Home renovation series. Nick Knowles and the team join with local tradespeople from Hull to make a home as comfortable as possible for a family affected by Fabry's disease.
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We all have plans, don't we? Fall in love, have kids
and look forward to making those precious memories together.
But it doesn't always turn out that way.
No-one had any idea what was going to come.
You know, it was just, erm, a huge shock, really.
I just couldn't stop crying.
We're here to help a young family
who are faced with an uncertain future.
I feel like the pair of them
have been dealt the worst hand of cards going.
It's a situation we simply couldn't ignore.
What he wants to do is make positive memories
and he don't want to be disabled by the house.
I'm determined to sort of carry on.
And I, as a dad of two kids... You often think,
"God, if something happened to me, would my kids remember me?"
So, with help from East Yorkshire's local trades,
we're going to build a family home
where they can start making those happy memories together.
All the usual suspects are here and we have just nine days
to pull off this enormous build, which means we need a large army.
SOUNDTRACK CUTS OUT
Aren't you going to be a bit busy?
We might have a chance after all.
This is DIY SOS: The Big Build!
Social workers Liz and Jason live just outside of Hull
with their two girls, three-year-old Lily, 18-month-old Poppy...
One, two, three - weeee!
..along with Liz's older daughter, 20-year-old Emily.
The couple met at the end of 2009.
We actually met through Facebook
and then we kind of went from there, really.
After a whirlwind romance, they married nine months later,
and their first daughter, Lily, followed soon after.
-You going to sit on the chair? Good girl.
But in January 2011, the family's lives turned upside down when
Jason started experiencing worrying symptoms that couldn't be explained.
He started to have these horrendous headaches,
these migraine-type headaches which completely incapacitated him.
We got an emergency appointment at the doctor's
and he really went downhill, he really deteriorated.
I kind of knew something wasn't right. I mean,
I did cognitive tests, and it was like an empty clock,
and they'd say, "Can you draw four o'clock?"
I didn't even draw round the clock.
And then just trying to send a simple text message,
just couldn't do it.
And they said at that time, they didn't know
whether he'd recover or not and, you know, we'd only been
married five months and you think
everything is going to be a bed of roses, really.
It was just a huge shock, really.
The problem was they were continuously trying to do tests.
That's when they...
..diagnosed the Fabry's.
Go over there, sit at that end,
cos Mummy is going to help Daddy get his shirt on.
Fabry's is a rare, life-limiting disease.
It means over time, the body starts to poison itself,
damaging all the major organs.
He's got hearing loss in both ears,
he's got cardiomyopathy
with his heart, he's got kidney failure,
he's got severe gastrointestinal problems,
he's at high risk of having a stroke.
As it transpires, it's been affecting me all my life.
To help manage his illness,
Jason has enzyme replacement therapy.
No, no, no, no, no, you'll pull it out of Daddy's arm. No.
This treatment slows down the effects of the disease.
Just sort of the knowledge that the experts are happy
that my kidney and my heart are doing all right,
erm, and obviously they're constantly
under review, so from that side of things,
I'm quite happy with that.
Soon after coming to terms with this dreadful illness,
they were rewarded with the birth of their second little girl, Poppy.
It was fantastic.
I didn't know whether I'd be able to have any more children because,
obviously, I was a bit older and it's a long time
since I'd had my children.
It was a fantastic surprise, really.
But, as the family grew, Jason started to experience
severe muscle spasms and weight loss,
which are unrelated to his Fabry's disease,
and so went back for more tests.
He'd been referred to Liverpool, to, erm,
a professor of neurology to see if he could figure out
what was wrong with him,
and he came and sat next to me and he said,
"I'm not going to lie to you, you're an intelligent woman,
"Jason's got motor neurone disease."
This second diagnosis of motor neurone disease
affects the brain's ability to control muscle movement.
It causes the body to simply waste away.
The form Jason has
means he has a life expectancy of up to three years.
I spent the next three days crying, and I just couldn't stop crying.
On a day-to-day basis, erm, you try and forget about it.
But Jason is refusing to be beaten.
You know, the kids have still got to be looked after.
Job has still got to be done.
Whether it's possible or not, I still want to beat it.
Although he won't give up,
he now depends heavily on Liz and step-daughter Emily
and they are determined to fight this together.
I feel like the pair of them have been dealt the worst
hand of cards going. I mean, fair enough, they've found each other.
They've found happiness, they've got the kids.
You know, he's in his 30s.
The fact that he's eventually maybe not going to be here
and Mum is going to have to single-handedly raise
the children, they didn't expect that when Mum got pregnant.
Jason, who qualified as an electrician,
was in the middle of rewiring their home when he became ill,
and it's been like this for the last four years.
It's simply not safe for his two young children.
They have no hot water, the house is leaking,
and this small three-bedroom home
is just becoming increasingly more cramped
for a growing family of five.
All these jobs that I should be capable of, I'm not, and you know,
it's got to the point
where I don't even really touch a screwdriver, hammer, saw -
anything of that kind, because I just can't do anything with them.
It is depressing, to say the least.
As Jason's motor neurone disease gets worse,
he'll find moving around the house virtually impossible.
It's just such a struggle for Jason.
His balance is really badly affected.
At the moment, there are so many things for Jason to
trip and fall over. I mean, the outside space, there's lots of lips
and things that he could fall over.
Getting up the stairs and getting down is becoming quite hard
and, you know, a downstairs toilet and a bedroom would be obviously
an absolute massive help.
And when the time comes that
I need a wheelchair, then, you know,
they're going to be invaluable.
'Jason is trying to come to terms with the limited time he has left.'
No, you're going out if you've finished.
'He's determined to look after the kids for as long as possible.'
You know, people say,
"Oh, yeah, you get out of nappy changing and that."
I'm not bothered.
It's a struggle though, ain't it?
It's a struggle for you to look after them.
It is, but it's worth it, you know?
