Welcome to our blog, Brick By Brick.
Our little project began back around July 2012 when we decided it was time to consider building a home. We’d started searching for properties in and around Mt Hawthorn and North Perth long before our decision to build – we just couldn’t find anything that was quite right for us. So we spread our search to the surrounding suburbs and started looking into Wembley.
Having already undertaken a massive renovation on the place we were living in – a 1940’s Art Deco bungalow in Coogee (that we still miss to this day), we weren’t really keen on taking on a big renovation and preservation project again. We wanted something we could move into and enjoy. That’s where we kept hitting a brick wall. Literally. It was hard going and a tough market to break into.
We soon realised we were going to have to look at this search in a whole new light!
The search went on for a couple of years, until we found it. The perfect little street in Wembley, complete with a great neighbourhood, close to everything we need and just right for us. Small problem. We found the perfect position – a nice hilly position, an elevated block with great frontage… but the house that was living on the block was far from it.
It was a typical late 60’s/early 70’s cream face brick home complete with several arches that sprawled the 653 sqm block. It was cavernous, with loads of rooms everywhere, devoid of any of that beautiful Wembley character and it was in dire need of some serious attention. So much attention in fact that it was the perfect knock down.
Yup. There was no other option but to build it from scratch!
And there began our journey into exploring the world of the owner-builder.
In October 2012, we registered for the owner-builder course at Home Base in Subiaco, full of beans and ready to tackle the project head on. By lunch time, we both realised that we were taking on a massive project. Big mistake. HUGE!
We started hyperventilating a little. Freaking out quietly inside.
So we went to only person we knew who could help us navigate the craziness. Dad. Joe the Brickie – a man who lays bricks faster than any man in the West, and with such precision! We were fortunate to have someone with experience – almost 50 years of it, to give us advice and put our minds at ease.
After chatting it through, Dad kindly agreed to help us out (again). So armed with some bravado, a very clear idea about what we wanted and a tonne of nerves, we began the process.
We’ve been documenting the process from the start. Diary notes, plenty of mood and inspiration boards and sooo many photos. We recently decided it was time to share the process with other owner-builders: a warts and all journey of the entire experience that we hope will impart some knowledge, keep you up to date with where we’re at and hopefully entertain you a little.
We’ll share with you our hits and misses, along with the suppliers and tradespeople who are helping us realise our vision. Fingers crossed they’re all good at what they do, or it could get awkward!
Becoming an owner-builder and building your very own dream home is one of the most exciting undertakings you can imagine. To know that what you’ll be living in soon is something you’ve had a very big hand in creating is rewarding. It’s also incredibly daunting. It’s difficult, time/life-consuming and stressful.
We’re determined to make it as enjoyable as possible. ∗
Written by Kate Ceberano
I smile across in the state line
The only thing that’s on my mind
I’m tired but I can picture you
The only thing that gets me through
We built this love brick by brick and it’s all around
I left you in the garden state
And it’s still around
You’re still around
Still around me every single day
I can’t take it away
Away, I can’t take it away