DIY SOS is one of the most commendable shows on television. Over the years, Nick Knowles and the team have transformed and improved the lives of hundreds of people who have suffered hardships, and we are always on hand to donate tiles when we get the request. As we prepare to send tiles to the next project, we look back at some of the stories we’ve seen so far…
1) Hessle – April 2019
Nick Knowles and the DIY SOS were in Hessle, near Hull, recently to help transform the home – and lives – of Darren and his family. Walls and Floors donated 7 Sqm of White Gloss Hexagon Tiles for the project’s accessible kitchen.
Roofer Darren and his wife Sarah lived in Hessle with their three children. One of the children, Ollie, was sadly born with water on the brain and epilepsy, meaning he can’t walk or talk. His bedroom is downstairs and he requires constant care.
Due to multiple injuries during his roofing career, Darren suffered some serious nerve damage and became confined to a wheelchair. Unable to get around the house, he had to share the downstairs bedroom with his disabled son.
On boxing day morning, the youngest son found that Sarah, his mother, had sadly passed away. This left Darren to care for the three children, which led to the oldest son quitting his career with the Navy to help out around the house, since it’s so inaccessible.
Sounds like a job for the DIY SOS team!
The big build
That’s where Nick Knowles, DIY SOS, and their enormous army of volunteers came into the picture – to transform the inaccessible home into a usable space with lower kitchen units, a wheelchair friendly garden, a man cave annex and a Jacuzzi with a winch, and a lift between the two storeys, to allow Darren to reclaim his upstairs bedroom, and move him out of his son’s room.
It was a huge task, but the team managed to pull it off. The kitchen, in particular, was a huge success. Its new lower units mean that Darren now has the ability to cook for his family once again; with a specially adapted hob that drops down to wheelchair height.
In the completely renovated (and totally accessible) new kitchen space, the DIY SOS team installed a splashback of trendy Gloss White Hexagon Tiles. We donated 7 Sqm to the project, from our stylish Rokkakkei Hexagon Tile collection.
They create a highly attractive backdrop to the kitchen space. More importantly, they act as an easily wipeable surface that catches any specks of pan fat or moisture from the hob or sink.
As always, we’re incredibly impressed with the work that DIY SOS, and are always extremely happy to provide the materials they need to carry out their incredible craft.
RELATED: TOP 10 HEXAGON TILES
2) Grenfell – September 2018
DIY SOS recently completed a couple of builds for the Grenfell community. Walls and Floors donated over 100 Sqm of Metro Tiles for the projects.
You may have caught the two-part DIY SOS: Grenfell special on BBC1 recently. Across the two episodes, Nick Knowles and the team completed a couple of incredible builds for the Grenfell Community.
The project came a year after the Grenfell tower fire, in which 72 people lost their lives; a tragedy that had left the community shattered.
In an attempt to aid the community in getting the right help, and in having a place to get together, talk, and begin to re-build their lives, the DIY SOS team set out to create two community spaces.
Firstly, they set their sights on the Dale Youth Amateur Boxing Club; a sports-focused youth centre which, for the last 45 years, has been run by trainer Mick.
Though it’s churned out some successful athletes, it’s much more than just a boxing club; it’s a place for keeping kids off the streets, and teaching them how to work hard, stay focused, and achieve their goals.
The Dale Youth Boxing Club did have a home on the second floor of the Grenfell tower itself, but like so many things that fateful day, it was lost to the inferno.
Following the disaster, the Dale Youth Amateur Boxing Club relocated to an underground car park. But it was a dark, dismal place, with lots of moving cars nearby, so the club needed its own space again.
That’s where Nick Knowles and the rest of the DIY SOS team stepped in. Acquiring a plot of land beneath the A40 dual carriageway, they set to work creating a state of the art boxing centre with plenty of exercise machinery, training equipment, a full size ring, and a viewing platform so that the parents and guardians can observe.
We were approached by the design team and asked if we’d be able to provide tiles for the shower rooms. Like with the past projects we’ve provided tiles for, were only too happy to help out, and we sent an assignment of smooth metro tiles.
Mick, the trainer at the youth club, was delighted with the completed project – as were the kids that make so much of it.
Next, the team turned their attention to building a community centre for the Grenfell community at large.
Standing right beside the brand new premises for the Dale Youth Amateur Boxing Club, the community centre would be a place where locals could get together, talk, have counselling, host events, play games, cook, get creative with artwork – and mostly be in good company, grow, and recuperate.
A steel framework went up, and the team started working their magic, with the help of another army of volunteers.
Part way through the build, the team had a royal visitor in the form of Prince William, who dropped by to see how the project was coming along, and to talk to some of the Grenfell community members that tragically lost loved ones in the fire.
