There is no denying that it has been exceptionally hard work so far and a struggle at times. From first agreeing the purchase up until today, really! It's not just the physical aspects, they're the easy bits by comparison, it's the organising and dealing with the contractors and suppliers that can be so frustrating. For instance, how many times do you think you'd need to tell a window manufacturer that you would like stained wood windows and not white? Four. And then to add to your exasperation you receive a revised quote and one of the windows is still white! And, if you received a letter instructing you to erect scaffold on site and ready for use by the 3rd August, would you do it ready for that date? The majority would, but as in our case the firm thought we wanted it erected on the 3rd August. Where in the letter did it say that?! Point to it and show us!
Is it rewarding though? Absolutely. Without a shadow of a doubt.
As soon as we step on site the feeling that we are building our own house and will eventually live in it is a mixture of excitement, achievement, and if I'm being really honest slightly pleased with ourselves that we are doing this and have come this far (with the added bonus of still speaking to each other!). We promised ourselves we would enjoy the build and not turn it into a chore, we've clung on to this promise with our finger tips at times, it has been stressful, pressured and we have been slightly short sighted on occasions. Taking two weeks to put the frame up was physically exhausting, but then Darran beat his personal best by standing the roof trusses in a week (with a little help!).
The more the build progresses the more it is easy to get overwhelmed by the enormity of what is ahead of you and what's to be done. We've done some of the hardest bits physically (apparently!) but there is still a lot more to go. We're now looking at each bit individually and ticking them off as we go (lists, I love lists!), breaking things down in to bite sized chunks. This is all very well but you still need to have an eye on what's coming up next and getting the next step in the pipeline. What we have learnt is that you don't need everything, including the shape and size of the heated towel rails, in the pipeline at the same time!
You can read all the self build magazines, go to seminars, watch Grand Designs, read so called 'self build bibles' on the subject, but none of these prepare you for what you're taking on. The only way to learn how to do it is to take a deep breath, close your eyes, jump, and hope the bottom isn't too far down!
We've got a lot more to come, there will be more struggles and frustrations and a lot more excitement. But above all we're both still very happy we made this decision to own our first home together this way.