DIY novice, 51, used YouTube for tips to help build his family's dream home

Turning to online tutorials to fix a leaky tap or lay some tiles can be a godsend for DIY enthusiasts.

Novice Graham Harley took the lessons a few steps further, however – and built a dream five-bedroom house.

With no construction experience, the IT worker completed the home with two outbuildings on his own for just £140,000. 

Pride: Graham Harley and Mandie Wales’s new home in Ringwood, Hampshire. It was built entirely from watching YouTube videos and wading through DIY books - and took ten years

Pride: Graham Harley and Mandie Wales’s new home in Ringwood, Hampshire. It was built entirely from watching YouTube videos and wading through DIY books - and took ten years

Before: The home was a dowdy bungalow surrounded by wild, unkempt vegetation in the early 2000s

Before: The home was a dowdy bungalow surrounded by wild, unkempt vegetation in the early 2000s

All it took was wading through lots of YouTube videos and DIY books on everything from plastering to roofing – plus an awful lot of time.

The father-of-one, 51, said: ‘Once I knew everything was level [with the property] I got on with it. It was long, hard work.

‘I looked some stuff up online and in books. I knew what I wanted to do – and just did it.       

Slide me

Starting the epic project in 2008, the father-of-one came up with the idea after a builder joked that anyone could build their own home. He worked on the site 'as long as the light allowed'

Mr Harley (pictured with Mandie) admitted that while he's happy with the result, he 'couldn't put his family through it' again. He added: ‘We’d have to sell this place to do it and it does take a toll on your career'

Mr Harley (pictured with Mandie) admitted that while he's happy with the result, he 'couldn't put his family through it' again. He added: ‘We’d have to sell this place to do it and it does take a toll on your career'

‘I had a good contact who helped me out with the products. It’s not the most outrageous build. The place runs very cheap, too.

‘There’s an underground heat pump and runs on electric only – no gas. It’s been a labour of love.

‘The family have been very supportive. I would work as long as the light allowed. Everything took longer because I was learning.’ Mr Harley came up with the idea after a builder joked that anyone could build their own home. So he began his epic project on the site of an ageing bungalow in Ringwood, Hampshire, in 2008.          

Swanky: The couple's property features a modern, monochrome kitchen with a floating island. He finally finished in 2018 and the home has two bathrooms, an open-plan lounge, dining room and kitchen

Swanky: The couple's property features a modern, monochrome kitchen with a floating island. He finally finished in 2018 and the home has two bathrooms, an open-plan lounge, dining room and kitchen

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