Showing posts with label our home. Show all posts
Showing posts with label our home. Show all posts

Sunday, February 13, 2011

how we got here...

Over the past couple years of writing my blog I have been asked several times about how we came to live in New Hampshire- moving from Texas, not knowing a soul here.  After receiving another such inquiry from Amy yesterday, I thought now might be a good time to tell you the story!

The short answer: 
it was because of this magazine.

The long answer.....
it was because Dan had flown to Hartford, Connecticut and his hotel was in Springfield, Massachusetts.  The drive to the hotel took him through the historic district in Suffield, Connecticut.  He came home from that trip and told me of the beautiful antique homes that he had seen along that drive in Suffield. 
The next week he made the same trip.  This time he came home with the above magazine;  he handed it to me and said... "You're going to want to move."
I laughed, I scoffed, I shook my head, I mumbled something about how silly he was, I opened the magazine....
At the time I had an antiques business that kept me really busy, a wonderful 1950's ranch that we had totally re-done that sat on a lake/pond in Dallas.  While I didn't own the lake I did "borrow" it and incorporated the view into my backyard- and a lake in your backyard in Dallas proper was a rare and fabulous thing to haveI had friends and neighbors that I loved.  Why would I want to move?!  

Fifteen minutes later after looking through the magazine I told Dan.... "We're moving!"

I was partially kidding when I made that pronouncement, but I also had this very strange feeling that there was some truth there... a seed had been planted.  I mean, why not??  What was holding us in Dallas?  In reality there was nothing.  Dallas had been good to us on many levels, but without verbalizing it we had been longing for a quieter life for a while. The buzz of the city was starting to wear on us.  Several times each year (three to four) we would drive the 12 hours from Dallas to the mountains of Colorado.  Both of us longed to live in and around natural beauty.  And, while Dallas has many great things to do and offer, "natural beauty" is not generally listed among them.
(I should probably also note that this was coming off of back-to-back summers in Dallas where we had 29 and 24 consecutive days of over 100 degrees!  So, the thought of milder New England summers was very appealing!)
Within two weeks we were up in New England "area hunting" as we called it.  We started in Connecticut.  (One of the major caveats to the move was that we had to be within an hour and a half to a major airport for Dan's work.) I swear to you we drove through every single little town in Connecticut and Massachusetts.  We would judge areas purely by our gut reaction and feeling about a place, and would say either "I don't feel the love" or "I feel the love.  I could live here!"  We really liked the "quiet corner" of Connecticut- the NE corner.  We gave it a great deal of consideration, and kept going back time and time again, but somehow we knew it just wasn't the perfect place for us.  So, we continued looking.  Dan kept mentioning New Hampshire. We had never been to New Hampshire in our lives and from the gardening map (I was a big gardener) it seemed really far away- almost like a whole different country, so I kept rejecting it on that alone.  Then, one day we crossed the border into southern New Hampshire into the Monadnock region (mountains) and we felt like we had arrived home

This whole process took several years, as we were looking for the perfect place.  Every time the airplane landed in New England I had this feeling, this gut reaction that I was "supposed to live here."  I couldn't explain it, I just felt a very strong pull to live my life here. 
So, we kept coming back, kept looking for our dream house.

In the meantime,, as we were taking our sweet time, the opportunity for Dan to move to New England closed up tighter than a drum.  We had to accept the fact that we would never leave Dallas.  Which we did for several years.....until... a very random tiny bit of information opened up a one time opportunity that made a move possible.  It was literally a one time deal-  now or never.
We were shocked, excited and scared.  We gave ourselves three days to think (no discussion) about a move and if we really wanted to do it now that it was on our plate for real.  Sometimes it's fun to play with a wild idea, but when the time comes for action you quickly back down-  it's too hard, too scary, to real, too... too... . 

We wanted a big adventure and knew if we didn't do this now, at this point in our lives, we never would... it was just too big of a move and a lifestyle change to do when we were older.  It was a huge and scary decision, yet one that we knew we would regret for the rest of our lives if we didn't do it....
We listened to our heart, trusted our gut and decided to jump!

