Mom of two was almost homeless, until she built this tiny home with just $10,000
Here's a modern-day superwoman if I ever saw one.
Imagine you're a 27-year-old woman living in regional Australia, with a pair of sons aged six and two, and a marriage that recently broke down; and now you're faced with a crippling mortgage that might very likely lead to a scenario of homelessness. What to do?
For Charlotte Sapwell, it was her determination to keep a roof over her boys' heads that guided her decision to just build a new home from scratch. With her own two hands.
"It’s not something I had ever really thought about, but then due to financial difficulties, I spoke to my grandpa and he suggested we build a tiny house," Charlotte told Yahoo7. It meant she could take on a smaller, more manageable mortgage, and continue supporting her children.
"I was running out of options and as a mum I needed to do everything within my power to provide for my boys even if it meant some long days and hard work."
And incredibly, she did it – Charlotte built a small but cozy three-roomed house for her and her kids in her grandfather's backyard in Ballarat, all within a very tight budget of £8,000 (around $10,000). The house only took five months to build, although the small family was living it rough at the start when they had to live in the bare building site without any functioning amenities.
"The first few weeks were hard with three people living in a box, but then when things started happening like running water, flushing toilet we all got excited," she said.
"I went without a washing machine for a few months and it was getting to the point of ridiculousness."
"I’m lucky that together we did all the labour, and I’m talking everything so that took away a lot of the cost."
With the help of her grandfather, Charlotte sourced all the materials and tools from a local hardware store and took on every building step herself. Every single thing – from laying the ground structure, building the timber wall supports and putting together a roof, to the plumbing, electricity, and painting.
She took a small loan from her grandpa, who was also so generous as to offer them a plot of land in his backyard to build their new home. She said it wasn't exactly a "suitcase of cash" but that she is "paying him back every cent".
Most furnishing and interior finishes were sourced from the ever-thrifty IKEA and Kmart. They also scoured the internet and their local area for second-hand hand items and other bargains.
"My main tip is Gumtree, garage sales anyone chucking stuff in dumpys, we live in an online world and it's very easy to put a call out online and see what people are getting rid of and the same goes for selling, everyone loves a bargain."
It's pretty tiny, but it works. Charlotte's bedroom is combined with the living room and kitchen, and the bathroom doubles as a laundry.
The boys share a separate bedroom. Charlotte felt she owed her "amazing" boys a nice room, as they were enthusiastic helpers to their mum during the build.
"For me the proudest moment was the boys room, giving them their own space filled me with an incredible sense of achievement."
Since completing the build, Charlotte's story has gone viral. She said that this has encouraged her with "finally finishing the little jobs around the house", like giving the boys a door (designed and made from scratch by Charlotte, no less).
She also said that building the house has taught her what she is personally capable of, and encouraged facing similar situations as hers that: "Any one can do it, I never would of thought I’d ever achieve building my own home let alone love what I’m doing."
"My advice is don’t be afraid to start small, really we don’t need a lot of things," she said.
While there's not much room for the house-warming party Charlotte's cute little home deserves, it's an incredibly inspiring story none-the-less.