must be crazy for them.
To be honest, in the nicest way, you could be somewhere else earning money, couldn't you?
-Why aren't you out there earning money?
People say, times are too tight, you haven't got time to do stuff like this.
It could be me one day, it could be me next week, next month.
If you can give a bit and help a little bit, hopefully one day, if I'm in dire straits,
someone will help me out.
Quite right. We've got 30 volunteers on site here today, helping to get this family back on track.
So why's Christopher struggling with his hole?
I've got a question for you.
-See that hole that needed to be done out of the front with Julian?
-Ready for the patio windows? What can you tell about that?
-It's been done.
See this hole here, which is Mat's hole, it's about halfway through.
That's your hole over there in the corner.
I know what you're building up to.
Just about to stitch through it, got told to stop
because we got a wet cutter that'll go straight through, inside cavity to outside.
Just getting a transformer, I've been told to stop and it'll go straight through and cut the doorway.
Who done that then, because Julian's in there?
By the time Julian went out to get some blocks,
by the time he got back, the lads had already had it out.
Can you send them lads in here then?
Julian's hole's been done, Mat's hole's been done,
my hole's stopped.
-I explained I was waiting for a transformer.
-Not stopped, hasn't started.
-It has started, that's the start.
-That's it, is it?
Do you feel you've been somehow allocated to the wrong team captain?
Like in the playground. Pick me, pick me, Nigel, pick me.
In a minute, when I get my transformer,
-we'll have this out quicker than you can say, transformer.
-The fastest hole in the West.
I'm not sure Chris is all together on top of his hole.
Jules has already started on his second upstairs.
Nick, come with me!
This is part of the problem we're trying to get rid of. Look at that.
-What is that?
-Condensation build up.
-It's like mould, like fungus.
Yeah. It's really, really bad for you, that stuff.
What we're doing is here, we're dropping down a new air supply.
That'll be fresh air.
This room would've been fine when it had a leaky casement
and a nice bit of air coming in and moving it around.
But that sealed it up and it started to condensate up here
and the mould's getting into it, fungal spores get out into the atmosphere.
Really bad for your health. Kids have got asthma, kids have got eczema.
This is linked to health issues. It's a really big problem.
Isn't the big problem that we've been trying to save heat and seal the place up.
That keeps warmth in, double glaze everything, thermally wrap it.
It keeps everything in but it also means there's no airflow.
You need to get the next step.
This is the next step, the super thinking these days.
This kind of ventilation here.
This is a little bit complicated but makes sense and it's worth listening to.
To give Victoria the cleanest air we can,
we're installing this air ventilation system throughout the house.
The really clever thing is that it extracts the dampness
and pollutants inside the house and uses this warm air
to heat up the fresh air being brought in from outside.
It's like having your windows open without losing all the heat.
How much more difficult is this going to make the build?
It's going to be a headache for us.
It's not an easy system to install, no question about that.
Unless your house is highly insulated and well sealed, it's not about enormous energy savings,
it's about healthy.
Quality of life?
People get obsessed with, what's my payback on installing this?
Actually, if it means you're better and not off work as much
and your quality of life is much higher, you can't buy that really.
Apparently you can.
It's all feeling very professional and efficient up here.
I wonder if Christopher and his team are on top of it downstairs?
-All right, mate?
-Yep, very well. How you getting on?
We're getting on very well, thank you, we don't need any audience.
I just wanted to check because what hole are you on?
On to hole three now.
The boys upstairs, Julian's team, said they didn't want to start
because their next hole's directly above you and they didn't want to wake you up.
It's all going well. You carry on with your business.
We've taken doors off, we haven't just been set here waiting.
-I can see the difference you've made here already.
Thankfully, the boys upstairs are more than making up for Christopher's lack of progress.
We're at the end of day one and with all the help we've got,
I can't believe we're still pulling the place apart when we need to
start putting it back together tomorrow.
Blimey, everyone's worked really hard today.
It's been a story of three holes, hasn't it?
Four holes, five holes - three holes by the team upstairs with Julian.
I think he won on the most holes with the least work.