You have to churn somewhat when the roof covering your head is at stake, since to sell is to walk away from a cluster of memories and to buy is to choose where the future will take place.
-Under the Tuscan Sun-

We had narrowed our search to a favorite area in New Hampshire, actually two historic towns about 30 minutes apart.  The night before coming up to house-hunt on one trip Dan happened to widen the search between these two towns and this house, our house came up. 
It was the second house we saw that trip and we were smitten.  We both have a good sense of houses and knew we didn't need to look further... oh, and we hadn't even been inside- we were looking at it from the road!! The house was 'rented' at the time and we couldn't get in, so had to come back the next week to see inside.
That visit was a little trickier....  the house definitely had  "flow" issues (the rooms were really choppy and didn't "flow").  The first night after seeing the interior I couldn't sleep at all as I was trying to rework all the rooms and issues the house had...  it was overwhelming to say the least. 
For the next long six months while our Dallas house went in-and-out of several contracts (ahhh, the joys of selling a home!) I had the luxury of time to renovate the farmhouse in my mind!
After six months with our Dallas house for sale we were now in November and decided to pull it off of the market until the following Spring, as my yard was a huge selling factor.  Two months later our realtor called out of the blue saying she had a signed contract for us!  It was a very sweet deal, but we had to be out of the house in a month!
So, in the middle of the second snowiest winter in New Hampshire on record we arrived in our adopted state!

We decided to rent a house, realizing that now that we were actually living here we really should drive all over the state and make sure that this was the right place for us.  So, for the next eight months we drove..... everywhere!   In reality for eight months we were trying to talk ourselves out of buying this house.  We had come to realize the extent of this HUGE renovation and we didn't know if we had that in us.... but we couldn't talk ourselves out of it.... we kept coming back here, to this house, our house.
 And, the farmhouse waited for us
The realtor even called at one point to tell us that someone was going to make an offer on the farmhouse.  I said, that it was okay- it wouldn't go through because it was "our" house!!
And the rest.... well, that part started with the beginning of this blog!

The following link could be hazardous.

Click photo only if you dare!
okay... I dare you!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

"An entryway is an introduction...."

"An entryway is an introduction.
Like the opening pages of a book, it leads us in and welcomes us to the world inside."
~Rose Tarlow~

Welcome to our world inside!
Come in, won't you?!!

Large dried gourd in an antique urn mixed with gourds and pumpkins at the front door; wicker basket holds shoes, rain boots, dog toys and towels for wet puppy feet!

The newel post was a tired, stained wood when we bought the house. I had it painted a gloss black to make it pop, and to make the statement that this is the entry! This is the same gloss black paint as the front door.
Antique chest holds: antique mirror with vintage oil painting leaning against it; antique wooden pediment fragment that serves as candle holder; vintage hotel silver tray that holds orchid and assortment of car keys, sunglasses and letters waiting to be mailed; lamp with linen shade was originally a vintage iron "smoking stand" which Dan turned into a lamp- the matchbox-holder from the stand is now the lamp's finial.
Antique French urn sitting on the floor holds ivy.
Collection of antique tortoiseshell frame mirrors on wall.
All of the walls in the farmhouse are plaster and are painted shades of gray.

Photo taken from the living room.
If you were to stand at the front door facing the base of the stairs and you turned right, that is the Dining Room (you can see a chair in this photo), if you turn left that is the Living Room. If you were to walk past the entry chest and turn to the left (behind the living room) that is the Reading Room. If you go past the entry chest and turn to the right (under the staircase) this will take you into the Kitchen. The stairs will take you up to the bedrooms.

View of the front door coming down the stairs.
Vintage alabaster chandelier was found at the Paris Flea Market at Porte de Clignancourt.
Antique rug.

Close-up of antique tortoiseshell frame mirrors. The top two we found at the Paris Flea Market. The top frame has a story that is worthy of it's own post! The bottom tortoiseshell framed mirror was found in Jackson, Mississippi.

Afternoon sunlight on the entry chest.

150 year old treads.... I love the wear.

Thank you for coming in!
I hope you'll come visit again.

Friday, October 22, 2010

too pretty not to share....

I hope you don't mind a few more Fall photos!

It's just so gorgeous here that I can't help but want to share it all with you. When you look at the photos imagine that the view is not just in front of you, but all around you- 360 degrees of jaw-dropping color and beauty! And, to be honest, the photographs really don't do the views justice. Every day there are subtle changes; it is a spectacular time of year in New England. As I mentioned to Dan today, I think we use the word "wow" about 100 times a day during Fall!

We have 15 sugar maples along the drive up to the house.

The view from the upstairs porch.

Gorgeous falls are a mere 20-minute walk from the house!

Downstream from the falls. This is deep in the woods, so the colors are less brilliant, but still a stunning view, yes?!

