Perhaps you're building a new house for the TV programme 'Grand Designs' and want a super-modern bird box to match? That's exactly what Colin and Adele in South Manchester did in 2021. In March of that year Colin ordered some of our bird boxes and a few days later contacted us about making his house in bird box form. We're used to making models of people's homes - but he added that this was different as the house was still being built! Luckily he had architect's drawings and artistic impressions, plus the shell had already been built so he could supply on-site images. But there was one big thing: we couldn't tell anyone about it as it was being filmed for TV's Grand Designs!
Colin emailed all the design information so we had something to work on, which first involved us deciding if we could even make his house as a bird box. We realised it was going to be the most complex design we'd ever built - and we've built some pretty complicated designs as bespoke orders for customers. After some deliberation we realised we could do it but it would involve building in an entirely different way to our usual boxes - and we love a challenge! So we said yes, bought the necessary wood and materials, and the work began.
Simon started first - and there was a lot - and we mean a lot - of template-making, cutting, gluing, nailing, sanding, and clamping. Until finally after a couple of weeks he'd fully made the shape of the building.
Then it was time for the roof details, wall cladding and window frames. This was hugely time consuming and fiddly as each piece of cladding and frame had to be measured, cut and stuck individually by Simon. But at last the woodworking part of the house was finished. It looked great and it was almost a shame to paint it!
But it did have to be painted in order to make it look like an established house and also to protect it from the elements. At this point Helen took over. First an undercoat and primer, followed by a light sand. The decision had to made about colour. The real building was to be wood clad but not stained, so although when the programme was filmed the main part of the house would look a lovely golden brown, that would soon weather to a flecked grey. We decided that the house would spend more of its life looking weathered grey than it would in new brown so that was the colour we painted. Helen mixed a grey colour especially for this build and applied two coats. Then it was a dark grey for the base (which is actually glass in the real house) and then built up a weathering effect. The windows were painted and Helen added a green roof - just like the house in real life!
Days of painting and weeks of work overall and the house was finished! It had been hard, working from drawings and photos of a building site but it had beenWe packed all the bird boxes and sent them to Colin and Adele. It was nerve-wracking, not just because we hoped they'd like their replica house but because we really needed the boxes, especially the bespoke house, to arrive in perfect condition. And.......they did! Colin had been working away but when he got back he messaged to say "all my beautiful birdhouses have arrived, yeahhhhh! The replica house is absolutely outstanding, amazing, we’re so pleased with it!"
It had been hard, working from drawings and photos of a building site but it had been such a wonderful experience, and one we'd happily do again and again!
It was to be a further 16 months before the show aired on Channel 4 and we could share our part, and we watched whilst sending our social media followers a running (written) commentary of the making of the box.
With so much to include in the show, viewers could only catch a glimpse of the boxes but they're in situ and we couldn't be more proud!
It isn't the first time we've made boxes for people in TV shows (our products have been in programmes such as Love Your Garden, the Alan Titchmarsh Show, Escape to the Country etc) but it really is hugely rewarding seeing things we've made on the TV!
If you want us to create a bespoke box for you, then visit our bespoke orders page
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