Chris's hole became something of a problem, didn't it?
Matt, how's your hole now?
Very good, just about to crank the lintels up on acros,
-bed them in, leave them overnight. Job's a good 'un.
Day two and even the local milkman's chipping in and helping out.
Morning. All right? Is it going to be a fantastic day?
-Cheer up then, you miserable old so-and-so.
Don't need that attitude on site today.
Today, we've got more help.
The local football team are going to pitch in, shoot around the site.
Their goal is to... Forget it, I'll stop!
Hang on a minute, 24 hours after we started, there's some activity coming from Christopher's direction.
We've got a breakthrough.
In the end, Chris and his team demolished the wall the hard way,
with a sledgehammer. Better late than never, Chris.
-Everything all right?
-Yes, we've got plasterers turned up to plaster.
-How are you?
-Very good, thank you.
-This is Eddie.
-Eddie? Hello, Eddie.
Does a bit of plastering, bit of ski-jumping, this, that and the other, you know?
-You're Eddie the Eagle?
-Oh my God.
-It's Eddie the Eagle.
Are you all right, Eddie? Nice to meet you.
Eddie lives round the corner.
You might remember him as Great Britain's ski-jumping entry for the 1988 Winter Olympics.
He was rubbish, to be fair, but, as they say, it's the taking part that counts.
-Are you building here, are you?
-Always have been a plasterer and builder.
-Is that right?
I need to ask you, is it true that you once ski-jumped, broke your jaw
and then tied your head up with a scarf and ski-jumped again?
-You actually did that?
-I did, yes.
-Where was that?
-Switzerland. San Moritz. '86, '87.
-That's bloody fantastic.
It's all coming down behind us.
I'll chat to you later. Nice to have you on board, Eddie.
That's what I like, a controlled indoor earthquake
is what we're trying to achieve here.
How are you going to now attach that ceiling to this wall? That needs to be extended over,
when you get rid of those stairs and that floor's going to stand up, how are you going to attach it?
There's steel going in, up into that end, right the way along here,
which will come up at this level. The steel will go in over the joists.
Then we'll do the same again this side, floor joists away and infill this hole.
-Proper job, isn't it?
-It's a fair old change.
-Structurally, a massive change.
-Definitely, a lot of work.
Removing these stairs and installing a new set at the far end of the house
frees up this area, giving the family a much bigger living room.
Down it comes. Right a bit, right a bit, right a bit.
We're boarding with Eddie the Eagle, look.
Boarding of skiing?
-Boarding at the moment.
-Skiing with him later.
-Skiing this afternoon.
-MUSIC: "Ski Sunday Theme Tune"
-And he's off!
How far did he get? How far did he go?
-1.2 metres. Thank you.
-Chris is going for the jump.
This is for the last, final jump.
-Don't tell him how it landed.
-He beat Eddie the Eagle by 200 mm.
-I am not worthy.
-It's all in the arms.
Any chance you can get the ceiling up?
Apart from Chris, who now thinks he's an Olympic ski-jumper,
everyone seems really focused on why we're here.
I've always had family and friends around me, so, when I've needed help,
I've been ill in the past, they've been there to help me.
I've got three kids of my own and if there's such a thing as karma,
if ever I was in a situation that the family are here,
I'd hope or pray that someone was willing to give a hand.
You just want to help the kids, give them a decent start in life.
And Charlie's design for a healthy home is at the heart of all this.
You've got a girl about to go into her teenage years,
who a lot of her, um, problems with self-consciousness comes from
health-related issues which you as a designer can actually change.
That's an extraordinary thing.
You might make a difference to this girl which will make her go into adult life
with a different view completely. That's extraordinary.
It is extraordinary, it's a huge opportunity.
We don't know whether what we're doing here will solve it completely.
It'll make it a lot better.
It can only help. If it's that bit of help that we can give the family
that makes her life kick off again,
that is amazing, life-changing.
That's as rewarding as being able to build an entire new house and go, doesn't that look fantastic?
To change somebody's life on the way through, it's huge.
