Home-Renovation Fantasy Books Can Change Your Life

Carol and Hugo Rizzoli

and Josh Kilmer-Purcell (pictured at right with his partner Brent Ridge) are not household-name authors, but if you love real estate and home renovations you might be devouring the stories these people are telling in their new books -- the latest of many new publications in what is affectionately known as the house-porn publishing genre.

You know the plot: fantasies that many of us had had about buying an old wreck out in the wilds somewhere and slaving away at remodeling and renovating and along the way gaining insight into our very selves. That is, you get new insulation, a snazzy kitchen backsplash and perhaps a spread in Country Living as well as self-knowledge.

Kind of like "This Old House" meets "Eat Pray Love." Or as Joanne Kaufman put it in The Wall Street Journal, "The take-home message: If you get your house right, you'll also get your life right (or vice versa)."

But does a house makeover always lead to introspection and internal renewal?