Jennifer Byrne, PJ Gallagher, Michal Dachowski. THE BIG DIY CHALLENGE RTE ONE Image Name: Jennifer Byrne, PJ Gallagher, Michal Dachowski. THE BIG DIY CHALLENGE RTE ONE
Jennifer Byrne, PJ Gallagher, Michal Dachowski. Image Name: Jennifer Byrne, PJ Gallagher, Michal Dachowski.

From whole room renovations to outdoor construction projects, the show’s DIY-ers test their mettle for the chance to win the grand prize of €10,000. The competition is fierce, but only one can be crowned Ireland’s Best DIY-er. Providing tips and advice for the viewers (and a critical eye on the projects) are two judges, TU Dublin Lecturer in Construction, Jennifer Byrne, and representing Woodie’s DIY, power tool aficionado Michal Dachowski. These two will have the tough decision of choosing a winner and awarding the cash prize as well as additional prizes for Best Small Job, Best Inside Job, Best Outside Job, Best Upcycle, and of course, the Best DIY Fail.

Presenter PJ Gallagher said: “I can wire a plug but generally I’ve always had ornamental hands and only dream of one day making something useful… like a breadboard. I’m really looking forward to meeting my fellow DIY fans around the country and even more so I’m hoping to see some really original projects… and even some epic fails! A friend of mine is building a hen house in the shape of the GPO, I’d love to see something cool like that win.”

Sponsored by Woodie’s DIY

DIY-er: Maccullin Skelly  (20) – Lusk, Co.Dublin
Occupation: Student

Maccullin is our youngest DIY contestant who loves taking on any DIY project he can get his hands on! His chosen project is for his mother, she’s always dreamed of having a wooden gazebo/pagoda in the garden. With the stretch in the evenings and the summer on its way, Maccullin says there’s no better time for him to get stuck into this challenge. He’s decided to create a new swinging chair that will be supported from one side of the gazebo with the old existing chains.

He will need to source materials, begin construction and install uprights, timber room structure, slatted room design, chair and build some walls around the lower section to try and prevent the wind on cooler days.

DIY-er: Linda Duffy (35) – Co. Limerick
Occupation: Retail Assistant

Linda worked in retail before her second child was born but the arrival of her third saw her leave the work place to become a full-time mammy. Herself and her husband bought their house 4 years ago and have done it up room by room all by themselves. She has learned from her mistakes over the years and thinks that her extensive experience and ability to work to a small budget have prepared her for this challenge.

Her plan is to do up the last room in the house, which is the bathroom, and make it a mermaid / sea theme for the kids (but not so tacky that adults can’t enjoy it too).

She plans on tiling with a scalloped tile around the bathtub and painting the tiles in shades of turquoise while also using white-washed wood for a rustic effect around the vanity. Linda learned how to paint tiles when she did up their kitchen and thinks it’s the best way to re-invent an interior space without breaking the bank.

DIY-er: Guy Mbunga (47) – Navan, Co. Meath,Occupation: Currently unemployed

Guy plans to build a new kitchen island to replace a pre-existing one that he built a few years ago but wasn’t overly satisfied with. He feels his DIY skills have improved since then and wants to now do an even bigger job including a concrete waterfall countertop. Guy plans to put the waterfall in waterfall countertop though by including an actual running water feature across the countertop surface. He’s confident that 10 days is enough, but is unsure of the drying time of concrete.

Guy will need to build the frame for the concrete top and assemble the frame for the island. Mixing the concrete will come next and pouring it into the frame. Then he will make and install the drawers for the island, followed by painting the frame. At last, Guy will remove the frame from the concrete, polish it and let it set before moving the massive weight of his countertop back into the kitchen so he can finally assemble all the bits together.

DIY-er: Kevin Timmons (38) – Limerick City
Occupation: Works for Limerick City Council

Kevin is a family guy and has big plans to please his family. An attic conversion is a big job, but that is exactly what Kevin has planned to do for his challenge project so that he can create a chill out space for his kids. Kevin has been forced to go the DIY route, since when they got quoted for the job, they were shocked to find it would cost €30,000. The DIY route became the only way to go!

His overall plans include a music corner as well as an Xbox-playing station, but Kevin is first going to have to wall and the floor the whole thing, even though the only DIY he’s done before is a bike ramp and a dog house. With ten days to complete this massive project, he’ll soon discover that plastering the ceiling and walls might not be achievable within the required timeframe.

DIY-er: Anne Casey (49) – Rathangan, Co.Kildare
Occupation: Housewife

Anne Casey is a keen upcycler from Kildare. She has undertaken numerous projects in her home, and she loves making use of what she has to hand, but her biggest love is PJ Gallagher. She might be turning an old bed into a bench for her son as a gift for his first home, but truly she really just hopes that PJ shows up!

Anne doesn’t have any power tools so she will have to disassemble the bed and then saw everything by hand to create the joints she needs to remake it into a bench. For the cushion, she will be using an old cot mattress for which she will sew together a cover. She plans to decorate the bench in two colours as well as apply a stencil pattern. Will it be enough to win a prize or capture PJ’s attention?

DIY-er: Denzil Browne (43) – Lifford, Co. Donegal
Occupation: Lecturer

Denzil has nothing to prove in The Big DIY Challenge as last summer’s project, a treehouse that required seven men to get the roof fitted, is already quite impressive. Unfortunately, he missed a crucial step and forgot to install a safe way to enter the treehouse. To avoid the current route, which involves a shimmy along a branch down to an unstable ladder, Denzil plans on making a wrap-around staircase built into the tree so he can finally have easy access to his lovely perch.  

Denzil plans to make the stairs from reclaimed wood and old scaffold planks and will drill them directly into the tree as self-supported treads. He plans to fashion a banister from cable and add some decorative rope detail to add some grip for people as they walk up and down the finished stairs.