UPDATE: HOW TO BUILD A CABIN

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I can’t believe it’s been since over six months since my last update about my How To Build A Cabin journey! Well, believe me when I say this – a lot has happened. So sit down, relax and get ready for a huge update. I HAVE MOVED You know how I have been talking (ok complaining) about how high the property market is in Sydney as a solo homebuyer and that I could never afford to buy property on my own? Well around the same time I wrote my last blog post about my cabin plans, I also moved from Sydney to the Sunshine Coast in Queensland to live with my boyfriend Jason. Hurrah! I achieved my dream of never living in a city ever again.

WE ARE BUYING LAND This is probably the most exciting update of my entire life, so get ready. We have been searching all around the Sunshine Coast to purchase the perfect block of land. We were looking for land for around $300k and upwards of 700m2. However, we have been struggling because anything that is available, is either too small or way over our budget.

Just a couple of weeks ago my parents dropped a bombshell. They bought a block of land at Sunrise Beach more than 15 years ago; its 1,200m2, it’s north east facing and if built on, would achieve ocean views. My dad turned 70 last year and my Mum hasn’t been well, so the pressure of having to build on the property has been mounting. With a beautiful house in Brisbane and a penthouse apartment on the Gold Coast already on their property portfolio, they were umm’ing and ahh’ing over what to do with the land at Sunrise Beach.

Then they decided to sell it to Jason and me for the value they paid the block of land for 15 years ago...! I’ll let you do the maths if you want to get stuck into detail, but I would prefer to keep the sale of the property private. However, there is no way in this life, Jason and I could afford to buy the land at the current market value! So we are completely blown away, in shock and over the moon with happiness. Our dream of building our Scandinavian inspired cabin just became a reality.

WE HAVE A HOME LOAN Hurrah! Yes, we obviously need to get a home loan to buy land and build our cabin slash house, and because Jason is a teacher and works for the government, we were able to get an incredibly low interest rate for the life of the loan with a Credit Union. Our loan will be released in two stages, initially for the land and then for the build.

WE HAVE ZERO DEBT After f*cking up and maxing out a credit card during my uni days, I’ve learned to always live off cash, and never to get sucked into owning a credit card - they are dangerous for personal banking. So between the both of us we are 100% debt free. I cannot tell you amazing this feels. So anyone out there with credit, pay it off. And never look at another credit card again.

WE HAVE A NEW DESIGNER Sadly, we have chosen not to proceed with Archiblox. Don’t worry – I am just as gutted as you. This isn’t a decision we made lightly; it is one we have been debating for months. It just doesn’t make sense contracting a designer builder who doesn’t live on the Sunshine Coast. So with that in mind, we do have some news that should make your day.

Jason’s best friend is a builder on the Sunshine Coast, so we will be contracting him out to build our cabin style home. We are delighted we can support our friend and we are so excited to be able to work on a big project like this with him. Additionally, we have been spending a tonne of time trying to find the right architect to design the actual house. For me, I felt this is where we needed to make a big investment as we are building a house that we want to live in at least for 15 years, so we need to be very considered when we design the build.

Through three of my amazing friends - Tim, Dane, Ruth - who know us so well and understand what we have been on the look out for, they recommended us to their friend John Robertson from OGE Group Architects. John is an extremely busy director of his architecture firm (and notably young, which we love) and only does small residential projects like this for friends only, so you can imagine how nervous I was when our friends introduced us. It was like going to an interview; after being showed one of his current $12million projects, I honestly thought to myself mid-meeting – what on earth are we doing here, are we kidding ourselves?

But as soon as I showed him the block, shared our vision and our budget – he was in. John has actually built his own made from shipping containers, so you understand how working with him is a match made in heaven! Our budget for the design is $10k, and we might be able to stretch it up to $15k but I am hoping with minimal input from us (aka not pestering John and his team every day with emails) and being very understanding and relaxed at what we can realistically afford, we’ll be able to settle on $10k. Watch this space!

WE HAVE COLOUR EXPERTS My gorgeous bestie Tina, who is one half of Triibe, is going to help us with the interior paint colour selection. We don’t want plain white walls in every room; instead, we want to play with different feature walls – think dove grey, moss green and dark charcoal to add a bit of richness without breaking the budget. The girls swear by Resene, so I have no doubt we’ll be using this brand for the feature walls.

WE HAVE A FURNITURE BUDGET As we literally own nothing in our current apartment, we have to start from scratch and buy (or source and DIY) everything when we move into our home. Ummm, not great. To be honest, this was making me super nervous as we need cash to be able to afford everything (remember, no credit cards here). Because there is a bit of equity in the land, we didn’t need to pay a deposit. So two years of hard saving has paid off! However, we aren’t going to roll into the local Homemaker Centre with wads of cash. Don’t be ridiculous! But what we have done in the meantime is pull together a spreadsheet detailing everything we need to buy and allocating a budget against each item. The grand total? $20k. Yup! But luckily we’ve been saving. We're also eligible for the First Homebuyers Grant, which pushes this up by another $20k - hurrah!

WHAT’S NEXT? So much! The land has been surveyed and the soil has been tested. We've had our initial meetings with OGE and they are currently planning the design, which we'll see just before Easter - so excited!

We are also working at refining our interior style. We want the interior to be quite gender neutral, but leaning more towards masculine. To give you a bit of a clue as to what we’re thinking for the living room - we're loving neutral lounges, like this one. We’ve been tossing up buying: one tan leather armchair, like this one next to a dark fabric armchair, like this one.

We like the traditional Moroccan Beni Ourain rugs but we’re a bit undecided. They are so expensive (upwards of $2k) plus they look like they would get dirty very quickly. We love grey but we feel like it’s becoming too much of a trend at the moment ad would like to avoid this colour completely.

I am obsessed with rattan; it’s the perfect balance between coastal and Scandinavian without being too much of either. I’d love to find a rattan ottoman and buy two, like these ones.  My friend Stu is the king of interior and we love his glass coffee table; it’s got the perfect 70s Scandinavian vibe, which we really want to own throughout the house. And if we want to get into the kitchen and bedrooms, we also found this dining table which is absolutely beautiful IRL and this buffet for our master bedroom. We don’t want the furniture to be too matchy matchy but we think some common elements will tie everything together nicely. We also have an awesome Tip Shop down the road from us, and we've already scored a few killer pieces, which we'll show you later this year.

Ahhhh so much to plan! Stay tuned for more updates!