A FAMILY in Perthshire say they wish they had never taken part in a television home makeover programme, after claiming the DIY experts involved ruined their 120-year-old cottage.
Colin Gibson and Judi Campbell were told their three bedroom home would be “transformed” by the team from the Channel 5 show Half Built House.
Instead, the couple say the show made them look like fools – and left them with a host of half-finished jobs that will take years to put right.
Mr Gibson, a landscape gardener, said: “The expectation was that they would be in for two weeks, and they would come in and ‘transform’ the house.
“They put in a beautiful-looking kitchen and stuck in a TV, that also looks great, on camera. But after they left, we noticed how badly their builders had done things.”
He said one builder used an industrial sander on flooring, which left it with a surface like “the Sahara Desert”. He said it looked as if the builder responsible had done it with one hand behind his back.
Mr Gibson, who lives with his hypnotherapist partner Judi and his 15-year-old son Ben, said the building team had replaced an antique handrail with a new one, which “looked like it had been fitted by a 12-year-old”.
They also fitted a cooker hood so low they banged their heads on it, painted over a window that can no longer be opened, and binned bolts to the back door, so the couple cannot lock up properly.
He said: “When we questioned them after about why it was so bad, they said they didn’t have much time. But this wasn’t 60 Minute Makeover we’d signed up for. They were here for 12 days.
“They made us look like clowns. In the advert they showed Judi cooking in the kitchen, while I’m doing DIY. It focuses on me breaking a screw.
He added: “They were trying to make me look the fool, and their team like the ‘heroes’ coming in to save us.
“We still have a freezing kitchen that’s going to go damp. We still have bare plaster and uneven floors, but even worse than before. We’re beyond angry. We feel like fools.”
The work was carried out in May, and the show was broadcast last night.
Ms Campbell, who also works as an artist, added: “We had the builders in our own home calling us liars when they disputed what we had told them at the outset. If the programme airs with us being happy with the ‘life-changing’ results, it will be a lie.
“I wake up feeling sick every morning. I have lost several kilos in weight. I am sick of showing people my makeover and having their sympathy. I just wish I could go back to how we were before.”
Mr Gibson said: “They had a budget of £15,000, and I’ve still no idea what they’ve spent it on. Sandwiches and travel expenses maybe, because it’s not been on the house. They bit off more than they could chew.
“We’ve had to spent a lot of money and a lot of time painting, trying to make up for the problems they’ve caused.
“We thought we were getting in a top crew, but instead we got Sian – an ex-landlady – and some retired firemen.”
The pair are to have a showdown meeting with the show’s producers on Friday.
A spokesman for IWC media said: “The build and design team engaged for Half Built House have worked incredibly hard to rectify as many of the DIY disasters that Ms Campbell identified to us in order to deliver a property makeover that her and her family would be happy with.”
A Channel 5 spokesman added: “At the time the make-over was completed, Ms Campbell and Mr Gibson were thrilled with the results.
“We are aware of their complaint, however are surprised as to why they now find the makeover substandard.”
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