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The Barn House: Confessions of an Urban Rehabber
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The Barn House: Confessions of an Urban Rehabber

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  40 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
A harrowing, hilarious memoir about fixing up an old house in the city and pursuing the urban version of the American Dream. From the longtime editor of the “Straight Dope.”

In 1993, after more people had fled Chicago for the suburbs than in any other city in America, Ed Zotti and his wife, Mary, chose not only to stay but to gamble their future fixing up a dilapidated Vic
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Hardcover, 384 pages
Published September 2nd 2008 by NAL Hardcover
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Angela Forfia
Nov 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Chicagoans, historic preservationists, fans of city living and old homes
Shelves: chicago
Ed Zotti seems like the kind of person you would like to be stuck next to on a long ride on the el. He has a wonderful sense of humor, a great love for Chicago, and a wide-ranging curiosity about people, old houses, and city life. This book tells the story of the nearly decade-long process of buying a down-on-its-luck house on the northside and rehabbing it with an odd cast of characters that somehow seem to capture the spirit of Chicago. There are truly harrowing anecdotes of the challenges of ...more
Keiser
Nov 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Keiser by: My friend Charles gave it to me
For over 18 years I have been rehabbing my house, also in Chicago. Taking it from a (almost) three apartment building back to a single family Queen Anne. Ed Zotti has 'nailed' the whole experience of this wonderful pastime. I laughed, I cried, I went back to work on my crown molding.
Marilyn
Feb 24, 2009 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this book and learned quite a bit about rehabbing and the city of Chicago. However, the author really annoyed me with his excessive use of footnotes--some of them taking up 2/3 of a page and part of the next!
He also overused the "more to come" or "I'll get back to this topic" tactic when he mentioned an idea or fact that he didn't really have time to elaborate on in that paragraph. Sometimes he did that twice on the same page about 2 different subjects.
Gwen
Mar 09, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2011
I couldn't finish this book. I wanted a warm, funny and educational tale about the trials and tribulations of fixing up a historic home in Chicago and all I was getting was the author's opinion on what costitutes a "city guy" (make no mistake the author is one and is far superior to the suburbanite types) and how he belongs to the "school of the right way". Get over yourself.
Rhode
Nov 11, 2012 rated it really liked it


The footnotes alone are well worth the price of admission
Brian Beahan
Aug 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Amanda
Mar 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Every Chicagoan should read this book! Zotti accurately captures the landscape in which we reside, with entertaining narrative on renovation thrown in. A great read.
Gwen
May 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
The story of the rehab of a Chicago home. Probably more interesting if you live in Chicago and are interested in fixing up houses.
Mike
Nov 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
I nearly died laughing when reading the account of Mayor Janes's New Year's fireworks show.
Carole
Jan 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Ed Zotti makes rehabbing a house in an urban environment sound like fun!
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