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    Well, I just got a report back from the draftsman on the property I have bought over the internet…

    Good thing I am not fainthearted, is all I can say.

    His conclusion?


    No HWS or good running water

    No WC (A tin can in a loo down the back yard)

    No kitchen



    Brief on site inspection:


    Cladding-weatherboard, Poor condition probably needs around 40% replacing and the balance stripping,sanding and repainting.


    Rotted away total renew

    Front door



    Possibly may get away with a rescrew and paint, some damage. One chimney falling down


    Need renewing Ogee

    Box Gutter Unknown

    Rear Skillion

    One gust of wind !!!! Needs to be demolished not able to fix


    All walls are lathe and plaster with a few walls damaged and stripped of plaster

    Ceilings Same


    Are strip flooring (ie T&G floor boards)

    May need to be re-piered under floors

    Dado in lounge seems OK

    There is a good crop of charlock and ryegrass in the photos he sent, so I guess that suggests the soil will also need some work… Gonna be a long hard winter this year (twice as long cos I get to go straight back into winter from winter here as well … Wish me luck:lol::lol::lol:


    Oh gee. :confused: I actually saw it on the Real Estate site and it didn’t look that bad. A challenge for sure though and I was wondering where the kitchen was? 😆


    There is a stove wired into one of the rooms at present, so there are cooking and heating facilities. I will look around and see if I can track down one of those CWA urns that turn up at church fairs. If so I can have hot water on tap. Most of the report I had anticipated, though the chimney was a nasty surprise. Hope it is not the one the woodburner is connected to. The other one I can live without as I don’t fancy open fires in bedrooms anyway so was planning to block that one up. If that now involves demolition to below the roofline, then at least I will have some bricks for paving, lol. And I reckon I can rent a chemical loo until a proper one is installed. It will be a chilly winter though, cos they get snow around those parts …


    Some friends of ours live in a divine little weatherboard house. When we were there recently they showed us photos of when they first bought it. It had been derelict for more than 10 years with cows walking through it. No bathroom, no running water etc etc. It took them 3 yeats to get it to how they wanted it. It is gorgeious. Good luck with yours, it can be done.



    Go for it hillbilly girl, I admire your abillty to follow your dream! :tup:

    It will have its ups and downs I am sure.. but ultimately it will be worth it :clap:


    Weaver, I may just have to print your post out and frame it to remind myself from time to time that it will be worth it, lol. But I know that this wee cottage will be lovely when sorted. Won’t bother with the front door until I can build a veranda so that is one thing off the ‘things to do immediately’ list, and I can get on with sorting out the interior lining while the extension is being built!:tup:


    is that the bathroom in your pic? 😆 it’s going to be fun :clap: you’ll have a ball :clap:


    Jaymie wrote:

    is that the bathroom in your pic? 😆 it’s going to be fun :clap: you’ll have a ball :clap:

    Yup, that is out in the leanto the designer says will blow away in a puff of wind, lol. Not plumbed in either, so purely ornamental at present. It will get reused in the new bathroom if it is in good nick, otherwise will become a herb garden in the rear courtyard (which may be a little way ahead …)


    E wrote:

    Despite the daunting news, I still feel very excited for you! :hug: … and a little envious 😀

    Don’t be. I have just been given a rather brutal reality check by the draftsman in relation to costs to get the (essential) extension built to house the bathroom, toilet and kitchen. A very basic skillion design, no frills, with second-hand doors and windows not included in the cost … $75000 :jawdrop: Trimming off the ‘fat’ like installing kitchen cupboards, only lining the bathroom and reducing quality of some materials it still is above my available funds if I get the builder to project manage…

    Not quite what I had expected, shall we say. Though, to be fair at the time I did my maths I was under the impression there was an existing septic and functional tank on the property. This is going to be a real challenge methinks and I will have to put my thinking hat on over Christmas to see if I can work out a viable solution … Maybe if I put the kitchen inside the house and have only the bathroom and loo in the extension I can save a bit … will need to think about what I can do. :uhoh:


    $75000 :jawdrop:

    Back to the drawing board for a rethink maybe. It is all very exciting though. My friend washed her dishes in a plastic bowl in a little tiny almost shed like building with toilet and shower and laundry bench for 3 years before she got the kitchen she wanted. I admire her but dont aim to emulate her just at the moment:lol:



    My mind is working overtime at present. If all the plumbing and wiring is in place, I can survive with one sink (preferably the laundy trough) for all activities, and a moulded shower in the bathroom and a pedestal loo (composting loos create all manner of additional expenses as a result of building regs). There is an existing stove but I have no idea if it works.But still … :jawdrop::jawdrop:

    Maybe I can put the kitchen in one of the existing rooms and save on building costs that way? But that would lose me a study and as I plan to work from home that would not be helpful … Sigh. Clearly a lot of thinking to do… perhaps I will have a stroke of creative genius while at work :confused:

    Off to work now, so will see what genius suggestions you guys can come up with for me in the mean time or tomorrow morning your time…


    Have you thought about going owner builder? If the design is relatively simple, it really isn’t that hard. We have done all our house without having any building experience at all from before, so it might be worth a think. Also, we have done a really nice kitchen – at least we think so – at a very reasonable price and it wasn’t that hard at all.

