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An Animal House renovation

Author Ron Tanner will present his experience turning a dilapidated frat house into a home


Preservationist and do-it-yourself hero, Ron Tanner, is coming to the Washington County Museum on July 11 to perform a comedic monologue about his experiences restoring a wrecked Baltimore Victorian home.

Ron ignored his realtor's advice against buying the home, and the fact it was condemned property and a former frat house. The crumbling Victorian brownstone was so trashed -- full of garbage and frat-boy furniture (including a walk-in closet full of term papers) -- nobody would buy it. The bank was selling it "as is."

A decade ago, he decided to go for it because Jill, Ron's girlfriend, really wanted the house and Ron really wanted Jill. That was the beginning of their adventure, which everyone said would surely ruin them. Neither Ron nor Jill knew anything about fixing houses and they had been dating for only a few months.

Not to worry: everything turned out fabulous. Jill and Ron got married in the house. Then, in 2008, This Old House magazine featured their work. Now Ron is a licensed house inspector and he and Jill run a website about old house renovation, called houselove.org.

Ron has written a book about their experiences, titled From Animal House to Our House: a Love Story, and is now touring the country with a breathtaking slide show that takes viewers through the harrowing and hilarious times he and Jill experienced. 

The Beaverton Historical Society, Friends of Historic Forest Grove and the Washington County Museum are hosting the event which is free for members of the three hosting historical societies and $3 for the public. The show starts at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 11th at the Washington County Museum, 17677 NW Springville Rd., Portland 97229.

For more about the book, visit http://animalhouselovestory.com.