When it came to fitting out the community centre’s toilet facilities, the DIY SOS team reached out to us once again.
We happily agreed to supply some more smooth metro tiles since they’re stylish, versatile, and completely timeless.
The Grenfell community poured into the centre upon its unveiling, and seemed to be very happy with its many rooms and possible functions.
Across the two Grenfell projects – the reborn Dale Youth Amateur Boxing Club and the brand new community centre – we think the DIY SOS team did an incredible job in helping to inject some hope back into the community, and we’re very proud to have been a part of it.
RELATED: TOP 10 BATHROOM WALL TILES
3) Veteran Village Revisited – November 2017
Three years ago, Nick Knowles and the rest of the DIY SOS team took over Canada Street – a row of derelict houses in Manchester – and began its transformation into ‘Veteran Village’. Now, they’re back to finish the project, and we were happy to heed the call for tiles…
When we last saw the project in Manchester, with the help of an army of volunteers and donations from companies far and wide, the DIY SOS team had transformed most of the street into ‘Veteran Village’ – a place for ex-servicemen to recover, re-train and re-build their lives in a safe, stable, and well-equipped environment. Princes William and Harry even turned up to muck in with the hard work! Now, the team have returned to Manchester to complete the Veteran Village, and to build a home for Simon Flores.
Simon served with the Royal Green Jackets and the Rifles. Sadly, when his vehicle came under attack in Iraq, he lost a foot, and was discharged from service. Now, Simon lives as a single dad with his three children. He struggled to attend to their needs in his small house in Oldham. That’s why DIY SOS got involved – to renovate an extra house in Canada Street so that the Veteran Village could welcome Simon and his children into the community!
Once again, here at Walls and Floors, we were honoured to be approached for the tiles for this incredible project, and we happily provided everything the designers required to help bring this fantastic house together.
In the bathroom above, we provided Wood Effect Tiles on the floor. They have an anti slip finish, so they’re perfect for adding extra safety for Simon and his family as they get in and out of the bath and shower.
On the walls, we provided Teal Rustic Metro Tiles, which give the room a characterful vintage look, with their charming bumpy surface. The riven gloss finish really catches the light and accentuates the rustic surface.
As Nick Knowles showed Simon around his new home, he was particularly taken by the bathroom, with it’s striking look and all it’s enabling features to help Simon with his disability; such as the walk in shower and its seat.
We are very proud to have had the opportunity to be part of this project which has already changed so many lives, and will continue to transform lives moving forwards.
4) Bristol – June 2017
The DIY SOS team are at it again! This time, they’re in Bristol to help renovate the home of Ryan; a 24 year old with brain damage, who has spent the last 5 years living in hospital. With this transformation, and with some stylish tiles from Walls and Floors, it’s time for this young man to come home!
DIY SOS to the rescue!
Ryan was a regular young man living with his parents and three siblings in their Bristol home. One day, he started to get blurred vision and bad headaches. After weeks of this, Ryan was rushed to hospital for an emergency operation on a blocked ventricle. He was partially paralysed, and had lost control of his breathing and swallowing. They transferred him to the nearest neurological specialist, which is 50 miles away, and Ryan has lived there ever since.
His home is just not equipped for him to live there, so his mother spends 5 hours each day travelling on public transport to see him. That’s where the DIY SOS come into it. Nick Knowles and the gang are on hand to transform the family home, to adapt it for Ryan’s needs, so that he can return home and be with his loved ones.
When we were asked to donate some tiles, we were delighted to help out! We’ve provided to DIY SOS projects a dozen times in the past, and we were happy to help again.
Bathroom Beauty: Marble Effect Hexagon Tiles
For the family bathroom, where Ryan’s parents relax and unwind, we provided our extremely trendy Marble Hexagon Decor Tiles. They have a raised, geometric, 3D design in a realistic marble effect finish. They really add a stroke of glamour to the walls!
For the floors, to continue the gorgeous natural scheme, we provided Aged Wood Effect Tiles, which have a lifelike wooden look.
In the kitchen: Inverted Metro Tiles
In the kitchen, to help the team cook up a storm, we donated some refreshing white Inverti Metro Tiles. These fab ceramic brick shaped tiles have a dipped centre with a raised edge; a little bit like miniature photo frames. The DIY SOS designer, Gabrielle Blackman, used these tiles to create a stylish splashback behind the work surfaces.
Ryan and his family were thrilled with the finished results, and the team’s hard work paid off! Ryan returned home from the hospital and now lives much more comfortably in the presence of his parents and siblings!
