In a recent post, Tazim talked about the importance of taking care of what you have, and it got me to thinking about how lucky I was to grow up with hands-on parents—even if I didn’t realize it at the time.
In addition to the usual chores, mowing the lawn or doing the dishes, it was I important to my Mom that all of her kids (two boys and one girl), could cook a meal, sew their own clothes, and plant a garden. Meanwhile, my Dad taught us how to look after a house, from basic plumbing to finishing a basement and wiring electrical. It was a lot of hard work, and though sometimes we hated it, I was quickly grateful for all my experiences when I moved out on my own.
But what do you do if you didn’t have a DIY upbringing? How do you look after your house, aside from hiring a professional to do it all?
It’s true that some home repairs are best left to the experts, or at least left to their inspection-but if you’d like to lay new floor, hang a light, or figure out which walls of your house are load-bearing, you might want to check out DK’s Do It Yourself guide.
In just over 500 pages, it’s a clear visual guide to every home-improvement project I can imagine. And even if you hire someone else do do the work, a quick flip through will give you an idea of what ought to go on. It reminds me of one of those books that so entranced me as a kid. In the simplest possible way, it explodes the way things work: from how every different kind of wall is built, to the inner workings of a toilet.
Speaking of toilets, we’ve used it to figure out the inner workings of our new drop-valve toilet (just in case something goes awry) as well as to explain proposed renovations. I rally feel like I could give it to my teenaged nephew with all the supplies for a job, and find it done to satisfaction.
But maybe our favorite use has been to facilitate daydreaming. This second edition of the DIY guide has fantastic new sections on energy conservation and green design, and a great section on using space. It’s given us dozens of ideas for our next home.
It’s well worth a spot on your reference shelf, and the perfect gift for a new homeowner (or for the friend or family member that calls you up whenever their toilet acts up).
This Do It Yourself book from DK Canada has a retail price of $40.