So, What's All This About, Then?

Living in London is expensive. Very expensive. We might not be Tokyo yet, but it seems to be heading in that direction.

Our student loans are being stretched, the job market is only just starting to recover, and the more each of us spends on rent, the less we have to save for a proper place we can call our own. When we finally head to the bank and ask for a mortgage, we are priced out of the running by buy-to-let investors with their eyes on the long term profit. It all looks a bit bleak, really, so now seems like as good a time as any to try something new.

The project is ambitious. I'm not rich, I'm not an architect or engineer, and I've certainly never built a house before. It might all go horribly wrong, but that's a risk that I will just have to take. I would love nothing more than for this to succeed, and I'm going to do everything I possibly can to make that happen. If I can manage it, anyone can.

I'll be publishing my experiences as the project progresses, from planning to purchasing to building. Hopefully I'll be able to save others from making my mistakes, and in the mean time provide a plan for a cheap house that anyone can drop into place on an otherwise useless little strip of land, and be genuinely proud of.

The Goals

If this is going to work it has to be sustainable, cheap and easy to put together. The first step is the shell - as well as being a beautiful piece of London architecture, surplus tube carriages are likely to be abundant as the new models are phased in over the next few years. Reusing them intact is energy-efficient, doing so in London saves on transportation and the small, narrow footprint means that they can be placed on pieces of land that aren't viable for anything else. Combine this with top of the line insulation and appliances, maybe a turf roof, and you've got yourself an amazing looking building with a tiny environmental impact.

Even with all that said, there's no point in just building a box with a bed in it - nobody wants to live there. My aim is to show that an old train carriage, fitted out on a tight budget, can be a truly amazing home.

It's a tall order, so I would love for anyone who can to lend a hand.

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