You can still learn how to build a house. Even if you consider yourself not very "practical".
have built a house and restored several others - and hopefully you
will see how uncomplicated it can be. Maybe you will feel encouraged to build a house of your own.
For example how does a maths teacher like me find himself building a new house in Hapton and restoring old listed buildings in Norwich and South Norfolk?
There's probably a builder in me, that's why and I'm guessing there's a builder in you too.
Let’s start with a four-bedroom house in a Horse Sanctuary using a timber frame – that I made from scratch.
We had to talk to planners and building control about which designs work and which don’t work. Should I have fire resistant paint? Will the tiles be the right shade? And all the other decisions that have to be made.
On top of all this I had to interpret the working drawings, made more difficult when the architect was forced to leave the project through illness.
I was left on my own. What now?
So how to build a house without an architect should be the next question!
When I came to build the new house I worked with a school leaver called Nick who lived in Norwich. I approached the job center and asked if anyone would help me build a house. Nick had little training but a lot of energy and enthusiasm.
At this point the whole project seemed more real and do-able. I was getting a lot of support from working with a fellow human being and I was feeling very positive.
We worked through wind, rain, snow and a lot of sunshine to get that house up. When Nick had finished he had not only learnt how to build a house but more recently is working full time as an experienced qualified carpenter in and around Norwich.
My introduction to a large building project was when I first moved to Norfolk. I took on the repairs of an old listed building in the Norwich Cathedral Close. You could say that it is one of the most beautiful houses - right there behind the Cathedral walls.
Later and perhaps one of the crowning moments was acquiring an old neglected 17th century farmhouse and restoring it. It had been used as the county’s highways depot for 40 years and for 40 years before that as a coach station.
I suddenly had to deal with large sums of money and meeting deadlines. This was perhaps the greatest learning opportunity of my life and I hope you will share the experience with me.
But as you well know, restoring old buildings is quite different to building a new house from scratch. When you restore an old house you only have to copy what is already there – repair with the same materials and in the same style.
Learning how to build a house is an ongoing project. Rewarding in a way that you don’t get from your average day-to-day job. And it’s an investment, which historically will increase in value.
I hope to show you ways to build, look after, and maintain your home by:
Building your home from foundations upwards.
Building a garden pergola in pictures and a chance to design your very own classical pergola rafter tails.
Building a chimney right in the middle of the house.
Renovating wonderful old buildings.
And lots more ways to care for your home.