Author Archive

Catching Up with Ron Tanner of Renovation "Love Story"

Posted on: April 10th, 2012 by Christine Driscoll

 

After reviewing From Animal House to Our House: A Love Story, I thought it would be fun to go to author Ron Tanner’s reading at One More Page Books in Arlington, Virginia, as he began his book tour. But Google maps had given me the run around, and I was lost in a neighborhood instead. As I walked past bungalows in search of a book store, I saw a turquoise work van slow down to ask another pedestrian for directions. As it turned around on another street and slowed to look at house numbers, I guessed this was probably Ron himself and flagged him down.

“Are you Ron Tanner?” I asked, and before I even explained who I was he was opening the door to the van to let me in. Meeting Ron like this, it’s easy to see how he’s the kind of person who would jump feet first into an enormous restoration project, the subject of Animal House. The van was in the process of becoming more like an RV, and the interior -- where a sink is currently mid-installation -- gave me a good idea of how immersed in some kind of DIY project Ron is at all times.

Ron will be on tour in a variety of cities (with the aforementioned van), and while I can’t guarantee you can get a ride with him, I suggest you check out the event when he comes to you.

After the program, I chatted with Ron about the decision to go into full-on restoration, what makes a house a home, and general relationship advice (naturally). ... Read More →

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[Book Review] From Animal House to Our House: A Love Story

Posted on: March 21st, 2012 by Christine Driscoll 2 Comments

 

Like many people, I have dreams of buying and restoring an old, run-down mansion and impressing my family and friends with the craftsmanship and obvious hard work I put into it. I also love memoirs of any kind, so I was excited to hear about a book combining the two - I could vicariously experience both someone else’s life, and their adventures restoring a house? Oh, and there are pictures? Sold.


The book and the house. (Book image: Academy Chicago Publishers, Photo: Ron Tanner)

Ron Tanner’s new book, From Animal House to Our House: A Love Story recounts the story of him buying a three story Queen Anne Victorian at the beginning of a relationship and the saga of restoring it. As the title suggests, the house was formerly home to a fraternity, Delta Upsilon (or as their graffiti proclaims, “DUH”) who destroyed the row house in only ten years. Throughout the restoration, Ron maintained a blog cataloguing the process.

You might be tempted to think that the blog tells the whole story. I mean, what could be worse than rooms with amateur graffiti? Or full of garbage? Sadly for Ron, but luckily for readers like myself, there is a lot more woe in restoring the house that doesn’t appear on the blog and makes for a great narrative in a memoir. Lead poisoning, unreliable contractors, baby rats and back injuries all make an appearance.


The library, before. (Photo: Ron Tanner)

Fortunately, Ron wasn’t alone in this endeavor: as he writes in his story, he bought the house partially to insure his relationship with his girlfriend of six months, Jill. The love story within Animal House is an interesting complement to other renovation tales. ... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.