Before money got tight, the family went on regular family outings.
I caught up with Les at the local golf club where the Beasley's used to come for lessons.
And Charlotte's come along to get a master class from our very own Tiger Woods.
I think she's actually beating Billy out there.
Showing him how to do it.
A nice, straight shot.
Come up here, darling. We'll take a second shot.
Has it come as a shock to you how suddenly life can change?
Yes, it has, especially with Victoria, with her illness. It was so sudden.
One minute she's her normal, happy self, the next minute, the depression hits.
She's only young.
She should be happy little girl enjoying herself with friends.
To see her how she is now, it's heartbreaking.
I get the impression from you that you blame yourself.
-I do blame myself, yes.
-But people do build extensions.
It's a perfectly normal thing to go for.
-You can't blame yourself.
-Losing the work is not your fault.
-No, but, you still blame yourself, no matter what.
To see the effect it's had on the family,
you still think it's your fault.
Do you think that once the house is sorted out,
you will be able to move on and start moving upward?
-Start doing family stuff where the house isn't at the centre of the universe.
-It becomes the place you want to go back to,
rather than a place you dread to go back to.
Yes, that's a big thing. We go out and want to go back. At the moment, we don't.
-You want to go out and stay out!
Right, swing straight through.
If she hit it too hard, it will hit Billy.
It would be nice if she hit it really hard!
-That's lovely. That's lovely. That's a good girl.
How's your putting?
-Show him what we do. Go further back.
-I want to see a proper one.
Let me see this one over here.
Do what we do. Go on.
Was Billy any good at teaching you putting?
-That's very kind of you to say. He's a bit funny, isn't he?
-Yeah, he is.
LIVELY GUITAR MUSIC
'Dance along at home if you feel like it!
'It's day three and I'm sure we should be building something by now.
'What we are doing with this house is huge.
'I think it's finally hit Charlie how much we have managed to take on.'
-As you can see, we are slightly up against it on time.
I don't think... I wouldn't blame yourself.
-I think the fact that...
-Who's blaming me?!
Why are you blaming me?!
We have decided to take a house that's a reasonable shape
and totally reconfigure the downstairs and upstairs
and brought in about 1,000 tonnes of steelwork.
There are very few walls that are going to be in the place they started out at.
We're still really, in places, taking it apart on day three
when we like to take it apart on the first day and start rebuilding.
'Just when we thought we might be able to start building upstairs,
'there's confusion over the original floor plans.'
Here's what is wrong with this room. That room should be like that.
-Sorry, like that. It's not. It's actually like that.
Which means you've got a massive pinch point here so whenever you...
We can't fit a bed across there. It's so tight.
Come on, you can do it.
-I can't do it!
You're known for your conceptualisation.
I think we enter here and squeeze a single bed in here.
At least that makes that the shape of the room usable.
You put storage there, a single bed in there and you end up
with a rational shape in the middle of the room.
That's the size of the room I grew up in, the study, smaller than that, actually.
-I grew up in a tiny room.
-That was in the back streets of Calcutta(!)
In the hard days!
My brothers had big rooms, and I had the box room.
-You're hanging on to that.
The thing about it was it was at the end of the house...
-Did they nick the TV remote from you?
-I remember waking with ice on the inside of the window.
-Their rooms were warmer because they were inside the house.
-Your parents weren't fond of you!
-Hm. They said they were, but...
-You've got to wonder, haven't you?!
-Do your parents like you?
-Grubs up. My parents, do they like me?
-They love me.
-Of course they do.
-How do they show that they love you?
Erm... Well, they tell me.
-Do they cuddle you?
Do you still hug your dad?
-Erm, not really.
-No? I still hug my dad. It's nice.
The only reason I don't hug my dad any more
is I can't physically get my arms around him.
-He's a big lad.
-He is a big lad.
-He's the runt of the litter.
He's tiny by comparison to the rest of the family.
It's not exactly a hug, but we're wrapping has building up, as well -
with squirty render.
How come it sticks to the wall, then?
Because it's so clever.
