Thursday, August 16, 2007

Old-house books

Here are some of the books I used have found helpful while renovating my 1910 American foursquare:

Renovating Old Houses: Bringing New Life to Vintage Homes
George Nash

This book explains how your house is put together and what to do when it seems like it's falling apart. Even if you aren't crazy enough to try this stuff yourself (I think I'd hire someone for "correcting swayback roofs"), it's good to know how it's done.

A Field Guide to American Houses
Virginia and Lee McAlester

Learn the right terminology for old-house architecture. Lots of pictures and drawings to guide you.

The Complete Photo Guide to Home Repair
Black and Decker

This book gives fix-it basics and troubleshooting advice wth lots of photos and diagrams. I fixed my leaky faucets thanks to this. Even my brother-in-law, who manages store that sells construction materials to contractors, loved it. Menard's put this book on sale or offers rebates once in a while.

Flip: How to Find, Fix and Sell Houses for Profit
Rick Vilani and Clay Davis

I can't tell you whether everything is accurate because I haven't done it myself yet, but I was impressed with this guide to flipping.

For chicks:
Dare to Repair by Julie Sussman and Stephanie Glakas-Tenet
The Woman's Hands-On Home Repair Guide by Lyn Herrick
Home repair books written by women for women.

For relaxation:
House
Tracy Kidder

This incredible nonfiction book captures the anxiety from all angles of the construction of one house. He tells the stories of the homeowners, the builders and the architect.

House: A Memoir
by Michael Ruhlman

This is the painful, heartwarming and hysterical tale of one family's decision to buy and fix up a century-old house in Cleveland. Dealing with contractors, living in chaos -- if you have remodeled, this man has put your thoughts into words.

If you're a cook, you may recognize his name from the books "The Making of a Chef" and "The Soul of a Chef," where he dives into the Culinary Institute of America and the world of restaurants by trying it himself.

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