DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!

home improvement

Nov 22 2010

Need a Nook?

by Veronica W

Hilton Head beach on a shimmering summer day. Comfortable lounge chair? Check. Umbrella for shade? Got it. Snacks? Yup. Long awaited best seller? Oh yeah!  Everything was  in place for an anticipated, much needed time of leisure. I picked up Nicholas Sparks’ newest and proceeded to read the first paragraph…and never got past  it. Whether I was too distracted by the sailboat on the horizon, the warm sand between my toes or just the sheer immensity of the water, I don’t know. I just know that I could not concentrate and trying to read was a waste of time. I needed my favorite nook at home.

There are folks who can read anywhere, as evidenced by the New York City subway riders, who can hold on to the pole with one hand and focus intently on a book or newspaper held in the other hand…and still know when their stop comes! It’s a skill I never acquired, even when I lived in NY and rode the subway on a regular basis. For some of us, where we read is almost as important as what we are reading.

During my online travels, I came across a delightful website called “the boo and the boy: reading nooks for kids.”  It showed some of the most charming and creative spots in which kids can hide away and lose themselves in a good book.   For adults there are other sites which will encourage you to create or find a nook of your own such as this one and this one.  Readers may enjoy Paul Deen’s Savannah Style, which has a section on book nooks, as well as Southern Lady Gracious Spaces: Creating the Perfect Sanctuary in Every Room.

There are some people who can read comfortably in odd positions and places. ..

…while others are happiest only in the most luxurious settings.

After taking an informal poll of where people read, I found that a few actually enjoy reading in cemeteries. Honesty compels me to admit that I generally don’t have an inclination to visit graveyards and found the thought of sitting among tombstones and reading a good book a bit unnerving. Then I came across this picture of Highgate Cemetery in London and understood how reading in this sylvan setting could be  possible.

To borrow from a favorite Seuss book, Green Eggs and Ham “Would you, could you in a house? With a mouse? In a box? With a fox? Would you, could you here or there? Would you, could you anywhere?” Although I am usually in the habit of carrying a book with me at all times ( just in case I have a flat and have to wait for the HERO truck), my beach experience has shown me that for anything heavier than a fashion magazine, I need my nook. How about you?

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Jan 12 2009

Help, I want to improve my house!

by Amanda L

Every New Year my husband and I look around the house deciding if we want to make any improvements or if we have maintenance issues that we need to tackle. We built our own house over twelve years ago and have performed much of the maintenance and improvements ourselves. I always use the Library’s resources to see what they can help us with. In fact, we have used many books at the Decatur Library to help us build our house. With the housing market in a down turn, many people are looking for ways to improve their house either to stay or to help sell it faster. The Library has a variety of home improvement books available. Here is a sampling of books that might be useful for those, like me, wanting to improve their house.

DIY guide to appliances

The essential guide for first-time homeowners: maximize your investment & enjoy your new home

Ultimate guide to wiring: complete home projects

Home makeovers that sell: quick and easy ways to get the highest possible price

The complete photo guide to home repair

House transformed: getting the home you want — with the house you have

Universal design for home

Stanley complete flooring

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Nov 24 2008

House Blogs: One More Way to Journal

by Nolan R

Maybe it began with This Old House.  I remember when I was a kid, watching the show with my dad.  Norm and crew would take you step by painfully slow step through a kitchen renovation of an old house in New England, with the process often running to several episodes.  Later, I discovered a love/hate relationship with HGTV, where entire homes are magically transformed in two days or less.

Last year, I discovered the website Houseblogs.  I was fascinated.  I wanted a house blog!  I didn’t even have a house yet, but I started a generic house blog on Blogger, ready to document each step of the progress on our hypothetical house.  (I know others who have also fallen prey to putting the blog before the house.)  My husband and I finally bought an old bungalow, and as we began work on it, I got to work on the blog, personalizing it and even registering our own domain name.  My husband was pretty good-natured about it, except when I would snap photos of him climbing a ladder and temporarily blind him with the flash.

Originally, I planned the blog as a way for friends and family to keep up with our progress, but what I gradually discovered is that a) your friends and family don’t always care that you’ve just spent four weeks painting the trim on your house in original Craftsman colors, and b) a lot of strangers do seem to care, interestingly enough.  Wondering how to strip paint from your dining room molding?  A Google search will turn up at least one houseblog where someone has already done the hard work and figured out the best way.  We’ve even gotten several emails and comments from readers all over the country, sharing their experiences with us.

Here are a few of my favorite houseblogs (including a local one):

De-Victorianization on Division
House in Progress
Our Little Bungalow
Tiny Old House
Westview Bungalow

If you like the idea of reading someone else’s experiences transforming a house into a home, but aren’t into blogs, here are a few great books:

All the Way Home: Building a Family in a Falling Down House by David Giffels
The Caliph’s House: A Year in Casablanca by Tahir Shah
Castles in the Air by Judy Corbett
Renovations : a Father and Son Rebuild a House and Rediscover Each Other by John Marchese
Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayer
A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle

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