Owner-Builder saves more than $100,000

In the true owner-builder spirit, Steve Patterson decided he didn't want to go through a tradesman to build his home. He did it mostly himself - and saved more than $100,000 by doing so.

He and his wife Fiona chose Paal's four-bedroom country style Elizabeth in which to raise their young family on their 5.5 acres of land near Orange. They modified the standard Elizabeth by adding a rear verandah and an alfresco extension.

It was the first home Steve had ever built. A self-confessed "jack of all skills and master of none", he found that everything was very straightforward. "As long as, you can use a level, a tape measure and a string line you can build a Paal home, he said.

Steve took six weeks off work in the middle of winter and laboured "from dawn to dark" to complete the house to lock-up stage.

"The first couple of weeks brought driving rain, quagmire, cold winds and frost! But the winter start was definitely worthwhile. I was putting on the roof by early spring, before the weather got too hot, which was a great time to be doing it."

He then devoted every afternoon and evening after work to completing the house.

Steve employed trades help for the gyprocking and to render the cladding. "The outside finish is the most important part of the house, so I got a professional to do that."

Steve and his family moved into the completed house in early summer.

"What a terrific feeling! It's a lovely home and it feels like more than just a home when you've put your own effort and energy into it."