5) Telford – June 2017
Nick Knowles and the DIY SOS team were recently in Telford to help transform the home of Matthew; a 12 year old cancer patient who has been unable to live at home for the past three years. Walls and Floors donated tiles to the project…
DIY SOS in Telford: Meet Matthew
If you’ve never seen BBC One’s DIY SOS: The Big Build before, the premise is simple. The team finds families in need across the UK, and it transforms their homes into more functional spaces. Nick Knowles and the gang recently were in Telford, to help out Matthew and his family.
Matthew is a cancer patient, who suffered a stroke as a result of his illness, which has confined him to a wheelchair. As a result, he has very special requirements of his surroundings, so he has been living in hospital for the past three years; unable to live at home.
Finding out about this, the DIY SOS team moved in to build a new extension on the house and create a downstairs space where Matthew can play, sleep, wash, and entertain his guests! The team even transformed the garden to make it wheelchair friendly!
Walls and Floors Provide the Tiles
When the DIY SOS designers got in touch to see if we’d be willing to donate tiles again, we were more than happy to provide them with what they needed. Tiles were needed to create a kitchen splashback, as well as being required in the family bathroom and Matthew’s specially adapted wet room.
For the kitchen, we suggested some stylish hexagon marble mosaic tiles. Made from natural marble, they fit in perfectly with the trend of ‘bringing the outdoors in’.
In the main bathroom, to help create a soothing sanctuary scheme where Matthew’s family could relax and unwind, we provided some Aquarelle Tiles. These brick shaped tiles have a green hue, which again help to enforce that relaxing natural appearance.
In Matthew’s very own bathroom, we new we needed to provide something very special, so we sent our Hexa-Cube 3D Hexagon Tiles. These patterned wall tiles have a raised surface with a geometric cubic design. They created a stunning set of feature walls in Matthew’s bathroom.
The Big Reveal: A Thrilled Matthew
When Matthew’s parents were shown around the newly renovated house and garden, they were thrilled at the transformation! They brought him home from the hospital and showed him around his new home, where he could now stay with his loving family, instead of having to sleep in a hospital bed.
Once again, we here at Walls and Floors are immensely proud to have been given the opportunity to work with DIY SOS to make such a difference in a family’s lives.
6) Cheltenham – September 2016
In a recent episode of DIY SOS, Nick Knowles and the team were in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire to help improve the life of disabled 17-year-old Scott Jones. As ever, Walls and Floors were on hand to help out.
Having been incredibly sporty growing up, Scott enjoyed rugby, and had just taken up athletics when tragedy struck. Following the removal of a tumour inside his ear, Scott suffered 3 strokes in the space of 5 months. He couldn’t speak, he couldn’t swallow, and he couldn’t sit up unaided.
Now, Scott has regained his ability to speak, but a series of seizures have left him confined to a wheelchair. He struggles with taking in new information, and he can only write backwards. However, he has not lost his love for sports, and trains constantly in rowing, with views to compete in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics!
A helping hand from DIY SOS
His home, which was built in the 1960s, was very restrictive for a person living with disabilities. Scott’s wheelchair couldn’t fit into certain rooms, such as the downstairs toilet, so he was having to drag himself around on the floor. It was time for a change, and the DIY SOS team were keen to provide it. They set to work creating a home capable of reuniting Scott with his independence. They added an extension, lowered the kitchen units, and more accessible bathroom with a wet room. The whole house went through a re-wire, and all the lighting and heating can now be controlled via a mobile, meaning that Scott has control of the house in the palm of his hand, without having to move from the spot.
Cork Tiles: The perfect cushioned floor
Scott occasionally navigates the floor without the aid of his wheelchair, so the flooring would have to be fairly cushioned for comfort, whilst at the same time firm, to allow the wheels of Scott’s chair to pass over them without causing damage. That’s where Walls and Floors come into the story. When the DIY SOS designer, Shaun, approached us to ask for some flooring to use throughout the ground floor of the house, we were very happy to assist.
We decided to provide cork tiles. Whilst being very trendy (they regularly appear in Ideal Home and good Homes Magazine), they’re also quite soft upon impact. We sent 90 Sqm to the DIY SOS team, and the tiles were used them to cover the floor spaces throughout the ground floor of Scott’s new and improved home. They provide a warm and trendy base to the stylish new look.
The DIY SOS team also created a chill out space for Scott’s mum in the form of a small, relaxed sewing room. Our cork tiles were used to create a contemporary pinboard wall where she can pin any notes or keepsakes.
Moving out into the garden, the team created an outdoor gym with easily accessible weights and machinery, to help Scott train for his dream of winning gold in the Tokyo 2016 paralympics. Best of all, the team managed to secure Scott some funding for the next games! Scott has got his sights set on gold!
