History of FirstDay Cottage

FirstDay Cottage

      FirstDay Cottage was founded in 1995 by MIT-trained architectural designer David Howard who has always been keenly interested in do-it-yourself housing.  In the 1970's, David and his wife, Pam, built themselves their first home which measured 11' x 24' and was one and a half stories.  David's early work involved designing and constructing timber frames for residential homes.  Many of these frames were erected for do-it-yourself builders, who would finish the home after the frame was erected.  Although the do-it-yourself timber frames were a success, they weren’t quite the economical 100% owner built homes David had envisioned.   

The little 11' x 24' 1 1/2 story
cottage built by David Howard.


      The FirstDay Cottage design was born out of the idea of timber framing, but was redesigned from the ground up for the owner-builder.  The new laminated post and beam structure could now be built by a couple with no experience, and the construction no longer required a crane or any other specialized tools.  After a few different designs were tried, the first real FirstDay was built in 1995 in nearby Alstead, New Hampshire – a 16’ x 30’ built over a daylight basement.  Since then, we have expanded to include cape, saltbox and garage designs of various sizes, and we now have houses in over 20 states from Alaska to Texas to good ole New Hampshire. At FirstDay, we hope to add to these numbers as we continue to offer an affordable and viable product that enables our customers to realize their dream of building themselves a home.


Village design for Martha's Vineyard Island, MA

A village designed for Prince Edward Island, Canada

A conceptual Village of FirstDays - this plan shows 21
units, a meeting house and a village green on 4+ acres

More on David Howard      

      David has designed over 400 buildings in 38 states.   His love of architecture was fueled as a young man traveling in Europe, where he studied the architecture and the composition of old villages.  In 1974, David founded David Howard Inc., which designed and manufactured timber frames for residential homes and for some commercial buildings.   During these years, David also imported ten antique English barn frames (circa 1400-1600) which were reconstructed as new homes here in the United States. 

      In the mid eighties, David began to focus more on residential design and he started pursuing his dream - the design and development of new villages.  One major motivation for developing FirstDay was for a way to "get school teachers into our new villages for half the price".  The first new village, for which David contributed the conceptual design, was constructed on Nantucket Island.

      These days, David continues to do the major design work for FirstDay while actively pursuing the creation of new villages.  He still does occasional work as a residential designer, and is also working on the development of a few books on architecture as well as other subjects.    

       David Howard is confident that his buildings are significant assets to our civilization and its future.  If you are interested in a custom home or would like to learn more about his work call (603) 756-3434 or contact David through FirstDay Cottage.  A unique brochure that features the complete range of David's work is available. 

Some of David Howard's Designs
Click on images to enlarge

More Sample Plans

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