A woman builds o house
Agata built her own house because she had dreamt it about since childhood. Although her friends did the same, she is the only one who didn’t buy the house, but built it from scratch. She didn’t think it would be a problem for her as she had already been responsible earlier for a similar activity, but her previous house where she lived with her husband was twice as big. This time, however, she had to watch the costs closely to fit in budget.
Agata thinks she is a person who can’t live to the full in a block of flats. When living there, she felt like in a cage. – After we got married with my husband, we started saving money for a house. In the beginning, however, we bought an apartment of 40 square meters. A few years later we took a credit. Finally, they managed to build a beautiful and luxurious house of 200 square meters. The husband earned more, so she handled the house building and the house keeping. For some time Agata felt happy there. But when she realized she wasn’t the only woman in her husband’s life, she demanded a divorce and putting the house on sale, and sharing the money from sales. – When we were selling the house, the buyers first asked my husband all questions, but they quickly noticed that he didn’t know much about it, so then they talked to me only. The woman architect, a lecturer at the Technical University, who made the house valuation, became impressed with its design, the finishing and the good style – she couldn’t believe that the owner had no formal education in that field of study. – This reassured me a lot. She said everything was well matched and of the highest quality, she asked whether I did some studies in this – the woman recalls.
In the new house Agata had much cheaper materials, but also very attractive. She thought it was not worth investing in such expensive fittings, for example, before she had a washbasin for 1000,00 zloty, and here for 400,00 zloty, and its design was similar, and the cheaper one looked even prettier. First she thought the more expensive, the better, but it is not always true as many building materials of high quality can be bought on sales.
One day after the divorce she started looking for a building plot. She went to a district in her town which she liked most and she asked the residents about plots for sale. – This was such a funny story, because I just knocked on the door of a developer, and he told me he could show me a plot of 530 square meters, and he went there with me thinking I would become his client – she says. – But I told him I would build the house on my own. He asked me surprised – Are you going to build that house all by yourself? Without anybody? And I replied – Yes, all by myself.
He put her in touch with the owner of the plot, who agreed to sell it for 185,00 zloty per square meter, which was a very good price considering the location in that district.
She finds the design on the Internet even before buying the plot. And before the divorce, she already knew how big her house would be and what it would look like. Her friends recommended to her a construction team of highlanders who were praised for their skills and reliability. The friends said that they had worked for someone before, but then they set up their own company. They advised: talk to them, maybe they would build that house a bit cheaper for you, as they just entered the market. Right after making the advance payment for the plot, she started negotiations with them saying that the house would be small and simple. Together they agreed on a remuneration of 30 thousand zloty and they built walls within two months. Later they regretted a bit they didn’t negotiate with Agata a higher price.
I had seen many websites related to the interior design so as to prepare for the task. I found out, for example, how to hide a ventilation hood. I focused on simplicity and elegance; I wanted things to be nice and practical.
Safe and modern building
The workers built the house so quickly because they worked in a team of four nearly from the dawn to the night – from 7:00 to 20:00. It was spring time, so there was light long in the day. They wanted to finish fast to earn money and start the next order. I signed an agreement including stages of the works and after each of them the payment was to be made. To build a shell house structure with a roof, but without windows and door it cost Agata 100 thousand zloty.
From the beginning I paid attention to the cheapest cost, my target was to stay within the amount of 500 thousand zloty. And to my surprise, I succeeded – she says. Drainage and water supply installation cost 12 thousand zloty, she roped in a friend from the area of Kielce for this job.
Her house has 100 square meters and is two-storey, not one-storey, because it is a more economic solution due to the heating system. She planned to heat the house with a fireplace as often as possible, her father helped with bringing the wood. She was at the site every day, she watched the workers. Her friend engineer helped her in picking the materials. The building works were to start in April, but she had bought all the materials already in January, because of price discounts. She noticed that in the spring, when usually the construction works start, the prices went up immediately. She also agreed with the wholesalers on a free delivery, but sometimes she had to remind them about the agreed terms.
