Ron and Jill — his girlfriend of six months — discovered the house of their dreams in 2000: a landmark Baltimore brownstone that had belonged to a notorious fraternity. It was condemned property, had sat abandoned for nearly a year, and was such a wreck that no one would buy it. But Jill wanted the house and Ron wanted Jill. So he bought the 4500-square-foot ruin. Neither he nor Jill knew anything about house repair or renovation. The bank gave them six months to get the house up to code.
As soon as Ron and Jill started working on the house, they were at odds every day and it became clear to them both that the project would very likely ruin them financially and emotionally. Panicked, flirting with bankruptcy, and barreling through disasters, they had to learn how to live, love, and work together—and succeed against seemingly insurmountable odds. A book for lovers, dreamers, do-it-yourselfers, and fans of old houses, From Animal House to Our House: A Love Story recounts Ron and Jill’s adventure, offering inspiration, insight, and hilarity as they hammer away at the American Dream of home ownership and true love.
Ron Tanner has published stories and essays in such magazines as The Iowa Review, the Massachusetts Review, the Literary Review, Story Quarterly, and West Branch. His work has been anthologized in Best of the Web and the Pushcart Prizes, and acknowledged as "notable" by Best American Short Stories and Best American Essays. He is the recipient of a James Michener Fellowship from the Copernicus Society, first prize in the New Letters national fiction competition, a gold medal in the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society national competition for short fiction, and others. He is the author of the illustrated novel Kiss Me, Stranger and the short-story collection A Bed of Nails, which won the G. S. Sharat Chandra Prize and the Towson Prize for Literature.
Ten years ago, Ron and his then-girlfriend, Jill, did the impossible. They bought condemned property—a big Baltimore Victorian brownstone and vowed to bring it back to its original glory. The house had been home to Baltimore's most notorious fraternity for a decade and now, wrecked and abandoned, it was filled with garbage.