Decorating Notes....Tahilla Farm

Transition new house to old house via a reading nook.

If you asked for a postcard last month, I am happy to report, it is on it's way! I also asked if you had any questions for me and many of you did. Tahilla Farm seems to be as much on your mind as it is mine. So let's begin...

Across the Tahilla Farm
I have written many blog posts about Tahilla Farm, our home away from home in New Hampshire. I started writing about the "idea" while living in England (2011) and then wrote about it again as we started to put words into action shortly after moving to Vietnam (2012). Over the past four years I have hopped continents back and forth several times to oversee the renovations and construction. I have had the very good fortune to work with an amazing group of people who I had complete confidence in...even from 8500 miles away. Best of all, it is done. It feels so good to say that!

Would we do it again?
People often ask how we did it and more importantly would we do it again? Would we buy a house and go through design and construction while living so far away? To this I say yes, but...I would do some things differently. To be honest, it was challenging trying to make design decisions from afar. Especially when Mr. H was going one way with his ideas and I was going the other. We wanted to bring in bits and pieces from all the houses and countries we have lived in and there have been a few. Blending them into an antique farmhouse in the woods of New Hampshire raised more than a few eyebrows but as people came to know us and our lifestyle they seemed to get it.

Saving grace...
The Internet was my saving grace. I filled up my Pinterest and Houzz boards with every possible decorating scenario. Every idea that I forwarded back to the USA had a multitude of pictures to support it. Every question asked of me in return sent me off for days, studying the Internet until I found the solution I wanted. Most important of all, I had YOU my dear readers, willing to read and comment as I "wrote it all out". There were a few crazy posts in there...but they helped me more than you know. You were incredibly supportive to which I am forever grateful.

Decorating amnesia....
I should tell you, that while I relish every home decorating magazine that comes my way and know what I like and don't like...making an immediate decision for my own home is another matter. I envy the men and women who can answer with absolute certainty on the spot. Me on the other hand...I seemed to suffer from chronic decorating amnesia to every question asked of me..

What color do you want to paint your house?
 Umm...I don't know, what do you like?

What type and color of roofing materials do you want?  
Umm... grey?

What style of bathrooms do you like? 

What type of wood floors do you want? 

What style of lighting fixtures do you want? 
Ummm... bright?

What color grout do you want for your tiles? 
Umm..there is more than one color?

I can't tell you how many times I woke up in Vietnam with visions of sinks, toilets, faucets, tubs, shower fixtures, handles, towel rack, toilet roll holders, stove, refrigerator, cabinets, door knobs, drawer handles, drawer inserts, kitchen counter, bathroom counters and the list goes on and on..all of them dancing in my head. Always wondering if I made the right decision, if there was a better choice and if I should ask the opinion of another unsuspecting person who would get caught in my web of my utter confusion.  Sound familiar? Been there?

Pet Peeve...
While I managed to touch and feel many items prior to purchase, there were a good number of items that I was not able to see first hand. My biggest pet peeve became bathroom and lighting fixtures. If someone whipped out a catalog...I groaned. I had to travel 8500 miles to look at a catalog??

And that is where I made a few mistakes. There are many items I love and know with absolute certainty that I made the right decision. There are a few regrets too. Nothing glaringly wrong but enough for me to look at something and say..."next time we renovate, I am going to change that". Mr. H cringes when I say that....I have decided it is just best to keep those thoughts to myself for the time being. Live and learn.

Keeping a builder happy... answer to the question, yes, I would do it again. All I would do differently is have a greater appreciation for timelines. When the builder gives you a date for your final decision... he really mean it has to be decided by that date. Procrastination is not your friend when building a house. Best to get your decorating thoughts together much sooner.

We have one more project to go and this time I plan to get my head out of the Pinterest cloud well before construction and have a definite idea of what we want well in advance. It is a good thing I have stared thinking ahead as we have changed our minds at least ten times in the last three months. It is going to a be a which I intend to take our time with.

Chateau Mango meets Tahilla Farm...
My task at the moment is trying to imagine the merging of our furniture and art from Chateau Mango, our home in Vietnam, with what we currently have at Tahilla Farm. To further complicate matters I need to divide and conquer, determining what will stay in Vietnam and what will go to New Hampshire. Life is still a balancing act from continent to continent and will be for a bit longer...but more on that another time. The moving trucks are coming in three weeks....Oy Vey!

The things I love....
Our very patient decorator, Phyllis Higgerson, helped us on many critical fronts. Last year, while I was in Vietnam, she had the task of suggesting paint colors for every room of the house as well as  wood floor finishes for the new sections of our house. Our architect, Sheldon Pennoyer, skillfully created the new house to merge with the old house and Phyllis worked out the best way to bring the two interiors together. We decided to keep it simple and went for a variation on a white theme... Cloud White for the walls, White Dove for trim and Simply White for all the bathrooms.

