Emma Hohnen, mother of two, was recently separated and needed a home. With a background as a yoga teacher and marketer she upped her skills as renovator and builder in order to make a home for herself and two children.
Owning a house already in Urunga on the mid north coast of NSW, Emma used the large block to build a new structure and using the existing house to rent out. She kept to simple rectangular design with only 60 square metres of internal floor space but a large northwest facing deck to capture maximum sun.
“The aim was to keep the house long and narrow in proportion to the shape of the block, maximise north sun and minimise building cost by using a simple rectangular shape,” she says.
“The dimensions are 4.8 metres x 12.5 metres (60 square metres) with a 6-metre x 6-metre deck. The ceilings are 2.4 metres with a skillion roof to the northern wall which has a height of 3.6 metres.
To contain costs and build sustainably, she bought secondhand hardwood bearers and joists, wooden floors and mahogany lining boards from a local house being demolished.
“I bought the whole thing and stacked all the wood on the block. It all had to be de-nailed, which took a week’s labour by a young carpenter, assisted by myself, friends and neighbours. The paint also had to be stripped off the mahogany lining boards.”
She achieved cost savings of more than $15,000, and a stronger frame.
Again to save money, an Ikea kitchen was bought and assembled with friends over a week, saving an estimated $5000. No rangehood was used, just louvres above the kitchen for ventilation and light, with the bathroom doubling as laundry.
And the end result? “It is a divine space to be in. I wanted to put it out there that we don’t have to live in this ‘luxury home’ story we’ve been sold. I’ve never been happier.”