A couple in their mid-twenties were all set to start a new chapter of their life. Claire Segeren and Cal Hunter had decided to live in together. However, there was only one hurdle in their way. They were cash strapped. Fortunately, the couple lacked only money, not the ideas. They made an amazing plan to make some extra money. They decided to buy an old and dilapidated house and sell it in bigger amount after making the renovation. Cal went to an auction event and bought a house for themselves. The man had no idea he was bidding on the wrong house that whole time.
Instead of a two-bedroom apartment, he had bought a big mansion that too in such a cheap amount. The couple was happy and excited about their accidentally bought house until they saw it in person. It was nothing like they had seen on the internet. Buying the house triggered a chain of unexpected events in their lives.
1. A Young Couple
Claire Segeren and Cal Hunter comes from Scotland and have been together for many years. Claire had taken a year-long break from her medical school. They had also decided upon taking one giant step of their lives. The couple belonged to the middle class and so did not have a lot of sources of income.
2. An Idea
They were looking for an extra source of income. After thinking a while the couple came up with a brilliant idea. They decided to buy an old and shabby house and sell it out at more cost after doing some renovation. It seemed a great idea but their plan took an unexpected turn and changed their life upside down.
3. Eyeing Up A Property
As mentioned earlier, the couple is living in Scotland but that is not their birth land. They were willing to buy a property up north. It was during their search, the couple found themselves an apartment in Glasgow and were very willing to buy that. The apartment had gotten under fire a few years back which implied they would have to spend some money on it.
4. The Apartment
They were very much excited about the apartment and were looking forward to renovating it. Cal headed to the auction with hopes. The auction was full of bidders. Cal placed a bid of £30,000 ($37,000) on the house. No doubt, it was a big amount. He knew he was going to win the bid but what he failed to understand is that he had placed his bid on the wrong house. What more, his bid actually won.
5. Late Realization
Cal realized it after a few minutes of winning the bid. He made his way to the officials at the auction house to tell them about his misunderstanding. He did not want to bid on that house. The property he just had bought was a 120-year property located in Dunoon, Scotland.
6. Telling Her
He requested officials to get him the house he wanted to bid on. Unfortunately, all of the houses were sold and so he had to return home with the apartment he had bid on. Now Cal had to break this news to his girlfriend. He was not sure how would she react to finding that they had bought a completely different building. He suspected she would react in negative but too much to his surprise the woman took it really well.
7. Old House
Claire said, “The house was built in 1900 and had a lovely feel to it and so much character that we felt it would be a sin to level it and start again. So we made the momentous decision to give it a go.” She was very much excited about it.
The couple knew that the house they were willing to buy was going to require lots of effort from them. So yes that was a challenging task for them. But here they were hopeful that the new house they had bought accidentally would be easier to deal with.
9. Where Is It?
But before that, they had to find their new home. As he had bought it accidentally, they did not know where was it. So, they checked it up on a map to see how far it was from Glasgow. It was really important for them to have their house in the vicinity of Glasgow.
10. A School
They really wanted a house near the city as Claire was about to start medical school there. Fortunately, Dunoon was not very far from the city. They can stay in that house for some time. Thereafter, they searched on Google Street View for the property named Jameswood Villa. What they found on the internet took their breath away.
11. Not What They Thought
It was an old and a bit dilapidated mansion but had something special about it. They could not wait to transform the mansion into a home. No need to say, they had bought the mansion in a cheaper amount. It was an amazing mansion but little did they know there was more to it than met the eyes.
12. Not Far
“Neither of us are from Scotland so we had to look up Dunoon on the map and we were both relieved to see it wasn’t that far from Glasgow.” She also added, ‘But our relief turned to despair when Cal pulled up outside the house and saw it for the first time.
It is after seeing the house in person, they realized how much work they would need to do to bring it in good shape. It was after coming to the spot they realized that the house was gradually sinking into the ground, the roof had come out and the local council had categorized the mansion as “dangerous.”
14. Partial Collapse
She later revealed, ‘It was in a state of partial collapse, it was subsiding, there were gaping holes in the roof and walls, the timbers were rotten and the land was waterlogged. Derelict was too mild a word.’ Despite, the mansion’s bad condition, they were hopeful.