The big reveal
Scott was overwhelmed as Nick Knowles showed him around his adapted home. He loved the outdoor training space, which will help him move towards to dream of winning gold. He especially loved his new, accessible kitchen, which now has lowered units that allow him to cook for his family.
We here at Walls and Floors are happy to have contributed to this project. We’re glad to have helped improve the life of this spectacular young man. We look forward to seeing him win gold in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
7) Hopesay – June 2016
Walls and Floors have donated tiles to several DIY SOS projects in the past, but the recent episode filmed in Hopesay, Shropshire, held one of the most heart-wrenching stories yet. When we heard it, we knew we had to get involved, and we donated hexagon tiles, natural stone, and some metros.
Joe and Jess married in 2007. He was a firefighter, and she was a teacher. Together, they had a daughter, Lucy. In 2011, whilst house hunting, Jess fell in love with a cottage in the Shropshire hills. In they moved, and it was a dream come true. They could hear the birds singing in the trees outside, and the nearby brook running, and it seemed like paradise.
However, when winter came around, they noticed lots of damp and condensation on the inside of the house, and mold quickly began to grow. The brook beside their home flooded due to excessive rain; causing damage to the cottage.
To make matters worse, Joe sustained some serious injuries whilst fighting a blaze. A stairwell collapsed beneath him and he prolapsed a disc in his back. Following this, in 2014, Joe was involved in a collision whilst travelling in the fire engine. This left his back so damaged that he’s been unable to work since.
A turn for the worse
One day, Jess came home from the school she taught at complaining of exhaustion. And she didn’t get any less tired. Within days, she was fighting for her life in hospital. The doctors revealed that she had acute leukaemia and a septicaemia infection. She remained in hospital whilst Joe traveled home to attempt to contact her family. When he arrived home he got a call. The hospital said, ‘you better get back here quick.’ He and Lucy got to see her sit up and look at them once last time, and then she lay back down and went to sleep. Shortly after, she passed away.
Joe had to break the news to Lucy. He said, ‘You know mummy’s not been well? She’s gone up to heaven.’ Heart-breakingly, Lucy asked, ‘Is she coming back?’
Joe committed to finish repairing the house in Jess’ memory. He and Lucy moved into a caravan in the garden, whilst he stripped out the house. But set-back after set-back occurred on the build, and the father and daughter remained stranded in the caravan, which felt more and more crammed and crowded by the day. They needed a lifeline, and they got one!
Nick Knowles and the team arrived with an army of unpaid workers and tradesmen – some of whom traveled for two hours daily to help get the job done! Plasterers, electricians, plumbers, builders, roofers and landscapers all set to work bringing the half-renovated cottage back to full health. The team even re-enforced the brook beside the home, to prevent it from causing further flood damage.
Natural tiles for the kitchen
Hamlet limestone tiles were used to transform the kitchen floor space, which ended up with a gorgeous country farmhouse feel.
Herringbone patterns and hexagon tiles
Rustic Metro 300×100 Tiles were used in the shower room to create a captivating herringbone pattern; a popular tile layout for 2016 and beyond!
In the family bathroom, Contour hexagon tiles were used to create a striking statement floor, which gave the room all the character it could ever need.
These Contour Hexagon Tiles have a captivating geometric design; ideal for creating a room-stealing statement floor in any space throughout the house.
Hexagon tiles are a major interior design trend right now, so we were ensuring that Joe had the latest look in his new bathroom!
A big thank you
After the tour of the house, a delighted father and daughter were brought outside to thank the crowd of workmen and suppliers who had helped to transform their shell of a cottage into a home. Finally, they can move out of the caravan, and into the dream cottage that Jess had loved so much.
Joe said, ‘You have turned it round for me and Lucy. I was in my caravan back in October, and you get to a point where you lose your job, which is bad enough, but then you lose the person you love. And then you lose your house. It’s difficult to see which way is up in the end. It’s staggering what you’ve done for us. You should, all of you, walk tall, with a spring in your step, because you have saved somebody’s life. You really have. When you go home tonight, go up to the people you love, and you cuddle them. And you tell them that you love them with every single bone in your body, and that you will until the day you die. Thank you all so much.’
You are very welcome, Joe and Lucy!
8) Veteran Village – Manchester – October 2015
In their most ambitious project to date, the DIY SOS team acquired a street in Manchester. Nick Knowles and the team moved in to transform several of the properties into homes for veterans – the Veteran Village. Walls and Floors have provided the tiles…
An introduction to the Veteran Village Project
Across Britain, there are tens of thousands of veterans who bare the mental and physical scars of their time in service. After spending time in army conditions, with comrades watching their backs 24/7, many servicemen find it difficult to readjust to civilian life. What these men need is a community where they can live together, and look out for one another. That’s where DIY SOS come in. They plan to create the Veteran Village out of a derelict street in Manchester – a support centre to help servicemen overcome their post-service struggles, and a place to live whilst they re-train, ready to head back into the forces.
