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Desperate Houses
Desperate Houses Revisited RTÉ One, Thursday 7.00pm

Programme 4

Elaine and Chris in Athy (Last in Series)

Eight and a half years ago Elaine and Chris met. Both of them had given up on ever finding that special someone, let alone getting married. But get married they did. Rather then settle down immediately they bought a year round-the-world ticket and planned to do up their home in Athy once they returned.

But they never got to make the trip. Elaine fell ill. She needed a liver and a kidney transplant and was spending an increasing amount of her time in hospital.

When Avril met them Chris was balancing his full time job with caring for Elaine, while at home, or visiting her in hospital. At the time she was lapsing into mini strokes and wound up in Naas General nearly every two weeks.

Obviously the house had taken a back seat, everything had piled up downstairs in the kitchen and living room making them difficult to use and very unwelcoming. Upstairs you could not walk into the box room, the spare room was full of old clothes and a chewed-up mattress belonging to their lovable labrador Murph. While in the attic there were unopened wedding presents and an assortment of unused, inherited furniture.

The three days of decluttering began with the news that Elaine was in hospital but was going to be allowed out for a couple of hours to brief Avril on what she would like to see stay and what she would love to see go.

Avril wanted to create a feel good and easy to keep home for Elaine's recuperation but that meant a significant amount of de-cluttering throughout the house. Even though Chris was the one at home Elaine asks Avril to stay in touch by phone.

Chris and the team did tremendous work and on day three Elaine got out of hospital for two hours to see the fruits of their labour.

Two years on from the decluttering process, Avril pays a visit to Elaine and Chris's home to see if they have kept the house spick and span!

Avril Murphy Allen with Elaine and Chris
Avril Murphy Allen with Elaine and Chris
Avril and Ivan Duggan
Avril and Ivan Duggan