A career as a high school shop teacher was the goal until my Student teaching trimester revealed I had made a serious mistake in my life’s ambitions; ringleading a room full of young bucks only interested in making hash pipes& stash boxes (w/side ambitions of trying to clamp nerds heads in the bench vise) paled in comparison to a life pursuing art.
Artistic expression was achieved as a designer & builder of fine wooden furniture, culminating in receiving the Best in Wood award for a custom design rocking chair @ the 1978 Coconut Grove Arts Festival, in addition to several commissions for rich & famous people. Artistic success was achieved, but accounting knowledge was lacking; l eventually figured out that custom furniture design & fabrication paid about the same as panhandling, & the joy of creation was tempered by economic realities that placed me somewhere well below the national poverty line. About the time I realized art didn’t “dollar up on the hoof”, a commission for a kitchen full of cabinetry started me on the road to home building & remodeling. Subsequent projects included building a number of new homes and achieving a reasonable success in the Kitchen & Bath remodeling field. Somewhere in that time frame I had a client who was buying a home asked me to take a look @ it for them; I did, and found that inspecting houses was fun.
At that time, there were no training schools for learning the trade properly, so I moved laterally into municipal building inspections to see what I could learn. I served as a Rehabilitation Specialist for HUD back in the days of Community Development Block Grants and then as Municipal Building Inspector for a small city, all the while working weekends & evenings as a home inspector. Somewhere around 1984, independent home inspecting became the only job, & I’ve never looked back.
I work the neighborhoods of Chicago where on an average day I get to look at the history of American architecture writ large. I specialize in older historic buildings, and am a Charter Member of The Historic Building Inspectors Association in addition to being a member of ASHI since 1989. I am a moderator for the ASHI Members Internet Forum and The Inspectors Journal, another online forum for techno-geeks.
When not inspecting homes, I hide out @ my shack in the dunes of southwest Michigan & windsurf whenever the wind cooperates. When it’s too cold to sail & surf, I express myself by painting; one’s gotta have art.
Kurt Mitenbuler & Assoc., Inc.
1021 Wesley Ave.
Evanston, IL 60202
Kurt can be found on the web at http://chicagohomeprimer.com