Press Centre

Rebuild Our Home

  • Episode: 

    1 of 1

  • Transmission (TX): 

    Tue 02 Jun 2015
  • TX Confirmed: 

  • Time: 

    8.00pm - 9.00pm
  • Week: 

    Week 23 2015 : Sat 30 May - Fri 05 Jun
  • Channel: 

  • Status: 

“I remember standing and all the smoke around, it was just swirling because it was a windy night. I thought, 'This can't be happening to my house, it's not happening to us.’” - Homeowner Mary Bruce
This new documentary for ITV traces the story of a family who lose their home in a fire and put their lives back together with the help of a team of experts who rebuild the house.
Presenter Nicky Campbell follows the emotional journey of Mary and Joe Bruce, whose house in Glasgow was engulfed in flames on Christmas Day, meaning they lost their possessions and a lifetime of memories.
For designer Julia Kendell, the family’s insurance firm and a team of builders, the challenge is not just to rebuild the house, but to restore treasured possessions damaged by the blaze - including an heirloom rocking horse and precious photographs of relatives.
With the Bruces facing up to the stress of moving in with their daughter’s family, delays to the build and their youngest grandson undergoing a major operation, it’s up to Nicky, Julia and the team to create a house the Bruces can once again call home.
The story began on Christmas Day when the Bruces were celebrating with daughter Sharon and family. After hearing an odd noise Sharon went upstairs and was confronted by billowing smoke and flames. Sharon says: “I just heard this pitter-patter on the ceiling, and I thought, 'That's a bit strange.’
“At the top of my voice I just sort of shouted, ‘There's a fire, there's a fire, everybody get out.’”
The family escaped the fire in just the clothes they were wearing, explains Joe, and the three grandchildren were taken to hospital to be treated after inhaling smoke. He says: “Within the time that Sharon heard the cracking it was flames up six foot. The most important thing was to get out. I was terrified, to tell you the truth.”
The fire started in the living room ceiling when a spotlight overheated setting insulation ablaze, gutting the house. It should have been the happiest day of the year in a dream home they'd saved all their lives for, but Mary is too traumatised to return. She says: “I haven't been back to the house because I just don't want to see. I'm scared to see it. So it'll bring reality home to me that I've lost my house.”
But now Nicky and Julia are determined to rebuild their home even better than it was. Julia says: “Joe and Mary are a really lovely family-orientated couple. It's just tragic and they've clearly been devastated by losing 43 years worth of collected history. So what I really want to do for them is to give them a home that you know feels really exciting again, that they want to go back to.”
They begin by revisiting the house - allowing Mary to reflect on her home and what she lost. She says: “We had lots of pictures of the family, I've even got a photograph of my mum when she was 19, can't replace them.
“I just keep saying, 'Why did it happen to us?' Because it does change your life a bit, there's no doubt about it.”
Yet she knows what she wants when it comes to the rebuild. She says: “I like my house to be homely, not a show house that people will come in and not feel comfortable. I like anybody that comes into my house to feel comfortable.”
While they’ve enjoyed living with daughter Sharon and family, Joe explains it can be rather noisy. He says: “Sometimes it's difficult because of people shouting, it'll be great once we get peace and quiet.”
Meanwhile, Nicky secretly visits a photo restoration specialist, hoping they can repair a damaged picture of Mary’s deceased sister, and goes to a restorers hoping they can fix a fire-damaged rocking horse which the Bruces were hoping would be passed down through the family. Mary says: “We had it for years, I never, ever got rid of it, and I kept saying, ‘This is going to be a family heirloom.’”
It's not just the aftermath of the fire the Bruces are having to deal with - youngest grandson Casey is going into hospital for a major operation under anaesthetic to remove a cyst from his lung, which Joe says has added to their worries. He says: “I'm very worried for Casey, because as I say he's only a child, he's only a year old and going through an operation so early I'm really, really worried.”
The build hits a snag when it is delayed by three months because the house needs to be certified by building regulations, which Nicky says adds to the tension. He says: “For everyone involved there's real pressure to make sure there are no further delays for Mary and Joe. When you've got a new deadline, you've got to meet it.”
As they prepare to be shown around their rebuilt home for the first time by Nicky, Mary admits she is nervous to see what the team have done. She says: “There's definitely mixed emotions. I've been feeling it all week actually, I'm going into this new house, it's not going to be the house I had before, you know, and there's a slight apprehensiveness.”
Joe says he’ll be happy just to be back in his house after so long away. He says: “That'll be nine months, two days exactly. As long as we walk through that door that's good enough for me, and we know that we're there because it's been a long, long time.”