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Around the House : Reflections on Life Under a Roof

Owen, David

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ISBN 10: 0679456554 / ISBN 13: 9780679456551
Verlag: Villard, 1998
Gebraucht Zustand: Very Good Hardcover
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Bibliografische Details

Titel: Around the House : Reflections on Life Under...

Verlag: Villard

Erscheinungsdatum: 1998

Einband: Hardcover

Zustand:Very Good

Über diesen Titel


"Owen is the McPhee of Sheetrock,
the Gibbon of grouting, the Proust of paint."

Twelve years ago, David Owen and his family moved from an apartment in New York City to a two-hundred-year-old house in a small town in rural Connecticut. Life under a leaky roof has not only made Owen handy with a reciprocating saw but has shown him why it isn't necessarily foolish to keep a broken refrigerator in the bathroom.
        In Around the House, Owen explains the usefulness of a noisy furnace (you know it's still working), the easiest way to increase a home's value by $25,000 (add a $50,000 kitchen to it), the perfect location for a second home (two doors away on the same street), and the reason most remodeling projects are futile: "You could spend a million dollars perking up a living room, yet at your next dinner party you would still find guests in the laundry room resting drinks on piles of folded underpants." He also identifies the most difficult home-improvement chore in the world: "the last ten percent of anything you start."
        Around the House is a collection of new essays plus Owen's finest pieces from Home magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New Yorker. It's the home-improvement guide for anyone who knows that the truly impor-tant work around any house isn't done with hammer and nails.


In the mid-1980s, New Yorker staff writer David Owen saw a 200-year-old Connecticut farmhouse and decided to buy it. When he took his wife back to see it, he couldn't find it at first; when he did find it, his wife hated it. They bought it anyway, "probably because we believed that abandoning a house it had taken me a single morning to discover would be more complicated and inconvenient than living for the rest of our lives in a place we didn't like." Fortunately, "as luck would have it, both the house and the town have turned out to be pretty much exactly right for us." It's certainly done wonders both for the naturally handy Owen's repair skills and for his writing career; his first book, The Walls Around Us, was a delightfully chatty guide to real home repair for people with leaky roofs and carpenter ants. Owen returns to a subject clearly close to his heart with Around the House: Reflections on Life Under a Roof. Musing on the necessity of learning by doing, he writes, "The problem that most do-it-yourselfers face is how to acquire home-improvement skills without ruining the home they are trying to improve." Owen's answer is self-apprenticeship--he learned how to build a porch by repairing his front steps, how to measure and cut rafters by building playground equipment, and practiced his roofing skills by building a house for his cat. "With a few more years of practice," he says, "I'll be ready to approach my wife with an idea I've been mulling over lately: dismantling our house down to the foundation and building a new one from scratch." These eloquently funny essays on everything from bathtubs to telecommuting are the perfect vicarious pleasure for would-be do-it-yourselfers, the smugly apartment-bound, or the terminally lazy.

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