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Peter B Minarick : Builder

August 6, 2018
Denny’s, Placerville, CA with Zann Gates

Met today with soft-spoken Peter Minarick and his daughter, Cherry Frame (no relation to the Frames of Potrero Way). Mr. Minarick turned 100 recently. Mr. Minarick was Carter Sparks' favorite builder.
He was raised on a cattle ranch (in Canada?) and used to drive herefords. He was into the rodeo, and cowboys and that sort of thing. He served 4 years in the Army as an Engineer. lots of bridge work. Always far ahead of his battalion scouting out ways to advance the troops. Elbe river. Innsbruck, Austria.

Started at a finish carpenter for a North Lake Tahoe based outfit run by “Mayfield” after talking to a career recruiter. He was just looking for work. At one point he was put to work adding a dormer to a building and wasn’t provided the proper tools — he used a leaning tree in the distance as his guide.

Did work for most architects in Sac. Remembered Rickey and Brooks houses in 1950’s [ Stiefvater (1090 Vallombrosa avenue, in Chico ?) Thompson house - “you would walk in and the wooden walls gleamed like fire”.  Dr. George Thompson- Carmichael **Zann Gates ]
Admired Don Thaden because he was “for the builder”; always made sure they got paid. Sparks was a bit “wishy washy” and would forget the money stuff.

Met Sparks through other Architects. Couldn’t recall his first job for Sparks, or how they actually became acquainted.

Cluster of homes on Pinon rd, rescue, ca. houses for Dahl Jr and Dahl Sr. house for a mr. white (may have been Bertram White?) built a cluster of houses there after his own house (2325 piñon). spec houses. may have been sparks or Alan Oshima designs. Cherry had a house built from some old Oshima plans, then designed and built another house elsewhere later on.

Very proud of his accuracy, particularly a huge house by the river with foundation piers (not sure what house, not Sparks’ Nomelini). He and his crew set the foundation within 1/4” of level across the site. He was disappointed when the County came to “shoot” his work. They didn’t trust he could be so accurate.

“It was easy” he said, “Nothing was hard”

Worked on Clauss, Andersen, Fishel, Ripple, Orr, Yee, lots of smaller houses, and not Sturm.
Cherry said the interior decor was pretty awful in Fishel. Lots of purples and burgundys.

No other doors on a center pivot like “Andersen”.
Kept those tall doors straight by inserting black iron rods every couple feet through the laminated sections. Then used a pole with markings for the hinges to make sure they matched the door to the frame. Sparks often asked Minarick to build his custom doors, even if Minarick wasn’t the builder of the home.

Used re-milled redwood for a lot of houses from the demolished Yolo causeway. Had materials shipped to site. Didn’t have time to go out and get them (not like stories of home owners going out to the mountains with Sparks to collect rocks and drink beers).