One trades person summed the spirit of the project up perfectly: ‘Anybody who signed up for the forces at any time is one bit of paper away from being posted to a battlefront. And the people we are doing this for have seen things that we will never comprehend, we will never see. And they have to live with that afterward. So if it means me having two weeks off to give something back to those who have given so much to the country, that’s a small price in my book.’
A royal visit: Prince William and Prince Harry get stuck in
Mid-way through the project, and for the first time ever, a DIY SOS project was visited by royalty. Prince Harry and William, the Duke of Cambridge, requested to visit the street, to see all the fantastic work taking place. As veterans themselves, the two princes turned up to see the project with their own eyes. They met with Nick, were introduced to the team, and were shown around the homes as they entered their final stages of completion. Productivity came to a halt as the volunteers greeted the princes.
Talking with a tradesman, Prince Harry pointed out that there are 620’000 empty homes around the UK and that with the housing crisis, it’s time councils look to the work happening there in Manchester, and start to get the derelict houses up and running again.
Nick took Prince William into one the training house, as he was keen to get stuck in. This is the open living space where veterans such as Jack Lamb can live together with others as they re-train for new careers outside of the army. William was given the task of correcting a mis-coat on the walls, and was given a paint tray and a roller. The prince got to work immediately.
Prince Harry was taken into John’s garden to help Adam and Julian lay some paving slabs, so that John and his son Noah will have a patio area where they can sit and enjoy their outdoor space.
The training house reveal
Following the princes’ visit, the team finally had two of the properties finished and ready to handover to veterans. Firstly, the training house was completed – the building where veterans can live together whilst training. As you step into the training house, you’re greeted with the living room. With its navy-blue wall and wooden shelving display, it helps create an exclusive, gentlemanly vibe; dotted with fresh greens and trendy cacti.
The team created a stylish wet room for the veterans to wash, relax and unwind in; alive with striking geometric Moroccan tiles.
In the kitchen, light colours have been used to create a refreshing, soothing scheme. For the splashback that surrounds the sink, cooker and work surfaces, designer Gabby chose bumpy square tiles to help create a charming, aged, vintage look.
Jack Lamb, who took a bullet to the head, and suffers from depression and PTSD, is the first resident of the training house. He will live there whilst learning to become an electrician. In Jack’s stylish bedroom, more cacti have been stood on the shelf above the bed, and on the bedside table, a framed photograph of his girlfriend Jennifer waits for him.
Jack, who was taken back by the kindness, dedication and generosity of all involved, said: ‘It feels good that people have donated this. This proves they care. I know I have a brain injury, but this is going to 100% give me the opportunity to make the best of myself.’
John’s house is revealed
John Broge, a tank commander who recently separated from his wife after suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, has also been invited to live in the community. He’s been given his own house; a place where he can bring his son Noah. Moving through the house, we see that the colours are muted, to help with John’s anxiety. Just around the corner from the living room, there’s a study where John can re-train, and his medals are proudly displayed.
Noah, his three year old son, loves bath time; so the team have created a well-tiled bathroom that he can enjoy a good splash in. Marble tiles have been used to help waterproof the walls.
In the kitchen, large white wall tiles have been used as a splashback to help creating a feeling of space, and room to breathe. They help to add a refreshed, rejuvenated feel to the room, and go perfectly with the copper tap.
In the garden, Adam Scott (seven-time winner of gold at the Chelsea Flower Show) has added a water feature, as the soft trickling of water can help to soothe anxiety. He’s also created an outdoor dining area where John can relax and entertain. Earlier on, Adam suggested that gardening might be a way for John to overcome his PTSD. For this reason, he has built raised beds full of plants, for John to tend.
Tucked into the corner of the garden is a play zone for John’s son Noah to enjoy; complete with sandpit and toy JCB.
Upstairs, as John has trouble sleeping, his room has been soundproofed to block out any noise that might make him anxious. Across the hall, a bedroom for Noah has been created, so that he can stay with his father.
John said: ‘This is just amazing. You get to a state where you just neglect yourself, and this will help. I definitely won’t be here. I’ll be happy here. Happy here and I shall be proud.’ And when shown Noah’s bedroom: ‘This is just awesome. Great for him to have his own room. He’s gonna love it here.’
There you have it – another great success from the DIY SOS team. One of our directors said, ‘DIY SOS do such a great job helping deserved family’s, we are proud to support them in their efforts and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. At Walls and Floors, we all believe that giving back to our communities is so important.’
