Erica Bauermeister, seen in August 2001 while renovating her house, will give a talk online tonight about her book, “House Lessons: Renovating a Life.” (Photo courtesy of Ben Bauermeister)

Erica Bauermeister, seen in August 2001 while renovating her house, will give a talk online tonight about her book, “House Lessons: Renovating a Life.” (Photo courtesy of Ben Bauermeister)

Community Read author talk Thursday

‘House Lessons’ a personal story

PORT TOWNSEND — At the back of “House Lessons: Renovating a Life,” the 2021 Port Townsend Community Read, author Erica Bauermeister invites readers to do an activity.

Draw a simple map of your home with space to write in each room. Mark the rooms you love and the ones you like least. Use hearts, frowning faces, whatever works, and think of adjectives for the rooms, such as energizing or peaceful.

Now, consider your life in this place. How would you like to change it? Go outside more? Be more creative? Sleep better?

What changes could you make to your home to invite those behaviors? It could be as simple as adding a lamp for more light in a gloomy room, or a chair that becomes your writing place.

That is what “House Lessons” is all about, said Bauermeister, who tonight will give the Community Read’s meet-the-author talk.

The free online event will start at 7 p.m. via the Zoom link provided at, while information is also available by phoning the library at 360-385-3181.

Copies of the book are available for checkout from the Port Townsend Library and the Jefferson County Library in Port Hadlock ( and for purchase at Port Townsend’s Imprint Bookstore (

“House Lessons” weaves the personal and the architectural, exploring “how our spaces affect us,” Bauermeister said.

The house she renovated in Port Townsend had a powerful effect on her family, teaching them about the things they wanted more of in their lives.

“House Lessons” is also about cleaning mountains of trash out of an old house, about parenting and about marriage. And while it’s an intimate memoir, “Erica’s writing is not overly dramatic. It deals with life as life happens,” said Bauermeister’s husband, Ben.

He joked that it could have been Port Townsend’s answer to “Under the Tuscan Sun” or “A Year in Provence,” but that wouldn’t be this writer’s style.

The annual Community Read, sponsored by the Friends of the Port Townsend Public Library and the Port Townsend Library Foundation, included a series of events earlier this month, including one addressing Jefferson County’s housing crisis.

Local filmmaker Dennis Daneau’s documentary, “Peter’s Place,” about the transitional housing village on the grounds of the Community United Methodist Church in Port Hadlock, can be viewed on the Community Read page at

More about Peter’s Place and other housing resources is found at


Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected]

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