    Happy to have a look at your plans etc if you need any extra advice. Just PM me.




    I hope if you’re going to hire professional tradespeople to help with the renovations, that you’ll be on-site to make your presence known. It’s very rare to find a craftsman who takes pride in the job they do. Often they’re rushing between jobs and don’t do the best finish for the top-dollars they charge.

    As long as you can live in or near the dwelling, owner building should be achieveable. You can subcontract your own tradespeople and only pay when you’re satisfied with the work.


    Hi all, and thank you Geir and Metu for your sensible suggestions. I have recommenced breathing once more and my brain has stopped running around like a hamster in a wheel. This has allowed me to break the job down into essentials, and desirables, and completely unnecessary in the short term. So the list goes something like this:

    Install and plumb in sewerage treatment system (whatever one I go for)

    Install and (temporarily) plumb in the rainwater tank

    Install all plumbing and wiring that has to go under the slab

    Frame and pour slab.

    Install fence for dog (no idea of price but this will be connecting to existing side fences and the rear portion I will run to the sides of the house, rather than further back as originally intended)

    Replace existing rotted out front door and top light (which will mean the dog can have unsupervised access to the front garden. He is obedience trained so in the back garden he will be supervised in the short term.

    Apart from the fence, that adds up to around 15650 (making a wild guess on the price of the sewerage system and installation costs)

    Essential costs will be design, planning permission, building permits, soil testing and drainage plan, rewiring the existing house to the existing points, connecting phone, dialup (the sacrifices we make 🙁 ) and electricity, plus any insurance required for the work.

    By my (admittedly recently proven inadequate) maths, that will come in well under the available funds, leaving a substantial contingency.

    Now, this leaves me ready to go once more funds are available, but still without a toilet and hot water. So this is where the potentially wobbly bit comes in.

    If the sewerage system is in place, and the toilet is currently planned to be against the rear wall of the existing house, I reckon I ought to be permitted to knock up a privacy shield and install the loo. I reckon I could also install the HWS and a plumbedin laundry trough where they are proposed to be located. These would be temporarily housed in a shelter of some form.

    The materials for both of these would be derived from the demolition of the existing lean-to and with the right tools, I could build them myself. My problem remains, how I would anchor the laundry shelter, but if they install bolts in the slab where the walls are to be, maybe I could attach to those (it’s been a long time since I installed a slab and I can’t remember if they were fixed or whether they were dynabolted later).

    If I do this, then I will actually have a bit of capital left over to do the more urgent work inside that is within my capabilities too, which will be something to be getting on with while the plans are approved etc.

    And Metu, I will be living there while the work is done and prefer to take on tradespeople who are willing to treat me as their not-so-simple first year apprentice or semi-skilled labourer so that I am RIGHT on top of the job while it is in progress and can build some level of rapport with them.

    Geir, I will see if I can attach the drawings and PM them to you. It really is a simple structure, but not something I could do entirely alone (you always need someone at the other end of a long piece of wood). I seem to recall you can do a course on owner-building? is that still running? I can do project management, but not for this sort of project cos I would not have the first idea of what had to happen before which …

    So, ideas please and thoughts on the options i have suggested.


    Me again, can’t get rid of me. I have not the faintest clue how to attach an image to a PM, so here it is in all it’s glory. I am going for option 2 of those proposed. Hope it’s not too big and does not crash the forum :shrug:

    edited to say:

    This is the final proposed floor plan which should fit the bill. Seems like a fairly straight-forward design to me, but others may disagree. The only complicated bit of build would be the cavity sliding door to provide an airlock between the bathroom/loo and the kitchen. But as that would rarely be closed I guess it is a bit ‘academic’ As far as self-build is concerned, I think I could probably do it, so long as i had the right trades lined up at the right time. Framing up the exterior and cladding (top and sides) seems to be something you could do before you had the trades in as long as you left off the weatherboards in places where pipes have to go. which would mean both end walls would need to stay open until plumbed in.

    The major costs do seem to be for the carpenter $12000!!! and the plasterer etc which is definitely within my skills (with a little practice and time to puzzle things through. fibre-glasser for waterproofing … I used to repair my own surf board though that was a long time ago. Once it is framed up and roofed I could accumulate materials under shelter … thinking out loud, sorry …

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