The Builder's Secret: Learning the Art of Living Through the Craft of Building

The Builder's Secret: Learning the Art of Living Through the Craft of Building

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by George Ehrenhaft
     
 

Monday to Friday, they teach school, practice law, push paper, pound a keyboard, or run a company. But they start their weekends with a trip to the nearest home-improvement center. They're owner-builders, men and women just like you who know the satisfaction of doing it themselves—of adding a deck, remodeling the den, or building a dream house from the ground

Overview

Monday to Friday, they teach school, practice law, push paper, pound a keyboard, or run a company. But they start their weekends with a trip to the nearest home-improvement center. They're owner-builders, men and women just like you who know the satisfaction of doing it themselves—of adding a deck, remodeling the den, or building a dream house from the ground up.



The Builder's Secret will introduce you to some owner-builders who've renounced ordinary weekend pleasures in favor of lengthy, backbreaking—but ultimately exhilarating—home-building projects. Inside, you'll meet a Connecticut architect and his "city-girl" wife who lived in a tent for a year while constructing their dream house, a flutist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra who began renovating commercial real estate in his spare time when his country home neared completion, and a divorced mother of three who says that she built more than her house during those two years on the job—she rebuilt her life, too. You'll meet others whose stories will inspire you to start that dream project of your own.



A few of these owner-builders learned to build during childhood, others didn't pick up a hammer until they were grown. But all discovered that the highest reward of building was not what they got for their toil but what they became by it.



"This chronicle of owner-builders is really a 'why-to' manual, revealing how tremendously satisfying it can be to sleep beneath a roof that you built yourself."—Kevin Ireton, editor of Fine Homebuilding magazine



"Building your own house is both frustrating and rewarding by turns. Youwill enjoy the stories chronicled in The Builder's Secret—they have the whiff of sawdust and reality."—Witold Rybczynski, professor of architecture, McGill University



"Gives all those who have ever dreamed of building their own house valuable insights into the physical and spiritual process. This book reveals that the satisfaction of achieving one of life's basic goals—creating your own shelter—is within the reach of anyone."—Will Beemer, director of The Heartwood School

Read an interview with the author here.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780761516071
Publisher:
Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/26/1999
Pages:
251
Product dimensions:
5.71(w) x 8.75(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

George Ehrenhaft is both an engaging writer and a tireless builder, having built the equivalent of two-and-a-half houses by himself. The author of nine books, he lives in Katonah, New York.

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The Builder's Secret 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
George Ehrenhaft has opened a new door, one that leads into the magical, mystical realm where remodelers, rehabilitators, and home builders create their personal places with their own hands. This is touchy territory--one potential subject flatly told Ehrenhaft it was none of his damn business. Others made excuses. The author persisted. The result is a balanced offering of widely diverse stories: teacher, housecleaner, teacher, architect, graphic artist, symphony flutist, policeman, artist, builder-writer. Most interviewees began their projects overenthused and underinformed. Lacking knowledge, skills, tools, they were impelled by financial necessity, curiosity, fantasy, a hunger for a transcendent adventure. Men with wives struggling to understand; women dealing with macho members of the building trades. Personal relationships gone awry. Disaster and achievement. Despair and elation. Ehrenhaft found sentiment, resilience, intuition, testing of limits, reverence for nature, ¿a conspiracy of forces,¿ and ¿`being filled with a thrilling and joyous sense of Shelter--with a capital S.¿¿ Like writers who must write, owner-builders must build. Pity those who never feel the natural high of living in their own created shelter. Pity yourself? Or step into the lives of these nine and live the transcendent moments with them.