15. Good Location
Claire said, “We love the house and its stunning location in a village on the edge of a Scottish loch. It’s all been a beautiful mistake. S”If we can tackle this, we can tackle anything — it’s going to take us much longer than a year but just think of the life skills we are going to learn along the way.”
16. Feeling Determined
Claire said, Their friends and families criticized their decision and called the mansion inhospitable. However, they did not let all those criticisms affect them. The crumbling walls and the damaged interior did discourage them a bit but at the same time, they were positive that this mansion was meant to change into something beautiful.
By now they had realized that the process of renovation will take a long time to complete. It means they will have to wait for a while to sell the mansion. But they also knew that the mansion would pay them well once renovated. However, they suffered a blow when they learned that the renovation was going to charge them a big amount.
18. Doing It Properly
They had to make a choice. They knew that the renovation was very demanding financially but they knew all along once renovated, the mansion earn them a lot of money. If they were willing to renovate, they would have to invest in all their money. And in order to save money, they had to change their living situation.
19. Fitting In Caravan
The couple began the task by renting out a caravan. They dragged their caravan to the backyard and placed it right there. They were going to be there living in this caravan throughout the project. One thing to point is that the caravan they had rented out did not have even basic facilities. There was no running water or electricity.
20. Working With It
No need to say that they were residing in a caravan with no facilities. But still, they were happy with the way everything was. Claire and Cal took it as an opportunity to make their life a bit adventurous. And this is their affinity for the adventure that brought them together.
21. First Meeting
Canadian Claire and Englishman Cal met each other during a ski season. That happened in the French Alps. And they hit it off in their first meeting. As their season came to a close they decided to spend more time with each other. They have traveled all across Canada and Europe.
22. Following Their Journey
They have gone on many adventures but this one that includes the transformation of a 20-year-old mansion is the biggest one. They were confident that they would pull it off as they had the support from their friends, family, and fans. The couple was also updating their day to day activity on their blog and social media pages “What Have We Dunoon?” to let the world have a sneak peek in their day to day life.
23. Sharing With World
They still post pictures on their social media pages and gives an update about their home. In order to keep their spirit up, they always celebrate every achievement, even the tiniest ones of theirs. The process was indeed taking longer than they had expected but instead of losing hope they enjoyed every moment of it.
24. Helping Them Out
Claire and Cal are lucky to have friends and family who would always stand by them. Their well-wishers came forward to help the couple as they were having financial issues. As the duo was short on money, they could not afford to hire contractors or professionals. However, they needed some extra help to pull off this enormous task.
25. A Difficult Journey
Their journey was way difficult than they had imagined. Not a single day has passed by when the couple did not have to face any problem. For example, the couple had to dig up the whole of the driveway when their van got stuck in it. And after some time they had to dig again to trace the water supply pipe. Not only that, it took five months for the couple to find the house’s main electrical cable.
26. Tough And Tiring
“Finding a new problem seems to be a daily occurrence here at Jameswood. It has taken us until now to find the electricity cable that will allow us to connect to the mains.” She continued, “Our van was getting stuck in the mud so we put down a driveway which we had to dig up a week later to find the elusive water supply.
27. Problem After Problem
Their struggle had just begun. A cursory glance on the interior of the house was enough to reveal the requirement of a completely new roof. A major part of the current roof had gone damaged. They checked the price in the market for a new roof. However, what they missed was that a sound roof is of no use if it is not supported by structurally sound walls. So, if they were willing to put a new roof, they would have to work on the walls as well.
28. Not Strong Enough
“The house needs a new roof but a civil engineer has told us the walls probably won’t be strong enough to hold it up so we will have to fix them first and risk the rain coming through the roof ruining them. It’s like a huge catch-22 jigsaw puzzle,” explained Claire.
29. Rallying Together
Many of their fans extended a hand of help to them. Whereas some of them helped them with the material, there were some who gave the couple very good suggestions on building materials and work. The couple wanted the renovation to be eco-friendly. There were some people who informed the about places where they can find old, reusable building materials and supplies.
30. Taking Out The Trash
What other thing posed as a problem was the heap of junk scattered all over the house. They had to take the broken furniture and other stuff out of the house. Luckily, they had their truck with them. The couple carried all the junks onto their vehicle and headed towards a dumpster.