If you can imagine, you're putting a breathable -
remember the word breathable,
because you don't want to seal it, you want a building to breathe
otherwise it'll sweat and condensate -
so you put a waterproof jacket
all the way around this building to 18 mm,
then you've got a finish on this house and it will look lovely, all way around it, all the same.
And it's quick.
It is clever, isn't it?
And it's not just the outside that needs covering.
Given the number of walls we have put up in this house,
there are hundreds of metres of plasterboard to go up.
Which all need plastering. Which needs plasterers.
But where are they?
Chris, where are they?
Supposed to have an army of spreads, 15.
-Got nine up the stairs.
-There isn't nine upstairs.
-Is there not?
What I'm saying is, we can't do it by ourselves.
With empty boarded rooms but no plasterers,
the build has ground to a halt.
Basically, Phil's turned up and taken on
the whole outside of this house off his own back,
he's turned round and said he will do it for us, which is fantastic,
but now I've got a bit of a problem,
because we had a team of seven spreads to turn in today
and they haven't been able to turn in.
Can you conjure up some of your blokes to try and get us skimming?
I can do my best.
You've done well already, you've turned this house out for us.
But we are in the poo, big time.
-Yes, I'll make some calls.
-Can you do that for us?
Yeah, I'll try my best.
Sorry about the toilet reference, but he's right.
There's so much plastering to do on this job
it would take one plasterer three weeks to plaster this house -
and we've got just one day.
I'm working for the BBC on DIY SOS,
and they're looking for plasterers to help out this weekend...
Unless we get some help, we're never going to get it done.
Hopefully by tomorrow we can please, please,
start to plaster this house, because if we don't,
I'm not joking, we are in so much trouble with this property.
I don't think anyone is thinking bigger than...
-Once plastering's out of the way.
That's not the only issue we have,
we've got painting, right?
So, the drying time on the plaster, if we're still plastering until Tuesday,
you haven't decorated nothing.
Second fix electrics, second fix plumbing.
And the kitchen fit. And the bathroom to fit.
And there's only one way up and down the stairs.
-It is an absolute monstrous job, isn't it?
-It's absolutely monstrous.
-There's a lot to do yet, my sweet.
I have a feeling that Mark is lying to us these days.
I mean, we started out with him saying it was quite a big job.
Now it's turned, somehow, into an enormous job.
And yet we're not doing anything more than he originally planned to do.
I think we're doing too much.
I really think we're doing too much, but...
Are we downcast?
Will we be beaten?
Yeah, I think we might, actually.
What a beautiful day.
Lovely day for building, and there's a lot of it to do today.
MUSIC: "Little Green Bag" by The George Baker Selection
See? All those phone calls paid off.
It's the plasterers!
Got my boys then, look at them, little army!
The house is absolutely stuffed with plasterers.
A bit like...
There we go, we've still got a little boarding to do upstairs
finish the rooms off by lunchtime,
and we might actually be getting somewhere.
How's the tiling going, Julian?
It's going very well.
It wouldn't have gone very well
if I didn't have my mate there to give me a hand.
You have been a rock, mate.
That's right, somebody's got to carry him.
Yes? Well, you'd have to be your size to do it, to be honest.
The both of you in here - we picked the two widest people to put in the smallest room.
-We was both in the cubicle.
-We were both in the shower together last night.
It's very nice of you, you've been here all week, haven't you?
Somebody said to me that you've actually had a while off work.
With being not so well?
Yeah, crushed a nerve in my forearm.
Lost the use of my arm for quite a long time,
I had a lot of reduced grip, as well, so...
When you had that time off, how was it for you?
I ended up with depression, relying on friends and family.
Without them I just literally wouldn't have gone through
what I've gone through.
-So, is that part of the reason why you're helping us out then?
I can relate to what's happened here.
I was in the same boat last year.
It comes as a shock when you lose your job
and money's not coming in, life gets very difficult, doesn't it?
It sure does.
So how did you pick yourself up in the end and get started?
Just gradually coming back to work.
Found something, I went back to work, found a job,
and I've literally just picked myself back up now.