9) Epsom – July 2015
The new series of DIY SOS finds Nick Knowles and the team helping out a family in need in Epsom. When we heard the story of Ben and Sam Laws, a pair of paramedics with incredibly stressful living conditions, we were only too happy to provide some of our much-loved splitface mosaic tiles. In case you missed the episode, here’s the story…
Ben and Sam Laws are a busy working couple who have dedicated their lives to helping others. They’re both paramedics for the London ambulance service, and are out daily, saving lives. But when they get home, the caring doesn’t stop.
6 years ago, after the birth of their first child Olivia, baby Ewan was born. But the new arrival came with some devastating news. The doctors described it as a massive brain trauma. Later, little Ewan was diagnosed with quadroplegic cerebral palsy, which limits his movement, speech and development. Despite this, Ewan has grown to be a friendly, cheerful boy.
Because of his limited mobility, Ewan constantly likes to know that his parents are around. He spends a lot of time in the living room watching TV – so he often calls out for his mum, when she’s in the kitchen. He can’t see her because of the walls in the way – thus, knocking them through to create an open-plan downstairs living area would be a life-changing improvement.
There is no mobility access to the garden, which is reachable only by steps – so the outdoor space is off grounds for Ewan, who is therefore mostly confined to the house. He doesn’t get to experience the outdoors and nature.
Ewan is starting to get too big for them to carry him around – but for now, the Law parents still have to lug him upstairs to bed each night. To reassure him when he’s sleeping, Ewan sleeps in the double bed wit either Sam or Ben, who take it in turns to sleep with Ewan whilst the other sleeps alone in the single bed. The last time the couple shared a bed was six years ago.
The DIY SOS designer, Oliver, wanted to introduce a natural theme into the décor scheme. Ewan’s mother, Sam, spoke about how she sometimes felt imprisoned by their living conditions. To counteract that, Oliver wanted to introduce a theme of natural harmony. Therefore, he decided his wall and floor coverings would mostly consist of natural stone and wood effects; some gorgeous, defined natural textures.
When it came to planning out the living area space, he took on board the comments that Ewan felt distressed when he couldn’t see his mother from the living area. Therefore, Oliver decided to rip out most of the walls – creating a huge open-plan space – just leaving one wall in place to help section off the living area a little – a wall you can walk the whole way around, with a fantastic log burner sitting in the middle of it. This wall was coated front and back in our black slate splitface tiles – adding a defined, characterful look whilst injecting that all-important natural appearance into the lounge (and the kitchen/diner area behind it).
Outside, the DIY SOS team built a ramp leading from the raised decking at the back of the house, down onto the ground level; allowing Ewan to get into the garden in his wheelchair. Oliver, the designer, also had the Laws’ old shed moved, to be used as a playroom for the children.
Dozens of workmen teamed up to build a timber-framed extension on the side of the house. Into this, they were able to relocate Ewan’s bedroom from upstairs to downstairs, meaning his parents will no longer have to lug him upstairs every night for bedtime. Not only this, but they also get their own bed back after sleeping apart for six years. Furthermore, the team were able to create an accessible downstairs bathroom / wet room area for Ewan; kitted out with stylish hexagon mosaic tiles.
In Sam and Ben’s bedroom, sticking with the natural theme, Oliver had a gorgeous wood effect backing fixed to the wall behind the headboard – reaching all the way up to the ceiling – once again injecting that wholesome, soothing, natural feeling. To create this look in your home, try using Oak Tiles.
When Ben and Sam opened their eyes are were faced with their new open-plan downstairs area (with splitface-laden divider), they were beyond words; a speechlessness that continued as Nick showed them around the house.
The team provided the couple with a tablet – connected to which is a camera in Ewan’s room – meaning they can keep an eye on him whilst relaxing together in their own room. The newly-built wet room was another highlight for the couple; meaning that, in time, Ewan could have some independence. Outside in the garden, Oliver the designer had an external kitchen area fitted; meaning the family could cook, eat and entertain outdoors in the summertime; embracing the newly-accessible garden that the whole family can now enjoy.
Once again, Nick and the DIY SOS team have excelled at rapidly improving the lives of a very deserving family. Not only will the transformation improve the lifestyle of a severely disabled boy, but it will also help to renew the couple’s distanced marriage.
10) Loughborough – July 2015
Nick Knowles and the DIY SOS: Big Build team are back – and this time, they’re in Loughborough, helping the Corn family – Mark and Jenny and their three daughters; 3-year-old Abigail and 2-year-old twins Emelia and Katie. The project designer approached us at Walls and Floors, and asked if we could provide some tiles for the bathroom renovation. Of course, we were only too happy to help out, and provided some stylish Blue Hexagonal Mosaic Tiles.
