The house that Malcolm built
IN MANY respects Ipswich couple Mal and Jenny Hazeldean were no different from other families searching for the perfect position and home for their growing family seven years ago.
With three daughters entering their teens, it was time to find a bigger abode, one where all could find peace and quiet.
But the point of difference was they weren't just looking for a house, but a suburban utopia - and Mr Hazeldean wanted to build it by hand.
Quite a task you would think, especially for a man with little experience of manual labour.
Nevertheless, with 19 years experience in the airline industry, making the switch from airline steward to DIY home builder did not faze Mr Hazeldean.
After a nine-month hunt they found the perfect spot in an acreage block tucked away in Sadliers Crossing.
The nascent handyman was ready to make his vision a reality.
What he created is a uniquely designed four-bedroom home which reflects his creative mind.
Although he left behind a career, the presence of aircraft is never too far way.
His home lies beneath the flight path of military aircraft and serves as a reminder of the times he spent mid-flight sketching the plans for his dream abode.
Between serving meals and while the passengers slept, Mr Hazeldean would busily jot down his ideas and thrash out designs.
"I would settle down and draw tiny little sketches or drawings of houses, sheds and gazebos that I might like to build one day," he said.
Soon enough the plans were transformed into balsa wood models, to become the basis of his construction work.
Mr Hazeldean chipped away at his project, hoisting steel poles into place, erecting the wooden frame, attaching the guttering and building the kitchen and bathrooms.
"There was an endless stream of little things. I'd give myself a task of things to do each day."
During the 12-hour days of back-breaking labour he pondered whether the task was too big for the man who only felt like a tradesman when he pulled on a tool belt for the first time.
He continued to push on and finally finished the home.
"With every knock of my hammer, window or door made, or concrete floor tile put in place and grouted down, and those years slipping by quietly in what now seems a blur, I'd been unknowingly creeping towards a completion."
Reaching the end has been immensely satisfying.
"It was fantastic, because when you get beyond the major structure there is a moment when you think you are nearly finished - but you still have the doors and door hinges, all the wind
ows and the gutters and downpipes. There's 1000 things you just don't think of," Mr Hazeldean said.
He said accomplishing the same monumental task was possible for anyone, even for those who considered themselves devoid of any handyman skills.
"If you can measure 1.75m, knock a nail into a piece of wood and using a square, mark and cut down that pencil line and hand cut the timber, then anyone can build a house."
For all the DIY successes there are just as many television shows documenting how it can all go wrong.
However, before embarking on a project, make sure it is within your budget, he warned.
"I watch them all the time. People take on more then they can afford. If you a set an amount of dollars you have to work to that amount."