Resources can turn your unhappy home into a dream abode

  • Posted: Sunday, March 17, 2013 12:01 a.m.

SALISBURY — We had watched our share of house-hunting shows on TV. We weren’t like those people, always demanding more space, expecting perfect paint colors, paying more attention to the curtains than the HVAC. No, we weren’t like those people, we were DIYers. We didn’t want a fixer-upper, but we weren’t afraid to get a little dirt under our nails.

When we closed on our house, we got the keys and jumped right in. The furnace wouldn’t turn on, one of the walls upstairs crumbled to the ground with a mere thump, and the bathroom floor turned out to be rotting from water damage. It felt like a scene out of that 1980s classic “The Money Pit” (starring Tom Hanks).

That was almost three years ago, and since then our house has quite marvelously become a very happy home. We have learned so much as we put up dry wall, sanded, painted, installed p-traps and replaced flooring. This article is not intended to be a laundry list of laudable improvements we have made; rather, my hope is that it will inspire those of you who may find yourselves with a home that’s more fixer than upper. Spring is only a few short days away and the library has so many wonderful resources to help you patch and perk up your dwelling place.

Home repair

“Help, it’s broken!: A Fix-it Bible for the Repair-Impaired,” by Arianne Cohen, is an excellent one-stop shop for anything from fishing your wedding ring out of the sink to installing a garbage disposal. In addition to the many real-life scenarios, Cohen also shares a yearly maintenance guide to help you avoid repairs.

“Wiring 101: 25 Projects You Really Can Do Yourself,” by Jodie Carter, and “Plumbing: Basic, Intermediate & Advanced Projects,” by Merle Henkenius are packed with detailed, step-by-step instructions. Projects are arranged in order of complexity, and the authors steer clear of jargon.

Home improvement

As a homeowner, one of the hardest decisions I have made is paint color. “The Art of Exterior Painting: A Step-by-Step Guide to Choosing Colors and Painting Your Home,” by Leslie Harrington and James Martin, is an excellent resource for the indecisive painter, with full-color photos and lots of advice on blending in, accenting architecture, and techniques.

Thrifty DIYers will appreciate “Budget Makeovers: Give Your Home a New Look,” edited by Jean Nayar. “Kitchen Makeovers for Any Budget,” by Chris Gleason is full of advice on when and how to refinish cabinets, and details four complete modeling projects.

Lawn and garden

If you’re looking to spruce up your deck or patio, look no further than “Deckscaping: Gardening and Landscaping on and Around Your Deck,” by Barbara W. Ellis. This book gives advice on landscaping and planting techniques as well as furniture choices, water features and ornaments.

If you’re ready to move off the deck and tackle the yard, the “New Complete Home Landscaping,” by Catriona Tudor Erler is a comprehensive guide to landscape design. Erler explains design elements, offers tips on adding features, and advises readers on what to plant.

Upcoming programs

In addition to our books, DVDs and databases, the library offers a variety of programming for all ages. This spring, the library will offer a home organizing workshop on Saturday, April 20, and a home gardening workshop on Monday, April 23. Visit the library in-person or online at for more details. Best wishes on all your home improvement projects.

Computer classes: Find it online at RPL — Monday, 7 p.m., South; Tuesday, 1 p.m., East (registration required, call 704-216-7841); Thursday, 9:30 a.m., Headquarters. Your library card gives you access to some great online tools. From magazines and newspaper articles, legal forms and language learning, to test prep and auto repair, find it online and free courtesy of RPL. Classes are free. Sessions are about 90 minutes. Class size is limited and on a first come, first serve basis. Dates and times are subject to change without notice.

Children’s Storytime: Weekly through April 26. For more information. call 704-216-8234.

Children’s art in the afternoon: Headquarters, Thursdays, 4:30 p.m., grades kindergarten-five. Join Miss Jennifer to learn basic art techniques such as printing, sculpting and painting using various art mediums. Call 704-216-8234 for more information.

Teens tech week: All 5:30-7 p.m. East, March 25; headquarters, March 26. Check in at the library and explore digital devices such as Kindles, Nooks and iPads. Open to all middle and high school students. For more information call 704-216-8234.

Classic chick film festival: Headquarters, Thursdays, 6:30 p.m., Stanback Auditorium. Come and be entertained with the women you love, and let us spoil you. We begin the evening with light refreshments, followed by a series of short films. In between films, we’ll show commercials from the 1950s and 1960s. We’ll also be pampering you with foot soaks, facials and more. Admission is free, but space is limited. Ensure your spot today by registering online ( or by calling 704-216-8229.

Book Bites Club: South (only), March 26, 6:30 p.m., “Winter Garden” by Kristin Hannah. Book discussion groups for adults and children meet the last Tuesday of each month. The group is open to the public and anyone is free to join at any time. There is a discussion of the book, as well as light refreshments at each meeting. For more information, please call 704-216-8229.

Displays for March: headquarters, log cabins by North Hills Christian School; South, pen and jewelry by Fred Lorenzo; East, stamping by Glenda Trexler.

Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.

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