Mel was so thrilled to be asked to join the team at DIY SOS again, this time in glorious Torquay. As with all DIY SOS programmes, the participants are truly humbling and it was a pleasure to work with Stuart, his Mum Lin and daughter Lauren.
Forty-something Stuart has progressive MS which means that for the last few years, he hadn't been able to access the first floor of his house and was essentially trapped on the ground floor of his house, sleeping in his uncomfortable reclining chair. His Mum Lin, who is registered blind, walked across town daily in order to care for Stuart. His teenage daughter Lauren managed the best she could but life was tricky. It was also extremely difficult for the family to hang out and spend time together due to the short-comings of their house with Stuart's disability.
Our brief was incredibly complex; to enable Stuart to live as independently as possible, to create a blind-friendly area for Lyn to sleep, cook and bathe in and a teenage space for Shannon, whilst ensuring that they had the opportunity to come together and be a family - without increasing the footprint of the house, as the local authority denied planning permission. It was an incredibly tricky brief and we went through over 25 iterations!
Working with a wonderful team of enthusiastic volunteers we adapted Stuart's house to include three bathrooms, two kitchens, three bedrooms and an open plan kitchen and living space to take into account two distinctive disability needs and a teenager's need for privacy.
"It feels like a home, which I don't think it ever has done. I honesty couldn't have wished for anything better than this."