Restoration Man: Inspiration to DIY?

Watching George Clarke’s Restoration Man (C4) tonight, has inspired me to ask myself what parts of a renovation could you and more importantly should you take on yourself.

I’m sure without even watching the show you could at least take a wild stab in the dark at the plot; couple take on building, least suitable member of the couple (or the overpowering one who takes all the decisions) will project manage, money will run out, they’ll move on site, probably in a caravan, one of them will give up their jobs (never understand this one), then they’ll get pregnant at an inopportune time.

Ok, cynicism aside, and acknowledging I’ve muddled my Grand Designs plots with my Restoration Men, it looks like tonight’s installment follows the well trodden path minus only the caravan and pregnancy.

But I do admire people who get stuck in and do Do it Themselves.

Our previous house was our own little Restoration Man which ended more like a DIY SOS. We started off with trades all over the house, as a new bathroom led to a replumb of the whole central heating system as a towel rail leaked, a ceiling collapsed, and a rewire was required. So with all that being done we thought we might as well move the kitchen, refit the utility, downstairs loo, stick in some bi-fold doors, and finish off with a new ensuite.

Surprise surprise, as if the C4 homes script writers were on site with us, the economy turned, income dropped and the money ran out as the loan repayments were due. So we ended up doing a lot ourselves (and unfortunately selling up and moving on).

It was enlightening. Tough, but enlightening.

I already knew how to wire (but left that to a qualified electrician as you should), but I learned how to plumb,  how to insulate, how to tile, and how to carpet. I didn’t attempt the plastering, but there’s still time in the new house.

At the end of the day it always has to be a balance between finances, time, skills, and expected level of finish. But if you have the inclination, and the tolerance, it can bee a very rewarding journey.


Adam is the Publisher of Copse Magazine and owner of Sailfin. He spends his time hosting and making websites for other people, copywriting, and publishing white label content for other companies alongside Copse Magazine, his creative outlet. He has two children and lives in Kent in the South East of the UK.