We support the idea of lifelong learning here at CBAL. I entered this arena the moment my partner and I purchased a piece of land to build a house and create our own little slice of paradise. I knew that it was going to be a daunting task, but I also knew that all of the hard work would be worth it in the end! What I didn’t know was how much I was going to learn in the process.
My partner and I spent hours talking and planning what the house lay out would look like, what we REALLY wanted and what we would like but could live without. We debated the pros and cons of solar vs hydro power, grey water catchment and compostable toilets vs traditional septic, and so much more. In case you are wondering, in the end we decided to go with the more traditional options of hydro and septic.
This process was a HUGE learning curve for me. I spent hours researching different options and watching endless YouTube videos of people who have built already. No one was doing it exactly like we wanted to do it, but it really helped us to understand what the process would look like.
Maps and plotting the sites, budgeting and tracking expenses, looking at the legalities of crossing other property lines all kept the learning curve going.
Our first house design started with some grid paper, a ruler and a pencil. What a mess! I prefer things to be neat and tidy, so then we came up with house plan #2. This time we added dimensions, scale and had more clarity on the square footage.
Needless to say, there were many more drawings, but in the end (and with the expertise of an architect) we came up with a finished plan. Using my rather rusty numeracy skills, I was able to decipher some of the math, but I needed a lot of support from my partner. Luckily, he works in trades and knows this stuff well.
If you have decided to build a home, and if you are not so lucky to have a partner in construction, there are a few websites that can help you with your planning and learning. As I mentioned before, no one is going to do it exactly like you, but it helps to have an idea of what you are getting into! Here are a few ideas to help you get started:
Be prepared for the endless learning curve, but it will be so worth it in the end – at least I think so! This summer I am beyond excited to see the house that was only a dream a year ago become a reality – windows, walls, roof and all!
Community Literacy Coordinator
Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy - Golden