Hello Friends and Family,

Building My First House, 1973/74, Part 3

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

The next photo shows the basement with the furnace installed. In Minnesota, you have to have a heavy-duty furnace — just like in Arizona you have to have a heavy-duty central air conditioning unit. At this point, the house was not sealed up so you can even see a little snow on the ground — soon to be covered with concrete.

Shortly thereafter, the contractor finally sealed up the house with doors and windows plus a bit of plywood soon to be replaced with a door and a window. The exterior siding had been applied together with vertical accent strips. The area to the right had been stained — soon the whole exterior would be that same color.

This looks like a scene right out of your favorite fixer-upper show on HGTV — kitchen cabinets prior to their installation. Things were moving right along — soon the house would be inhabitable.

Naturally, every home needs a front door but don't forget that you need a front porch too. The funny thing was that I had to move in before a few finishing touches were completed — such as the front porch. In those days, if any member of our group at work moved, everyone volunteered to help — so I had lots of worker bees only for the cost of sandwiches and drinks (served only after the work was complete). So we divided into two groups —- one indoor and the other outdoor — so we would not track mud onto the brand new carpeting. The non-existent front porch was the boundary between indoor and outdoor workers.

Finally, the house was complete. You'll note the driveway — crushed limestone. The grass was planted but no landscaping yet — that was next on the agenda. The hill to the left in the photo would be planted with ground cover and native plants. In the grass area, I planned the normal trees and bushes.

This shot shows the back of the house now complete with a balcony off the family room. I planted grass close to the house with a garden planned in the foreground.

I apologize that these next few indoor shots are not as good as they should be — Kodachrome 64 slide film was great outdoors but rather poor indoors, even with a flash. This shot shows one half of the sunken living room. Note the railing in the left foreground — that was at the border — to protect folks from falling as a result of the different floor levels.

Here is the other side of the living room.

Next, we see the dining room from the living room. This shot reminds me of one of the aspects of building your own home — the huge number of decisions you have to make — even down to what every installed light fixture should look like. It's nice to have exactly what you want but one grows tired of so many choices — and you don't want to make a mistake.

Here you can see the master bedroom and the window facing the back of the property.

And the last photo of this series also shows the master bedroom. I have to say that building my own home was an exciting experience — and did not discourage me from doing it again when, many years later, I had my current townhouse built in Phoenix. I would do it again but would space it out a few years between projects.

Life is good.

B. David

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