Mark met cancer survivor Jenny on holiday, back in 2003. They fell in love, and started trying for children; resulting in rounds of fertility treatment, and the devastation of giving birth to stillborn twins. At last, their miracle baby, Abigail, was born. Shortly after, Jenny fell pregnant again – with twins, this time. Born unexpectedly at home on the bathroom floor, Emelia and Katie were two months premature, and required some resuscitation upon birth.
The identical twins were diagnosed with achondroplasia; a form of dwarfism which means their limbs are slightly out of proportion, and that they will always be fairly short. Along with achondroplasia comes numerous medical complications, such as bowing legs and breathing difficulties. As a result of this, the home has become overrun with medical equipment – including bulky oxygen cannisters which are needed for the twins at night; especially Emelia, who has chronic lung disease.
With little storage space, the home has become cluttered and cramped, with no room for the girls to run around in. As the twins grow older, and remain to be short, their independence in the home will be drastically limited, unless the house can be adapted to their height. With Mark being diagnosed with aggressive bowel and liver cancer back in 2013, the family deserved a little help in improving their home into a space that works for them all. Cue the entrance of the DIY SOS: Big Build team!
Nick Knowles and the team moved in, and the Corn family moved out. The DIY SOS team had just 9 days to complete an incredible renovation, which would include extending the house to give Mark and Jenny an enlarged bedroom to relax in at the end of their day – and extending the living area to give the girls additional room to play and run around in. With their army of 60 local tradesmen volunteers, and dozens of different suppliers chipping in with all the materials and accessories they could ever need, the team set to work transforming the home.
When Mark and Jenny came home and were shown around the house, they were shocked at what a fantastic job the team had done – transforming their home from top to bottom.
The kitchen, dining room and living area had all been updated with stylish new fittings in a free-flowing, spacious, open-plan design – giving their little ones much more freedom to move around in. In the kitchen, thinking ahead, bespoke low-level work surfaces were been fitted, with slide-out anti-slip steps beneath; allowing the twins the reach to make full use of the kitchen when they get a little older.
Upstairs, in the bathroom, the controls of the shower unit had been lowered so that the twins could reach them easily. Also, steps had been built in, leading up to the bath tub – allowing the twins (when they’re a little older) the independence to get in and out of the tub without any assistance. On these steps, our Blue Hexagonal Mosaic Tiles have been used – adding a trendy, contemporary and fresh finish. Mosaics, depending on the design, tend to offer an anti-slip finish; so the twins will be perfectly safe making their way in and out of the bath.
Moving outside, the garden has been renovated too – perfect for playing in and enjoying all summer long. The team even installed an awesome teepee playhouse at the bottom of the garden, as a cool hangout for the three young sisters.
We’re sure you’ll agree that the DIY SOS team, once again, did a fantastic job! Well done, guys!
11) Basildon – October 2014
Earlier this year, Walls and Floors donated 12 Sqm of White Glass Tiles to a DIY SOS project in Basildon, Essex, which was helping a family with a severely epileptic son.
Earlier this year, BBC One’s flagship home renovation show, DIY SOS, visited a family in Basildon, Essex. Jenny and Steve are two devoted parents who were struggling to raise their nine-year-old son, Brandon. He suffers from a severe form of epilepsy, and can experience between 20 and 30 fits every single day; often vomiting during them.
It began when he was just 2 and a half months old. He’d roll his eyes back and hold his breath. There are no specific triggers, and they can happen at any time; leaving Jenny and Steve constantly by his side, to ensure he doesn’t hurt himself. One strong fit, Steve explained, could kill the boy. A few years ago, they resorted to brain surgery. Although the outlook was initially positive, his condition quickly deteriorated again, and the surgery made no difference.
Since Brandon’s fits continue through the night, which can be very dangerous due to the vomiting, Jenny and Steve must take turns to stay up with him. Because Brandon is too heavy to carry upstairs, he must sleep downstairs on the sofa.
Whilst struggling with Brandon, these devoted parents also have to juggle two other children – baby Rosie, and 5-year-old Katie. Katie acts as her parents’ little helper – bringing the sick bowl when they need it, and holding Brandon’s head.
When Nick Knowles and the team showed up, the family were living in a house that did not suit their needs. There were hard floors, on which Brandon could bang his head – and sharp corners, meaning he was unable to wander alone. They needed a more practical space, with a downstairs bedroom and wet room for Brandon to wash and sleep in – with padded walls and floors to prevent him from being hurt.
The DIY SOS team set to work – following the plans of their brand new designer, Naomi Cleaver. For twenty years she’s been designing and building homes and holiday villas all over the world – so she should have some fantastic ideas on how to transform this home into a practical, safe place for this young family to grow into.