So, if you're in that position,
where you're out of work or have depression,
start with a small amount of work, just a couple of hours a week...
-Anything, do anything.
-Just to get you started.
Just keep your hand in.
The generosity of people helping this family is unbelievable.
One of the plumbers here, Ben, has put us in touch
with his daughter, Jess, who works with horses.
She has given Victoria, Charlotte and their friends the chance to go riding.
1, 2, 3. Good, go on.
There you go.
-How are you getting on up there? Yeah?
Just about the right size for the horse, that, isn't it?
Victoria hasn't left the house to be with her friends for over a year.
She'd lost all self-confidence and had become withdrawn from the world,
so for her to be out with her friends and happy to speak to me is a huge step.
-Are you looking forward to getting back in?
-I expect you want to see the bedroom most, don't you?
And how would you like it to be?
Um, just like grown up, and...yeah.
What's the best thing going to be about having the house all done?
Like, having a home, probably.
-Did it not feel like a home before?
-No, not really.
So, having a home's going to be cool.
And what are you looking forward to most, do you think?
Over the past two years, Charlotte has lost her best friend
and the big sister she always used to look up to.
So, today, how it was it seeing her out with her friends again?
I think it's made her really happy.
-And you're really happy because she's really happy.
-I was already really happy, but now I'm even happier.
It really feels like things are on the up for the Beasleys.
Let's hope a new home will get Victoria back on track.
It's going to completely transform her life.
It's going to make all the difference to her in the world
to the way she is, to her health
and to her mental outlook in life, I'm sure.
Look at that, look.
-Isn't that genius?
-It's good, isn't it?
Are they edible? The toppy bits?
Can we let our cake specialist try one?
They're fresh this afternoon, as well.
I shouldn't really, I'm...
What about half?
Well, if you think about it, it's to do with work.
-Oh, well that's it then.
-Yeah, it's like losing calories.
-You know when you go to work you lose calories?
That's what you're doing. If you're eating a DIY SOS cake, it can only be...
To be fair, there's almost no-one in the country
who knows cakes like my friend here.
That's very nice indeed, isn't it?
We have 5, 10, 15 litres for Victoria's room...
Sorry about that, just finishing off my cake.
People often bake for us and we don't like to be rude,
which is why we're all overweight.
Now that everything's plastered, there's a big push to get the entire place painted.
Fortunately, we've still got new trades coming onto the job,
like painter-decorator Debbie.
So, where do you think you can get now?
We're going up to Victoria's bedroom,
which I've been trying to tackle all day.
and haven't really had a chance to.
I can't imagine how it must have been for them,
every single day having a house half done.
It's the kids, more than anything,
because of the state of the house it's been not very good air quality,
she suffers from eczema and asthma.
-but I think it's just the self-confidence that comes...
with depression comes a complete lack of self-confidence,
-and I know about that.
Yeah, I've kind of been there first-hand. It's not much fun.
What, recently, as an adult?
No, it was more through school years and then towards the end,
it was probably about a year-and-a-half, two years ago
I sorted myself out and got to grips with things, but it was tough going.
So, what managed to pick you up out of it when you were younger?
I had a good talking to myself.
I literally sat myself down and said, "I've had enough of this,
"I cannot do this any more, from now on I'll take it as it comes."
Is there anything you can say to her
that will make her see light at the end of the tunnel?
I would just say that it won't always be like this.
It won't always be this difficult.
And it will get to a point where she will feel that it'll be easier
to manage, and hopefully, she'll come out of the other side of it,
and it will make her a stronger person, I can guarantee her that.
Without a shadow of a doubt,
when you go from being as low as you possibly can be,
and you gradually pick yourself up,
when you get back to the top again, you feel great.
Thanks very much for talking about it,
and talking about your depression when you were her age,
because that should help her an enormous amount.
The other way you can help her now is to get in her bedroom and paint it!
'I know things looked a bit bleak in the middle of the week,
'but with the help of all the trades, things are looking up.
'Even Charlie's air ventilation system is being tested -
'and it works!
'You know, we might just make it.
