Couple make their home bigger – with TV exposure

Mai Mai Liam and Martyn Steeke in rtheir kitchen-diner at Edgebrook Road,Sheffield
Mai Mai Liam and Martyn Steeke in rtheir kitchen-diner at Edgebrook Road,Sheffield

MARTYN Steele and Mai-Mai Lam and were keen to show off their first home but they didn’t bank on sharing it with TV viewers…

They are preparing to open their door to home improvements enthusiasts nationwide after being signed up by producers of new UKTV series Make My Home Bigger.

The couple had decided to move in together and their search led to a Victorian town house in Edgebeck Road in Nether Edge.

It seemed perfect apart from the small kitchen – but there was a large basement which was ripe for conversion.

“We saw the potential and that swung it,” said Mai-Mai, aged 34, marketing director for software company WANdisco.

Solicitor Martyn, aged 36, discovered that one of the neighbours had already completed a similar project and arranged for them to see it.

They were so impressed that they booked the same builders – AB Basements – who had already been approached by the UKTV crew. Mai-Mai and Martyn agreed to take part in filming and the deal was sealed.

“We thought it would be nice to document the conversion on the programme; it’s quite a nice keepsake for us,” said Mai-Mai.

“There are no other incentives. We managed to get £50 off some tiles and a few hundred pounds off the kitchen, but that’s all.”

The project began last summer and took three months.

Two walls had to be removed and replaced with steel stanchions to create an open-plan space in the basement.

Part of the floor was dug away to level the ground, part of the garden was removed to create a patio and the entire space had to be tanked to make it watertight.

The kitchen units were specially commissioned – a move which, surprisingly, worked out cheaper than going to a DIY store.

Then the new L-shaped space was fitted with solid oak units and worktops, a dining suite and sofas, with French doors to the patio. The couple finally moved in last September.

The only problem was a 25% jump in the cost of the project, taking it to £50,000, but they had budgeted for some overspend.

“We’re really pleased with the result and the cameras weren’t intrusive at all. In fact it was fun,” said Mai-Mai.

Results of the filming can be seen in Make My Home Bigger on the Home channel, weeknights at 10pm from Monday.