Advice on how to make it a pleasurable experience
Every time that I drive up the driveway of my home I still cannot believe that I actually live in such a beautiful house. The only reason that I am fortunate enough to live in this house is because I built it myself. Were all of the sacrifices that I made to achieve my dream home worth it? Yes definitely.
The most difficult process of building your own home is being able to visualise the end product. It is difficult to imagine how an ordinary field can suddenly transform into a lovely house with beautiful, spacious gardens. Fortunately I have good vision and I could easily imagine the finished product. Convincing my family was another matter. All that they could still see was a muddy field stuck in the middle of nowhere.
Fortunately my wife trusted me enough to commit to selling our previous home in order to purchase the field to build our dream home. We were very lucky to sell our house in six days and within weeks we had packed up all our belongings and were on our way to a new adventure. We obviously had some reservations as we took one last look back at our house but our worries were soon replaced by excitement at the prospect of building our new home. It was even more poignant as my wife was seven months pregnant at the time.
We spent the next seven months living with parents whilst I dug out the necessary access route into the field in preparation for the next part of our adventure—living in a caravan!
Our daughter Danielle was six months old when we moved into the caravan.
It was strange to begin with as it was very isolated and dark. However it was wonderful to be back on our own together as a family unit. Our families had been incredibly supportive and kind but there is nothing like your own space- however small that space may be. It was wonderful for my wife Julie to be living on site as it meant that even though we were spending very long periods apart due to the lengthy hours that I was spending building the house at least she could look through the window and be able to watch me and the progress being made.
The situation became even more challenging when we found out that Julie was pregnant again and that there would only be a sixteen month age gap between the two children. However we managed and soon there were two babies crawling around the caravan. Our bedroom was the biggest challenge. You could never imagine that so many people could fit into so small an area. My wife and I slept in the bed, I made a custom built cot for Danielle and Jessica slept in a Moses basket on a stand.
Some of the weather conditions during the time that we were living in the caravan were atrocious. There were times when the caravan literally swayed from side to side during terrible storms. We then had to manoeuvre our way through thick squelchy mud to our temporary laundry room situated in a shed.
I have to say that it sounds like a nightmare but it was actually quite fun because we had mentally prepared ourselves for the challenge. We also kept focusing on the full picture. This was becoming easier as the house build progressed and our dream home was beginning to seem a reality.
The first exciting stage of the build was pouring the concrete for the foundations. This involved all hands on deck and was at times chaotic. Again I had to convince the family that the finished foundations would actually convert into a big house as at this stage it looked small.
Then the partitions were put in place and the necessary beams. Suddenly the house was taking shape and when the bricks were being laid it became easier to imagine the finished product. Eventually the roof went on, the walls were plastered and painted and all the services were installed. It was now time to pick the decor and appliances. This was the nice part but it’s surprising how lengthy this process can be – especially agreeing on what to buy. It was particularly important at this stage to try to stick to the agreed budget as this is the stage when many people who build their own homes become unstuck by overspending.
It is surprising the little things you suddenly have to decide upon. For example whether to have gold or silver handles on the doors or whether to have a combination of both? Then should the doors be brown or white and should there be glass in the doors to maximise light? We eventually came to a compromise and the last part of the process was complete. The best part of all was watching our kitchen transforming from a bare, empty space into a large luxurious one as one by one the units were installed. This had been the main focus in the planning of our house as we had always wanted a large, open kitchen.
In our experience we had always found that no matter how many living areas you have in a house it is always the kitchen that everyone congregates into. Therefore with this in mind we built a large kitchen which also comprised of an adjoining family and sun room. This has worked perfectly and we have had many enjoyable social gatherings within this area. Eventually after living in the caravan for two years our project was complete and it was time to move into our new home. Our eldest daughter who had only ever known living in a caravan cried as she watched the caravan being towed off site.
It took a while to adjust to suddenly living in such a big house. Every sound seemed to echo and it took a while to remember our way around. We have now been living in our home for five years and the novelty still hasn’t worn off. I still look in wonder at our lovely house and our beautiful landscaped gardens whose beauty changes with every season. Had I not built my own house I would never have been able to afford to buy the house that I live in. It was certainly worth the sacrifices that I made to achieve it. The important thing is to always stay focused on the project and to make it as fun as possible.
The end result certainly makes all the hard work worth it.
Since then I have built homes for numerous clients and have helped them to achieve their dream homes. I have been able to successfully do this having had firsthand experience of building my own home. All in all there is definitely nothing more rewarding than building your dream home. I was fortunate that as I was self employed and was therefore able to dedicate the time needed to realise my dream. However the dream is still achievable to anyone provided they find a good plot of land and a good project manager to get the house built on their behalf.
Good luck to anyone who decides, like me, to build their own home.
The excitement of building your own home quickly made me realise the amount of fun and fulfilment such a project creates, not only for yourself but also your family and friends. Another such fulfilling opportunity that I have developed is working from home.