D'you want to take your breakfast now then?
At the end of the day, we don't know how long Jason's
got left, so we need to be spending
that precious time together, really,
rather than worrying about the house.
I know people will want to help this family
and build a home that is ready for the tough times ahead.
Kind of what we're trying to think of is...
is trying to future-proof this,
because you've got a lot on your hands over the coming years.
So what is it that you need us to do?
What can we do to future-proof this house for you?
Well, I mean, anything would be great, obviously.
Erm, just the house being warm,
having hot running water would be fantastic,
having a downstairs toilet and a downstairs shower
for Jason would be great cos, you know, he finds it really difficult
getting up the stairs now and it's also quite hazardous for him.
And, erm, you know,
the house being safe and accessible for Jason and the girls.
Doesn't seem fair, does it?
All one after another, all of these things piling on your family.
-You sometimes think, "Why me?" "Why us?", you know.
I sometimes wonder if I've done something
seriously wrong in a previous life to deserve all this.
I can understand that kind of thinking.
I think you're going to find that actually that you haven't
done anything wrong in a previous life,
and in actual fact, while there has been an avalanche of bad,
you're about to get an avalanche of good from your local community.
Let's see if we can get them to charge in behind you
and lift some of the weight off your shoulders, yeah?
Yeah, we're not going to do this on our own,
and thankfully the local trades have done us and themselves proud.
A lot of people turned up already.
-Come and say hello.
'Over 100 are ready to go,
'and it's one of the biggest turn-outs on a first day.
'This just tells you how much
'the family story has touched everyone's hearts.'
So we're going to try and do our best to make this
better for you guys. No coming back and peeking.
Thanks so much, guys.
'Right, let's get on with it.
'Because this is a massive build.'
The whole kitchen can come out, then.
We'll start ripping the kitchen out.
To elucidate, we are extending all down the side
and around the back. Not only that, we have a rather large garden
to landscape, and upstairs to redecorate -
all in just nine days.
I think it might be an idea to empty the cupboards
before we smash them down.
We're definitely in the right house, aren't we?
You all right taking that strip of ceiling down?
Yes, he is.
While Jules is in charge of demolition inside,
we have a bunch of lads already starting
on the timber framework for the new part of the house.
Oh, it's nice that the extension turns up on the back of a truck.
That looks like my bit.
But we need a plan of action
to fill this framework, and so we'll require a designer.
Luckily, I've ordered one.
-Oh, no, not that one - that's Oliver Heath.
Now, as you may remember,
we haven't always seen eye-to-eye in the past
but I will give it to him -
he always keeps coming back for more.
He must be very thick-skinned, like a rhinoceros.
Every time that we abuse you on one of these,
we have assumed that you've had enough, but you've come back again.
No, I come back stronger. That's how I come back, cos I know...
I know what I'm going to get thrown at me.
I come back and it's amazing.
Rotten fruit is what he'll get thrown at him.
Oliver's designs mean we're going to extend down the side
and right around the back.
This will create a utility room at the front of the house,
an open-plan kitchen/diner at the back,
and a downstairs bedroom for Jason and Liz.
The old existing kitchen will be split into a new wet room
and a playroom and study area.
This is great for Jason, as he will have
a safe contained space where he can spend quality time with the kids.
We're sprucing up the living room,
widening all the internal doors
for future wheelchair access,
and a new side entrance will make the whole
of the downstairs all one flat level.
Upstairs, it's all about the girls.
The layout is staying the same
but each room will get a brand-new look, including the family bathroom.
Liz's older daughter Emily will move into the master bedroom,
which means Lily and Poppy will now,
for the first time, have their own rooms.
We have equally big plans for the garden.
The main feature will be a wheelchair-accessible decked pathway
so Jason and the girls can enjoy the whole area together.
It should make for a safe, practical house so Jason can stop
worrying and concentrate on spending the time he has left with the girls.
It's a really difficult one.
It's a really dynamic project, you know. Jason is in a state of change,
so we are trying to design the house for his current needs,
and then what's going to happen
in the near future, and then also...
They may have to exist in it
as a normal family without that, and then...
Yeah, so it's in a real state of flux.
So we are introducing all sorts of things to kind of future-proof it,
both in the short, medium and long-term.
I'm just a little cog within the whole mechanisation of
this change, and I kind of reckon
I'm a small, important part of this build.
-As much as the electricians, the plumbers, er...
And the truth is that if you weren't here,
-we'd have had to have got someone else.
'That's not entirely true - we couldn't afford anyone else.'
We've had a little accident.
It looked like it was dropped a little bit,
so I just poked it
with a bit of tree wood and it all fell down. Just like that.
See, the boy doesn't know his own strength -
just pokes things and they fall apart. I'll let you tell Chris.
Plainly, it wasn't up to our standard, anyway,
so it had to be taken down.
Do you see what you've just done there?
You've just put a positive twist on a negative situation.
'And let me tell you, there's no shortage of positivity here.
'These guys are here to fit some hi-tech kit
'which is going to help Jason stay independent
'for as long as possible.'
What are we doing?
This is Lee and Andy. They're coming to do something...
-Gentlemen, how are you?
-..very special for the doors.
You've got two cameras inside there
that emits infra-red onto your pupils,
and then the algorithms inside the computer
-know where you're looking.
-Is that right?
So he can basically chose through the computer to make doors open.
-That's genius, isn't it?
So, basically, their home is eye-controlled,
so it's an eye-controlled living space.
The level of independence for somebody
who's lost their movement... that's awesome.
Do you have any personal experience of, er...?
Yeah, I do - my wife, she has Fabry's disease, erm...
Her dad sadly passed away seven years ago of it at 48,
so I can see and I can empathise with what Jason's going through.
Hang on a second - it's electrically driven, all of this...
Which puts it in Billy's territory, which is...
-We've had that discussion.
-Amazing bit of kit, don't you think, Bill?
