Be an idiot and build your own cottage

By Penny Caldwell »Penny Caldwell

November 12th, 2007


Who knew there were so many complete idiots out there? You’re one too? Then read on: The latest press release from this amazing franchise arrived in my mailbox today:

The Complete Idiot’s Guide® to Building Your Own Home, Third Edition is a clear, concise, up-to-date blueprint on every aspect of the home-building process. It answers all the major questions readers have about building a new home – and a few they may not have considered. This newly revised edition takes readers through every step of the home-building process, from figuring a budget to finding labour and materials to all aspects of home construction. Updates include:

• More specific content for those interested in acting as their own general contractor. [Good luck with that—PC]

• More details on the various choices that readers are confronted with as they plan their custom homes, with advice on when to go with which option, and the pros and cons of each choice

• Sample bid forms, project schedule, estimating worksheets, general contractor agreements, and other forms not included in the previous edition

• 100+ additional illustrations to enhance readers understanding of the home-building process.

Dan Ramsey, Willits, CA. is a general contractor and the author of more than 20 books for homebuilders and buyers including The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Building Your Own Home, The Complete Idiot”s Guide to Finishing Your Basement, and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Remodeling Your Bath. His other books include several builder’s construction guides, contractor business guides, kit home construction, and homeowner remodeling and repair books. He has extensive remodeling experience and also has served as a successful real estate agent. He offers practical, real-world knowledge.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide® to Building Your Own Home, Third Edition ISBN: 9781592576661, November

Chances are author Dan Ramsey is not an idiot, though he may be rather wealthy by now. I’m not either (an idiot or wealthy!). The press release said the book costs $19.95, but I found it online at for $15.84.


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Craig Douglas

May. 15, 2009

10:12 am

I spent last weekend with 2 dear friends who had just sold their self catering units in South Africa -they are thinking of starting up a new complex starting by purchasing a farm and then building cottages. They were very excited by these kit homes offered by a canadian company -check out the design /quality and prices

Penny Caldwell

Summer Cottager

Dec. 4, 2007

11:11 pm

I am completely in awe. What an incredible accomplishment. On the weekend, I met a woman walking her dog after the snowstorm. She had just washed her new hardwood floor – which she told me proudly she and her husband had put down themselves The dog was wet from the snow, so she was going home to mop her floor again. Cottage old-timers will be shaking their heads, of course. In the ’40s and ’50s, for example, after the war, that’s how people built cottages: with their own two hands, and lots of ingenuity. How times have changed. You and your Hubby are in the minority now, I think. And you did it sans hydro, too!

Lake Lover

Dec. 4, 2007

9:49 am

We finished the shell this summer. (Foundation, roof, siding, windows) The inside is still a "blank page". We will insulate and start on the inside next spring. Hubby and I are both fairly handy, although neither of us works in the construction trades, and we couldn't have done it without tons of help from family and friends. We bought plans and then made a few customizations. We hired block layers (for the basement)and then because it was getting colder and we were running out of time, we hired someone to install the metal on the roof and the siding. My kids (10 and 7) helped by tying rebar together for the footings, nailing down the subfloor, helping to install the foundation wrap. There were many many challenges along the way. (No access to hydro, delivery of materials was always in issue)When I told people we were going to build our own cottage they all assumed that meant act as the general contractor. When I clarified that meant that we were going to drive the nails ourselves, they said we were crazy. When I look at that building that we made....well, it kind of blows me away. I have been updating the forum community as we have progressed - check out the thread "Build your own cottage" on the Cottage Life forum.

Penny Caldwell

Summer Cottager

Dec. 3, 2007

12:50 pm

Hi Barb, I'd love to hear more about your “adventure”. Have you finished the cottage or is it still a work in progress?

Lake Lover

Nov. 30, 2007

1:07 pm

I have this book - bought it last year before DH and I embarked on the adventure of...well.... building our own cottage. It's actually full of useful information and it was an easy read. It didn't prepare us for everything..... but it helped a little.

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