Mike is currently 73 yrs old....

3 beautiful daughters.....and 6 fantastic grandchildren (the eldest being 23yrs old)

 

Mike came from a rural background..... and prior to becoming a dedicated life long surfer in 1958, and an adventurous hippie in the late 60s, was also privileged to be bought up in the rural farming community in New Zealand, where a 'do it yourself' attitude seemed somehow....mandatory for our generation.

Hence Mike embarked on a 60yr continous adventure of design, construction, creativity, and accomplishment, while also living the high life of large wave surfing around the globe, adventurous treks (crossing the Sahara in 72), and all the while.... 'living on a shoe string existance' for the bulk of his life.....ie (living in a Kombi, with his wife, for several years)

Mike was a bricklayers labourer in the 1960s, and having no prior building experience, was given an opportunity to commit to building (himself, and a surfing friend of no building experience at all), a coastal 10 bedroom motel, at the age of 20 

I asked my surfing mate (very quietly).... 'how much would it cost us to live at Noosa (Australia) and surf for 6 months'.....we agreed about $6000 (this was1967 remember)...and consiquently informed the somewhat inquisitive and somewhat surprised owner, that we would be happy to build the motel for $6000 (labour only).....and to our amazement, he agreed (and neither of us had any construction experience, apart from my brickies labouring)

We commenced construction in January of 1968

AND HERE IT IS.. (fifty years later) 2017........'still there'

Of course, you may wonder how that was possible and also how legal that was, but in 1967 (in rural areas) you were encouraged to engage in such adventures, as long as the owner declared himself an 'owner/builder' and a building inspector was visiting often.....which was the case..(and of course, we religously stuck by the rules)

We learnt as we went, and also spent a solid two weeks, 8-10 hours a day at the library, learning how to build a motel,  prior to starting

Consiquently, in later years both Ken and I stuck with the building industry, and I went on to build (entirely by myself and a labourer) the house and landscaping that is on this website, and Ken went on to having a most successful and professional stone-masonary business, which is still in operation today

 

 ONE OF KENS CURRENT MASTERPEICES (below) .....having had no formal training at all...self taught..

 

Ken.....Western Australia

 

I apparently (as I continued down the building track) was considered very unorthodox by my building associates, and that is because I learnt every trade in the building industry,........... which you can too, if you approach it properly.

In fact, learning all the trades today, is by far, somewhat easier than it was in my day (you just need to go on youtube and they will show you how to do it)......which you will also find (youtube building techniques) on this website also.

 

In taking the plunge (commiting to building the Motels in 1968), I put myself in a position to have to do a crash course on all of the trades, and it wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be....

I learnt quickly, all of the trades......

  • bricklayer and stonemason work.
  • cabinetmaking
  • carpentry and joinery
  • fibrous plastering
  • glazing
  • painting 
  • plumbing
  • wall and floor tiler.
  • roofing
  • electrical
  • welding
  • rendering
  • drawing plans
  • designing
  • concreting
  • steelwork

And by the time i was 35 yrs old, I was extremely competant in all trades, and my standard of work was of the highest calibre 

 

Now you may say,.... that to learn all those trades in 15 years is impossible..........well ....I would lke you to consider this below

The bulk of most construction jobs, (ie. 90%) is most often done by skilled or semi-skilled people. In other words....digging a trench to lay electrical conduit ...anyone can do it......joining conduit and laying cables.....anyone can do it........putting in meter boxs and wall sockets.......anyone can do it....laying cables in ceilings and walls and floors.......anyone can do it.....these are not difficult complicated jobs........in fact many electricians get their 1 yr apprentice or (generally) unskilled labourer to do the bulk of this work for them.....even connecting and installing sockets and light fittings is very simple

And this can all be done quite legally (the tradesman is not required to do the whole job by his hands alone )....we'ed never finish anything that way, however......consider this.....