Also, we haven't finished... The lighting will be as such...
When Jason looks at the lighting, that will come on as well.
Which means The Prince of Darkness and his team
have got to put in twice the amount of cabling.
I will check. I'll go and see what they're going to do.
Build it off there and then we'll make our plans to go up there.
And we have our work cut out in the back,
as we're installing a completely new central-heating system.
Yeah, I mean Liz and Jason haven't had hot water,
you know, an absolute basic, for ages.
This tank, new boiler, we're going to put
a solar water-heating system on the roof,
it's all going to come together to create a really lovely, warm,
cosy and energy-efficient house, which is going to be
a massive change for them, and this is all part of the plan.
'But we have to hide that big, ugly thing somewhere.
'Not the designer, the oil tank.'
Conceal this thing, which is no easy task.
Yes, but to be fair, when you say WE have to do that,
the garden designer has to now incorporate this great lump
into his beautiful garden design.
So if we make this project look even half brilliant,
-then that's actually amazing.
No, it's going to be beautiful, cos we don't do 90%. We don't do 95%.
We do 100%, Oliver.
'Talking of percentages, the boys at the front have found precisely
'0% of the water mains which we need to connect the new drainage to.'
Here's an opportunity for you.
-Can I hop you out of the hole for a second?
Mark, see if you can fit in the hole better.
'Thank goodness we have the perfect bijou and compact builder
-'to get into the smallest holes.'
OK, so if we, like, pass him the shovel...
Actually, that's way too big, isn't it, really?
Here, don't worry,
I was out the other day and I managed to find something.
Oh, hold on a minute!
You're not actually going to extract...?
For little, confined spaces. It's a real shovel, we haven't had it made.
It's a real shovel for confined spaces.
For people four foot and below.
It works, look.
I was there in a builder's merchants the other day,
picking up some stuff, and I suddenly saw that
and I thought, "I know, that's the very tool...
-"that could use that shovel!"
I only got it as a joke,
but it seems to be doing the job really well.
'All right, so we do give him some stick,
'but whilst a bunch of guys stand around
'watching half a man dig half a hole,
'things are moving at a supersonic speed around us.'
As you can see, a gentleman there
who's taking a window out. How are you, all right?
Jolly good, very happy up there. So he's taken the window out
because they've already got a new window in,
and if you look directly above it, that's new fascias and guttering
going all the way round the building already,
all within the first hour and a half,
which is just amazing when you think about it,
but then it is mayhem because there are 80-90 people wandering around.
It's going to take hours of hard slog,
and they've given up paid work to be here. Amazing!
You keep thinking, like, you know, somebody else needs this,
that's what I'm thinking in my head, you know...
-The family, the family, yeah, yeah,
-just keep carrying on. Just keep going.
-That's the way forward.
Right, I'll go there, you go over here.
Truly, their family story has touched everyone on site,
but the person who most wants this to be right is Jason.
As a family, you've been steam-rollered, really,
by an avalanche of bad news.
Yeah, erm, didn't really see any of it coming, to be honest with you.
I sort of met Liz about five years ago
and we kind of just got fired into having kids,
you know, which is the best thing that's ever happened to me.
And then, like you say, we've had some pretty bad news since,
but they're my inspiration to fight it and...
..that's what I intend to do, and I am doing.
You know, getting up in the morning and giving them...
..giving them breakfast and...
and that seems...
..such a simple thing to do, but yet, for me, that's so important.
-You're facing a lot of difficulties and an uncertain future.
What plays on your mind the most?
I was, erm... I was 12 when... when I lost my father
and my sister was, erm, six.
Her recollection of my father was not...not that great.
I don't want that for my kids.
I want them to know their dad.
Notwithstanding what you're dealing with as a family at the moment,
what are your hopes for your girls' future?
I want them to do what they feel
is what they want to do in life.
Whatever they may choose, I'll be happy and proud.
It's not about what you do, it's who you are.
-To just be themselves?
Tell me about Liz. She's quite something, though, isn't she?
She's very strong. She feels that she needs to be strong for me.
You know, obviously, the inevitable is going to happen,
but all I ever wanted was, you know, Liz and the kids,
and I've got that, so...
It's about, you know, striving to keep that as long as possible.
With all you have to worry about and what's coming your way,
if the house is done, does that give you some reassurance?
The fact that we'll be able to spend a lot more time together,
you know, and the fact that we can make memories there,
we can play games with the kids,
obviously cos there's less stress,
so hopefully my deterioration will be less.
It means a lot.
We can't stop the inevitable,
but we can make Jason's time left with his family so much richer.
Back on site, the shell of the extension is up
and they are knocking through to create that open-plan kitchen/diner.
Steels have gone in to reinforce the upstairs
as the fireplace has come out,
and the roof trusses are going in at this early stage too,
and there's quite a lot of them.
In the bedroom, cos of the hoist
to get him in and out of the bed and his chair,
we're making the ceiling stronger so it can actually take the weight
of someone being pulled up and carried on those joists.
We think about everything in advance.
It'll look tidy, this, though, won't it?
These two are the best two roofing joiners in East Yorkshire.
We'll have this done in an hour.
We're in roofing royalty.
Meanwhile, downstairs, we have a very tetchy plastering guru,
as someone has managed to put a hole in the only ceiling
he didn't have to touch.
-It's annoying, isn't it?
Yeah, no, we don't need a hole there.
I'll talk you through patching the ceiling, shall I?
-You can do it.
-I'd like that.
Tomorrow morning. It's a date.
You haven't got your name on your hat.
It's like a rite of passage, this, isn't it? Thank you.
There you go.
Would you say he's an attractive-looking man?
Would you say he's a handsome-looking man?
He's not...obscene, is he?
Praise indeed, he's not obscene!
I take that as a compliment.
Well, I don't... I don't find looking at men...
It doesn't do it for me, I wouldn't know.
Who do you find offensive to look at?
