Savvy Woman’s Guide to Owning a Home
How to Care For, Improve, and Maintain Your Home
By Kitty Werner
In this book, learn:
- how your house works; how to turn on and off the power, water, fuels and what to do in an emergency
- when something goes wrong, who to call to fix the problem, and how to figure out what the problem is
- about your responsibilities when it comes to yearly maintenance, what needs to be done by you
- how to plan for and save on future repairs from your roof down to your appliances
- how to prepare for emergencies, from a house fire to power outages to natural disasters, and how to protect yourself
- how to become a neighbor, where to meet new friends and join the fun
- how to become more energy efficient
- how to “go green” to keep toxic chemicals out of your environment
- how to find the best contractors and fix-it pros to keep your house at its best, how to evaluate their work
- how to plan for remodeling or adding on to your house
- which tools to keep on hand, just in case you need them
- how to evaluate insurance to get the best protection for your house and belongings
About the Author
(Notes from the Author)
I was first drawn to construction when my father, Henri de Marne, decided our side porch could make a dandy office for himself. Then seven years old, I offered my services by hanging around until he found something useful for me to do. Soon, I could name all the nails and hand him the right ones at the right time. I learned all the tools and their functions. I’m sure I took a few whacks at boards in my time, but with my slight weight at that age, I didn’t make much of a dent, much less pound in too many nails. As a reward for my efforts, Dad made me my own tool box for my little set of tools. I still have it.
It wasn’t long before I was fixing things as well as taking them apart. I was learning this stuff. One of my early jobs was working as the Assistant Buyer of Lamps at the Hecht Co. in Washington, D.c. When I had enough of the office, I could be found upstairs in the back storage creating new lamps from busted parts. My one-of-a-kind specials were put on display and sold. The tough part was when a customer wanted a match. Later, I was hired by a flooring company to sell flooring. I enjoyed playing around with the merchandise and ended up running the warehouse. I furnished my first townhouse with scraps of carpet, padding, carpet samples and plywood. Sold all of it when I moved to Germany for a year when I married Peter.
Back in the States, we moved to Vermont where we ran an old Vermont farmhouse as a ski lodge for a winter. Not only did we run out of water the first day we had guests (Christmas Day), but I had to cook for them as well. (I’m not a cook, my sister is.) Dealing with the fix-it issues of old dryers, temperamental heating systems, cranky plumbing, mazes of “put-together” pipes and wires, wells, and chimneys was an education in survival! Our guests didn’t starve, either.
Eventually, we bought our own house. As our family grew to include two children, the house grew. We fixed electric wiring, replumbed fixtures, finished off a bathroom, added a large addition, dealt with lightning storms blowing out our water supply, electric lines coming down, days without power and water, and all manner of exciting events.
As a homeowner, I’ve had 26 years of practical on-the-job training to write this book. I’ve been helping my father, syndicated columnist Henri de Marne (First Aid for the Ailing House, United Media),with his column and therefore learn his information as well. Being married to a masonry contractor has given me an amazing education in safe installation of chimneys, what can go wrong and why, how to correct the problems, or more importantly, how to find the right person to do the right job the first time.
I also noticed that there isn’t one homeowner’s manual for women who don’t want to do-it-yourself, but do need to know how to run and maintain their house. Sure, there are plenty of books on how to fix things, but what about the people who aren’t handy with tools? While millions of women own their own homes, what is the percentage of those who know how to maintain the house, let alone fix it themselves? Or how about the women married to men who can’t use a hammer? Or the homeowners who don’t have the time to DIY?
What People are Saying
“Most first-time homeowners–often unprepared for the many routine tasks and unsuspected hurdles that lie ahead–quickly learn the homeownership honeymoon is a short one. To the rescue: The Savy Woman’s Guide to Owning a Home.”—Better Homes and Gardens
“Part home-ec handbook, part crash course in how houses work, The Savy Woman’s Guide to Owning a Home, by Kitty Werner, gives both practiced homeowners and first-time buyers the keys to figuring out how best to stay ahead of the seasonal tasks. Filled with tips on insurance, the ins and outs of electrical and plumbing systems–even making the most of community services–this practical planner offers plenty of food for thought.”—Country Living
Part I—Before You MoveChapter 1—First Things First
Chapter 1—First Things First
Chapter 2—Get Functional
Chapter 3—Moving In, Settling Down
Chapter 4—Visit Your Town Offices
Chapter 5—Safety and Sanity
Chapter 6—Beat Catastrophe, Insure ItPart II—Know Your HouseChapter 7—Water Works
Part II—Know Your HouseChapter 7—Water Works
Chapter 7—Water Works
Chapter 8—Staying Warm, Staying Cool
Chapter 9—Electrical SystemsPart III—Those Inevitable RepairsChapter10—Preparing for Repairs
Part III—Those Inevitable Repairs
Chapter10—Preparing for Repairs
Chapter 11—Seasonal To-Do List
Chapter 12—Yearly Check-up
Chapter 13—Dealing with Pesky ThingsPart IV—Emergencies—911 and BeyondChapter 14—Get Out Alive!
Part IV—Emergencies—911 and Beyond
Chapter 14—Get Out Alive!
Chapter 15—First Aid and Emergency Kits
Chapter 16—Suddenly on Your Own
Chapter 17—Beyond the Deadbolt
Part V—Join Your Community
Chapter 19—Part of a Community
Chapter 20—Part of a Neighborhood
Part VI—Growing Your Home
Chapter 21—Planning is Everything
Chapter 22—Finding a Contractor