'Having said that, none of the lights upstairs seem to be working, and for once, it's not Billy.
'This time it's down to our energy-saving light bulb
'environmental warrior, architect, designer and beardy person,
'Mr Luxton, who appears to be somewhat stressed.'
Hello, anyone home?
That's answered that question. That's a no, then.
-It's a no.
-You're still stressed?
Erm, I've just found it really hard to find light fittings.
-You need to do it in advance, mate.
On the last day's probably not the best way to do it.
We've been looking for days.
We thought we'd sorted it, and there's been a few little miscommunications.
Apart from this, it's so interesting, talking to sparks
and they're saying that, with the recession,
-no one's carrying stock any more.
That is what he's saying! He was saying that.
I thought you was quoting yourself.
No, he just said, the sparks are saying to me...
That's what we're saying.
That's what he just said you were saying. He said you were saying.
Yeah, I agree with him.
He was agreeing with you!
Yeah, I agree with him, agreeing with me, because I'm mostly right.
Seriously, though. So you haven't got...
We haven't got any tubes which is the problem.
The other thing we haven't got, is a 125 ventilation T.
-Ventilation duct T.
-What's that for?
-Equal T. In the roof.
We've still got to drop one hole into one of the bedrooms.
-For the ventilation system?
-This new-fangled system isn't going to work, is it?
-It is going to work.
Were just missing a very simple piece, a plastic piece,
which was here, and has somehow gone in the skip and has now gone.
Because that's what happens if you build a house in nine days!
Hold on, mate. Look at all this here.
We've rendered the outside of the house, created three new bedrooms.
Taken out a wall downstairs and upstairs,
taken out individual doorways, and windows, put in patio doors.
Patio out the back, we've done the garden out the back.
New kitchen, new bathroom, new toilet downstairs, new plumbing system, new electrics throughout.
And you're worrying about your light bulbs.
'There's no pleasing some people, is there?
'Over the last nine days,
'we've attempted one of the most labour-intensive big builds ever.
'We've removed staircases, taken out almost every wall
'and put the whole place back together again.
'It's a transformation that should have taken us months.'
It's going to make a big difference. We can live as a family again.
The whole atmosphere's going to change within the house.
Yeah, it's going to be a big step forward for us.
'It was only possible with the army of local trades
'who pulled out all the stops to get this job done.
'As if the structural work wasn't enough,
'our designer Charlie Luxton ambitiously set out
'to make this into the healthiest house we've ever seen on DIY SOS.'
Rather than it being about the environment
as in the world, the planet, it's more about internal air quality,
the environment we live within.
'It was a huge one, this,
'and at one point we thought we genuinely weren't going to make it.
'But we have.
'We've transformed this derelict house
'that was such a depressing place to be in,
'into a modern, healthy family home.
'The old kitchen was dark and uninviting.
'For a family who love cooking, we've created
'an open, clean space, using the kitchen Les bought five years ago.
'Charlie's clever lighting design has given it a much brighter, daylight feel.
'The long-awaited dining area means the family can,
'at last, eat together around a table.'
I'd really like a dining table because then we can sit down
at all the special occasions and things, and every day.
And it'll be a really big change if we had a dining-table.
-It would be nicer.
-And now they've got it.
We've given them an extra set of patio doors, bringing the outside in.
Key to Charlie's design for a healthy home.
The old living room was dark and narrow.
For five years, it was dusty and open to the elements.
We've created a spacious and open living room
by moving the original staircase.
To help Victoria's asthma, the old carpet has been replaced
with a beautiful, dust-free wooden floor,
making this a room the whole family can enjoy.
You said before it that you dreaded coming back to this house. What was wrong with it?
-It was just a building site, it was just a right mess.
To come back at night, it was so depressing.
We hope we've got it right for you. Open your eyes.
-Oh, it's lovely.
It's wonderful. I love it.
-It doesn't look like our house, does it?
-You all right?
-Yeah. It's overwhelming, isn't it?
-You like the colours?
-I love the colours.
It's really lovely. Bright, innit?
-That's exactly right. Bright, calming, warm.