'No, no, no, you can't be mean to Billy.
'He's been working hard with all the hi-tech kit
'that he doesn't quite understand.'
-What is that over there?
-That's the central unit.
Is it the ten-cable system or the eight-cable system?
The eight-cable system.
Oh, thanks, as long as I've got that right!
Jason, the guy we're doing the house for, is an electrician,
and we've been taking some of his work out.
His work's been good, hasn't it?
Yeah, it's quite a good installation, to be honest, yeah.
It's a shame he didn't get quite to finish it, actually. He's done well.
It's a shame we had to take it out,
but we all know now, in our own minds, when we come to test it,
we know everything we've put in is brand-new.
It might not work, but it will be brand-new.
To be fair, they do have a lot of extra work.
So, where are we at at the end of day one?
Well, this room has been stripped out, brand-new windows,
electrics have all been done, they're still working on it there,
and a new lintel over this door.
Here, as we move into the playroom/study,
most of the ceiling's gone, electrics, plumbing put in.
Most of the floor's gone up there as well, funnily enough.
Perhaps the biggest change is through in this room.
We have a new stud wall
and, behind it, we have what will be the wet room.
We've taken the chimney out and put new steels in
to support the roof because we need the space.
Then I'm moving through into the new bedroom,
er, but of course you're in the new kitchen/diner,
which comes all the way round here
and leads down into the utility room.
Also, a brand-new roof on, which is something spectacular,
and if you look out here,
the boys are still working away on the garden.
Now, that's a pretty good first day.
It's day two and we have another amazing turn-out
of over 90 of the local trades,
but a big job for today is digging out the floor
for Jason's all-important downstairs bathroom,
and another step in getting all the floors level.
It's all there, it just needs finessing and connecting,
and at the moment they're finessing it with a big road breaker.
ROAD BREAKER CLATTERS
Out the back, Oliver is sharing his massive vision
with the landscape gardener. Very kind of him(!)
What I want him to be able to see is to look out from his room
-onto the garden.
You will still be able to see all of the garden from that window there.
I guess it's quite nice if you can also see it,
so if it is raised, cos the garden is quite...
You WILL still be able to see it.
So you can get a visual sightline
-from here to the destination point of that little island.
And for there to be like a... like real, live kind of
dynamic forms of nature here, so things like leaves, plants...
-He's an interesting character, isn't he, Oliver?
I couldn't help overhearing the conversation, and essentially
when he was saying all the things he wanted,
-they're things you're already doing, aren't they?
That's designers for you, though, isn't it?
'Oh, no! He thinks he can plaster now!'
It doesn't seem too bad, actually, Chris.
What's going on in here, Olivia? What's going on?
I'm just fixing the ceiling, Mark.
'Is he allowed sharp stuff?'
I like this stage in the job because this is now a nascent home.
-What's a nascent?
developing with potential,
an opportunity to be, not yet a home,
but it has potential for a home,
in the same way as Oliver is a nascent human being.
Oh, I see.
Not quite there yet.
'He takes a lot of stick, but he keeps going, doesn't he?'
Making the house and garden all on one level is a real challenge.
We have to dig a foot out of the old concrete
to get the outside decking exactly flush with the inside.
But above, the roofers are well ahead -
the extension is nearly water-tight and it's only the second day.
These tiles that you've supplied us are, like, the dog's...aren't they?
-They are, dog's proverbial.
Cos you could have got away with just chucking a cheap tile at us,
but this actually...
It was the nearest we had to what you were looking for, so...
Cos you did the bricks for us as well?
We've done the bricks for you as well.
You all right with a man hug? Not everybody...
Who doesn't like a man hug?!
There's always a lot of love around on our sites.
You know what, it's love and support the family will need
if they're going to get through the tough times ahead,
something they're getting in spades from older daughter, Emily.
You live at home with the family at the moment, don't you?
Yeah, yeah, in the box room, as it happens.
Do you see that being a long-term thing,
staying at home with the family, or...moving away?
Well, I think I'll be there to support my mum as long as I can,
if I have to live in the house and help raise the kids,
I'm not bothered, and I love my mum to bits
and I WILL be there to support her, no matter what.
It's a big commitment, though, for you to, you know,
to sort of almost set your own life on hold for a while.
Well, it's a very big commitment, but I'm a family-orientated person
-And you obviously love your mum.
-Yeah, I love my mum to bits.
My mum has raised me, so there's no reason why,
if she is struggling with things, I can't be there to support her.
Do you admire her for being able to be such a rock for everybody?
I do, I really admire her.
I don't know how she holds it together some days, I really don't.
She's really, really steady.
She's the one person that keeps it all together in the family.
She's an amazing woman, no doubt, then there's a tough road ahead,
but you're saying you'll be there
and walk along that tough road with her?
Oh, yeah, I fully intend to, I'll be there the whole way,
with her and with Jason,
cos Jason means a lot to me as well, he's done so much for me.
It's hard, isn't it, to deal with so much?
It must be very difficult for you, as a daughter,
to see your mum actually having to deal with so much all the time.
Yeah, it is difficult, but at the end of the day, we have to get...
make the best of what life Jason's got
and, like, making memories for Jason,
something that he's got to...
When he's feeling down, he's got something to look at,
make him smile a bit.
And, of course, memories for the girls too?
Yeah, memories for the girls,
to remember their dad and everything like that.
'What a very impressive young woman Emily is.
'A real support for her family,
'she really deserves a comfortable, cosy space of her own,
'and insulating her room will go that extra step to achieving that.
'But that means you and I
'have to endure Oliver droning on about energy ratings.
'I'm afraid we can't avoid it, here it comes.'
Cavity wall insulation. I know, your favourite subject.
From the survey that we did with the assessment,
it tells us the family could save £213 a year
by having cavity wall insulation fitted.
So basically, these guys can pump this white stuff,
this white fluff, into the walls, it takes them about two hours
and the house is warmer and it's a really quick, easy job,
it's something that loads of people could do.
