Category Archives: Reviews

Review: The Holmes Inspection

The Holmes Inspection: The Essential Guide for Every Homeowner, Buyer and Seller, is a book written by Mike Holmes. This author is both a contractor and the host of a couple HGTV series. He also runs a home inspection and certification company. Ultimately Mike is well qualified to write this no-nonsense book outlining what to look for when purchasing a home. Although the text appears thorough and complete with checklists, the author is clear – this isn’t a do it yourself guide. Doing your own inspection is like operating on yourself, or representing yourself in court. Yes, you can do it. But should you? Continue reading Review: The Holmes Inspection

Review: How Your House Works

How Your House Works: A Visual Guide to Understanding and Maintaining Your Home, is a great idea. The book’s goal is providing homeowners with simplified drawings and diagrams of home systems, including written explanations of how each system works. For common problems, simple fixes are proposed that anyone can accomplish. Drawings are informative. Written explanations are typically integrated within the drawings or succinctly itemized without unnecessary “writer’s” fluff.  Continue reading Review: How Your House Works

Review: The Complete Guide to Contracting Your Home

the-complete-guide-to-contracting-your-homeThe Complete Guide to Contracting Your Home is billed as “a step-by-step method for managing home construction”. This isn’t a “how to” manual for self building.  Instead, these pages help the complete greenhorn avoid sounding clueless when hiring subcontractors. For instance, construction images of foundations and framing look technical. In reality they’re simplified for clarity and don’t explain construction’s true complexity. Still what information that exists is timely and relatively accurate. Continue reading Review: The Complete Guide to Contracting Your Home

Review: Zillow Talk

Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate, is a unique and previously impossible look into the home buying market by two Zillow insiders. Author Spencer Rascoff is Zillow’s CEO. While coauthor Stan Humphries is Zillow’s Chief Economist. Utilizing the company’s vast information about home values, the authors debunk common real estate assumptions. This data driven research also uncovers previously unknown patterns or rules about today’s home values that aren’t always intuitive or obvious.  Continue reading Review: Zillow Talk

Review: Pocket Doors

Old dining room pocket doors

Pocket doors slide inside a wall. When closed, they can look like other doors or provide a dramatic focal point. Either way, they’re hidden when open. Which means they don’t waste space or swing into toilets, cabinets and furniture. Since they slide on tracks (instead of swinging on hinges) pocket doors can service larger openings. For these reasons architects and designers rely on the pocket door as a versatile design tool.

Sadly, pocket doors aren’t a panacea. While they look good in pictures and usually work right after installation. Designers are long gone before the pocket door’s shortcomings become painfully apparent. Continue reading Review: Pocket Doors

Review: What Your Contractor Can’t Tell You

What Your Contractor Can’t Tell You: The Essential Guide to Building and Renovating, could be called “What Your Contractor Should Tell You”. This paperback is full of valuable advice for everyone building or remodeling. Written by a construction manager, the focus isn’t about self-building or self-contracting. Instead, the reader will learn to reduce risk and increase success when hiring building pros. Thorough discussions about working well with others, budgets, contract types and avoiding common pitfalls are included. Also covered are tips for using budget as a management tool and understanding the pro’s perspective.  Continue reading Review: What Your Contractor Can’t Tell You

Review: Home Improvements for the Busy & Broke

home-improvement-projectsHome Improvement Projects for the Busy & Broke: How To Get Your $h!t Together and Live Like An Adult, is a book geared towards the young professional finally living in that first apartment or house. If you don’t mind the occasional swearing for emphasis, the text is entertaining and edgy. A writing style undoubtedly appealing to millennials who read sentences between texts and tweets. Chapters begin with the basics of how to live like an adult: Stop partying every night, get motivated, make your bed and clean your room. Advice my teenagers hear daily, usually at high volume. Apparently many kids don’t. Continue reading Review: Home Improvements for the Busy & Broke

Review: Carter’s Way

carters-wayCarter’s Way: A No-Nonsense Method for Designing Your Own Super Stylish Home is an interior design book based on Carter Oosterhouse’s HGTV program. Sadly I’ve never seen his show. But I have read this book. Switching between images of well decorated rooms and Carter pretending to cut boards, at first worried me. Employing a ghost writer furthered suspicion. And suggesting his method leads to “super stylish” homes didn’t help either. Yet buried within these pages are loads of practical advice that may help homeowners take charge of their interior design projects. Continue reading Review: Carter’s Way

Review: SoulSpace

soulspaceWith a name like, SoulSpace: Transform Your Home, Transform Your Life, written by a Los Angeles based interior designer. I naturally assumed this text was “new age” babble. I was wrong. Nor is it your typical photo filled portfolio showcasing the latest, soon to be forgotten, trends. Don’t expect a single image, not one. When opening this cover, you’ll find a refreshing alternative to the consumer oriented interior design industry. A book that’s as much self-help guide as design manual.  Continue reading Review: SoulSpace

Review: Roofing, Flashing & Waterproofing

roofing-flashing-waterproofingRoofing, Flashing & Waterproofing, is a book in the “For Pros By Pros” series by Taunton Press. A great book for pros and seasoned do-it-yourselfers. Reasonably valuable for curious homeowners passionate about making informed decisions and ensuring projects are completed correctly. Only a few step by step instructions may be tedious for those not actually performing the work. Although even these passages have kernels of valuable construction wisdom. Continue reading Review: Roofing, Flashing & Waterproofing