22 October 2014

Moving along….in more ways than one


I have been asked how things are moving along at Tahilla Farm…our home away from home in New Hampshire. So much has happened, so quickly, that I am not sure where to begin.

For the love of a little farmhouse…
For those of you who are new to Collage of Life…the Tahilla Farm story began in 2012 with a search for a house down a country road…somewhere in New England. I found it in the Monadnock region of New Hampshire. The property (35 acres) has a historic colonial house built in 1790, a barn and a carriage house. Once we bought the house we started thinking….and haven't stopped.


An eye to a meadow and a stone wall,  Tahilla Farm,  July, 2014

The land...
There was a time when our little house overlooked far distant fields, most likely for animal grazing. Since then, and we are not sure how long it has been, trees and more trees reclaimed the land.  In between the trees, we caught a glimpse of a mountain top. With the help of landscape designer, Gordon Hayward, a plan was developed to bring back the fields, meadows and a view to the mountain. Gordon then introduced us to forester, Swift Corwin and master stone craftsman, Dan Snow. Our luck was with us.  In 2013 and 2014 trees were cleared, the land was tilled and broken down fieldstone walls took their rightful place once again.

View to a mountain, before and after…Tahilla Farm,  2012 and 2014



The house...
If you refer to the picture below, you will see that there are three parts to our house. The original home, built in 1790 and two wings, left and right. The one on the left contained the master bedroom. The one on the right, the kitchen, dining, porch and guest room. The 1790 section has two bedroom with adjacent baths, a finished attic, and the original study and keeping room. Although it was well suited to the previous owner, an elderly woman living on her own, we knew it would not suit our big bustling extended family who frequently visit. We set the ideas in motion with the help of Sheldon Pennoyer, our insightful architect who takes all our crazy ideas in stride.



The "before" photo, taken August 2014

In the past six weeks, a team of industrious men and women have been hard at work taking it all apart and starting anew.  In the historic house, we are replacing the siding, insulating and replacing the roof, replacing windows, putting fireplaces back in working order and changing bathroom fixtures. The team recently finished building a new foundation, see photos below. Our little 1790 house will withstand the element for many years to come…holding back rain and wind, keeping the occupants inside comfy and cozy during the winter months.









Sheldon's plans for 1790 upgrade


What will be…
From the historic section of the house we will once again have a "family wing" which will contain an open plan kitchen/living space, extended day porch, entry porch, foyer, half bath and mudroom.  The operative word in this section will be "windows" there will be plenty of them. Our views will be to the west and the east, taking in mountain views to the east and a woodland setting to the west.

The "master wing" went back to the drawing board for a second time after the removal of our old and ailing maple tree, "Martha" in August When she came down and exposed views to the mountain, we scrapped our plans and decided to reconfigure the space to take advantage of the mountain views. Our views will extend to the east and south.

In addition to all of this, we are moving our barn back a few feet to allow for all the changes.

I thought it would take weeks to take down the two wings and just as long to dismantle the barn. Not so…I think it took three days…max.   BOOM..down and out.


View to "family wing" foundation, far left and the barn, above.

In just six weeks, two wings have come down, two foundations have been poured, with one more to go for the master wing. We are nearly there.





You might ask how I am keeping my sanity through it all. The answer: complete trust in the team we selected to do the job. We have every confidence in their ability and with just six weeks down and many more to go, we have not doubted our decision. I am sure there will be surprises along the way, we have already had a few. I will be back in a few weeks to check on the progress, in the meantime, I remain optimistic…and somewhat sane. 


Through the miles...



I mentioned that things were moving along in more ways than one...
I seem to be in a constant state of motion as well. I am writing this post from Hong Kong. Last week I was home in Saigon and the week before that in Laos. Next week I am back in Saigon and then off to Sydney…and then the USA. In fact over the next six months, I will be counting more air miles than ever before. Two trips to Australia, two trips to the USA, back to Hong Kong, a trip to Japan..and it goes on. I am not complaining but I admit it is challenging in the face of the travel risks we face today. All I can do is fly smart, consider where I am going and plan accordingly. The one things that keeps me going is that all these trips are connected to visiting with my children. I would go to any length to be with them…even travelling around the world and back again.

A busy year?…you betcha! Though all the miles I keep my sights set on my family and a little farmhouse down a country road. It's worth the miles!


Before I go…I always like to leave you with a little something that will hopefully brighten your day.

While working at Tahilla Farm this summer I created a playlist of my favourite songs. They suit the environment, a little bit folksy..and thoughtful. I am thinking you might like a few of them too. I hope you do!


TAHILLA PLAYLIST

Build Me Up From Bones by Sara Jarosz


With that I say farewell and send you best wishes..
wherever you are in this crazy world of ours.

Jeanne :)

PS…
I post regularly on Instagram.
You can find me here.
Hope to chat with you over there as well!

36 comments:

  1. Jeanne, Your posts always make me happy! In fact, when I saw you had a new one, I went and fixed my breakfast, poured another cup of coffee and returned to savor every word. The progress at Tahilla is remarkable...it sounds like you have a great crew working there. I am enjoying following you on all of your travels on Instagram - particularly the recent jaunt to Hong Kong, as I will be there in a couple weeks. We leave Saturday for Japan, then Singapore and then on to Hong Kong to visit our son who is spending his semester at CUHK. I will travel every chance I get, but it IS a big motivation when you get the chance to visit one of your babies as part of the trip (I get to see two of mine this trip, as we are stopping in California as well - so I also get to see my middle son). Let me know if you have any fabulous recommendations in Hong Kong! And, safe travels, my friend! xoxo

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    1. Thank you Sandy! Wow...you have a big trip coming up, but as you say, when you are visiting family, it is well worth it. Have a wonderful trip..and I will pass along some HK reccos' via IG. xx

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  2. Safe traveling to you! You are a brave soul.
    I hope one with lots of gloves and face masks.

