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The Home Guru Comes Clean About His Dirty Little Secret

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Franco Quergues, left, master carpenter and member of The Home Guru’s “EMS” group of suppliers, surveys the damage on the garage door.
Franco Quergues, left, master carpenter and member of The Home Guru’s “EMS” group of suppliers, surveys the damage on the garage door.

“Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.”

I am coming clean to reveal that I am in the latter category.

Flatteringly enough, it has been suggested that I write a book as The Home Guru, but the prospect has me in a quandary. I had always hoped to write a book someday, but never thought it would be a “how-to” for the home, a subject with which I’ve had limited hands-on experience.


Yes, it’s true. I am a columnist writing as The Home Guru, but in truth I have never been particularly handy with ordinary household chores and repairs. When anything has to be assembled from a box, I ask my wife or daughter to do it. They’re both very good at it, thank God.

My redemption is that as a realtor I do know about real estate, which is within the purview of this column. I am also a reporter who knows how to source my material and deliver it to others while learning something myself about the home’s systems. But repair them myself? No.

In my marriage’s early days, I told my wife that I had little patience for home projects, but the fact is I’ve accepted that something is askew in my brain’s wiring that makes it impossible for me to get through an instruction manual. It is what it is.

My remedy for this challenge as a homeowner has been to build network for when urgencies arise.

One member of my network is master carpenter Francesco (Franco) Querques who came to my rescue last week when–and I hate to disclose this– but as I hurriedly jumped into my car to go to a listing presentation, I sat on my automatic garage door opener. Just as I was pulling out, the garage door came crashing down on the roof of my van. At the same time, the bottom framing of the door became detached and was pulled from its track.

What’s doubly embarrassing is that just recently I wrote about the time I backed out of my garage while the door was still fully closed, not only destroying the door but pulling off the corner of the garage. When my friend, Maria Litrenta, at the Coldwell Banker office asked me if that incident really happened or if I was just being colorful, I decided that I might better document my klutzy misadventures in the future.

For fun, I recently revisited the Do It Yourself network at and roamed through its pull-down menus in each category to see if I could find anything that appealed to me.

Just viewing the top projects in each category had my heart palpitating. How do other people find so many things to do around the house? Just under the garage category, there were 100 top projects listed. That’s right,100. Until my car and garage door collided, I had just one project lined up for the garage: to clean it out.

Querques was just the craftsman to fix the result of my latest mishap because he knows the magic of putting things back together. When he arrived ready to hide the evidence of my indiscretion, I asked his helper, Joe Labianca, to snap a picture of us in front of the damaged door still hanging from its track as evidence. In an hour or so, the door was restored as though nothing had happened.

Of course, I never let a craftsman get away without asking something about his or her trade. With Querques, I asked how one becomes a carpenter.

“Just by doing it,’ he replied, although he qualified his statement by saying that he attended an art school in Italy. In truth, I view all of his projects in my home as little works of art.

So after all this introspection about my lack of talent for what I write about, I’m fooling around with a working, confessional title for my book. Perhaps “The Home Guru’s Guide for Klutzes Like Me.” Look for more news of its publication in the future.

In the meantime, should you need a great carpenter, you can reach Franco Querques at 845-528-8791.

Bill Primavera is a licensed Realtor® associated with Coldwell Banker and a lifestyles columnist who writes regularly as The Home Guru. For those seeking advice on home maintenance or who want to buy or sell a home, visit his website,, or call him directly at 914-522-2076.

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