Sun, 07/07/2019 - 8:00am

About this blog:

  • HOME SWEET HOME was embroidered on a framed sampler the living room at my grandpa and grandma’s farmhouse up on the mountain where we lived long ago and far from here.

    Those were the first words of wisdom I learned to read, write and understand. Looking back today, I realize how this inspiring motto guided me throughout my life’s work of building my own home . . . sweet and truly mine. That plus my collection of bumper sticker wisdom.

    I grew up, left home and explored various careers until I became qualified to teach Industrial Arts at my hometown high school. My plan to have my own home was in motion. I bought a modest little fixer upper at the edge of town. My intention was to fix it up, add an addition, live there awhile to make sure everything worked, sell it and finally start building my own home. I figured I could get most everything done during summer vacation. I was young and optimistic.

    I learned a great deal from that first building project. So much that I’ll have to tell you more.



There comes a point in each of our lives when we have to decide how to make a living. That point usually arrives around high school graduation time and the choices are: 1) Get a job. 2) Go to college, maybe join the army but we’ll leave that one out for now.

A job gets you started in life with an immediate income and, if you are a good worker, you will receive regular raises and earn promotions. You will be able to start a family, buy a home, retire with a pension and maybe a nice watch. It can be a pretty good life. Well…not these days, but it used to be and perhaps can be again.

Then there is the college route, available to more people in this country today than ever before. In fact a degree is almost as necessary as a high school education was when I was young. Well…younger.

Problem is, college costs a lot of money. If your family can’t pay for it you need to get loans and work your way through school, stopping occasionally for a cold beer, maybe a bit of partying. During your period of educational enrichment you will have to survive without much disposable income and few possessions.

After two, four, six or more years of hard work you graduate with that precious piece of paper. You have built up a huge debt but you are qualified to get a really good Job. Sorry. I mean a Position!

I have an alternative for you to consider. My idea is for you to study and accomplish building a home rather than pursue a college degree. Get your own PHD in Homebuilding. PHD means Personal Home Development.

Let’s compare the two choices and their impact on your future. While comparing, don’t think of this as a possibility only for 20 year olds. At about any point in your life you could decide it’s time for your PHD.

Let’s start with money. College costs money. Building a home costs money. The expenses in each case vary so specific amounts don’t mean much at this stage of planning, but it will be a lot so let’s wait awhile to talk about it when it is more relevant.

Just to get a basic college degree takes at least two years. For the Home Building PHD, plan on a time frame of two years. For either of these plans you will need two years’ time and a commitment of a substantial amount of money while not working for a paycheck.

Study is necessary for college. Studying will require much of your time while home building too. Studying plans and following directions for assembling things correctly is an expected part of a home building career just like studying and taking tests is part of a college career. 

A college degree and this PHD are taught through courses. The first year at college consists of basic courses to help you progress to the next level. The first year of home building uses something similar to courses in order to prepare you for the next level.

If you convince yourself to go after a “degree” in Home Building just as diligently as you would pursue a degree in Liberal Arts at college and give it the same level of dedication and commitment, you will accomplish a valuable life goal. The college degree gets you ready for a better job. The Home Building PHD gets you a home and much more.