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ver wondered how many good deeds go unnoticed in our community every day?

On the surface, this story revolves around an elderly homeowner named Clair, a dynamic building duo, Shannen and Denham, and a cute boxer named Marley.

Underneath, it’s about the smallest things that have the biggest impact, and shining a light on those willing to lend a hand.

Shannen and Denham’s reasoning for a 90-minute round trip to help Clair will make you smile.

“I would hope someone would do the same for my mum,” Denham says.

Left: The broken armchair. Right: The two seater. | Photos: Supplied

Introducing Clair: our octogenarian, Builderscrack homeowner

When I first reach out to Clair, she’s engrossed in a wedding dress show on daytime TV.

“Would it be okay if you called me back in, say, 20 minutes?” Clair asks, in the unapologetic way that only a senior can.

When we reconnect, she takes me back to the beginning of how it all happened.

“That darn armchair — it’s a monstrosity of a thing”

Clair originally bought the armchair for a health condition that requires her to elevate her feet. However, after some issues and attempted repairs, the electric footrest no longer worked.

To maintain her prime position in front of the TV, she attempted to swap the broken armchair with her two-seater on the other side of the living room.

But, with a dislocated shoulder and no family nearby to help, moving the heavy furniture felt like an impossible task.

“I thought, I suppose I’ll just have to live with it like this — what else am I to do?”

Enter: Builderscrack

Clair had previously found a plumber through Builderscrack, so she posted a job hoping someone might be able to help.

“I think Builderscrack is just so handy,” Clair says.

“It’s great because you see, I don’t have family here, and of the children I’ve got left, well he lives in Australia,” Clair explains.

Left: Denham, cat and dog, Marley. Right: Denham & Shannen | Photos: Supplied

Those willing to lend a hand

Shannen and Denham are the owners and operators of Boutique Build in Hamilton, specialising in building and renovations.

Shannen saw Clair’s job on Builderscrack and quickly offered to come by and help out, free of charge.

“With Clair, she just wanted some help moving a lounge, and we thought, ‘that’s no hassle for us,’” Shannen says.

The thing was — Clair never saw Shannen’s message that day.

“We hung around for an hour in Tirau hoping Clair would get back to us,” Shannen says, all the while hoping no one charges for it, because in Shannen’s words, “that’d be a bit sh*t.”

We agree, Shannen!

Decking and fencing jobs completed by Boutique Build. | Photos: Supplied

Building a values-based business

As Shannen and Denham tell me about their work-life balance, I ask what their secret is to working as a couple.

The secret?” Denham laughs, “I’d just say it’s lots of adventurous work, lots of banter, and always doing work we enjoy.”

“We don’t make as much as your normal builder, because we don’t charge clients for travel. We just like getting out there.

“And the fact that we can travel together, it means there’s no pressure to be home at a certain time.”

But working as a couple doesn’t come without its challenges. As a woman on the tools, Shannen sometimes experiences subtle biases when they rock up on site.

“It doesn’t take long for clients to see how hands-on Shan is,” Denham says. “I mean, she’s throwing around 6 metre sheets of gib, you know.”

Jobs completed by Boutique Build. | Photo: Supplied

Getting order back in the living room

Fast forward after some phone calls and a bit of fate, Shannen and Denham drove from Hamilton to Tirau to help Clair.

“They were a very nice young couple,” Clair says.

“They got the chair out of the front sliding door, and managed to get it in the van, and I thought ‘thank goodness that chair is going!’” Clair says.

Clair ended up giving it to Shannen and Denham to see if they could make a profit ‘for the trouble’.

“They came back inside and they helped me move the two seater, and I couldn’t thank them enough,” Clair says.

Left: Clair pictured with Denham outside her house. Right: Shannen & Denham | Photos: Supplied

Clair: “I feel quite grateful altogether”

For Shannen and Denham, it was no hassle, but for Clair, it meant the world.

“Oh, I feel great!” Clair says.

“I tried it last night and it works beautifully,” Clair says of the new setup.

“I can lie on it, elevate my legs, and watch TV at the same time. I couldn’t do that before, I kept twisting my head, but now I can look straight at it,” Clair says.

“It’s actually made my lounge feel bigger. And I like it the way it is now.”

After all that, I ask Clair whether she can finally put her feet up.

“Well I think I’ve got a few more cleaning jobs to do, because I like to get it done before the weekend.

“And then I’ll see what’s on the TV. I think there’s an Australian program at 4pm, so I think I’ll watch that,” Clair laughs.

Left: Clair’s new set up. Right: The two-seater Shannen & Denham moved | Photos: Supplied

A message for others

Wrapping up the interview, I ask Shannen and Denham if there’s anything they’d like to add.

“We specialise in renovations, and —,” Denham banters.

On a more sincere note, Shannen mentions that jobs like these bring you back down to ground.

“I guess it’s about imagining what it’d be like if no one was around to help you, and like Denham said, if it was my mum, what would I want to happen?” Shannen says.

“It’s hard, everyday, trying to make a buck. But sometimes people also need a hand, and that’s okay too,” Denham says.

“It’s about finding a balance,” Shannen adds.

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A new throne for another queen

Remember at the beginning when I mentioned there was a cute boxer named Marley? Well, she’s the one that really lucked out.

Clair mentioned she’d been trying to think of a way to thank Shannen and Denham and return the favour somehow.

But Denham is quick to add that Clair has already helped them — just not in the way they expected.

“We were going to try and repair it or take it to the tip, but the first night we parked it up in our bedroom, our dog used it for her bed,” Denham says.

“She’s slept on it every night — it’s hers now,” Denham laughs.

Marley snuggled up on her new bed. Photo: Supplied

Thank You

A huge thank you to our homeowner Clair, and to Shannen and Denham from Boutique Build for sharing their small but meaningful home improvement story with all of us.

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