-Want to see the dining room?
-Here we go. Have a little stroll through.
-I love the colour.
I love the colour and the pictures.
We can sit down here and have our meals now, together.
The kids'll love that.
I can't believe this is the same house.
I love it.
-Do you like cooking?
-I love cooking. You do too, don't you?
-Yeah, I do quite a bit of the cooking.
-I love cooking.
How have we done on the downstairs
in terms of the house that you wanted?
-It's wonderful, it's massive.
-It's more than we expected.
It's more than we were expecting.
-You look slightly shell-shocked.
-I am, I am.
I can call it my home now.
Upstairs, the old, dark, damp bathroom is gone forever.
We've given the family a luxurious walk-in shower and separate bath,
a far cry from what they were used to.
The mould-infested master bedroom
is now somewhere Les and Maria can escape the stresses of the day.
We've kept the original period feel with a vintage 1930s mirror
and incorporated Maria's favourite colours.
I've dreamt of it like this, but look at it.
It's wonderful, isn't it?
Let's start with the room that's right next to you.
Open the door and have a look, see what you think.
Oh, my God.
Lovely family bathroom, isn't it?
-OK. Pop back out again.
-I can't believe it.
-Squeeze it all in.
In you go.
Wow. Oh my God. I love it.
-So you love all of it?
-Yeah, sorry. I like it all.
-It totally is.
I can't believe you've done all this in nine days.
It's changed from a depressing house into a family home.
It's warm, welcoming, it's somewhere you want to be.
Is that how you genuinely feel, this is the start...?
Oh, yeah. This is the start now, the girls can enjoy the house
and their bedrooms and have friends around. It's going to be great.
Victoria and Charlotte have shared a cramped, unfinished bedroom for five years now.
Victoria didn't have anywhere she could escape to
when she needed to be alone.
Now heading into their teens, both girls need their own space.
And that's just what we've given them.
Charlotte has a comfortable,
light bedroom where she can get on with her school work and relax.
But most of all, a room where she can have her friends to stay.
And what about Victoria?
Well, for Victoria, we've created a tranquil grown-up space.
The wooden floors will help her asthma
by not collecting dust in the way a carpet would.
And the air ventilation system will pump fresh air
into Victoria's room and throughout the entire house.
And I'm pleased to say Victoria's decided she feels happy enough
to come and see their new bedrooms and chat to me,
as long as her sister comes with her.
-What do you think?
-Is it cool?
-Colours all right?
-You like green?
-It's really nice.
-You like it?
-Marks out of 10?
-That many, really? 10 out of 10?
-What do you think? Do you like it?
-Would you be happy with this bedroom?
But we're going to need to find a bedroom for you.
We could get another bed in here. You guys could share, couldn't you?
-Would that be all right?
No, I think what we need to do is actually get you an extra bedroom, don't you think?
So you've got one bedroom each.
In you go.
-What do you think?
-It's really nice.
-You like it?
What's your favourite thing? Have a look round.
-Um, the desk or the bed, I don't know.
-The desk or the bed?
-Excited about it?
Are you guys going to miss each other now,
because you've been in the same room together all that time?
-You're going to have to go to sleep in separate rooms now.
-I think it'll be OK.
-You think you'll manage?
I haven't asked you yet. Marks out of 10?
-11 out of 10?!
You guys haven't had sleepovers for a long time with your friends.
How are things going to change now?
Well, I'm going to have sleepovers
and I'm going to have more friends round and I'm going to enjoy it.
-What about you?
-I'm the same, yeah.
I know that the last year and a bit,
I know that there were difficulties with your grandparents and all that,
and illnesses and then Dad with his job.
It's been a really tough time, hasn't it,
the last year-and-a-half, especially for your mum and dad?
So, do you think now, cos they're downstairs, wait till you see them
they've got the biggest smiles I've ever seen on anybody.
They're just sitting there with enormous grins.
If they grin any wider, the top of their heads will fall off.
-So, do you think that things are going to get better now?
How are they going to get better, do you think?
Well, it's going to be more happy
and we're going to enjoy everything that we have
and we're going to appreciate it.
