When life hands you lemons, sometimes you have to build a lemonade stand.
After her divorce, single mother Charlotte Sapwell, 27, found herself facing homelessness with her two young sons. No matter how she crunched the numbers, she simply could not afford to keep a roof over their heads in their town of Ballarat, Australia either by renting or getting a home loan.
In spite of not being particularly handy, Charlotte decided to do something she had only heard about and seen on TV: build her own tiny house.
“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,” Charlotte said.
With the help of her grandfather, on whose land the house now sits, Charlotte set out to build a three room house on a budget of under $13,000.
The build took about five months of hard work, and the family had no choice but to live in the house before it was finished.
“The first few weeks were hard with three people living in a box,” she stated. “But then when things started happening like running water, flushing toilet we all got excited.”
The finished home has a combined living, kitchen, bedroom area, where Charlotte sleeps, a bathroom, and a bedroom for her kids to share. Charlotte said that being able to give her boys, ages two and six, their own room was the most rewarding thing she has ever done.
“For me the proudest moment was the boys’ room, giving them their own space filled me with an incredible sense of achievement.”
Building the home has not only helped the family financially, but it has instilled a ‘can-do’ attitude in Charlotte that is priceless.
“A smaller mortgage means so much room for possibilities, Charlotte said. “You learn to really appreciate what’s around you, and for me I’ve learnt what I am personally capable of so in saying that anyone can do it.”
Now that her home is done, she is busy working on other building projects that she hopes to sell. She hopes that other families in similar situations will follow in her footsteps and take charge of their living situations.
“I never would have thought I’d ever achieve building my own home let alone love what I’m doing!”
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