CELEBRITY designer Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen has transformed a flat at a children's hospice into a stylish sanctuary for patients’ families.

The Changing Rooms star has delivered a ‘little bit of luxury’ to Helen & Douglas House, giving a much-needed makeover to one of its family apartments.

The flat, inside the hospice building in East Oxford, was unveiled yesterday by the charity’s chief executive Clare Periton.

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Mr Llewelyn-Bowen, who became a household name on BBC show Changing Rooms, said: “The new family suites are calming and relaxing places for families to create lasting memories and focus on spending time together.

“As a designer I have always very emphatically believed that health and care are intrinsically tied to our surroundings – not only the spaces that we occupy, but also the people who share those spaces with us.”

Known as the Garden Flat, the property’s decor had been untouched since Helen House opened in 1982.

It is one of two flats the hospice provides for families.

Oxford Mail:

The overhaul has seen en-suite bathrooms installed in the bedrooms, meaning two families can now use the flat at the same time.

Kim O’Grady, whose five-year-old son Toby receives care at Helen & Douglas House, said the family accommodation at the hospice was ‘vital’ to her visits.

She said: “It allowed us to be able to stay in the same building, to be on hand if we were needed but have some physical separation to try to sleep and recover without being on high alert 24/7.

"When you have a child with special needs you don’t get to go on holiday like many families do – staying at Helen & Douglas House was our holiday."

Ms O’Grady was among those who helped to shape the flat’s new look.

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She said: "The flats were very functional but had the potential to be so much more.

"I was really passionate about the fact that the flat could be a peaceful and private place for families facing unimaginable traumas but with a little bit of luxury that made them feel special."

Mr Llewelyn-Bowen and his wife Jackie got involved with Helen & Douglas House through the charity’s shop in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, near his home.

In July he and his executive assistant, Dan Rajan, came to visit the hospice and the garden flat.

They produced designs including a colour palette of teal, dusky pink, and mustard, and a proposed layout and furnishings, concentrating on the soft furnishings, the floor and wall coverings including murals.

Oxford Mail:

Work began at the end of January and took two months to complete on March 29, with the first family making use of the facilities the very next day.

Most of the refurbishment work was funded by CRASH, a charity which helps homelessness charities and hospices with life-changing building projects.

Peter Maguire from BAM Construction was one of those who generously gave labour needed for the construction work, free of charge.

The Doris Field Trust, Albert Hunt Charitable Trust, Bernard Sunley Charitable Trust and Frederick & Phyllis Cann Trust also all donated money towards the project.

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Mr Maguire, who worked on a range of BAM projects in Oxford including the new wing at the Ashmolean Museum, came out of retirement for eight weeks to volunteer on the renovation.

He said: "It was very hard work. We had to do some demolition and change the initial designs before I called in a lifetime of favours from sub-contractors I’ve worked with over 25 years.

"They were very generous.

"It’s a wonderful thing to do and I had a lot of fun, and the lot of us have saved the hospice a huge amount of money – we believe over £100,000 - and have left them with our labour of love.

"It’s a desperately emotional cause and I know it means a lot to the families who visit the hospice, so I could not be happier to have been involved."

Hospice chief executive Mrs Periton described the flat as a 'wonderful sanctuary' and a 'special place.'

She said: "This transformation is a result of truly fantastic collaboration across our staff, our supporters and our volunteers. "

The hospice's estates team offered expertise to ensure the project was completed on time, and many other staff members contributed time and energy to help.