Gain confidence by building it yourself

After many years of doing things myself I thought I would share my story and experiences of building things.

I hope I can help the average person gain confidence to build really cool things, and save a bit of money along the way.

My Story

My DIY story starts as far back as I can remember.

My parents migrated to Australia from Germany . My dad was always building something... I guess you could say my father was a workaholic. Creating a bigger garden, building a deck around the pool, chicken coop, our own house. I was brought up doing things myself. Maybe its a German thing. We would learn how to do the task, then do it, but also do it well. Making mistakes is part of the whole process. It really doesnt matter how many mistakes you make, it's all about learning then fixing the mistakes and ending up with a quality finish.

He also taught me to work hard. We are living in a world where people think it's more convenient to get someone else to do it. You may not have the skills so its only natural to ask someone who has the skills to do it for you. But you will find as you do more things yourself, you will gain skills, confidence, and projects do not seem so hard.

You would assume contractors will do a better job than you, but that's not always the case. I bet many of us have not been satisfied with the work of a contractor and get them to return to fix their mistakes. You care more about the job than the contractor.

I was brought up in Melbourne, Australia. I helped my father complete many projects, and never questioned if he was capable or not, because he always was. We bought a house that was a dump. A tiny cottage, tons of overgrown trees and brush. Not a problem, we got to work. We chopped down trees, cleared brush, built a new house, chicken coop, veggie garden.

I started my career as a Computer Programmer and got a Bachelors Degree in Computer Systems. I have always remained in it. I do like IT, but its good to do some more physical projects now and then also.

When I got married we bought our own house in Melbourne, and it was also a dump. Some friends and family thought we were crazy, because it was so ugly, and a huge project. Overgrown trees, house ugly and small. But my wife and I saw potential and got to work. We thought this was going to be our house for the next 10 years. We did a lot of renovations to the house; new cladding, moved walls, extended the kitchen, built a carport, extended house, replaced and polished floor boards, new kitchen, poured concrete. And thats just the inside stuff. Here are some before and after photos.

Melbourne House

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We did most work ourselves, with some help from my family. After 1 year I lost my job and struggled to get a job in Melbourne so we moved to Adelaide. We had to travel back to Melbourne a few times to finish the renovations, and after we completeted the reno, we sold the house. It lookd a lot different after we sold it. It was a lot of firsts on that house...including the first time my wife had decorated...and it was a huge success.

And you guessed it, we bought another dump in Adelaide. This time it was for a rental property and we fixed it all up. There is definitely a pattern here. In this house we replaced the floor with a new wood look vinyl product, repainted kitchen, fixed front and back garden. Here are some photos:

Adelaide House

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Next we moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, and we are still here. It was difficult to get a house in America on an Australian VISA but after going through some hoops we finally got an awesome house. The backyard was neglected and needed some help and also the basement was unfinished. Due to time constrints, we hired a contractor to complete the basement so our boys could have a bedroom each. About an year after we completed the basement, it was damaged in a flood. We had about 1 to 2 feet of water. We were so thankful to our church members helping us gut the basement. Our new carpet, walls, furniture, clothes all had to be thrown out. This time I rebuilt the basement myself putting in doors, plaster, insulation, kitchenette, bathroom, shelving. There is no shortage of jobs to do.

Salt Lake City House

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We are loving life here in Utah and who knows where the winds will blow us next.


If your ready to give it a go yourself, click here on the Projects page. There is a whole lot of project ideas for you to look at.

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