Look mom!

Look mom! Your favorite – FERNS!

I do love ferns – from the first sign of spring as fiddleheads begin to unfurl, to the dew covered fronds of early summer mornings.

They are simple. Elegant. Lush. They remind me of childhood spent running free through the woods of Vermont.

I hope they too find their fern – something that anchors them to the natural world. Something to remind them of home, and childhood and their roots. Something that reminds them to slow down, and pay attention to details. And just maybe, something that their own kids will one day bend and embrace with the same unfettered enthusiasm.

Lookin’ spiffy

Slowly, slowly, we are approaching the proverbial finish line. . . The roof is done, exterior paint going on this week (if the rain ever ends), shutters installed soon, and some cobbles and fresh asphalt on the driveway this week.

Painters hard at work.

She’s come a long way since last year.

Our exterior lights are scheduled to ship tomorrow. We went with these raw cooper beauties from Northeast Lantern that will age naturally over time.

Here we are testing them out on our garage (in a slightly darker finish).

On the driveway, we are doing a single line of slightly raised cobbles. Similar to this:

And finally – grass. We tried THREE times last fall to seed, and each was washed away…it was one of the rainiest autumns on record (followed now by the rainiest April on record).

Here’s hoping for some sun (and warmth please) in the coming weeks!

A week in pictures

Easter in Florida…and multiple trips to our favorite taco spot.

A screenshot of a picture of a book that SO resonated with me, as I navigate the entry to mid life.

A moment, that seems small, and is small, but is also everything. That handmade bookmark. The mismatched, rumpled, yet loved bedding. The blossoming love of books. The picture captured in the daylight hours of a midweek day at home.

And the misty return to routine. Is it just as hard for everyone to settle back in after vacation? And yet – how beautiful, really.


Current debate: What color shutters?

In the running: Essex Green or Black Forest Green (the two bottom colors on the paint strip below).

As an aside, here they are featured in a STUNNING kitchen. Drooling…

…but back to shutters. We are working with Karl at New England Shutter Mills to install historically accurate painted wood shutters this spring.

Here is my (horrible) photoshop reproduction of our house with Black Forest Green (and pasted on window boxes) – my favorite at the moment:

And here she is with Essex Green (my original favorite, which now I fear is too light in the sunlight):

Paint. It always astounds me how difficult it is to pick!

The Basement

We weren’t working with much. It was a 15’x15′ space, with 6’5″ ceilings that needed to house a bathroom, laundry, utility closet and with whatever remaining space we could eek out, a kids playroom.

I had visions in my head of a true play space, with a swing anchored to the ceiling, and maybe even a climbing wall. Images like this amazing attic kids room from the talented Chango & Co would always catch my eye. I love a bit of whimsy in a house.

Source: Chango & Co

By the way, check out the “before” photo. Isn’t it amazing how a space can be transformed?

Source: Chango & Co

And wouldn’t a climbing wall be fun for kids to expel energy? Maybe something like this from The Created Home blog:

Source: The Created Home

To begin, I sketched a floor plan to scale using graph paper. After playing around with various iterations we settled on this layout:

We ultimately decided to scrap the shower in the bathroom (this will be mostly used for guests running in from the back deck and pool, and we have an outdoor shower that we installed last summer). Instead, we moved the washer/dryer into the bathroom to free up more space for kid play.

Instead of recessed lights, I wanted to use sconces. I do not like recessed lights – after doing two home renovations now, and trying to find the warmest, smallest LED recessed lights, I’ve realized they are truly not for me. If we ever renovate another house I vow to use them more sparingly (or not at all). The warmer, eye level ambient light of a sconce is much more comforting.

Here is the lighting plan I (very) roughly sketched for the electrician:

Next up – the fun part – the idea board. We knew we wanted tongue and groove, light bright white walls, and blue rug. Some dark contrast (I find that with a neutral space, some dark contrast is really necessary to help the space pop). And a pop of color. Here she is:

1. Industrial Pipe Wall Sconce

2. Anywhere chair

3. Climbing wall

4. Wool rug

We ended up doing a wall to wall carpet in poly material instead of an area rug in order to make it as comfortable as possible down there (and also durable – poly indoor outdoor), but we own the above rug and love it. Amazing price for 10×14′ 100% wool.

Here are some progress shots. Starting with the literal rubble we began with.

Concrete slab poured. We were able to dig down about 5″ to get the ceilings to nearly 7′ tall. It is miraculous the difference that extra 5 inches makes.

Framing. You can start to really feel the space!

Finish work – Tongue and Groove!

Doors in, sconce installed, rug pad down, walls painted:


I cannot speak highly enough of this rug, I love it. Looks sharp, feels soft, and is easy to wash down.

Here is a close up before install, as well as a look down the stairs:

Next up…toy storage, climbing wall, swing, and rope ladder. Stay tuned!