Cover Image: House Lessons

House Lessons

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Member Reviews

After reading The Scent Keeper, I knew I was ready for Erica's newest book. I am happy to report that House Lessons is an amazing piece of art! It includes lovely line-drawing illustrations throughout and is sprinkled with incredibly moving and relevant quotes. Erica's observations are spot on, including one of my favourite quotes: 
"If marriages are like houses, then it is understandable that sometimes the structure will simply no longer fit."
This leads onto a more hopeful assessment of what can be done to initiate change without destroying what exists that still works.
To me, the sign of a good read these days is how I feel about the author as a tale unfolds. This is a woman I'd like to know and whose other books I now want to read.
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House Lessons is a memoir about the the experience of Erica Bauermeister and her family on the acquisition, renovation, and eventual settling in to their home in Port Townsend, WA.  I don't read much non-fiction but I greatly appreciated this memoir and it's musings on the link between house, home, and life.  Reading this book through the lens of the current "stay at home" mandates, gave a fresh focus of what home means to us as humans, a focus that many people across the world have been required to adjust to. She draws upon the method of Roman engineer Vitruvius (of Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man) that architects follow.  The concept that a well designed building has firmitas (stability), utilitas (utility), and venustas (beauty), is woven throughout the narrative.  These three assets of a home have both literal and figurative applications to both the physical home and the people living inside of it.  Just like the Vitruvian Man depicts ideal body proportions, there are ideal proportions to a house, in addition to links to the human body, such as the hearth being the heart and soul of a home.  Our space affects how well we live and interact with others.  There is an intimacy to selecting each personal detail of the home, transforming the house, and who the inhabitants are as people and family members.  I also loved the telling of Bauermeister's foray into full time writing and the integral role that the house and it's ultimate design and additions played in that endeavor.
Home has always had a connotation of safety.  As many of us are retreating to our homes for safety, my hope and prayer is for this basic human need be met for all.
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It's my deepest wish to buy an old house and renovate it into my forever home, so I anxiously scooped up this novel.  I appreciate the combination of personal narrative with the architectural history. As we shelter in due to COVID, this book was a good escape to help me stay calm with what I consider to be a cozy subject.
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At this moment when so many of us are sheltering at home in response to a global pandemic, Erica Bauermeister's House Lessons has perhaps more immediacy than the author intended.  The author and her family tell us about their purchase of a dilapidated house and how they turned it into their true home.  In the process, they created deep family connections as well.  This book has been an absolutely perfect read for right now, inspiring readers to rebuild home and family life.
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There's a great market for House Lessons, whether it's a reader who dreams about finding -- and polishing -- a diamond in the rough, or it's a person who lives for the home renovation shows so popular now on HGTV, Although I was not as familiar with Bauermeister's work as some other reviewers were, I was charmed by her tale of creating a home in the Pacific Northwest with her family after having lived a fairly charmed existence in Italy. She wanted a sense of Old World rootedness, and she went on a mission to find it in this run-down old home, full of the previous owner's junk. As she and her family sifted through, and cleaned out, and rebuilt, the reader sees how this family finds a sense of possibility together, but also how they're forced to confront certain ideas of family, home and belonging that they didn't expect. Bauermeister deftly weaves her personal story with the tale of remaking this home that suits her family's needs, and she peppers the narrative with architectural history, philosophy and other tidbits that indicate homes or buildings are living organisms just like the people who reside in them. House Lessons is an enjoyable memoir-in-essays and I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an early copy in exchange for this honest review.
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House Lessons is different from any book I’ve read.  I found it to be thought-provoking and entertaining.  I found myself asking myself personal questions.
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My ecopy of this book was formatted so strangely that entire sections were missing. However, it was clear from the parts of the book that were intact that this is not the story for me. The author stated the same facts over and over and over again, to the point that I was just skimming to try and find the next fact she would state over and over again.

I will not be covering this for Book Riot.
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There are plenty of thoughtful life lessons in Erica Bauermeister's House Lessons as she artfully interweaves the story of renovating a derelict house with reflections on home, motherhood, marriage, and vocation. Those who've followed their intuition and taken a risk despite facts and logic will find themselves validated in these pages. Those considering such a leap will find encouragement in Bauermeister's example. And anyone who has undergone even a minor home remodel will find a friend to commiserate with in House Lessons. A beautifully written, heartfelt and entertaining account of everything that can and did go wrong in the process of making things right,
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I found this book on my shelf when the other books I was reading weren’t capturing my attention.  I was happily engrossed in the restoration story and surprisingly found the depth of the inquiry into architecture and housing super interesting.  Ego and home and status and mobility in the US are so entangled that the resulting mess is unsustainable.  Look to other cultures for a better way as usual....Five stars for the refreshingly unique blend of narrative  nonfiction.  Four stars overall
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I have always liked Erica Bauermeister's works and this one being a memoir still had her flow and drew me in. Her voice and her writing just have this way of helping you fell close to her and to her family as they go through the journey with this house.
This was a delightful read, of the author and her family as they renovate of an old home in Port Townsend, Washington. The way she spoke of Washington is actually exactly how I feel about Washington. I loved how she said it is her geographical soulmate!
I found this book to be full of wonderful imagery, from the trials and tribulations of construction, the myths and superstitions surrounding building, to their family unity and fun stories about architects . This is a book that spoke to me. I felt as if I was there with them throughout this whole process, and imagined what I would do in certain instances. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Sasquatch Books for the ARC of this book.
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A delightful memoir full of life lessons told through the story of restoring a much wanted building into a home. Thanks to the publisher and netgalley for an ARC egalley.
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A really lovely wonderful read about the authors family the home they fell in love with An old home a home that was basically falling apart.We share their efforts to purchase cleaning out all the junk then the renovation.Loved reading about her,her family and of course the house.#netgalley#houselessons#sasquatchbooks
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This was a delightful read, and a fun memoir of the author and her families renovation of an old home in Port Townsend, Washington. 
It is full of wonderful imagery, from the trials and tribulations of construction,  myths and superstitions surrounding building, to family unity and fun stories about architects . This is a book that spoke to me, I loved it, as I felt I was there with this family throughout this whole process, wondering what I, would do in certain instances.
This is a love song to a house and it endless possibilities, so fun to watch this family navigate their relationships, strengths, and dreams.
I have read novels by this author before and enjoyed them very much.
I would like to thank NetGalley and Sasquatch Books for the ARC of this book.
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House Lessons is a heartwarming story about a delapitated house the author and her family purchased in Port Townsend, Washington. She detailed their adventures with the home. From trying to purchase the home , to the chore of cleaning out the junk, to the pitfalls and delights of renovation. The author correlated the different phases of the house project with other aspects of her life.  Finally, they were able to move into the house, years after it was ready. The part I liked was the emotion she injected into the house, bringing it back to life, happy to have a family residing in it once again.
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While I was initially intrigued by the description I quickly discovered that this book is not for me. I love a good memoir, but the explanations of architecture terms combined with a voice touching on materialism and entitlement were a turn off.
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I really enjoyed this book and the story of the house.  It covered so many years but I was happy that the author finally settled there.  It is a mixture of memoir and facts about various house renovation techniques and architecture.  It is very American in style and process but was still fascinating to learn about different methods of house building and doing things.  The writing itself is high quality and the author is gifted with words.  She did a good job of getting the balance right.  I was a bit shocked when the house was first rented out after all the initial hard work and obsession with the renovation, but was relieved when the author and her husband moved in themselves once the children were grown.
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