When Gregory White Smith and Seven Naifeh stumbled on Joye Cottage, it was love at first sight. They'd just finished their Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Jackson Pollack, and were fed up with apartment life in New York City. What better means of escape could there be than the Xanadu-like pleasure palace built by robber baron William C. Whitney a century before? The asking price was a bit steep, of course, and the leaks, the falling plaster, the non-existent heating and air conditioning, and the nineteenth-century plumbing were a bit daunting. But Smith and Naifeh were hooked - and nothing would stop them. In writing of their three-year struggle to transform their "handyman special from hell" into a home while at the same time adjusting to the small-town rhythms of Aiken, South Carolina, they bring to life an unforgettable cast of characters - the neighbors, craftsmen, merchants, and friends who helped turn a town into a hometown. . . and a dream into a reality.