The trick is to hire a registered electrician (often a friend if you can) and offer them an unresistable fee to just let you know, the type of conduit and cabling required...to check up on regular intervals that you are doing it correctly, and have them do the final meter box hook-up, and you will literaly save thousands and thousands of dollars..just do the tedious boring work yourselves..because i assure you, 90% of a building project, is just a tough,..uncomplicated simple grind

BUILDING THIS HOUSE YOURSELF (thats shown on this website)

and you will also have a labourer working with you (on this job....this house)...and i suggest a school leaver ( who just wants a job ) ...and you will both benefite....teenage wages, but by the end of (his/her) involvment, he will be more qualified than most men, and will have a huge future ahead of him in the building industry..(this was my prefered way but ended up different )

My labourer was only with me 3 years....finishing and landscaping dont necessarily require additional workers....can be done by yourself... (actually in reality i had about 6 different labourers over that 3 year period.....even older friends were just lining up for a go at labouring on this job.....was amazing)

If you use that same principle on most all the trades...you'll be amazed how quickly you and your labourer, pick things up and become very professional

You may need licenced people to approve of your work (legally)...ie. a registered plumber...or registered eletrician or builder....but...I spent no more than $8-9000 on professional sign-offs, when it could have easily cost me well over $100,000

By the time I was 35, I was doing complete design and plans ....right thru to sign-offs with very limited professional involvment from others....renovations, kitchens, bathrooms, landscaping, swimmingpools, fences, driveways, cabinmaking, tiling, stacks of commercial work, and found myself in huge demand, because, unlike other builders who had an expensive tradesman for each particular job, I was able to save the client thousands by doing the whole job myself 

all within a legal framework.....as shown on this website

However...... if you wish to pursue an individual trade, by a different avenue than i am suggesting here, thats great........however it has been my experience, that when any tradesman reaches retiring age, they tend to be multi-skilled anyway, and find that they are doing work,.... well beyond there original trade anyway... Iv'e known plumbers and carpenters and bricklayers etc to be very proficient in most skills, and often begin (at a later age) to diversify their skills into other areas

So, what i am proposing here,......why wait til your 65 to be multi-skilled,....... when you can be multi-skillled in just 5 years... like i was.......and of  course, you dont stagnate (like many do).....you keep growing and expanding

 

 

Surveying one of the projects i was involved in 

Unfortunately, even though I was in huge demand.......the pull of the ocean (surfing) always seemed to put a greater demand on me, and I never rose to the great heights that I knew was possible ( surfing to much..ha! )....................but it is possible for you...

Im'e getting past it now...(to old, and to many creaks and groans), and live an asset free, solo existance in a boarding house with only my dreams for company,....have nothing, but am happy and content.....extremely grateful for the full and satisfying life iv'e had,.....which you can have too.....make your life count.........and enjoy the journey on the way,.......so  I would love to see others take up the mantle that i know is out there..... and 'have a go'...like I did, some 26 years ago (or even like we did some 53 years ago)

And you may wonder, why im'e bothering to do all this....... (its taken me 6 mths.....10 hours a day...7 days a week ... to build this comprehensive website, and try to remember everything that was involved in the creation of this project)........why bother you might ask....

Well......i live alone ....in a little room...living a simple uncomplicated life day to day, in a boarding house...........suddenly found myself in lockdown, for the corona virus pendemic for several months....with nothing to do

Started to play around with this project...... got hooked.....and the next thing you know.....im'e working 10 hrs a day on this website and realy enjoying it.......and i feel, its a waste not to give someone else, the opportunity to have such an amazing euphoric experience, of building this house, and living there..........even though it was short lived............so !

Happy Building

Cheers

Mike

Contemplating the 5 year awesome project ahead of me 1994........and,......this could be you!!

But of course, the big advantage you will have...... is that i will guide you through the project....if you have any questions....dont hesitate contact mikejcooney@gmail.com ...if i don't know the answer or can't remember.....i'll just tell you

 

Disclaimer of Liability 

This website depicts real homebuilding and landscaping activities, performed by a skilled and experienced craftsman. (know as a journeyman). The techniques and photos shown can be dangerous and not inline with current safety laws. Therefore, if you practise them, proceeed carefully and at your own risk. The buildyourownhome.com website assumes no liability for accident or injury or methodology......this is simply an inspirational and general proceedure website that gives you opportunity to expand your knowledge and skills, in line with current laws and procedures. All information on this website is subject to modern day rules, practises, local proceedures, and by-laws, and views expressed are subject to scrutiny and correction...........Mike