DIY SOS: The Big Build – A Helping Hand from Walls and Floors!

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.

diy sos basildon big build

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.


Did you catch the episode on TV? It was on BBC One on Tuesday 21st October 2014. You can catch it on iPlayer here: DIY SOS: The Big Build in Basildon. What did you think to the renovation? Did you like the finished effect in the kitchen? Let us know over on Facebooktwitter or Google+ or leave a comment below!



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