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I Self Built a Home After My Partner Left: Case Study

By: Elaine Everest - Updated: 26 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Self Build Built Project Dream Home

When Christine Delaney broke up with her partner she followed her dream of building her own home whilst looking after her two young daughters.

Dream Home

Christine Delaney had always wanted to build her own home. She had avidly read building magazines and watched television programmes where couples built their dream home together and knew that one day she too would build her perfect home. “I had devoured books on self build for year, not so much the furnishing side of things, for me it was the design of the home and how it would suit my lifestyle. I’d had always wanted to work from home with a dressmaking business but there had never been room. Since the children were born I’d taken in repairs and the odd order, but my work had to be done when the children were in bed and my sewing room was the corner of the dining room. My partner, John was interested but not quite as keen as me and saw the project as something to do later in our lives when the children left home. I wanted to do it now and knew that we were not on the same wavelength. Eventually further cracks appeared in our relationship and he left.”

Build it or Bust

“I found myself alone with two children a mortgage on a home and a part time sewing job. What was I to do? With the children in bed and my work up to date I settled down with the latest building magazine. The first article on go it alone builders caught my eye; the man had built his home on a shoe string. Could I do this as well? I sat late into the night making lists of figures. My house had equity and being in the London suburbs had held its value. There was no chance that I could buy a building plot in the same area but then there was no reason to stay locally. The girls were not yet in full time school and I would be able to run a dressmaking business anywhere in the country.

Finding a Plot of Land

I thought it would be nice to move further north from London and we took a trip the following weekend to Suffolk where I had spent time as a child staying with family friends. I placed cards in newsagents' windows and registered with estate agents and within a day received a phone call from someone who had a large plot attached to their garden. With my house already on the market and plenty of interested buyers it took only two months before the girls and I were installed in a very large caravan at the edge of the plot as the house took shape.

Hands on Building

The original plans had been for a timber framed house which suited me as it would take less time to install and the company that designed it would see it through from start to finish. They made some alterations for me so that I had a large workroom next to the family room where I could work and also keep an eye on the girls while they played. The plans were approved and six months later we were in our home. Money was tight but my ex partner John was good and helped out with maintenance for our daughters. He was a constant visitor during the build and we have remained very good friends. He could see that my dream had come true and he was pleased for me.”

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