A BuildHer Collective Student Story… Yolanda

This is Yolanda. Yolanda is part of our BuildHer Masterclass where we teach you to build and renovate just like us! Yolanda and her family have recently started their reno project and are currently knee deep in demolition (and loving it!) Since so many of you are either planning builds or renovations, halfway through, or nearing the end (hallelujah!), we thought you might like to hear her story and follow along with her journey………..

This year, I am taking on my biggest passion project to date. The renovation and extension of a beautiful 1920’s California Bungalow hidden under a not-so-beautiful 1980’s renovation. With each layer we peel back we uncover more of the history of the house, including photos and original period features that have been hidden for decades.  Needless to say that I am as equally excited about the renovation, as I am about sharing my story with BuildHer Collective followers!

But first, a few thing you should know about me. My name is Yolanda (insert Pulp Fiction reference here) and I live with my ever-so-tolerant partner Max, his two boys, who are about as different as night and day, and our beloved 6 month old Border Collie #sitedog – Enzo. I work full time at Icon Cancer Centre, Australia’s largest provider of cancer care, as a Radiation Therapist – so I do believe that would make building my hobby (!?). Renovating does not come as naturally to me as it may to others, but that doesn’t stop me from persisting. I would say that in just a few short years it has virtually evolved into a way of life for us. However, the difference between me and most other DIY’ers is that I’m a big believer in investing in leverage. You will never see me on the tools because I can recognise what I’m good at, and I’m all too aware of my limitations. So before I took on this project of epic proportions, in a very traditional pocket of Northcote, I thought I would reach out to some locals for help. This included but was not limited to trades, agents and as luck would have it, the team at BuildHer Collective. Now, we’re 2 months post settlement and the renovation is well and truly underway thanks to the guidance ‘on tap’ from Rebeka and Kribashini.

To bring everyone up to speed with the story so far, we have engaged a local architect to work on the design while we restore the original section of the house to its former glory. To date, this has included the removal of asbestos, outbuildings and trees, restumping and the all-important internal strip out. Every fortnight, the BHC masterclass members have a virtual catch up online. It’s a great forum where we give updates on our current projects, peer review each other’s designs and discuss whatever issues may have reared their ugly heads since our last catch up. This week I will present the first draft of the architect design for feedback and I must say there is only one thing better than having another set of eyes on the drawings, and that’s having several sets of eyes on the drawings!

I must admit, it can be challenging and even overwhelming at times, and on top of all of this there is the taboo subject of being a woman in the building industry where we make up only 11% of the total workforce and only 1% of trades according to Master Builders Australia. However, if I can project manage a renovation in and amongst all my other family and work commitments, anyone can. It’s just a matter of being organised and seeking help when needed to ensure the success of the project.

I’m really looking forward to sharing more updates with you soon, but for now I might leave you with some things you should keep in mind if you’re starting out on a project

  • Celebrate the wins, you’ll appreciate it when you encounter losses
  • Reflect on the losses, so you avoid making the same mistake twice
  • Work hard, but also look after yourself because building is a marathon, not a sprint
  • Don’t underestimate the power of a strong network of both industry contacts and a good support network of family and friends”

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