We're doing it from the inside but you can do it from the outside,
so you don't have to make a mess of your inside,
it's important you know that.
'Yeah, check me out with my energy-saving tips!'
And we're going to be putting solar panels on the roof.
What you're going to get is the panels sitting on the roof,
they'll heat up, giving them free hot water.
Free? Brilliant, isn't it? It's brilliant. We love that word - free.
The sun's here now.
Excellent! We've also got a wood burner going in to help
warm the house, but that means some poor guy has to
climb up the chimney to fix the flue.
I couldn't do a chimney like that now, cos...
I used to be all right with heights, but it's gone.
-I can't do heights now.
-Can you not?
Yeah, I'm the same. I used to be all right, but not any more.
I'm all right with heights, but widths frighten the life out of me.
What about you, Byrnsey?
Heights? Oh, you remember I was in the circus -
done all the trapeze and everything?
After that, they commissioned me - Elvis Presley done a film, Acapulco.
I was actually Elvis Presley's body double, and I done the dive.
That is why I can take heights, I can do anything.
You didn't even have the fear of heights.
That's quite spooky, that you're good with heights,
cos you know Emily, the eldest daughter here?
-Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.
-She likes heights...
..and we're going to take her bungee jumping.
Yeah! Bring it on.
Every week, he never fails to let us down, does he?
Well, it's no different with what I've been doing
in the trapeze world -
all it is is jumping out of a bucket
with a bit of string tied to your leg.
How can that be harmful?
Yeah, it's not the falling, Billy,
it's the hitting the ground hard that's the problem.
Out in the garden, as day turns to night,
it's the groundworks that are becoming the real problem for us,
as we try to make the outside
level with the inside for easy access.
It's still going on!
All the digging out of the concrete and everything,
this must be about the hardest deck you've had to put down, innit?
It's the most over-engineered deck I've ever come across, yeah.
And the reason you've had to drop it in
is cos of the difference between the height out here...
The height out here and the existing height slab in the house.
So, in case of a wheelchair in the future, straight in and out.
Yeah, getting the floor level inside is just as important,
and by the time we're finished with it,
it should be flat as a snooker table.
Complicated stuff, this -
people are having to work really hard in this house,
they're having to go the extra mile every time
just to make these things work - it's incredible.
But that means the poor flooring lads
have to screed and level the floor into the night.
Can I just say, "Thank you, lads"? Top job.
Morning! Just four days left.
The boys burned the midnight oil and finished the floor inside,
and the lads today are still struggling
with the concrete level outside - but it's not through lack of trying.
If we're not careful, it could add time
to what is already an ambitious garden -
but it is worth it, as it can be another area
for the family to have fun together.
Now, my idea of fun with the family is singing to them.
Really, really loving being a dad again,
spending lovely time with my oldest sons at the moment,
and spending a lot of time with young Eddie, as well,
who is very lovely.
You've written your own song for him, haven't you?
Give us a little rendition.
Well, I call him Wazoo, so now I've written a song.
# Here's little Wazoo
# It's just me and you... #
Hey, where are you going?!
Everyone's a critic.
Probably a good time for the lads to get out of earshot, to be honest.
Actually, it's Emily's 21st birthday -
it's the perfect opportunity for a day out
and for the family to create more of those precious memories.
It's also a good excuse for Billy to show off to Emily
how to bungee jump - after all, he used to be a pro at this, didn't he?
It's getting higher and higher, ain't it?
I've just got a twinge in me back, though.
It'll be good for it, it'll stretch ya. Go on, sunshine.
-Good luck - enjoy.
Is it me, or is Billy trying to chicken out?
Do you think he's going to do it, Jason?
-He lives dangerously, doesn't he?
He might just do it.
I think you should go first, Emily,
cos...ladies first, before gents, you know what I mean?
I'll be right behind you. Good luck, bubble-gum.
There is no stopping Emily, keen to make a memory of a lifetime.
I do it for my family,
to show them that you live every day as it is,
and don't dwell on what's coming in the future.
Three, two, one...bungee.
-There she goes, Jason, she's done it.
OK, your turn, Billy -
don't make a fool of yourself, now.
Come on, Bill.
I've swum with sharks, horse ride...
I've done everything - but, oh, my back's so bad.
Why is he taking so long?
I've done my back coming up the stairs,
Chris?! I need you, son - I need a mate.
Right, I'll just pop up and have a word.
Just go up and egg him on.
What's the matter, son?
Come on, you can do that, look!
Yeah, but if a girl can do it, you can do it, Chris.
Hang on, what's happening?!
You're doing it - I just come up to give you some support.
I thought you were the expert -
diving out, double for Elvis Presley in Acapulco.
It was 1968, son.
Are you twisting this round to me?
Listen, what you've got to do - don't look down,
feet together, just jump out. No problem.
Now he's giving advice! That's hilarious.
This is mental.
Honestly, I don't know if I can do it.
I can't believe you bottled it.
I was going to do it, still,
but, mate, he said no - not with a bad back.
Three, two, one...bungee.
-Come on, you were there, then.
-Nearly went, there.
So, you saw Chris at the top - so where is he now?
I don't know, he just walked off.
Emily went straight off, like that, come on, mate.
What was all that about?
Exactly - come on, then.
Big, deep breath, here we go - big deep breath, three, two...
Thank you - you just got up there and done it.
And you...you owe me big time.
Rejuvenated from his adrenaline hit,
Chris is back to get up to speed with the work his boys have done.
Love plastering, me.
Here we are, look - you all right, boys?
They've done two more hits upstairs, so that's coming on.
This is being prepped for a big over skim this afternoon.
I don't know how many plasterers are here -
it's got to be 16.
It's good that you have plenty of boys on the job, Chris,
cos we need the plastering all finished today,
so we can get on with the next stage of the electrics.
