Reno Rumble's Ayden and Jess restore an old classic

WE HAVE started our build. Finally! We have broken soil and carved out the house pad.

I persuaded Jess to let me buy a second-hand Bobcat, which wasn't hard, considering I'm doing all the concreting, framing, decking, landscaping and, well, pretty much everything myself. We're going to save by buying one and selling it down the track in comparison to hiring one.

It is a pretty good feeling seeing our dream come alive. You really get a good idea of the size and aspect of your new build just by cutting in the house pad and physically standing on the cut going through where every room is.

I've already changed the plans, making the garage 400mm higher so I can fit my ute in without taking off the canopy. It didn't get changed without a bit of controversy, though. But I had a win for the boys. Let's call it 1-nil.

Have you ever thought of restoring an old home rather than just knocking it down? A lot of people are passionate about our old Australian buildings - they tell a story and look amazing when finished.

Jess and I can't wait for our house to be finished so we can look for a classic to restore ourselves. Be sure to seek permits, though. The last thing you want is a can't-win dogfight with your local council.

Once you've made up your mind to restore, be ready to be tested. It is a lot harder physically and mentally than your average reno, but even more rewarding.

Ayden and Jess’s classic Federation home renovation on Reno Rumble.
Ayden and Jess’s classic Federation home renovation on Reno Rumble. PHOTOS Elizabeth Allnutt

Seconds yards will become your best friend. You'll also be inviting the local timber mouldings guy over for Christmas lunch. It's a totally different ball game.

Make sure you know what you're getting yourself into. A comprehensive building and pest inspection is a must, and will cost nothing compared to the restoration. Also, have your local builder mate have a look at the house with you.

On Reno Rumble with only a week to do a restoration, I spent a lot of time just trying to find material, but after the 20th week straight, building and renovating in Melbourne, I had built up a lot of contacts.

My go-to store was Whelan the Wrecker. These guys have one of the biggest demolition yards in Australia.

They've got the lot. Jess and I love recycled products that much that we are shipping up some Tallowood flooring and decking for our house all the way from Melbourne.

Along with some other windows, doors and bits, the total freight will cost about $1100, but really we're probably saving that on the material. So don't be afraid to shop interstate.

Our winning grand final Reno Rumble house wasn't really just a house - it was a home, and you knew that as soon as you walked through the door.

The beautiful fully renovated home brought tears to the eyes of the owners and ours. I think this home was the start of a passionate love affair for restoring old classics.

Don't be afraid to have a go. It really is the ultimate DIY project. You won't regret it. Especially if the neighbours have just built a rendered box next door.

Ayden and Jess Hogan won The Block Triple Threat and Reno Rumble this year. Follow them as they build their dream home on Facebook:

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