Broke Single Mom Builds House For $10K: Look When She Opens Door And Reveals 10x20 Ft Masterpiece

Between A Rock And A Hard Place

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When Charlotte Sapwell’s marriage ended and she was left without a home for her and her two kids, she began to fall into despair. Facing homelessness or a mortgage she could not afford, she decided to go a different route. She could never have imagined she’d end up where she is now - happy, secure, and with a whole new outlook on life.

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Losing Their Home

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27-year-old Charlotte, from Ballarat, Australia, lived a normal life in a normal house with her husband and her two kids. But when her marriage broke down, she found herself facing a prospect she’d never considered: homelessness. This is something no mother ever wants her children to experience, so Charlotte racked her brain to find a solution.

Couldn't Afford A House

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After the divorce, Charlotte and her children stayed in a tiny rented apartment, but she knew this was not sustainable. She thought about taking out a mortgage to buy a house, but the figure seemed unsurmountable: $400,000 AUD (about $300,000 USD). There was no way she could afford such a loan. Luckily, she was not completely on her own.

Some Family Support

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Charlotte’s grandfather lived nearby, and he offered to help her in any way he could. He could loan her some money, though nowhere near what she would need for a mortgage down payment. He lived in a small house, so he couldn’t take her and the kids in. But then Charlotte had an idea after she looked at her grandfather’s backyard.

Determined To Build A Tiny House

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Her grandfather’s backyard was big enough to fit a small cabin. So Charlotte had an unorthodox idea: she would build her own tiny house. She didn’t know much about construction - in fact, she had failed woodworking class in the ninth grade. But she would do anything for her children, and with her grandfather’s help - who is a handyman - she was confident she could pull it off.

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Making Do With What She Had

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Charlotte’s grandfather gave her a loan of $13,000 AUD (about $10,000 USD). It was a tight budget but enough for her to start constructing the house on a 3x6 meter space (about 10x20 ft). She also sold many of her belongings in an online marketplace, as she figured she’d need to downsize anyway to live in a tiny home. It would entail a whole new lifestyle change for her and her kids.

Optimizing The Funds

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With the assistance of her grandfather, Charlotte bought all the wood and building materials from Bunnings Warehouse. She spent most of the funds on construction, insulation, furnishings, and decoration, which she sourced from IKEA and Kmart. Though most of what she bought was inexpensive, she did splurge a little on luxury linoleum flooring for inside the house. Before she knew it, it was done.

All Done

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Five months after starting the project, Charlotte’s tiny house was complete. The home is comprised of two main rooms: one bedroom for the boys, and the other for Charlotte, which is shared with the lounge, kitchen and dining area. Charlotte was forced to make some tough decisions to make sure everything fit within the confined space.

Adapting To The Space

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At her old home, Charlotte had a king sized bed with a large bed head. But she realized this wasn’t practical in a tiny house. “At first I was so against a ‘double’ bed but like everything else I was forced to downsize…I made it high enough to fit storage boxes underneath,” she wrote on Facebook. And there were other aspects of life she and her kids would have to adapt to.

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Privacy Is Overrated

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Living in a 10x20 ft space means having to give up some personal space. “The kids are right there all the time and we are so close. Yes it means we have virtually zero privacy from each other but I love it,” said Charlotte. In the end, these are small sacrifices for the freedom of having her own home without a mountain of debt.

Enjoying The Fruits Of Her Labor

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“I went from living in a massive home with my husband and kids to a tiny rented unit to this small space, and out of all the places I've lived this is my favorite,” Charlotte stated. “It is all mine.” The whole journey was a huge learning experience for her, and she hopes it can be for her children, too.

A Good Role Model For Her Sons

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“I want my boys to know - it doesn't matter if you are a boy or girl, anyone can build their future,” Charlotte said. Indeed, her tiny house project has opened up a bright new future that she hadn’t thought possible. With a newfound confidence in her building and woodworking skills, she started creating other things - like toys for her children.

A Brand New Career

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Charlotte built an ice cream stand for her sons to play in, as well as a sliding barn door for their bedroom. She realized she could turn her skills into a business. For now, her immediate goal is to pay back her grandfather. But she hopes to someday be able to make a living by building and selling tiny properties. And she’s already getting started.

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An Inspirational Story

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The mother of two is currently in the process of building another tiny house, this time for her grandmother. She wants it to serve as a prototype for her eventual business. Charlotte also hopes to inspire other women, especially single mothers, to take their future into their own hands. “I just want other females to know they are capable of anything,” she stated. And she’s even turned her sight towards activism.

Helping Others

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After Charlotte’s story went viral, she was invited by the Ballarat city youth council to speak on a forum on homelessness. “There are so many single mums in the same boat, it’s nice to know I’m not the only one but this fact alone makes me even more aware of Australia’s housing crisis- and I would love to help in any way!” she wrote.

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