G'day, my name is Michael Jenner and this adventure all started with a dream to build my own house. Now I was in high school at the time, and it really was a dream, or so I thought. Being what some would describe as a 'tinkerer' or a 'dabbler' I liked to have a go at building stuff that I couldn't afford to buy. They were all pretty awful but that didn't bother me, I was just happy to be doing a project and realised how my self esteem rose during the production, however small, whatever the outcome.
Now you may be surprised to hear that I am a registered mental health nurse, but heck, I knew all the time I'd rather be making something. My gorgeous wife Linda was impressed that I always had a go at fixing, restoring, or making something work. She also praised my confidence and certaincy that I could complete a project.
We were in a small town outside of Brisbane, Australia, living on acreage when we thought we should build a house. The idea struck us that I could build it myself, my boyhood dream, so we started looking at Kit Homes. Everyone we talked to said an owner builder was a sub-contractor, a director, someone who oversaw the project and saved money not having to hire a builder to facilitate. Some said I could do some of the work, but no one said 'why not try doing the project yourself'. Except, Linda and I.
I got the plans, studied them hard, used the resources and asked a million questions. It took me 9 months to build the kit and I am proud to say I only got help with the foundation piers, plasterboard and of course legally I had the electrics and plumbing done. I, alone, built this kit home. I am a nurse....and I built a kit home. I built the floor, frame, roof, kitchen, bathroom, all of it. They say the difference between a builder and a handyman is that the builder can cover his mistakes better. Well I made lots of mistakes, nothing major, so I went back to the plans and did it again properly.
It was a wonderful journey that explored my commitment, fortitude, and courage against setbacks. This was a dream that came true. Oh, by the way...I decided not to move in, so I sold it and cleared $70k. Not bad for 9 months work.
Update: I've just completed kit home number two: steel framed, blueboard clad, colorbond roof, on 5 acres.
I found a great site builder system to share my passion: go to my About Solo Build It page for more info on how I built this site.