They build their house on their own. Tessy Eiffener and Antoine Persoons have taken on the challenge of a lifetime, that of taking the time to build, pretty much all by themselves, full-time for him, their house made of wood and straw. After a year and a half of work, the house is taking shape, but there is still a ton of work.
If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. Antoine Persoons has decided to apply this expression to the letter: “Construction is terribly expensive in Luxembourg, we were looking for an affordable solution”, explains Persoons, holder of a Master’s degree in sustainable construction. Of Belgian origin, Antoine Persoons, his partner, Tessy Eiffener and her daughter, both from Luxembourg, used to live in Germany, like thousands of cross-border workers. In 2017, the project began to take shape: “I had the idea of building a house with much cheaper materials, wood and straw.” In 2019, he teams up with KHôZé architecture, as co-author, to draw up the plans. Fortunately, he knows how to navigate bureaucracy in order to obtain proper building permits relatively quickly. The hardest part was to find a plot… In the end, it took three years of research to find the one fitting their dreams and all their criteria: “In Luxembourg, a building plot free of manufacturer doesn’t come around that often! We have been patient, and it finally paid off.”
It is only in April 2019 that the family finalises the property purchase. The plans were completed in a month and a half and they obtained their building permit, so far so good. The structural work started during the summer. So far, only two companies have been involved, mainly for the work that requires machinery, for the rest, using his own elbow grease, Antoine Persoons, his family and a few friends come to help with their daunting task. Initially, the idea was to build the structure of the house directly on site, but an acquaintance offered him his workshop, where the various wooden parts of the house can be prefabricated.
After a year and a half of work
He uses his experience in the field to be confident in his ability to handle most tasks alone: “In the early days of my career I was a roofer, I’ve been involved in a bit of everything in construction. But as for the rest, I’m learning it as I go along and on my own. In particular, I discovered masonry. On this project, I committed myself to working on all jobs, including static, thermal, heating and ventilation studies.”
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The house of their dreams
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