Last weekend as I prepared for hurricane Irene, I was also really focused on my Dream Room Make Over show, and as a result, I was behind the eight ball when it came to buying supplies. Thank goodness my neighbor, Katie, took up the slack in my planning, and offered me a flashlight and some food should I need it. While others dashed to hardware and grocery stores on Saturday, I relocated all of my outdoor furnishings to shelter, then avoided the crowds and got a manicure (so I’d be ready for filming when the storm was over!) and popped into my local liquor store (as a good host is one who never runs out of French Rose to serve!)

In all seriousness, like so many of us I, too, was playing handyman and battening down the hatches, and I was prepared for the worst. As every one of my neighbors were also home preparing their own homes we took the opportunity to congregate together for afternoon cocktails, which evolved into a progressive dinner. We all took a moment and cheered our wish for the best and offered support to each other in the event we lost power and or were required to evacuate.

Dame Fortune smiled on us, as not only did Rosebrook Gardens or my neighborhood not lose power, we suffered only minimal damage. We were extremely lucky, as over 77% of Westport lost power and downtown Westport’s retail row was under two feet of water. That said, Rosebrook Gardens became disaster relief for many friends in worse-off areas. They came to charge phones, access the Internet and take warm showers; some even stayed the night.

It was rewarding to know that even as I continued to work on my Dream Room Make Over show that my home became a refuge to many. This week as I put on a tool belt to build some furniture I took a moment to ponder: This week it sure was handy to have a place to offer my friends, so whether I’m designing a comfortable home and garden or designing and building a space for someone else to enjoy I guess you can say I’m a ‘handyMAR’ to know.