The Barn House: Confessions of an Urban Rehabber

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9780451227874: The Barn House: Confessions of an Urban Rehabber

A rollicking yarn about a home-improvement project that took a man and his family to hell and back.

In 1993, after Chicago lost many of its residents to the suburbs, Ed Zotti and his family gambled their future by fixing up a dilapidated Victorian home in a dicey neighborhood. Where most saw a shabby façade, the Zottis saw promise?even when it dragged and drained every resource. ?The Barn House? had a collapsed ceiling, wiring that shorted, and oak floors painted red, white, and blue. Unsettling discoveries included a box of .38 caliber bullets?with five missing?and the mere fact that the house was built on a bed of sand.

Alternately harrowing and hilarious, this is a classic account of one family?s private urban renewal project, featuring burglars, irate neighbors, and a lively cast of workers. From its grim beginning to its unexpected outcome, The Barn House is the inspiring story of what it means to live (and totally rewire) the American Dream.

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About the Author:

Ed Zotti is a journalist, author, the editor of the Chicago Reader's column "The Straight Dope," and the man behind "the world's most intelligent man," Cecil Adams. He is author of The Straight Dope, More of the Straight Dope, Return of the Straight Dope, and The Straight Dope Tells All. A graduate of Northwestern University with a degree in Journalism, he lives in Chicago.

From Booklist:

In 1993 Chicagoan Zotti and his wife, in contrast to most city dwellers (who were jumping ship for the suburbs), bought themselves a dilapidated Victorian home, conveniently located just a few doors from a murder-arson crime scene, and threw themselves enthusiastically into the job of restoring it to its former glory. This entailed, as the author quickly discovered, tearing parts of the house apart and rebuilding them, a process that involved not just carpentry but plumbing, wiring, and all sorts of highly exacting tasks. It was a long and exhausting renovation (comparisons to The Money Pit are obvious and appropriate), but Zotti and his family persevered, and the book is a lively, often funny, sometimes startling, occasionally surreal account of the rehabbing process, from getting the mortgage to choosing the architect to balancing dreams with reality. It’s the perfect book for armchair or would-be renovators. --David Pitt

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