Are you aware of the "door trick"? Place a wooden door on the floor of the ocean near your build zone. The block on which the door is placed will become an air pocket to which you can return so you don't need to keep surfacing for air.
Yeah it was just supposed to be a patio/deck area to give that house some more floor space. it has a ladder going up to the house proper, but I havent put anything down there yet. Most of the houses havent been aesthetically furnished yet since I really dont live in them. I was hoping any players who decide to join and adopt a house could do the decorating. [EDIT] My menagerie actually worked after what seemed like forever, was able to spawn some sheep.