The Barn House: Confessions of an Urban Rehabber
Prices for book: The Barn House: Confessions of an Urban Rehabber
Book ISBN: 9780451225573
Author(s): Ed Zotti
Document type: Trade Cloth
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the barn house
this had to be one of the funniest books i've ever read. this guy can WRITE! he knows how to turn a phrase. rehabing old homes in cities could be a tedious affair but not when described by ed zotti. he has an eye for detail and a way of describing such detail that will make you laugh out loud while learning new things.
Paige Turner (Amazon.com)
About 'way more than just a house
I loved this book. I expected a farce like "The Money Pit" and instead got literate, humorous musings on life, craft, finance, stick-to-itiveness, marriage, friends, Chicago, urban life and being a "city guy." Not to mention the golden age of wood and the pillaging of American forests, how cities grew through annexation, balloon framing, and world population trends. And the writing was lyrical. One needs to care a little about house construction to enjoy this book, but if that is present, this book more than delivers. I will probably read it again, in fact.
Fascinating, funny and helpful
At first glance, you'd think the Barn House would be another retelling of "Mr Blandings ..." or "The Money Pit", and sure, there are some aspects of those funny disaster stories here too. But this book goes far beyond that concept. It's more about Gentrification, aka Urban renewal. It also has a lot of heart in it's details about Ed's family and personal life. The author also goes into what he calls "The Brotherhood of the Right Way" which basicly separates craftsman from contractors.
As a bonus, the book adds some very practical tips about home wiring, well illustrated.
I suggest this book for:
Those who like autobiographical stories- mostly funny
Those who think they'd like to rehab a house (hint- find "The Brotherhood of the Right Way" and bring lots of moola)
and those who want to know more about how American cites are experiencing a rebirth.
Of course, coming from Cecil Adam'ss main writer and editor it's very easy to read and will have you chuckling over and over. I agree with the previous reviewer, however- the book needs more pictures.
A story about a house, a city, a family and how we live
Like "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance," the title is just an introduction or backdrop to the bigger story. The "Barn House" is about rehabbing a house, but it's also about history (which I loved), architecture, a city, a neighborhood, a family, and the many characters - the cultures, personalities and perspectives - one gets to know and mix it up with(and sometimes to trust with everything dear in life) while delving into this kind of monstrously risky affair.
And, most articulately, it's about process, which really is all everything is about. Even if you've never rehabbed a house, you've been there, which is what makes this a truly enjoyable read for people like me who will never do it.
I don't have the patience to rehab anything. As soon as I start a project, my earlier goals and standards for the finished project shrink with my frustration and desire only to have it done. It doesn't mean I don't appreciate artistry and perfection; it just means that either my husband does it or I hire someone else who will do it Right. And I notice this and I admire the hell out of them for it.
I don't know nuthin 'bout wiring and I prefer to leave the fireworks to others; in fact I'll pay them more if they just tell me it's magic when it works. But this book drew me in, which is a real testament, because Ed Zotti does love and admire the details involved in wiring. I found myself wanting to know more about stuff that has never - and I daresay I hope never will - be useful to me. A good book is a pleasant escape from your reality, and it takes a good writer to make it so.
I could have done without the occasional corny gender stereotypes, but it's a personal account by an author who is candid about how he sees the world and we all have our limitations.
Two things I would like to see in the next edition:
1. Pictures. Artists' drawing and before and after photos. I often had to read a paragraph over again to try to picture what was being described. I wanted to refer to illustrations.
2. A glossary of terms. Many details were well explained for the layman and analogies were useful. But certain building/construction/architectural terms were thrown about that were useless to me. (Though I should admit that so were a lot of the adjectives and verbs, since my vocabulary just isn't that great.)
This would be a great housewarming gift, but read it before you decide who to give it to. Some people might not think some of this stuff is funny!
A Stagnant Sence of Humor.
Here comes Eddy an unusual and low-keyed presence on the writer's scene. Known for his butter knife (often errant) 'Straight Dope' column. Peggy's brother Ed FINALLY wrote a book.
An easily read adjective filled book about the evolving state of a house and city. An unengaged attempt at "humor". Eddy divides up the projects and all the superficial formalism involved. Ha Ha Ho Hum. This book falls into the same deadpan trap as Spielberg's movie 'The Money Pit'.
Well back to your cobwebbed desk at the 'Reader'.
Addendum: 09/29/08 ... Creative Loafing and The 'READER' file bankrupcy. Fodder for another witty book.
dream factory (Amazon.com)
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