With national housing unaffordability making many young people feel home ownership is out of reach, it is high time for some out-of-the-box thinking. Permaculture Principles and PA Member Richard Telford certainly applied that kind of thinking more than a decade ago when he bought a rundown cottage in Seymour, Victoria.
The goal was to deconstruct the cottage and re-use the materials to construct a new one along permaculture principles. The result was Abdallah House.

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The sun facing living space of the house

And while Richard concedes he made a few mistakes along the way – such as overestimating the value of the original building when it was broken down into materials, he has some sage advice for anyone looking to do the same. “Choosing the right house to start with if you are buying a place. I bought the cheapest place I could possibly find and I bought something nobody else wanted. So I would say: be ready for an opportunity, rather than being attached to a particular thing. Have money saved up and be ready to go.
He says once you have bought – if you are going to rebuild, another thing he would do differently is to buy good quality items such as ceiling fans as this will save you later on having to replace them. And if you are going to build, collect more materials if you are using second hand, before you start.  Build a place to store the materials on the site and put them undercover.  Have a place undercover to work too,” he said.
Abdallah House is a great case study to examine if you are looking to build your first home.  See: https://retrosuburbia.com/case-studies/abdallah-house-case-study/
By Yvonne Campbell

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