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17 September 2014
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Laurence and Anna

Changing Rooms behind-the-scenes

In the final programme ever, Changing Rooms sprinkled some Christmas cheer onto the Cornish village of Boscastle. The team helped the community rebuild their homes after experiencing Cornwall's worst ever floods in August 2004.

Gordon, Graham, Gay, Sue and Jackie

This time, the dice were loaded with a really challenging project to tackle. Laurence Llewelyn Bowen and designers Anna Ryder Richardson, Gordon Whistance and Graham Wynne worked their magic on some of the rooms seriously damaged by the Boscastle floods. With the help of the villagers and a budget bolstered by many generous donations, the team created some stunning makeovers.

The plan

The team

After closer inspection of the village, the team realised that a number of the homes were structurally unsafe and wouldn't be fully dry for months. Anna finally decided to tackle the village bakery, while Graham and Gordon settled on the the dining room of the Wellington Hotel. Gordon also helped out on three smaller projects: the Harbourmaster's breakfast room, two children's bedrooms, and a special surprise.

Meeting the residents

Day one. The full production team, consisting of around 40 people, five vehicles and three big vans full of equipment and supplies, arrived bright and early in Boscastle. With very little running water in the village and most of the electricity on emergency supply, there was also a delivery of generators and portacabins.

Laurence and his wife Jackie, who have a house in nearby Port Isaac, popped in to say hello. The film crew interviewed all the contributors, and it was the first chance to hear all the amazing stories that the people of Boscastle had to tell.

A daunting task

Gordon and Graham

Day two. Another early start, and after filming an opening sequence, the teams set off to work on their designated projects. Graham and Gordon saw the dining room for the first time - and got a bit of a shock. It was much bigger than anything else they had ever taken on in Changing Rooms! Luckily a team of students from nearby Cornwall College had agreed to help out.

Meanwhile Anna started work on the bakery. Refitting a kitchen is a big job and Handy Andy had some help from a team of local tradesmen.

Gordon headed off to the Harbourmaster's Cottage, the first of his three, one-day projects. He really had his work cut out to rescue the damaged breakfast room in a day, but, he managed to pull off a remarkable transformation.

The fairytale ending

Paul and Rosie with Anna

Day three. Work continued at the Wellington Hotel, but as the day wore on, there was growing concern that this time, the team had taken on too much. Meanwhile, at the bakery, Anna and her team were ahead in terms of painting, but the kitchen' was looking far from finished.

Gordon's next one-day mission was to make over two childrens' bedrooms at Trevillet Mill, a couple of miles outside Boscastle. The Mill was devastated in the floods, and since then, the family of five had been living in a tiny, one-bedroomed cottage.

The flat-packed furniture for the childrens' rooms took up most of the day to build and even the BBC commissioning editor and the show's executive producer got stuck in! But somehow it all came together and the children were delighted.

Christmas carols

The team

Day four. Gordon headed off to his final one-day project. It was for villager Gay, who had lived in her motor home in Boscastle for several years, until it was washed out to sea. Gay was overwhelmed and emotional when Gordon and his team surprised Gay with a gleaming new motor home, complete with a new-look interior.

With only an hour to go, Anna added the finishing touches to the bakery and her country cottage-themed kitchen was complete. Meanwhile, at the Wellington Hotel, the tables were laid, the Christmas tree decorated and sumptuous, velvet curtains were hung.

Finally, the villagers arrived at the Wellington hotel bar for the grand unveiling of the finished rooms. Both the owners and the villagers were amazed at the results. The day drew to a close with traditional Cornish Christmas carols, led by John the busker, a regular singer at the Wellington. It was the perfect ending to a thoroughly successful shoot, and the last ever Changing Rooms.

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