Dinnes said his company is including outdoor living spaces in a lot of the houses they build. Clients want them, “and they're willing to pay for them,” he said.
The backyard also offers a lesson on how to turn something utilitarian into something special. A small, stone-lined riverbed stretches from the back of the house to the water with a couple of miniature bridges spanning it. That's how Kurt Dinnes chose to address a water drainage and collection issue, by installing drains and then using stones to blends them into the landscape.
“I hauled in and handset all those myself,” he said.
Like a lot of families, though, the Dinnes clan is seeing their home empty out again. Daughter Alexa is a student at the University of Oklahoma, and son Weston will follow suit next year to pursue a degree in architecture. Weston Dinnes already has taken a huge step forward on his career path, though, designing and building a bungalow in Oklahoma City's Gatewood neighborhood.
Dinnes recalled the conversation with his son, who asked, “Dad, when did you build your first house?'”
Dinnes replied that he was 20.
“He said, ‘I'd like to beat that if I could,'” Kurt Dinnes recalled. “I said, ‘You need someone to finance you.' ”
Dinnes then chuckled. “He said, ‘That's what I wanted to talk to you about.' ”
His son was involved in every aspect of the home from design to building to finishing it out, even figuring out how to wedge a circular drive onto the tiny lot, Kurt Dinnes said. The finished home sold two days after they listed it on the Multiple Listing Service.
For Kurt Dinnes, it was validation.
“He asked if he could do it,” Dinnes said of his son, “and I believed in him.”
Editor's Note: This is one of an occasional series of features about homebuilders and their own homes.
Former builders group president excited about increase in housing starts.