During the week, the family went to stay at a children’s hospice – a place they visit two times a year, to get a break from Brandon’s strenuous care routine. Whilst they were safely out of the way, the team and their army of volunteers stripped out the bottom floor of the family home and started construction on the single-floor extension, where Brandon’s brand new bedroom and wet room would be. This also meant re-arranging the kitchen; giving it new units and a stylish new look. When we were approached by the DIY SOS designer and told about Brandon’s story, we were only too happy to help out.
We gave them the full pick of our website, and they chose our designer Glass Brick Tiles for the kitchen area. We sent them down to Basildon straight away.
The week went by, and the day of the big reveal arrived. Jenny and Steve were brought into their newly renovated home. As they looked around, they were delighted with the new look of the kitchen. The mix of shimmering cream units, oak worktops, and our glass brick tiles made them stuck for words.
The pale backdrop our Clear White Glass Brick Tiles create is perfect for accessorizing with bright, bold colours. See how perfectly they are complemented by these bright orange flowers.
When used with water resistant adhesive and grout, these Glass Brick Tiles make for a perfect splashback behind a sink or hob! Splashbacks are easily-wipeable surfaces, made to catch any moisture or pan fat.
Using our tiles as the stylish backdrop, the DIY SOS design team were able to piece together a warm, inviting homely feeling that this young family can enjoy for years to come.
We are very happy that our contribution has helped to make this family that little bit happier – and hope that the DIY SOS renovation will make their lives and struggle with Brandon’s condition a lot easier.
12) Manchester – March 2014
DIY SOS has been going since 1999. One of the BBC’s most popular shows, it travels across the UK each year, in search of deserving families who are desperately in need of home renovation. The DIY SOS team, fronted by presenter Nick Knowles, comes in and – with the help of a few dozen volunteers – transforms the house from top to bottom; installing some of the latest gadgets and gizmos along the way.
The family in question
In this particular episode, the team were in Manchester, helping a young couple who certainly have their hands full! Rebecca and Steve are the parents of a very lively set of triplets! Archie, Isobel and Grace are definitely a handful – and with Steve working away for three weeks out of a month, Rebecca is left to cope on her own a lot of the time. But the house is in no fit state, and is full of hazards! It’s often cold, and there is damp on the walls. The cupboard doors often fall off, and the rest of the house is in shabby condition, too. But fear not – the DIY SOS team were on the case!
When we found out about this very deserving family, we were keen to help out! Here at Walls and Floors, we have admired the charitable work of DIY SOS for years, and have provided them with tiles in the past! We gave their highly-experienced interior designer the pick of our website. We said she could have whatever she wanted, to help out with this Big Build project.
The finished product
The designer made some very stylish choices. For the kitchen, she chose the Smoke Grey Tiles from our Glass Brick Mosaic collection! These miniature brick-bond pieces will bring a compact and contemporary look to any room!
Secondly, for the bathroom, the designer chose our these Beige Linear Tiles from our selection of Willow Tiles. Made by British Ceramic Tile, they will effortlessly bring a bright new look to your walls!
Wanting to add some colour to the utility room, the designer chose our captivating and modernistic St James Park 150×75 Metro Brick Tiles! They really brought the small space to life!
Another helping hand
Following our contribution to the project in Manchester, we were invited to help out again. We were more than willing!
The interior designer browsed our site for a couple of days; carefully looking over each range, and expertly sifting out which tiles would look good with the theme of the house. What would fit best? A glass tile? A ceramic one? Natural stone, wood effect? Eventually, she came back to us, wanting a couple of different colours from our selection of Glass Brick Tiles.
They are an extremely trendy and contemporary choice. They take the conventional, sought-after metro look, and take it that step further. The plate of colour wrapped in a cool glass shell adds a highly stylish and modernistic finish to any wall.
We shipped them off to the site of the Big Build, and waited to hear back. The next we heard from them, they’d received the tiles and were ecstatic about them. They said they looked even better in person than on the website!
The big reveal
Having contributed to the build, we were invited down to attend the big reveal! We were delighted. We met Nick Knowles and the rest of the team, and were taken down to the house to meet the family. They were overwhelmed as they came out of the house – and were clearly touched by the contributions of all the suppliers and volunteers who had taken part, and come together to make this renovation possible.
After the filming had finished, the family made their way around the crowd; meeting everyone who had helped out with the project. We spoke to the father, and explained that we had provided the tiles. He shook our hands and said how much he’d liked them, and how grateful he was.
Having also supplied tiles to a 60 Minute Makeover project, we never get over how warming and touching it is to see the gratitude of a very deserving family, after their home has been revealed – and we are always very glad we took part. We look forward to working with these shows again in the future, to help bring more happiness into the lives of people who have gone through very hard and difficult times.