A bridge along the hike.

Ella, being a very brave girl, making her crossing.

I adore this photo.
(This photo was taken from an adjacent hillside, looking back to our hill.)
I have to pinch myself when I realize that....
this is a view of where we live- literally!
The white house in the far right of the photo is my next door neighbor...
Our house sits directly behind (but not in view) the white house.
I want to do a post on how we came to live in New Hampshire, but perhaps this photo says everything that needs to be said.... ?!

A closer view of my next door neighbor's house. This photo faces North.

The little white dot about a one-third of the way in the photo from the left is on our daily walk. It is one mile from our house and is an antique church (that is now a children's summer playhouse). For reference, my neighbor's house can not be seen in this photo; it is out of the frame to the right.
The mountain on the left of the photo is Pack Monadnock.

This is a closer view of the little white dot/church!

Here is the street view of the above photo! The white dot (!) is the church on the left. Trees hide the steeple of the church on the right in the photo above.
I will also add that I was brought to a few tiny tears this past weekend when driving home past this very spot, and there was a tour bus driving through.... a tour bus was driving through my neighborhood! Lets just say that did not happen in my neighborhood back in Dallas!

Thank you for sharing the view with me!!
Happy Fall to you!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

join us for a glass of wine

Last evening, Dan suggested we have a glass of wine at the adirondacks in the front meadow where we could watch the sun set on the maples up at the house....
a delightful suggestion!

It was a very crisp night, so we donned down jackets and gloves.

As the sun started to go down I noticed Ella sitting there shivering. She's not a shivering kind of dog, so I knew she was really cold. I gave her my faux fur collar I was wearing, and while most dogs would try to shake or paw it off... not Ella! I think she knew how lovely she looked! The shivering stopped immediately. She wore it for a good 30 minutes, and probably would have worn it all night if I hadn't taken it off her when we went inside!

As she would bend over to smell something on the ground, the scarf would rotate and she then looked like a reindeer!
Thank goodness she doesn't take it personally when we laugh hysterically at her!

The light faded and the moon came out... time to go inside.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

the mailbox is awaiting your letters!

If you missed the part about the very last, large Smith and Hawkin mailbox, the antique granite fence post found on our property, and the antique iron lantern arm that comprise the mailbox you can read about it here!

This is the view head-on, and you can see there are some natural curves to the post which made it a bit difficult to get everything level! This is the view you see when you drive down our driveway; the mailbox actually sits across the street from our properly. I am going to have our house number engraved on the granite post above the mailbox.

Side view facing North.
Isn't the antique iron lantern bracket the perfect scale for the piece?! We've received some really nice compliments from neighbors, but my favorite one is that the mailbox looks like it has always been there! Dan did a fabulous job of engineering all these disparate pieces together!

View facing South.
The antique stone wall with the row of maples is our property.

This is the entrance to our house.
It shows how the mailbox sits across the street and is now centered on our driveway. The stone walls ends in stone "beehives" at the entrance to the drive, which are very unusual here in New England. To give you some perspective, the huge maple on the left at the entrance is 75 to 80 feet tall, and probably 150-175 years old. The driveway splits at the large hemlock tree you see in the center of the driveway. If you go left it takes you down to the garage, and if you go right it takes you up to the front door. The house sits on top of a hill, and people are always surprised that there is such a great view from the house, as you wouldn't know it seeing the house from the road. I love surprises!
We are using this year to get ready to get ready to do landscaping! The driveway will be gravel. We will plant grass along the stone wall (hopefully this Fall.)


For those of you who enjoy seeing the whole process (yes, I know you crazy kids are out there!) here are some "in progress" photos. The mailbox on the right is the one we replaced. In this photo the granite post is being moved via chain and a wooden "belt" that Dan built for it's transport so that the chain wouldn't mar the granite.

I have no idea how we would survive here without Big Blue, the tractor! Here, Dan is removing the chains from the granite post as he has placed wood supports to keep the post straight while the concrete dries.

This photo shows the old mailbox and the new!

Luckily the concrete took only 30 minutes to set!

The generator was brought to the job-site by Big Blue to complete the install once the mailbox was leveled. The generator powered the electric hammer-drill that Dan had to buy (at least that's what he told me!) to drill into the granite. Hey, I'm all for any purchase that gets my projects done!! You can see the iron arm/bracket resting at it's base.

And's to hoping the check's in the mail!!


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