Book Review: ‘What’s a Homeowner to Do?’
The following article covers a topic that has recently moved to center stage–at least it seems that way. If you’ve been thinking you need to know more about it, here’s your opportunity.
If you’ve ever bought one of those little gift books that has a year’s worth of daily inspirational messages, this book will remind you of one of those. It’s a small-format book filled with 442 tips, diagrams, and easy-to-use, bite-sized tutorials for do-it-yourself home improvement, maintenance and safety projects.
Fanuka, the star of the show “Million Dollar Contractor,” teams up with Edward Lewine (who writes a couple of home improvement columns for The New York Times Magazine) to comprehensively catalog and address precisely the sorts of items that keep buyers and homeowners awake at night, offering their insomnia-soothing home improvement knowledge in a highly digestible format.
Throughout, they flag items that homeowners need to maintain on a regular basis to avoid disasters, parse out which items owners can do themselves (and which they should refer to the pros), empower them to ask the right questions and have the right conversations with those pros, and walk them through simple instructions for doing it themselves, where applicable. The book starts out with a “green manifesto” that briefs readers on all the ways in which their homes impact the environment by offering them a long bullet point list of choices they can make to green their homes. It then moves on to cover the down-and-dirty, do-it-yourself tutorials with a chapter on how to assemble and use a basic toolkit. Then, the book proceeds to offer hundreds of mini-lessons categorized by area of a home, from the exterior, to windows, plumbing, electrical, and such subjects as carpentry, doors and locks, walls, basements, garages, yards, and safety and security issues.
Often, these sorts of tips books can be tough to use for readers who have a high need for information — those who want to know why they should do things a particular way, or why they should trust the proffered advice. But interspersed throughout the book’s tips on what to do to your home are highly interesting briefings on “how” things in your home work. In short-and-sweet plain English, Fanuka and Lewine answer questions like “What’s so important about rain gutters?” and “How are wooden stairs constructed?”
If you own a home and feel at loose ends when it comes to knowing what you should be doing to keep it in tip-top shape, “What’s a Homeowner to Do” is an accessible, yet smart, primer and reference guide you’ll turn to time and time again. If you’re still in house hunt mode, definitely put it on your housewarming registry — it’ll save you some sleepless nights, and maybe even some money!