When you hear about someone who built a house themselves, it's usually the tale of a project involving several years, the family's life savings, and a hefty mortgage. However, one smallholder set out to prove this wasn't the only way to build a home, and ended up doing it for £150.
So how did he do it, and could get your own home for less than the price of an iPod?
£150Michael Buck, a 59-year-old smallholder from Oxfordshire, built a 'cob house' at the bottom of his garden at a cost of just £150 . He told the Daily Mail he had achieved this incredible feat through a combination of an ancient building technique, and by only using natural materials - or ones that had been thrown away by other people.
The ancient building method uses earth, clay, dung and straw as the fabric of the building. It produces a single-roomed, single-story building, and Buck then added a thatched roof. Among the items Buck re-used were the floorboards salvaged from a skip and an old lorry windscreen for a number of the windows.
The cottage has no electricity, but draws water from a nearby spring, and is heated with a wood-burning stove. There is also an outhouse, complete with a composting toilet. According to Yahoo, Buck had intended to build the home for nothing, but ended up spending £150, when some of his plans went awry.
A bit moreHe is one of a few dedicated environmentalists who have taken this approach. In 2008 Steve James built a home using a similar ancient technique. However, he added a few more mod cons, including a kitchen from a cedar that had blown over in a park and a Moroccan marbled shower room. He runs lights from a car battery and keeps the rain out with a turfed roof. He spent £4,000 on his home.
If that sounds a bit too close to nature, one Irish architect has published plans to enable you to build a three-bedroom house for just £21,000. It looks uncomfortably like a corrugated iron shed from the outside, but inside you get a comfortable living space with three bedrooms for an exceptionally low cost.
Alternatively, a competition last month may have found another option: a flat-pack barn with two bedrooms that costs £41,000. The only hitch is that it requires assembly - and if buying the barn uses your entire budget you'll have to do it yourself.