Colourful homemade bar

Tradespeople get creative during lockdown

Despite the severe challenges that coronavirus has brought for every industry, tradespeople across the UK have been getting creative while in national lockdown.

Like many industries, 2020 was a tough year for a number of tradespeople due to coronavirus and ongoing lockdowns, with work output in the construction industry alone falling by over 40% back in April1.

However, creative tradespeople have been making the most of the national lockdowns by undertaking unusual home improvement projects of their own.

To showcase some of the most creative builds undertaken during lockdown, IronmongeryDirect launched a competition asking tradespeople to submit their most impressive home build projects.

Of the entries received, Colin Davis, 57, a British Gas Engineer from Liverpool won the prize of a £250 IronmongeryDirect voucher, thanks to his incredible outdoor kitchen build. 

The 57-year-old started his project intending to clear rubbish from his garden, but after a bit of creativity and perseverance built a full outdoor kitchen, complete with a pizza oven and seating area.

When Colin hasn’t been working on home projects, he also spent his time in lockdown helping his neighbours and the elderly in his community with odd jobs around the home.

We think all of these entries are wonderful, and you can see Colin’s entry below, alongside nine of impressive creations which range from treehouses to home bars!

While lockdown has brought out the best in creativity and kindness, it’s also been a massive struggle, it is so important to remember that. There is no pressure to do this or that, you’re doing great for getting through this much 💚


  1. Colin Davis, 57, Liverpool, retired British Gas engineer

Colin won the competition by ‘cooking’ up a storm with this incredible outdoor kitchen.

His wife, Angela Davis, said: “Since the first lockdown [Colin] has built, completely on his own, a fully tiled gazebo, kitchen area, BBQ, wood fired oven, lighting, wine rack, shelves, and box for charcoal. What’s even more impressive is that he used recycled materials where possible, including old wood pallets and spare roof tiles.

“He has also volunteered to do odd jobs and maintenance for all the local pensioners during lockdown as well as volunteer shopping. I am so proud of him and love him so much!”


2. John Walsh, 60, agricultural worker from Shrewsbury

John’s grandchildren are overjoyed with their new tree fort which he says they absolutely ‘love’ and that it has given them ‘hours of joy’ already.


3. Brenda Melaniphy, 35, electrical engineer from Littlehampton

Brenda and her partner transformed their garden with stunning new decking, fully equipped with inbuilt lighting.


4. Lisa Wheeldon, 59, Middlesbrough 

Lisa and her husband, who is an electrical engineer, have ‘Come Together’ to build this Beatles inspired mini Cavern Club bar and they didn’t even have any help!


5. Luke Crozier, 32, carpenter from Whyteleafe

Luke has no doubt made every other child at his son’s school jealous with this magical treehouse style bunk bed.


6. Claire Hennighan, 41, Blackburn

Claire’s father, a retired surveyor, took up stone masonry as a hobby and has helped to decorate his family’s garden with remarkable stone sculptures. 


7. Steve Phelps, 59, a carpenter from Hastings

Steve is no doubt excited to be hosting outdoor gatherings in the not-to-distant future thanks to his homemade pizza oven.


8. Duncan Ashton, 43, a cabinet maker from St Neots

With a little help from his children, Duncan built a special place where they could retreat during lockdown.


9. Samuel Knight, 35, a steel fabricator from Preston

Using steel and LED strips, Samuel created this impressive chandelier for his new house.


10. Rosie Peskett, 57, a carpenter from Chichester

Rosie and her husband as a team built their own kitchen extension from scratch, including this impressive vaulted ceiling!


Marco Verdonkschot, Managing Director at IronmongeryDirect, said: “It’s great to see so many tradespeople using their skills to create epic home improvements during these times.

“When we first saw Colin’s project we were absolutely blown away by the scale and quality of the work. We hope that this prize allows Colin to carry on with his hobby which he obviously has a talent for!”

For more information about Colin’s outdoor kitchen, and tips on how you can recreate it, visit IronmongeryDirect‘s website.

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We love good news! More importantly, we love it when people rally together to help each other. Know any unsung heroes? Got any kindness stories? Please send them in! We want the world to hear about good deeds from good people 🙂

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