Do you have a hobby? Is there something in your life that you are passionate about? For me, it is my house and home repair. When I bought my house 18 years ago, it was a typical bungalow that had been on the market for over a year without much interest bumers. Perhaps it was because it only had two bedrooms? Or maybe it was because the previous owner hadn’t found a single piece of paneling that she didn’t love. Whatever the reason, the house had dropped in price by more than $20,000 when I bought it.

From the very beginning of owning my house, I had declared that I would do “something” each year to the house. Initially, it started with nothing more than security doors. Later it was siding the back porch and replacing the barn doors on the garage with an overhead door. Over the years, I have replaced almost all the windows and refinished the floor. The biggest project was seven years ago when I added an entire second floor.

Working on my house is one of my passions. Because I am a homeowner on a limited income, I have forced myself to learn to do things myself before calling in the pros. I have tiled both floor and wall. I have replaced electrical outlets. I have learned to do “finishing carpentry” by adding molding around doors, windows, floors and ceiling. I am not as fast as the pros, but the work I’ve done is as good as anything I could have paid to have done.

I am now at the point of being “almost done” with the major work on my house. As any homeowner knows, we never quite make it to “done”. But the process is rewarding because we get to live in and enjoy the labor of our work. We also get to see our houses begin to look the way we want them to look.

I just finished the fourth annual LuxeHome Parade of Million Dollar Homes tour. Now, I cannot afford any of the homes on the tour, but what my girlfriends and I enjoyed most was looking at the brand new homes, critiquing the construction and liking or disliking the way the homes were laid out or decorated. Some homes inspired us to want to go to our homes and redecorate while others were so horrible that even if we won it, we wouldn’t want it. I can attest after seeing several homes that were build or decorated like a barn that I don’t care for that type of architecture.

Last weekend I attended one of those “home” shows that is an excellent source of information to learn about the latest in products for the home. I had been thinking of replacing the glass in my front door with leaded or stained glass and, lo and behold, there was a company there that specialized in doing that. I also found a company that will take my kitchen cabinet doors and replace the wood center with glass. I even found a company that will drill holes in the mortar between the bricks and add foam insulation from the outside.

If you’re like me and enjoy working on your house or want to learn about products that are available for your home, there is a home show coming to the Merchandise Mart that will serve your needs. It’s the Historic Chicago Bungalow Expo. It’s a one-day event, free of charge, and sponsored by the City of Chicago and others. On hand will be products specifically geared toward bungalows, as well as two flats, greystones and frame houses.

The event is Saturday Oct. 27, from 10 in the morning until 4 p.m. The expo includes a number of workshops as well as seminars. After visiting the Expo, go to the first floor of the Mart and visit all the kitchen and bath showrooms. Then go home and work on that castle you call home.

CONTACT: westside2day@yahoo.com