Yeah, everything's going to be a lot happier, I think.
You all seem to be smiling a lot more now.
-You think that's going to keep going, do you?
-Who's got the best bedroom?
In you go.
-What do you think?
-It's really nice.
-It's really nice.
-Is your mum a good cook?
-My dad's probably better.
-Yeah, he's better.
-Don't worry, she can't hear you.
-So it'll be Dad mostly doing the cooking over here?
What's his best dish? What does he make that's best?
There's two that I like.
-There's Chinese and a roast dinner.
-He does a roast dinner?
I love roast dinners.
-What about your bedrooms?
-Do you love it?
You know the nicest thing of all,
after coming to see you the first time, looking at you now,
you're all sat there with big cheesy grins on your faces.
-It's the coolest thing in the world. It's lovely.
-I can't believe it.
There's lots of people out there that wanted to give you
-a really nice place to live. Have they succeeded?
-And is it the best house in the world?
-And is it a really cool place to bring your friends?
-And are you going to have them round here?
There you go. Over that way, ladies.
We can't thank you enough.
You've done an amazing job in there, absolutely amazing.
It's turned our lives around.
We can't thank you enough.
You've turned it from a horrible, depressing old house
into a lovely family home again.
-Charlotte, marks out of 10 for the house?
And Victoria, marks out of 10 for the bedrooms?
You will be pleased to know, though, that both Victoria and Charlotte
believe they have the best room, which has worked out perfectly.
It will help us a lot and it'll just help us, thank you.
I'm very proud of the fact that you guys have all come out and helped us
and you've been fantastic. That's a huge thing you've done
so we, my team, would like to say to all of you,
thank you very much. We really appreciate it.
You all right, Charlotte?
-Victoria, are you all right, Princess? Do you love it?
-I love it.
-Girls, hello, can I have a hug?
-Do you like it?
-Can I have a hug with you? Thank you very much.
-And you both think you've got the best room?
That's good. We got that right, didn't we? Fantastic.
-Thank you, thanks.
So you like your room? Good. I'm so glad.
It's lovely to meet you. I'm so glad you like it.
I've been painting all the nice colours.
And it's been great fun, hasn't it?
We've had everybody doing everything all at the same time.
And I was explaining earlier, you remember I said to you
there was a girl who was very shy when she was little
and didn't go out for a long time? This is her.
And you were saying that having your own bedroom...
Having your own space that you really enjoy being in,
having somewhere where you can just be peaceful
and be yourself is really, really helpful.
And one thing I will say to you, sweet pea,
it won't last forever.
Things will get better. Things always get better.
Give us a squeeze.
I'm so glad we've helped. Enjoy your new room.
When you come to a place like Cirencester
with its beautiful stone cottages,
and bearing in mind it's in Gloucestershire, home of the royals,
you think, there can't be children living in the kind of conditions
that they were here, but of course there's always families
and children who fall through the net.
And people say, "Well, something should be done."
Or you can be the kind of person that actually does something, like all these people.
They've given up their own time to come out and make a change.
And, boy, have they made a change for this family.
Those two girls now have a completely different future because of what they did.
Maybe someone in your area needs some help.
Two weeks after we finished the build,
Victoria was happy enough to go back to school full-time.
And things have started to get back on track.
Since we moved back into the house, everyone's a lot happier.
I'm glad that everything's back to normal.
I feel happy.
MUSIC: "The Universal" by Blur
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Nick Knowles and the DIY SOS team enlist local tradespeople, members of the community and guest designer Charlie Luxton in Cirencester to transform an incomplete extension and run-down house into a clean, warm and healthy home for a family on the brink of despair.
The Beasley family re-mortgaged their ex-council house in 2006 to pay for an extension. Everything was going to plan when the family were hit by a series of disasters which left them in dire straits and living in a building site. Battling ill-health and loss of work, and with one of their children off school for nearly a year, the Beasleys were in desperate need.
With the help of their local community, the DIY SOS team help transform this family's lives and get them back on their feet after years of bad luck.