And with all the extra hi-tech kit going in,
we can't afford any delays.
You can see the job changing, can't you?
Cos everything is going to be covered up -
ie, the plumbing, the electrics it's all in,
it's a positive move in the right direction
when the plasterers arrive.
And one of those fabulous plasterers who come to do their bit
is Jason's old school friend Simon.
Usually, when you...
When you find out news like this, everyone gets news like this
with some family member or friend or something,
but you can do nothing, can't you?
You can do absolutely nothing -
all you can say is, "I'm sorry to hear the news."
But you've given us the chance
to actually do something that matters, so thank you, fellas.
-Thank you very much.
Do you know, we get that kind of commitment everywhere we go?
And it never fails to amaze me how good people are.
These kinds of ambitious builds can only be done
with these kinds of people -
all of them are going the extra yard,
including the Trojans in the back yard.
All their hard work has paid off
and now they're cracking on with the decking.
Everything in this garden, now, is wheelchair-friendly -
your grades, your depths, your levels,
absolutely everything is wheelchair friendly.
But also it's much more complex than that -
so, the idea of the wavy line there is to hide the oil...
-The tank, yeah.
-So, we can see all the pebbles -
what's going on there, then?
We're having a beach theme going on here,
grading off into blues, purples and green gravels,
coming back up into your pebbles, as well.
Yeah, they're making progress,
but still two days behind schedule with loads left to do.
In the house, the wet room boys are getting on with the tiling,
and all the plaster is drying out nicely.
Or have I spoken too soon? You see, that's Mark's worried face,
and those boys who've just put the ceiling up aren't too happy, either.
-There might be a problem.
-What have you done?
Basically, what I've done is,
I haven't put any strengtheners into the ceiling to take the hoist,
I'd completely forgotten the hoist, and the ceiling's finished,
and I don't know what to do, I don't know how to get round it.
The roof trusses need extra support in the ceiling
to take the hoist, and Jason's weight,
and Mark has forgotten to do it.
And the only way round it...
..is to take the ceiling down.
..take the ceiling down.
..take the ceiling down.
You can't take the ceiling down.
At this stage of the build, we really don't need that -
when Chris gets wind of this, he's going to go ape.
Oliver, why are you rummaging through bags of clothes?
What we're doing is we're going to make a blanket -
it's kind of like a blanket
that will kind of instil memories in the children.
So, we're going through some of their old clothes..
-His clothes, so that..
-His clothes, yeah.
So that in the winter, they can kind of cuddle up with it,
and they can get a sense of the smell
and the touch of his clothes.
As mad as that sounds, I sort of get what he's trying to get across.
-Yeah. No, it kind of makes sense, on this occasion.
-I know, I know...
Well, I tell you what,
when my dad died, we made all these cushions
out of...out of his old shirts, cos he kind of worked in the City,
-he had all these monogrammed shirts.
It was really lovely, you know, you kind of sit down in the evening
and you suddenly find yourself hugging this cushion.
You know, it's that tactile sense of warmth that's so nice.
I like that idea.
So, what we're doing, really,
is kind of like an upcycling project.
-Wait a minute, hold on...
-Yeah, the pink could work, actually.
I mean, what we'll do is, we'll just take a little bit, you know,
-so it will just be a bit like that...
-With the grey in it?
Yeah, exactly. That will just become a little patch. Er...
-But, you know, it's about...
-Your idea was rubbish.
-I know, plainly.
-Mine was brilliant.
It's just about pulling patchworks together.
Do you know what? That's a really lovely idea of Oliver's
to help keep memories of Jason alive for years to come.
And two people who know how important it is
are best friends Heather and Sue.
Has it been heartbreaking
watching this happen to the family from the outside?
I think we've seen, over the years, Jason deteriorating,
but, until last year, not knowing what it was,
and, you know - they're such a happy couple.
I think the main thing, now, is just to try and buy them time isn't it?
-Yeah. And I think that's what he wants to do,
is make positive memories,
and he don't want to be disabled by the house
or anything else, really.
-So, if that enables him to be a good dad
and to be what he thinks is important
for the girls to remember about him,
-then it will make a really big difference to him.
It will do, yeah.
Well, hopefully, if we get a move on,
we should have a warm, cosy house for them to make those memories -
and, with the oil heating system all plumbed in,
we are one step closer.
We've got less than 200ml.
Back with O'Shortie and the ceiling cock-up,
someone has come up with a quick fix to a big problem
which means the whole ceiling doesn't have to be taken down.
We've cut a little loft to get access to the void,
then we can go up and climb back in and fit the timber from above.
-You're a genius.
Jules may have fixed the hoist support problem,
but it still means you have two chippies
hanging out of Chris' newly plastered ceiling -
it's not going to go well.
-That is the last bit of plastering happening in this house.
Oh, no, it isn't.
All people who've stopped plastering take one step forward.
Chris, where do you think you're going?
Erm, we've knocked holes in the back room for the hoist boys,
and, er...we've got to pull the ceiling down, OK? Sorry about that.
What do you mean, "OK"?!
How can you drop a line like that, and end it "OK"?
There's nothing OK about it!
I thought he took that very well, actually.
Anyway, onwards and upwards.
We've got to do what we can, because it's important.
The way ahead for this family isn't easy.
Meeting Jason was a turning point for you in your life.
Well, it was just like a breath of fresh air, really,
and it was so unexpected.
I mean, I wasn't really looking for a relationship,
or looking for love, as it were.
I just thought, you know, it would be nice
to have a bit of fun and go on a few dates
and whatever happened happened -
but I certainly never expected to get married,
and I definitely didn't expect to have two more children.
But life has hit the family with another terrible blow,
as they've since found out
that the couple's daughters Lily and Poppy
have inherited Fabry's disease.
It turns out that Jason's mum also has it.
With the girls having being diagnosed with Fabry's disease,
is that a real worry long-term for you?
Does it weigh on Jason's mind?