31. All Work And No Play
The couple did not want to get lost in their huge and tiring work. So, with the work, they would often make plans with their friends. The couple would hang out with their friends very often. They had decided not to let the project get the best of them. Spending time with friends helped them to do away with stress.
32. All On The Floor
Once they got their hands on the electricity, they aimed at the floorboards of the house. They noticed that many of the floorboards were rotten. Leaving them the way they were could lead to hazardous accidents. Claire took the responsibility of removing the floorboards. She picked a sledgehammer and struck the floorboards with all her force.
33. Checking Scaffolding
They also had to check the scaffolding that was in a bad condition too. One thing that they very much liked about the building was its bay window on the top floor. However, they soon learned that the exterior of the window was infested with cracks and holes. They thought its reason to be the collapsing of the house into the ground. However, it did not take them long to realize that the reason was something else. They were at their wit’s end when they saw that the roof timbers were shoving the window out of its spot.
34. Going Back To Basics
They learned many valuable lessons that we tend to ignore in busy and bustling city life. They realized that sometimes one should get back to the fundamentals. They had no facilities of a washing machine or other electronic equipment as they were putting up in a caravan. They had to figure out something on their own.
They decided to go completely natural. Claire had a perfect idea about washing her gloves. She did not want to go to the local town to use the laundromat as that was quite far instead the woman headed to a stream and washed her gloves in that. Thereafter, she hung her gloves up between a couple of trees.
36. Making The Most Of Sunshine
Staying in caravan comes with its own share of hardships but that doesn’t mean it is not fun. No doubt, the caravan did not give comfort like home but it was quite an experience for them. Summer had finally come and Claire and Cal were intended to enjoy it fully. So, instead of taking help from their neighbors they planned on making their own makeshift kitchen.
37. Everything’s There
They created a stove, cupboards, and also a trash bin to build their kitchen. And it worked amazingly fine. This is true it wasn’t a modern and well-equipped kitchen but provided more comfort than the previous one they were using.
38. Moving Their Base
It was not safe to leave the caravan in front f their house. The caravan was on the road which meant any passing vehicle can rock it. This certainly wouldn’t have positive consequences. If it happens all their belongings can get ruined.
39. It’s Beautiful
They would never get enough sleep due to coming in noise from the road. So, they decided to move their car to a new base by clearing the track from the side of the mansion. Thereafter had to tow their caravan to its brand new base. Well, everything happens for good. After moving to the new base, every morning they would hear the beautiful sound of birds chirping and leaves rustling and not the noise of trucks, cars, and passer-by.
40. Setting Them Back
No matter how difficult the task was, the couple always remained sure about their renovation plan. However, they had to face many troubles. From cleaning the cobwebs dangling in the rooms to sleeping out in a caravan, it all was making this journey very difficult. Their property stayed vacated for two decades.
Their new house was also home to a bunch of crows. They had been living in that dilapidated mansion for a long time. Claire had no intention of destroying their nests but it was important too to get rid of them. So, they came up with a nice idea. They took many measures in use to scare the crow away. They even designed their own makeshift scarecrow.
42. Keeping Them Comfortable
They had come a long way in their work and with time they realized that they can’t do it on their own. It was a big project and so they needed more people on board. The duo exactly knew who could help them. The reached out to their friends of the UK and asked to help them in their work.
43. Creating Little Sanctuary
Shelling out for helpers’ stay at the hotel was quite expensive and too much. But at the same time, they had no space in their caravan. The couple did not have many options in that front and so is lack of choices they decided to build friends a little sanctuary. They chose their backyard to create it on. It was pocket-friendly as all they had to do was to buy a tent and distribute it with bed and many other home comforts.
44. Still Going
The couple are still busy renovating their home. Surprisingly, even after doing so much they are just halfway through their goal. Revamping a mansion does take its time and effort. So, how do they do this without feeling tired? They have made a list of work and they finish at least one of them every single day. Their efforts have indeed brought them closer to their aim.
45. A Mistake?
They have worked their best to give a new and clean look to the office. They have come this far by making personal as well as financial sacrifice. It all began with one mistake that gave them a new mission. Well, would it be fair to call it a mistake now?