Invest in Your Nest: The Insider's Guide to Adding Style, Comfort, and Value to Your Home Paperback – 24 Nov 2006
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About the Author
BARBARA KAVOVIT (a.k.a. Barbara K!) is a young single mom and CEO of Barbara K!, a comprehensive lifestyle brand that offers solutions for women through innovative home enhancement/repair and automotive products. She has been featured in the "New York Times Magazine, USA Today, Real" "Simple, " and "O, The Oprah Magazine, " among others, and appears frequently on television. She lives in New York City.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Obviously, Barbara is an enthusiastic and expressive woman. I have a feeling this translates better on HGTV but it wasn't working for me on the written page. That said, Barbara's message is one of empowerment and I can certainly appreciate when a woman wants to roar.
Keep in mind that Barbara's examples are skewed towards remodeling her "house in the Hamptons" and 90% of America cannot relate to the summer or weekend home experience. She discusses The Indispensable Bathroom and writes, "I always add more bathrooms if there aren't enough (one for every bedroom) when I buy a new home." The only reason homeowners need a bathroom for every bedroom is when their New York friends are crashing there on the weekends. I've renovated five homes and none had equal parts bathroom to bedroom.
This might be a petty observation, but Barbara is supposed to be writing for the common woman and Hamptons living is very uncommon for most people. But she has good intentions and for the most part the book has helpful advice. Personally, I think her strength is in the renovation sections: Part 2 and 3.
She spends considerable time on the three most important areas of your home - the kitchen, baths and landscape. Barbara obviously knows a thing or two about remodeling and where to get the best bang for your buck. The further I got into the book, the more she surprised me and I ended up thinking she wasn't a Hamptons snob after all. Enjoy the book.
This book is written by Barbara K, who is CEO of Barbara K!, a comprehensive lifestyle brand that offers solutions for women through innovative home enhancement/repair and automotive products. She is also the home improvement expert for AOL Coaches and author of the inspirational fix-it handbook "Room for Improvement". She has been featured in many large media outlets, television shows, and radio shows. She lives in New York with her son, Zachary.
As I read this book, I couldn't help by think of how handy it would have been before I started some of our own projects around our home. But, I am glad I now have it to reference for the future. The book is nicely arranged with the topic and sections which cover "Go to the pros", "On your Own", and "Barbara's Best Bet". Each of those areas talk about time needed, project costs, how to do, and much more.
... My favorite parts ...
1) On the topic of buying a home, one of Barbara's Best Bets: EXCELSIOR! (EVER UPWARD!) Don't forget the ceiling. Bumpy 'popcorn' acoustic ceilings are outdated and unattractive. I have two friends who walked away from two great houses because they were so turned off by the popcorn ceilings. That's too bad because they are easily removed with a scraper attached to a long pole (be sure to empty the room of furniture and cover the floor with a canvas drop cloth before you begin, and wear safety glasses). Yes, it's labor intensive and messy, but it's worth it.
2) Another of Barbara's Best Bets: WINDOW FILM: In summer, bright sun streaming through uncovered windows makes air conditioning work two to three times harder. You could draw the shades, but who likes spending time in a dark room on a gorgeous, sunny day? Instead, you can install a reflective window film over clear glass. It reduces cooling costs by 5 to 15 percent. Look for high-tech, spectrally selective film that permits daylight to enter your rooms while blocking solar heat. Most window film manufacturers offer warranties only with professional installation, but you can apply the film yourself.
Professionally installed window films range from $1 to $5 per square foot.
3) I have a soapstone wood burning stove, so this was useful: Soapstone is extremely dense and only needs to be wiped with mineral oil every month or so. While it is heat resistant, cut marks will show and edges may chip if hit with pots and pans. The mineral oil brings out its natural coloring of black or dark gray with white veins.
Barbara also includes some pages with lined columns and rows for planning.
Overall this is a book packed full of good advice. There are time when it is geared towards someone who buys up homes and remodels them just to resell them. However, there are other practical things to be learned by any homeowner. It also mentions the training and certification you should look for when hiring professionals, as well as the steps to hire one and how to work with contracts.
Most important: Can you afford to invest in that new or existing home? Can you afford NOT to?
Barbara K introduces readers to the realities of buying and improving their homes. Showing why and how to go beyond price tags, she offers her experiences in real estate as a base for her collection of tips, resources, and more. Arranged in a logical format, the book is a step-by-step guide to buying and preparing to sell real estate through a room-by-room look at what updates are best bets in increasing a home's value.
Overall, this book can be a great guide for someone going into home improvement. Most of the advice is solid. As someone who was a real estate agent, I can say a great deal of her information is great. Some of the financial/credit information will be confusing to readers not familiar with the process. (If you, the reader, are ever in doubt regarding financing and your eligibility, be sure to go to a professional for advice!)
For homeowners who are considering updating their properties, this will be a good book to add to your reading list.
Reviewed by Christina Wantz Fixemer
I am thinking sale in a few years and this book made me take a close look at how to get the most from my years in my home.
I have since bought the book for female friends to help them on the path of financial independence and wise use of their dollars. I have started my own home renovations/modernizing in a much wiser and profitable way. She has "been there, done that" and I appreciate that. She tells it like it is in clear, precise language that helped me start my planning.