Single mum builds tiny house for less than $13k with materials from Bunnings

A thrifty single mother has turned her back on a crippling mortgage by building her own miniature home for just $13,000.

When Charlotte Sapwell, 27, was left homeless following the breakdown of her marriage, she was in dire need of finding accommodation for her and her two sons.

But instead of spending years paying off a home loan, the mum, from Ballarat, Victoria, decided to build her own property from scratch.

The single mother-of-two didn't want to be left with a crippling home loan. Source: Charlotte Sapwell
The single mother-of-two didn't want to be left with a crippling home loan. Source: Charlotte Sapwell

"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.

"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's miniature home was built for just $13,000. Source: Charlotte Sapwell
Charlotte's miniature home was built for just $13,000. Source: Charlotte Sapwell

Five months later and just an astonishing $13,000 spent, Charlotte and her grandfather have built a cosy home for her and her two boys, aged six and two in his backyard.

But the build was far from straight forward and the trio were initially living on a building site without essential 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.

Charlotte getting her hands dirty during the build. Source: Charlotte Sapwell
Charlotte getting her hands dirty during the build. Source: Charlotte Sapwell
The build began to take shape in the backyard of Charlotte's grandfather. Source: Charlotte Sapwell
The build began to take shape in the backyard of Charlotte's grandfather. Source: Charlotte Sapwell

"I went without a washing machine for a few months and it was getting to the point of ridiculousness."

The family rallied round and with the help of a loan from her grandfather and a small plot in his backyard to build on, they managed to complete their miniature abode without breaking the bank.

"I’m lucky that together we did all the labour, and I’m talking everything so that took away a lot of the cost."

The majority of the her tiny budget was spent on building materials from Bunnings and they spent the remainder of her money furnishing the home with cheap buys from IKEA and Kmart, as well as scouring the local area for bargains.

The kitchen, living room and Charlotte's bedroom are combined into one room. Source: Charlotte Sapwell
The kitchen, living room and Charlotte's bedroom are combined into one room. Source: Charlotte Sapwell
Carlotte felt great pride in being able to build her boys their own space. Source: Charlotte Sapwell
Carlotte felt great pride in being able to build her boys their own space. Source: Charlotte Sapwell

"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."

The small home consists of three rooms - a main living area that includes the kitchen and Charlotte's bedroom, a bathroom and a separate bedroom for the boys - something that Charlotte felt she owed to her "amazing" boys who were always at the ready to lend a hand with the build.

"For me the proudest moment was the boys room, giving them their own space filled me with an incredible sense of achievement."

The family spend a lot of time together in the main social space that includes the living room, the kitchen and Charlotte's bedroom. Source: Charlotte Sapwell
The family spend a lot of time together in the main social space that includes the living room, the kitchen and Charlotte's bedroom. Source: Charlotte Sapwell

Taking inspiration from her inaugural build, Charlotte now says she's ready to take on a new project and has given advice to anyone who wants to follow in her footsteps.

"My advice is don’t be afraid to start small, really we don’t need a lot of things," she said.

"A smaller mortgage means so much room for possibilities, 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 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."

The main room encompasses the kitchen and living room together. Source: Charlotte Sapwell
The main room encompasses the kitchen and living room together. Source: Charlotte Sapwell
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