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.
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.
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.
Hamlet limestone tiles were used to transform the kitchen floor space, which ended up with a gorgeous country farmhouse feel.
In the shower room, Rustic Metro 300×100 Tiles were used 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.
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!
RELATED: DIY SOS VETERAN VILLAGE
RELATED: DIY SOS: LOUGHBOROUGH BUILD
RELATED: DIY SOS: BASILDON PROJECT
RELATED: MANCHESTER DIY SOS: TILES PROVIDED