Home Check Plus Logo Bottom

The House that Dale Built

The House that Dale Built


It was the middle of March, 1983 when we started the process of building our home. The house we were living in was for sale, interest rates were 18% for homes and a 20% down payment was required. I had been working for a local contractor, but was laid off for about two months. My wife, Dianne, was due any day with our second child.  At the same time, I decided to partner with a friend and start our own construction business, G.W. Builders. 


Act I

I spoke with the bank over the phone and they gave me the go ahead to get the building process started and that we will work out the financing somehow.  Being it was an early spring and the frost was almost totally out, we were able to break ground and start excavating around March 20th.  I put the footing forms in and everything was set to pour the concrete on March 25th. Well, that plan changed as I took my wife to the hospital on the eve of March 24th because the baby was ready to be born. In the early morning of March 25th I used the hospital phone (no cell phones back then) to cancel the concrete. Later on that day, our lovely daughter, Rachel, was born. So I suppose you could say she was born to be in construction? As they say, the show must go on; the footings were poured the next day -- had to make sure the project stayed on schedule.


Act II

The building continued throughout the spring as time allowed. We had customer projects to do as well, so they were top priority. Many evenings were spent at the house with my wife, our oldest daughter, Medora, and little Rachel sitting outside in the stroller, watching and probably covered with a bit of sawdust and dirt from the construction. Medora was almost three years old by then and always trying to help, if that is what it is called. No OSHA inspectors around?



One weekend around mid June, I received a call from one of the neighbors who informed me that our entire development was under water! I was working on another project, but I got in my truck and drove over to the site of our new home. The water was so deep in the area; I couldn’t get within four blocks of our house. Fire department trucks were pumping the water and people were paddling through the streets in canoes. Thankfully the house was all enclosed as I just poured the basement floor the day before.  I got a pump and pumped out the water and the basement walls dried out. At this point nothing was finished, so no damage. What a way to initiate a new home! 


Act IV

As the summer went on, we kept working on the home as time permitted. The bank continued to loan us money as needed to pay for the material and subcontractors. In August, we finally sold our house, so that was a relief. We moved into our new home in the middle of September; even though it was not finished on the outside and not completely finished on the inside. The bank actually approved that move. Oh by the way, at the same time this was all going on, the construction partnership dissolved. Which, worked out okay as I started my own business, Dale Gruber Construction.


Act V

So now we were officially moved into our new home, I was going full speed ahead with my construction business, my wife was running her daycare out of our new home and life was good! Except for the high interest rates. We continued to pay the bank and the interest payment each month and all was OK. Then, in the spring of 1984, we took out a 15 year mortgage with an interest rate of 13% and we thought it was a good deal? A lot better than 18%! As years went on, we built an addition, remodeled several times, refinanced several times and after 30 years I can say it is fully paid for! While we are constantly updating and remodeling, we are still in our first home we built together in 1983. 


-Dale, Plawright  



Related Posts

Dale's Corner: Aging-in-Place
August 24, 2017
Check out Dale Gruber's aging-in-place remodeling design ideas.
Why Choose a Design-Build Remodeling Contractor
May 4, 2016
Home Check Plus is a design-build remodeling contractor. Benefits of working with a design-build contractor for your home remodel project.
Dale Gruber's Construction Career Story
July 15, 2015
An interview with Dale Gruber, the owner of HCP about his career in construction -- how it got interested, what he enjoys and advice he has for those considering a career in construction.
How Long Will a Home Remodel Take?
May 13, 2015
Dale Gruber explains the remodeling process and the time it takes for each step.
Dale's Corner - What it means to be a licensed residential building contractor
January 15, 2015
Dale explains how one becomes a licensed residential builder contractor and what that means.
Hammer Time!
October 28, 2014
Dale Gruber explains the different types of hammers so you can find one that fits your needs!
Dale's Corner - DIY Deck
June 30, 2014
Dale Gruber, St. Cloud Remodeling Specialist provides you with tips and suggestions for DIY deck project.
General Contractor Liability
April 14, 2014
Acting as general contractor? Know your liability!
Winter Home Maintenance Tips!
January 28, 2014
Find out when it is important to call a remodeling professional and when your home is just reacting to the winter naturally.
Winter Remodeling Projects
December 3, 2013
Remodeling projects that are great to do during the winter months.