When planning next savings in the house usage, she decided to install the LED lights. Whereas the elegant terracotta was bought on sales, for example, tiles to the bathroom, which cost 270 zloty perm2 she managed to get from the so called “leavings” for 69 zloty, on the floor she had the tiles put which she had left from the previous house, and tiles to the toilet were arranged by her friend at the price of 40 zloty instead of 200 zloty. Both rooms look elegant also thanks to several mirrors, which enlarged the optically. She didn’t have any shelves mounted in the small toilette, to get more space.
The whole house seems bigger due to the white walls, and the beige floor makes the interior warmer. The ground floor is one open space that joins the kitchen and the dining room with the rest room with a fireplace. Some furniture was taken from the old house, like the chest of drawers or the table, and they were not cheap, so she decided to combine them with the matching elements, for example, in the kitchen. She had a different idea for the kitchen, but when she went to a showroom with kitchens and she saw that particular one, she made a new design with her architect based on it. She made a drawing on the floor for the plumbers showing where to put the washbasin, or install the power supply. The fireplace made of fireclay brick is her work, she made it practical and aesthetic so that candles or photos could be placed there.
Difficult roles matching
She was at the site every day and she had to combine this with the job and bringing up a 10-year-old son and partly also a daughter who lived with the father on weekdays, and visited the mother at the weekends. She had a responsible job as a family superintendent, she did community interviews, and then she had a lot of paper work.
In that period I guess I was the mother half-heartedly. At work I had an inspection, which takes place once every four years, and it happened just at that time. I thought I was going to cry. Every weekend I wrote reports on the interviews I have carried out – she recalls.
In that time I didn’t watch television at all, unless the child turned it on, and I was working next to. Every weekend Irek spent with his father, so she tried to catch up on different things, but at that time she didn’t meet her friends or the new man very often.
She had to take her son to the trainings, so she forced her ex-husband in one of the divorce proceedings about alimony to take care of their son’s transportation at least once a week. The daughter was in high school, the mother had to motivate her to learn by explaining that she should grow to become an independent woman. Although the teenager lived with her father in the beginning, she spent more and more time with the mother, she also liked the new house and her own room. Her boyfriend often visited her there.
Sometimes she was worried that she would not manage to take care of the house, but that worry disappears quickly, though there were still a few things to be finished. She knew she had to get used to the new situation. In spite if this she is a strong woman, she took the challenge and she succeeded, she is also sensitive and it takes her time to familiarize with new places and people. – There have been many changes in my life. I remember from psychology that the most traumatic experiences people might have are among others a divorce and a place of living. Nevertheless, she didn’t break down in spite of many experiences she managed to turn the corner as she took care of everything very quickly, thanks to the house building she regained energy and started a new life. But she feels she still have a few things to do.
She advises to other women not to be afraid of such a challenge as building your own house, she thinks that experience is not needed here because you can always hire and architect or a site manager who will step by step explain everything. She also has a male friend and girlfriends, who support her in difficult moments when for example she was looking for a plot, and initially there were uninteresting ones, they reminded her that she is a strong woman, a good mother, a great friend and that she would surely manage to finish what she had started. Determination is also important!
In Agata’s case the site manager, who in her view was unnecessary, was recommended by the architect. He said that building a house is not such a big challenge for women who know how to organize things, who are entrepreneurial. He was just after training in entrepreneurship. – When I was listening to that lecture I was thinking about you, you are like that – he told Agata. – A resourceful woman is not the one who has money, it’s not about that. A resourceful woman is a person who can handle everything, can manage things in spite of problems.
When she finally moved into her house, she felt that the dreams come true, you just need to help them a bit. A few things still need to be finished: they are waiting for wardrobes, a tv set has not been hung in the bedroom yet, they still have no cable tv, but they have the Internet installed. They moved in during Christmas, the son liked his room, he has his own home cinema there, the daughter has a room next to him – she is just learning with her boyfriend to a math test.