THE BIG DIY CHALLENGE

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.
PJ GALLAGHER THE BIG DIY CHALLENGE Image Name: PJ GALLAGHER THE BIG DIY CHALLENGE
PJ GALLAGHER THE BIG DIY CHALLENGE Image Name: PJ GALLAGHER THE BIG DIY CHALLENGE
PJ GALLAGHER THE BIG DIY CHALLENGE Image Name: PJ GALLAGHER THE BIG DIY CHALLENGE
PJ GALLAGHER THE BIG DIY CHALLENGE Image Name: PJ GALLAGHER THE BIG DIY CHALLENGE

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: Dia Ledesma (38) – Navan, Meath
Occupation: Analyst

Dia is currently renovating her home and plans to refurbish her kitchen as her project for The Big DIY Challenge. Dia has compared her kitchen in the past to “a clown house”’ with all its mismatched colours and has tried to rectify this in the past, but it didn’t come out quite as she’d hoped. A previous kitchen renovation taught Dia that you must take the appropriate steps before applying paint, as she did not sand or strip her presses before applying her new paint colour. Dia believes she has learned from her mistakes and is ready to rectify this mistake by doing it all again for The Big DIY Challenge. 

Dia’s plans to fix her kitchen will include taking paint off the presses, re-sanding before re-painting. She’s hoping to include a unique wallpaper effect on the front of her presses as well to give her kitchen a different look that can’t be achieved with just paint. 

DIY-er: Alan Stimpson (43) – Lusk, Dublin
Occupation: IT consultant

Alan is normally kept pretty busy with his wife, three children, and two dogs, all of which he doesn’t mind booting out of the house if it means he can get his DIY Challenge done. Alan’s DIY skills aren’t the best, especially when it comes to this particular bathroom, as this will be the third attempt to get it done. After a contractor left him with a less than satisfactory result the first time, Alan enlisted the help of his brother for the second attempt, who promptly broke the bathtub! Alan has decided at last that the only way to get it done right, is to do it himself.

Alan wants to turn this nightmare into a gorgeous lush bathroom, but his bathroom from hell is full of surprises, as his tiles are double-tiled and he’s dreading the day he has to pull them up! To finish this bathroom, Alan plans on retiling the walls, fitting a new bath and pipes, pulling up one layer of the double tiles and then retiling the top layer with something new. 

DIY-er: Aislinn Higgins (34) – Armagh
Occupation: Videographer

Aislinn and her husband, Seamus, have just moved into a beautiful 1880s period home where they are slowly renovating rooms one by one throughout the property. Her DIY skills have been put to the test over the last year, however, as the house was unfortunately broken into and set on fire by intruders – all damage that she has had to fix on top of the room renovations. As a result, her sanding, wall-papering, and painting skills are now second to none, and she hopes to put them to good use for The Big DIY Challenge by transforming one of the rooms into an old-fashioned gentleman’s study for her hubby. 

Aislinn plans on building some new bookshelves for the room before moving on to repair the fire damage and fireplace, as well as line and wallpaper one of the walls with a map mural to help complete the gentleman’s study.

DIY-er: Nick O’Donoghue (34) – Cork
Occupation: Director of Global Scheduling for a tech company

Nick is delighted to get a chance to partake in The Big DIY Challenge, as he may work within the tech industry, but is a massive hobby woodworker with a workshop out the back to make even our keenest DIY-ers jealous. Nick and his wife have a 10-month-old son, Lorcan, and Nick plans to make the children’s bedroom to beat all bedrooms, complete with new flooring, a creative paint design featuring geometric animals, and of course, a reading nook.  Most importantly though to satisfy the kid in all of us, Nick plans on incorporating a secret door into the attic somewhere in his design, for when Lorcan is older of course.

Nick’s project will involve stripping the room back to its bare bones before installing a new floor, painting a complex geometric design around the room along with animal figures, constructing a built-in reading nook that rolls out as the cover to the hidden entrance to the attic. Anything else he gets to in the 10 days he considers a bonus! 

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 an easy (and safe) way to scale the fourteen feet between the base of the trunk and the treehouse’s entrance. 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.  

To achieve this goal, Denzil plans on cutting out the stair treads, using a profiler to guide him around the irregular edges, before fixing them to the joists that will attach to the tree itself. To complete the project, Denzil will create a banister from cable and rope that winds its way up the tree as supported by his hand-cut spindles.