I have to admit, when I first arrive at the Habitat for Humanity build site, I am always nervous. I’m not sure what to expect or what work I’ll be doing. This year, for the Women’s Build Day, there were so many women involved that it was difficult to fit us all in. In addition to that, my group – Charlie’s Angels – couldn’t find a date that would work for all of us to go together. I ended up going by myself this past Wednesday, May 23, 2018. And what an experience it was! This was the first time I would be working on a 5 plex multi-family unit!
To give you a bit of information, Women’s Build was started in 1991 with a group of women in Charlotte, N.C. The, in 1998 Habitat for Humanity International forms the Women Build department and the Women Build program becomes an official HFHI initiative.
This year, there were six days set aside for the Women Build from May 3 – 5 and May 10-12th.
In the past when I have volunteered with Habitat for Humanity I was at the Penbrooke site, however, this year, I was at the Bowness site for the first time to work on the 5 plex multi-family unit. When I arrived I had been pre-warned by my good friend Kristal Heise with Mahalo Properties that this was going to be a unique home.
5 plex multi-family unit
I was intrigued by working on a 5 plex multi-family unit. I knew there were two units on the front, two units on the back, but was curious how the 5th unit was added to the middle. Here is what the plans are for this 5 plex multi-family unit.
This 5 plex multi-family unit means that 10 families will be living here in the very near future!
The Main Floor
The two front units and the two back units mirror each other in this 5 plex multi-family unit. As you can see on the main floor, there is a great use of space. The heart of the home sits here. The kitchen is a great size, as is the living area.
The Second Story
The second story of this 5 plex multi-family unit is home to another living area as well as one bedroom and a half-bath.
The Third Story
The master bedroom and another bedroom with a good-sized bathroom is on this floor.
My Build Day for this 5 plex multi-family unit
The third level is the level that I was working on during my build day. It was about 26 degrees Celsius that day. Since my day was technically not a Women’s Build Day, there were only a handful of volunteers helping out. I have to admit, I LOVED it! While I really do love building with my group of friends, my team leader and I got a lot done.
Brenda Fischer has been with Habitat for Humanity for 10 years. Herself and Dana have always been present on the days that I have volunteered. I can not say enough about these two women! They are patient with volunteers as well as damn hard working!
Brenda was so good explaining why things were being built the way we were going to build them. In the morning, we were in charge of building an interior wall that separates the bathroom from a bedroom. We were connecting the wall to an exterior wall, so we needed to add Poly for protection. Every time we went to do something, Brenda would explain the ‘why’.
We were able to get that wall built in the morning prior to lunch. After lunch, we tackled another interior wall that was going to create 2 closets (a bedroom closet and a linen closet). We had one little curve-ball which was not having a great space to build the wall. We ended up building the wall in the bedroom and received help from another group to stand the wall up and move it into place.
Part of the Women Build days is having the opportunity to write a message on the framing. Here is the message I wrote:
Why I love Habitat for Humanity
Being part of the Interior Design part of a renovation or new build, I get to create a space on paper. I love creating the spaces, love picking out the pretty to go with the space, but I also love to pick up a hammer. As you know, Rick and I just completed our own basement development where we did the majority of the work. Rick and I have also helped our dear friends refresh their main bathroom and most recently, their master bath and powder room refresh. Being able to work on a 5 plex multi-family unit was truly a fantastic experience.
Habitat for Humanity has their team leaders trained to walk you through what you need to work on. They take great pride in walking you through using the tools (I used a hand saw, a power saw, a nail gun, a drill) and last year I used a wet saw when I tiled a bathroom. They are always clear to ensure you feel comfortable using the tools for your job. If at any time you are not comfortable, it’s no worry. It is a total #nojudging zone!
I also love the fact that homeowners need to put in 500 hours of work for their home. I’ve been a firm believer in having some ‘skin in the game’ and having the new owners put in some sweat equity goes to show how committed they are to this program. Giving families a hand up (not a hand out) is a message that I will back 100% every day of the week!
I am already looking forward to next year as well as some other volunteer opportunities I have coming up with Habitat for Humanity!
Wish to get involved with the next Women Build Day for 2019? Click here for more information!