Beige is not boring..
One thing I felt very confident about was the need for neutral colors on our interior finishes. Mr. H may say beige is boring but I feel otherwise. Neutrals let you adapt to the seasons, they allow you to alter a room when a new piece of artwork unexpectedly shows up at your door (happens frequently) and lets you breathe in and out calmly. I need calm in my life and Phyllis is great at creating calm. She delivered on all fronts and we are very happy with the results.

Calm space...Master Bedroom..Cloud White

This goes with
Phyllis helped us with the purchase of new furniture for our family room to ensure it was the right scale and size for the height of our ceiling and Mr. H. We have a preference for comfy English country style....and realized the only way to get what we were after was to have it custom made. We also wanted the ability to sit at our kitchen island and turn comfortably from the kitchen to the TV behind it. Phyllis found an upholstered swivel bar stool that could be custom designed to our needs.  The chairs, sofa and swivel bar stools were all purchased through Charles Stewart. The reading nook cushion was made locally in New Hampshire and the fabrics were purchased through Romo. See details below.

Reading Nook Window Seat Cushions

I love the lighting Phyllis recommenced for our foyer, kitchen and dining area.  We have Hinkley Bronze Fulton Light in our foyer, Arteriors Garrison Conical Pendants over our kitchen island and Restoration Hardware Cabot Rectangular Chandelier over our kitchen table.

For the entry foyer..

Hinkley Bronze Fulton Light Foyer

and over our kitchen island
Cabinets..White Dove, Walls..Cloud White 

Over the kitchen table..
Family room walls..Cloud White, Trim White Dove

And that my friends will hopefully answer a few questions
as to what has been happening at Tahilla Farm. 
More kitchen details next time.

Any more questions?
I am on a roll!

As always, thank you for reading along!
So very much appreciated!

Sending you warm wishes from Vietnam!

Jeanne xx

Still want to get in on the postcard action?
Drop me a line


  1. I cannot wait to see more! How you managed all this from 8500 miles away, is beyond me! When we renovated and added on 15 years ago, we still lived in various parts of our home, and it was still difficult to keep everything straight! I simply could not order anything with out seeing and touching it in person! There's nothing wrong with makes your art and collectibles shine! Thanks for the will be framed soon! ;)

    1. So glad your postcard arrived Donna...thanks for the encouragement! :)

  2. Hi Jeanne, everything looks wonderful. I am with you on neutral interiors and walls...I did exactly the same colour scheme in our country house. Excited for you as things come together. I know one decision you would never regret, hiring Phyllis! From Canada, B.

    1. I remember all looked so beautiful. ;)

  3. Jeanne, it all sounds perfect. I think the neutral colors will allow your beautiful art and other fabrics to stand out. Phyllis is incredibly talented and I am sure that she did a fabulous job.

    1. Agree Elizabeth...and we have more decorating miles to travel. ;)

  4. I am sure Tahilla Farm will look fabulous when it's all finished. It is already looking beautiful. You have an eye for decorating and surround yourself with lovely stuff so I am sure you are on the right track.

    1. Thank you Loree...we have many more layers to go but best of all, we can take our sweet time doing so. ;)

  5. I think it all looks terrific! Fresh, clean, and comfortable palette and then all of your worldly collections will fit right in. I don't know how you do it. We did two sections of the house and I was stressed with every decision. I enjoyed it less than I thought I would. I realized that interior decor is not a strength I possess easily. Now we'll slowly go room by room but it's going to be a slow process because I've lost my energy for change and mess for awhile.

    1. Slow is good Sarah...deliberation is good! It's why we chose to live away from it all...slow means we are in sync with our surroundings. I am totally with you on this one!

  6. Dear Jeanne, I am deeply touched and honored by your kind words here. It has been a great pleasure to work with you.
    All best,

    1. Pleasure is ours Phyllis, should be a lot smoother from here. ;)

  7. Hi Jeanne -- as usual filled with admiration at your vision and hard work. As the others have said you have been amazing managing to do this - even with help - at such a distance. So many decisions!It looks wonderful and I shall really look forward to seeing the final photographs if you'll share them with us. You have such a fantastic eye and so many lovely items collected on your travels that a neutral background is just perfect to show them all off at their best.
    You must be so ready to start putting everything in the places you've imagined for them and seeing it all come together exactly as you've hoped!
    Best wishes Ceri in London x

    1. Thanks so much Ceri and is going to be interesting that's for sure! You may recall my posts from our days in England when I was contemplating the very same for our move to Vietnam. So glad you have been with me through it all. :) xx

  8. Congratulations on nearing the completion of Tahilla Farm's New Do!
    I think decorating decisions feel like selecting the best M&M candy color. lol

  9. Darling Jeanne. Oh my. I recall when Tahilla was just an inkling and now this! I am beyond excited for you, my dear friend. I cannot wait to see more J x

  10. So exciting, so much progress!

  11. It looks amazing Jeanne! Congratulations and wishing you many years of enjoyment there. I think a reading nook is the perfect transition spot.


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