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  3. I love seeing these updates - the land and house are so incredibly beautiful! Nice music choices, too!

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    1. Thank you Mary! I found most of the songs through Spotify. I am unable to use it in VIetnam but made a point to note the songs I liked to download via iTunes. The things we go through for music! ;)

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  4. Am so glad that the house is (down) along well. Know you want as much done as possible before it gets too cold to dig, and hopefully they will have it under roof so they can work on the inside. It's going to be wonderful. The views are already first class. Travel safely, while they work on. so exciting.

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    1. Thank you Webb...the plan has been to do just that, get the foundations sorted before the ground freezes...we are nearly there. Winter comes early to New Hampshire! :)

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  5. ... It's all so very exciting. I absolutely love clearing the trees to provide such an expansive view.

    I am reminded of Diane Keaton's ventures in Baby Boom ... Which I still watch occasionally and love. That house in Vermont took her through a few troubles but eventually was darling.

    I'm glad you are having such a wonderful time making it yours.

    Karen in VA

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    1. There are some wonderful scenes in that movie Karen....I can relate to so many...especially Sam Shepard! ;)

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  6. How very exciting to see the updates on Tahilla Farm! These photos look oh so familiar to me as we have photo albums full recording lifting an existing house onto the cribbing in order to pour a foundation, digging huge holes in the ground to build new homes and we've torn out more interiors than I care to remember. Are the granite blocks the house is resting on saved from the original foundation or new? That is such a great feature so that the house will look as though it's still on a stone foundation once the concrete is buried underground. Love seeing your adventures on IG, thanks for sharing with us!

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    1. Hi Roxane....we saved the granite blocks and reused them. I could not believe what a huge project this was. I asked if there was a solution for the river water that came through our basement when it rained...I think we have it under control now! :)

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  7. Hello Jeanne,
    How exciting! It's been so wonderful to watch and read about Tahilla Farm unfolding, developing, taking shape. Thank you so much for sharing, and I too, wish you safe travels!

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    1. Larissa....Thank you! Lovely to hear from you! I left a comment on IG for you...best...always ;)

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  8. That is all so exciting Jeanne! Best of luck and safe travels!!

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  9. Oh Jeanne, I can't tell you how exciting it is to see photos of your house in transition. It's going to be absolutely beautiful. And you amaze me with your ability to juggle it all; the home renovations with all the traveling would feel so destabilizing to me and yet you're the epitome of grace and good humor. Enjoy your time with your kids and have safe travels!
    xo

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  10. Thank you Leslie...sense of humor essential!! ;)

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  11. What an amazing team you have!! You are fortunate. It's exciting to read about all the transformations. Safe travels!! I'd go anywhere to visit my children too. xo

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    1. Thank you Jennifer...the things we do for our kids..;)

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  12. Jeanne, the place is a total wonderment. I am so happy you shared all this with us, and I am totally envious of all your travels. I've never been to any of those place, so there's a bit of jealousy as well. The Middle East is as far as I've been in that direction, and Hawaii in the other. So. Yep, I'm jealous. ENJOY
    everything & then share with us, your devoted minions. xx's

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    1. Thanks Marsha...it is coming along, as am I! All the best...xx

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  13. However do you do it, Jeanne?
    xo Carole

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    1. Ha! and I return the same question to you Carole! ;)

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  14. Dear Jeanne, hope everything goes well. I can't wait to see it all finished. You have such great taste. I am sure it will all look divine.

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    1. Thank you Loree...we are getting there, slowly but surely. I appreciate you following along! ;)

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  15. Jeanne, everything looks fabulous so far, I am so excited for all of the great things you are doing to your beautiful farm and like all of the others who are following along, anxious to see more.

    Your adventures around the world sound exciting and even more so ad you will be seeing your beautiful kids.

    Safe travels my friend,
    Xo Elizabeth

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    1. Thank you Elizabeth...I appreciate your thoughts and wishes! xx

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  16. I just found your blog via Loi's Tone on Tone and I am so happy I have. It is so nice to 'meet' someone from my own state (or that at least has a home in NH). I now have to spend some time browsing your lovely blog.
    Fondly,
    -Lisa

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    1. Thank you for visiting and commenting Lisa! Always nice to discover a fellow New Hampshirite..even if only for a few months of the year. :)

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  17. Sheesh. We're building a screened porch, and I thought THAT was stressful!
    Have fun, my friend!!
    xoxo

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  18. Oh, Jeanne, this is such a remarkable undertaking, not only in physical scope and scale, but in terms of the life of the house--its past, present, and future. I have always believed that when I buy a house I am its temporary caretaker. If this is so, what caretakers you are! It is going to be absolutely beautiful. Wishing you safe travels over the coming months! xo Gigi

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    1. Love the way you think Gigi...thank you! xx

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  19. I loved this update on your beautiful farm Jeanne, it is going to be such a stunning property - and the view!! oh the view .... you have obviously found your perfect match when it comes to architects and landscapers, because to reveal that field and put in the stone walls and lead the eye to the mountain is simply brilliant
    Take care on all your travels
    Sharon

    xx

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Can I just say....that I so enjoy what YOU have to say. Just a few words or a few paragraphs, no matter. If you would like to write to me directly, I would love to hear from you... jeannecollageoflife@gmail.com

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