He feels that he's burdened the girls
with this terrible genetic disease, you know?
There's a lot of guilt going on with Jason and his mum.
That can't be their responsibility, that can't be...
It would be different if they knew about it
and they went on to have children and pass it on
to children knowingly,
but, of course, Jason's mum didn't know about it,
and Jason didn't know about it until I was 20 weeks pregnant.
You know, he feels guilty
for putting me and the girls through all this.
You wouldn't have the girls, though, would you?
Exactly - and they're gorgeous.
-I wouldn't be without them.
Jason is always saying to me that I'd be better off without him,
and that I bet I wish that I'd never met him,
but, you know, I don't wish that at all.
I think they need to know what an amazing man their dad is.
This is a strong family
facing more than any of us can ever truly understand.
The love being poured into the fabric of their home
by the local community, I hope, will make them feel supported.
Jules is running, because we're running out of time,
with only one day left before we give it back to Jason and Liz.
Now, there's the small matter of moving the Wendy house,
which was built by Grandad for the kids and has to remain intact -
but preferably on the other side of the garden.
This is how they did the pyramids.
Do you know summat? I actually think it looked better here.
It's staying. Inside...
You wouldn't know, would ya?!
..Mark has got away with it.
Ceiling all strengthened and plastered just in time,
as the boys installing the hoist are ready to go.
What the house needs, though, is warmth.
The trouble is, cos it's so wet and cold outside,
even though the sun's out, nothing's drying in here.
We need to get this heating system, as magical as it is,
commissioned, so that we can get the radiators on.
Have you seen any plumbers?
Dotted around, stuck to radiators somewhere upstairs -
but you're right, we do absolutely need to get the heating on.
-Time is running out.
-Otherwise none of this will dry out.
-Let me see if I can find them.
-Plumber! Any plumbers around?
You see, everyone inside and out are going hell for leather
trying to get all of those last jobs done.
Well, that's the four cubes, five cubes of concrete in,
which we're now going to settle down, but whilst we're doing that,
it means we can get the concrete mixer out
and we can get the oil in, cos they need to fill up the oil
so we can get the central heating started,
so we can start drying out the inside of the house.
Then we get that out, because up the end of the road is a tractor
with four tonnes of topsoil for the back garden
which needs to get in.
It is a bit like Piccadilly Circus here, at this stage -
everybody's kind of cottoned on to the fact
that if we don't do it all at once, we don't get it done at all.
But we have the materials,
we have the trucks and we have plenty of help.
Painters are painting,
this gentleman here is waiting to put up a wardrobe,
fitted in here, as we speak, it's all...
If you see a gap, jump in it.
As you can see, it's late in the evening, now,
and people are still working away,
because they want to get it done, and they're kind of aware
that we're running out of time.
Luke, at this stage in proceedings,
do you think, maybe, that your garden design
-might have been a tad ambitious?
No, I think... Nah, everything's possible, innit?
It will definitely be done for Friday. Definitely.
That's the day after we're supposed to show it to the family.
Yeah, that ain't going to work, chaps.
This build really is going down to the wire -
and talking of wires,
this eye control kit is finally up and running.
-Working and everything?
The local community have pulled out all the stops
to give us a fighting chance
of giving this house back to Liz and Jason all complete.
You know, we might just do it.
Just nine days ago,
we found a young family who had hit crisis point.
Just a huge shock, really,
and I just couldn't stop crying.
Jason was battling life-limiting illnesses
in a house which no longer worked for his needs.
Worse still, the unheated building
was dangerous for him and his family.
My biggest concern is obviously the safety for the kids,
and, I mean, I want them to be able to go to bed
and then get up and it be safe.
You can see he gets so frustrated with it,
and I think it gets him down to see the house in this state,
when he was the one that was making it all better, basically.
This was a family who couldn't do it on their own, and needed help...
..and it was the local community that came to the rescue,
and amazingly, in just over a week, they've completely transformed
this impractical house into a wonderful home.
By extending at the back,
we've completely re-ordered the downstairs
by creating an open-plan kitchen/diner.
It's now a new, fresh and vibrant space
with life-enhancing natural materials.
What Jason needed the most was a downstairs bedroom,
and now he has a comfortable nature-inspired room
to soothe away the stress and anxiety of daily life.
Now it will be his private room with a view.
Next to the bedroom, we've created a functional wet room
that subtly looks after their needs now
and Jason's in the future.
Leading off the kitchen is the playroom/study area
designed with Jason in mind - he now has a safe contained area
to look after the girls
in the precious time he has left with them.
The lounge has been transformed into an inviting room
for the whole family to come together
where they can feel the warmth of the new wood-burning stove.
There are gentle reminders of Jason around the room,
and Oliver's idea of the comfort blanket has come up a treat -
now the girls can snuggle up to Dad for years to come.
The whole of the downstairs is now on one level,
and all the doors have been widened, making it all wheelchair friendly.
Upstairs, we have given the bathroom a fresh new look,
and Emily deservedly has the master bedroom,
which we've turned into a rich and moody boudoir,
creating the perfect place for her to escape to.
Lily has her own bedroom all to herself
and her very first grown-up bed.
Poppy has the perfect little girl's room,
displaying bags of colour everywhere you look.
It was a bit of an effort, but we've managed to transform the garden
into a beautiful beach-themed area,
making it accessible but functional.
It's the perfect place for the whole family to relax in.
More importantly, it's a home ready to make memories to last forever.
Well, it's been a bit of a struggle, to be honest,
but it's been a good turn-out, and everybody's worked really hard
to try and give you the home that you need.
So, if you're ready -
three, two, one...
Open your eyes.
Oh, my God, where are we?
-Wow! That's amazing.
-We've added on the side of the building...
..and we've added on the back of the building,
so, essentially, that bit in there is your old house.
-None of this was here then?
-None of this was here.
It's amazing. I love the cupboards.
Look in there - wow!
