DIY SOS – HULL
After a tragic series of events, dad Darren was left paralysed from the waist down, then followed by the death of his wife – he was left to be the sole parent looking after his 3 sons; Harvey (14), step-son Mike (24) and adopted son Ollie (17) and who is severely disabled.
With dramatically changing needs and lifestyles, their house in Hull was unable to cope in numerous ways – leaving the family with little to be positive about.
Our challenge as designers was to find a way to create a balance of spaces within the restricted site of their home and garden- to create accessible spaces for them to be together; for eating and socialising but also quiet, personal and reflective areas.
Whilst the layout of the upper floor of the family’s home needed some adjustment to incorporate a wheelchair lift and accessible bathroom, there was little more for us to do than to introduce an interior design scheme that created respite sanctuary areas for each member of the family, with a similar approach to Ollie’s bedroom on the ground floor.
The key ground floor space that required our attention was the multi-functional kitchen dining space. Here we were keen to introduce a wood burning stove as a social focal point – one that could be seen from the accessible kitchen and timber clad dining area. Added to this was the need to create good views and easy access to the garden – where a world of opportunities opened up to us.
We saw the exterior space as a direct extension to the homes interior and one that could offer up numerous ways to be active, socialise, relax and recuperate. Central to this was a timber pergola structure that subdivided the garden separating off key active areas – including a breakfast café table, a fire pit, log chopping area, and the jacuzzi – essential for Ollie’s physiotherapy. Beyond the pergola at the far end of the garden we reinstated Darren’s shed with an accessible workbench where his tools laid out ready for action. Adjacent to that was an exterior covered dining area (to be enjoyed in all weathers, plus a hangout space for the kids – to be known as Ollie’s Bar.
Each area was further subdivided using colour and texture including the patterned garden floor tiles – which turned out to be something of an issue for one member of the build team! The pergola and surrounding planters allowed for the inclusion of gently swaying plants and flowers (many of which were reclaimed from the existing garden), plus a water feature to introduce the calming noise of water – masking the noise from a nearby dual carriageway.
It was a total pleasure to weave our wellbeing and biophilic design approach into a home in such need of attention – delivering such a wide variety of spaces. We know that updating a homes interior doesn’t fix lives or any greater problems, but it’s certainly a way to help create a happier, safer space to help boost psychological wellbeing for those suffering. We wish Darren, Harvey, Mike and Ollie all the best for the future.
This episode of DIY SOS was aired on Wednesday 3rd April at 9PM but you can catch up anytime on iPlayer.