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    Photo: William Arnett, 1997

In the trees behind Sewell's house is an indescribable piece of what could be called contemporary improvisational vernacular architecture. It is actually a split-level, partially subterranean doghouse built by Patrick Sanders, Sewell's father. A dairy employee, Sanders made the doghouse in the mid-1960s, and after his death in 1971 Sewell continued to keep up the structure, adding decorative elements as ideas came to her. And as dog after dog hved out their life spans, Sewell kept embellishing the doghouse. Why does she need to keep a dog confined at the edge of her backyard? "Just to let me know stuff," she says. "It get dark down here at night, you know."