Dedication of Habitat for Humanity house

Imagine living in a house built entirely of caring and generosity. 

Sure, there’s wood and nails too, but the real structure of Kathy and Rachel Perry’s new house on Stanley Street is human kindness.

This is the first of four houses being built by Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity on land donated by Amherst College.  As the Perrys’ house approaches completion – still a few small things to finish up before they can move in – building the next house has already begun.


On Sunday, professional and volunteer builders, donors, friends and neighbors gathered for the house’s dedication and the presentation of the key to Kathy.  It has been a long time coming.  Construction began in the fall of 2006, and Kathy and her daughter, who has just turned 13, have put in countless hours helping with its creation – from hammering nails to picking out light fixtures, and every element in between.  This “sweat equity” is among the requirements of those chosen for Habitat houses.


Kathy and Rachel with an embroidery sampler presented to them at the dedication.

I first went to this site more than a year ago, when the house was in its early stages, and I was intending to write an article about it for  As I was doing my research and preparation, the Gazette ran an article, and I decided to hold off for a while so that we weren’t both telling variations on the same story at the same time.  Unfortunately, I never got back to my article, but I have loved watching the house “grow” since then. 

The house was designed by Kuhn-Riddle architects and it is extremely energy-efficient, with thick insulation, abundant natural light, and efficient appliances including a propane heating unit that heats the whole house without ductwork, and an on-demand water heater that heats the water as it is needed instead of heating and maintaining stored hot water in a giant tank.

Here are some early-construction images.


A crew pauses to plan what happens next.


Kathy and a volunteer measure twice and cut once.


While the framing was exposed, visitors and volunteers contributed their good wishes…


…including State Rep Ellen Story, who has been to the site on numerous occasions.


Christmas 2006 brought a roof…


… and a wreath.


Kathy and a volunteer take a well-earned coffee break.


And today:  Mount Norwottuck, as viewed from the window of Rachel's new bedroom.

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