Oh, my word! The girls are going to love this.
-Yes, well, playroom.
We talked about this, didn't we?
You wanted a playroom, you wanted somewhere that was safe
where you could keep all the toys,
where you could actually spend time with the girls.
I can't believe this is our house!
This is kind of an important room, this.
I don't think anybody else has asked us for a playroom before.
-Look at the stove.
And that's the blanket - these are the girl's jumpers,
and that was your cardigan.
-So, basically, you can all snuggle up together,
but it's like a...it's a family in one blanket.
Look at the panelling - the room is so different.
I'm trying to look at you and I'm trying to look at all this.
Oh, look at the pictures all over...!
Our wedding picture.
And all the flooring's the same
all the way throughout the house - it's just lovely.
-Did you notice that, walking through?
I noticed it was level.
You seem very emotional - is it the front room that's done it?
It's just all of it.
It's a bit overwhelming, in't it?
It's a bit, yeah...
It just seems more...homely.
It's just totally different.
You've got your kitchen, diner, playroom and utility room,
-but that's not all you needed downstairs, is it?
-Wow. Oh, wow.
Do you want to see something really breathtaking?
What did you do then?
-I looked at it.
-You looked at it?
-Not only that...
-That is really amazing.
There's lighting in the bathroom, the lighting in here
and the lighting in the lounge, which you can control from here.
Even as things develop with your illness,
you'll be able to stay in contact with the world
and talk to people, you'll be able to open doors,
you'll be able to move about in your own home the way you want to,
you can answer the door, you can communicate.
Future-proofing is what we're trying to do -
and this has all been built by your community.
It's amazing to think all these people have turned out
to do all this.
-Want to see the bathroom?
-It's kind of cool, isn't it?
-It's really cool.
You can't even believe the transformation.
It's like we're not even in our house.
It doesn't seem like our house at all.
This is for Poppy.
Oh, wow! Look at the bed!
And the little bears on the wall - and she's got her own toy box.
It looks really big.
Poppy is going to love it!
So, this is Poppy's. Lily's next - come this way.
I can't believe they've got separate bedrooms.
Look at the shelves.
Oh, this is amazing.
I'm... I can't believe it.
It's just overwhelming, in't it?
Emily is going to absolutely love it!
She's a real credit to you, that young lady, Emily,
and she's determined to stay and help
and be part of whatever you have to go through.
I kind of thought it was important to give her something a bit special.
It's a massive weight...a massive weight off my mind.
It's all safe and clean
and I just can't believe it's our house.
Poppy off by the door?
-Do you want to see your new bedroom?
-Go through the door.
-Go on, Poppy.
Look - you've got a little bed all of your own, a big girl's bed.
All for Poppy.
-Oh, wow. Look at this!
-Look at what you've got.
We'll have to say thank you to all the nice people
who've made us a new house, won't we? Hm?
-This is your room.
Wow. Oh, my God, it looks gorgeous.
Amazing, in't it?
Yeah, it does, it looks beautiful.
Oh, look at the chaise longue.
Well, you've had a bit of a raw end of the deal, haven't you,
since Lily and Poppy came along?
And you know we all love you to bits,
and you've really helped us out,
and you just deserve...you deserve something for you.
-I love you.
-I love you, too.
And building a house like this, as you imagine, in nine days,
the back garden becomes something of a building yard -
but it's still a beautiful view.
So, you happy to go out there?
-Absolutely, I can't wait.
-Oh, look at the decking!
-Oh, my God!
Look, Poppy, there's a fountain!
Oh, my God, there's a greenhouse.
Make your way on through.
Yeah, do you like it, Lily - our new garden?
So, what you have, the whole point of this garden,
is that when you are in your bedroom
that we were talking about earlier, and you open your bedroom windows,
those patio doors, you will be able to - even lying in bed -
you'll be able to see everything going on down here.
They're going to be all right, now. There's a huge community around.
The community's all come together to help.
It just feels like a dream.
It doesn't feel like a reality, at the moment.
I was thinking, "What had I done wrong in a former life
"to deserve all this?" And now I'm thinking,
"Well, what have I done to deserve all this?"
I clearly did something right.
Oh, I think you've done a lot right.
You only need to look at the two little girls -
in fact, all of your girls - to know that you've done something right.
Fancy meeting the builders, some of the people who've done this?
And there's quite a few of them who want to meet the family -
I can safely say, hundreds.
I just can't believe how many...
..people have come to help.
It's just absolutely fabulous,
and it's more than we could have ever dreamed of.
It's going to make life so much easier for all of us.
It's a little bit scary
what's...what's...going to come in the future, but...
..you've made it all so much easier, what's going to come for Liz and me.
Thank you isn't enough, but we can...
..we can make a lot of memories now, and not worry about the house -
and it's all because of you people.
It looks fantastic - it's so amazing.
Come and meet some of the guys.
We do decorating...
It's unimaginable how Liz has come to terms
with the diagnosis for members of the family -
and, of course, Jason has a very tough road ahead of him,
but at least what these guys have done is given them space
and the environment in which to build those all-important memories.
We just sort of bungle through life, not making memories,
not spending time telling the people we love how we feel about them.
There's something we can learn from Jason, I think.
Liz and Jason Liversidge of Hull were married in 2009 and then quickly started a new family. But shortly after Jason embarked upon doing up the house for his growing family he was diagnosed with Fabry's disease, a rare genetic condition that results in the body slowly being poisoned by a build-up of toxins. Even worse for Jason and Liz was the realisation that daughters Lily and Poppy would also have it. Then, as if things couldn't get worse, he was also diagnosed with motor neurone disease, giving him just years to live.
As his health deteriorates, all Jason longs for is a home where he can be safe to build memories so that his daughters will remember him and where Liz will have the best chance of bringing them up in the future. Enter Nick, the boys and designer Oliver Heath with an army of local tradespeople to do what they can to make their future more comfortable.