Hello Friends and Family,

Building My First House, 1973/74, Part 2

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Oh look — floor joists were being installed. Soon there would be a place to stand in the house without falling through to the basement. Good 2x12's — it would be a sturdy floor.

The subfloor was now installed and the exterior walls were being framed in. This photo shows the sunken living room with a big picture window looking out toward the lake.

Plywood cladding adds strength to the walls. This photo shows the interior of the master bedroom with another large window — this one looking out the back where it is mostly meadows — not many houses.

Funny story: these workmen were framing the master bathroom. However, they made a mistake and did not frame a door opening so that one could actually use that bathroom. I called the general contractor and he seemed more aggravated with me than with his workers. They did finally fix it, of course.

That seems to be a common trait among general contractors. My dad experienced it when we moved to Florida (my high school years). He had a tract home built for our family — and definitely knew what he was talking about since he started his adult working life as a carpenter. Unfortunately, the contractor did not appreciate the feedback and ended up throwing a roll of tape at him. From then on, my dad only talked to the owner of the construction firm.

Further evidence: When I had my current townhouse built back in 1996, the carpenters did not build the loft (overlooking the living room) to the measurements stated in the contract (I wanted to put an existing desk there which is why it was in the contract). The construction supervisor told me that was too bad but it was too late to change it. So I told him it was in the contract and my lawyer would take them to court if necessary to have it fixed. I did not really have a lawyer but the bluff worked. He decided not to take the chance — the next day, the carpenters were extending the loft.

There were more examples where I told him of errors early when they were easy to fix. Unfortunately for them, they had to put more time and money into the rework — which they could have saved if they just listened to me and applied some common sense.

Well, except for the lack of a roof, it was starting to look like a house.

Soon after, the roof was being added and the house looked much better as a result, except for that white stuff on the ground. That had me worried.

The snow wasn't just on the ground but also on the subfloor. The contractor told me not to worry — that they would sweep it out — no problem. And he was right.

Winter marched along and construction continued as well. Here we can see the house from the back yard. Fortunately, the roof was now protecting the interior from the elements.

Inside, the conduit was being run for the wiring. I had one small idea for a customization. In the family room, I had the electricians install a few empty junction boxes with conduit running inside the walls down to the basement. I wanted to run wires from my stereo receiver to the speakers but did not want them lying on the carpet. (Wireless speakers were not available to the general public in those days.) It worked like a champ.

Insulation (and plenty of it) is an absolute necessity in Minnesota. Funny, the same thing is true in Arizona.

Virgin snow is pretty once the sun comes out. But I don't miss it. I'm happy to just look at the photos.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com