We were approached by Redhouse Television who had been commissioned by Channel 4 to make a brand new series called “Double your house for Half the money”.
A basement which we had already been contracted to do fitted the bill perfectly and the homeowners, a smashing couple called Rob and Beth Ellis, were up for it.
The existing basement was dark, wet and dingy with very little natural light and very limited headroom. Furthermore the site access was daunting, the property was a Victorian terrace, sat high on a bank with no parking on the main road outside. In view of this we had programmed the works to take 8 weeks. We had to underpin the walls and lower the floor, create two separate rooms and a shower room, the rear room simply reopening the blocked up coal chute for a means of escape and reopening what appeared to be a blocked up door to the front. The basement was simply being left plastered and ready for decoration.
And then… wow! Sarah Beeny arrived with a head full of ideas and suggestions. I must say, Sarah is great! The ideas were excellent and made sense, not only involving ways to get more light into the basement, but rearranging and moving the Kitchen and rooms around upstairs. Mirror shaft natural daylight systems were fitted along with innovative LED wall wash lighting. This was all great until we were told that the original time frame had been cut from 8 weeks to 6 weeks and this was to fully complete the basement, including all the decoration, flooring, shower room and moving the Kitchen around upstairs.
It was a tight schedule before, and now we had all these extra works to complete and 2 weeks less to do it in. It seemed impossible, and this was before the drama of incorrect doors turning up, and various others dramas along the way. Would I do it again? Maybe, after a few glasses of wine! The major plus points being though, 2 superb basement bedrooms and shower room, and additional living space upstairs, along with the friends we made along the way, including the production crew, all in very stressful conditions.