Designing a Home…Past and Present #16

Sometimes you have to step backward before you can step forward. It has been that kind of feeling this week. It's decision time and it can be overwhelming. I find myself going back in time, to where it all started, to my thoughts and feelings…what I was hoping to create when we first bought Tahilla Farm. 

Mr. H came into the picture later in the story. We bought it on a leap of faith…I saw it first and just had to pray that he would have the same feelings about it…and he did. Phew!

It's been a learning curve this week…we are on the same page, most times, and others..well let's just say, for him "beige is beige" and us (you and I, well, we know it is not. 

I am going to cheat a bit in my 28 Day Writing Challenge and repeat a post from 2013. It was a critical turning point for me, where it all began to make sense. 

I know many of you may remember of it and to new readers, it might help makes sense of all this 'Tahilla Farm' talk.

On that note, I present you, "A Dream Home…Away From Home". Written March 27, 2013..nearly two years ago. Original post here

PS..the comments to the post below are insightful, thoughtful and treasured. Lots of ideas came from them. You can read them here

 ...But every house where love abides,
And friendship is a guest,
Is surely home, and home, sweet, home;
For there the heart can rest.
Henry Van Dyke

Written March 27, 2013

A Dream Home Story...

My blogging friend, Cindy @ Rough Luxe Lifestyle asked me to write about my idea for a dream home. I did not hesitate for a moment. She has an eye for style, so much so, that every post of hers becomes a 'pinfest' for me. I was touched that she would ask. She asked six of us to think of our 'Dream Home' and write about it...interpreting it any way we like. I thought it was an opportune time for me, for in a few weeks, I will be travelling to our home away from home, to start the beginning of a new chapter in our lives.

If you have been reading Collage of Life these past few months, you will know that we purchased a small farmhouse in the wilds of New England in December 2012. I was on a quest last autumn to find a little place, down a dirt road, to hang our hats after our travels. Mission accomplished (here). Since that time, it has been sitting quietly, bracing itself from the winter storms and chills as it has been doing so for over 200 years.

It is called Tahilla Farm, a name determined by the previous owner.  We call it a gentlewoman's farm. A term suggested by a friend after visiting the house. When he said it, my mind was kindled a feeling.  It is a four bedroom house, with ensuites for each. A meeting room, study, kitchen, breakfast room, master study and cozy finished attic sit within the walls of the home. Part of the house dates back to 1790 and another part of the house was expanded within the last 10 years. It has a rhythm, a  quirky kind of rhythm. I like quirky.

Views from the windows extend to the barns, gardens, fields and onto to a mountain top in the far distance. It is peaceful, it is is rough and tumble. It is our home away from home until one day...when we make it more than that.

To read more about Tahilla on 'Read more' below...

Looking for ideas from you...
I am going to do two things with this blog post and I apologise in advance for the length. I am breaking all the rules but what a woman has to do, a woman has to do. I am looking at it as an opportunity to pull together my thoughts, hash out some ideas and most importantly...look for ideas from you. We have our work cut out for us. Are you ready?

Breathe, talk, eat, sleep, read, think, walk and create...
Let me tell you what I have in mind. We like simple and comfortable. This is to be a meeting place for family and friends, where we can simply breathe, talk, eat, sleep etc.. When I looked at this house, I considered our family 'curiousites' the ones we have collected in our travels as expats...and there have been a few. There will be no shortage of books, artifacts and collectibles...from Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Africa, Australia, England, France...and Vietnam. We live a curious life and it is reflected in our belongings.

A decorating sweep...
If you play around with Pinterest, I am sure you will agree that it is a great place to gather your thoughts. I have had this project on my mind for a while so the timing for this post could not have been better as I will start my first decorating sweep at Tahilla Farm in a few weeks time.

Dream Home inspiration...

Interior Design guru, Charlotte Moss 
wrote the following in her book 'Creating a Room'...

Every decorating project begins with an idea, 
a request, a notion, a dream or fantasy  
of the type of room that is to be created. Inspiration can come 
from a painting, a room seen in a movie, a museum, 
a magazine photograph, a description in a novel, a place we've visited, 
a color that energises us, and so on.
Charlotte Moss

Think Bloomsbury Group....
Which brings me to my inspiration...writers and artists of a past era. Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen), Virginia Woolf, Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell, Valerie Finnis, Vita Sackville-West, Rudyard Kipling, C.S. Lewis, Winston may recognize a few. I guess there is no surprise that many are English and part of the Bloomsbury Group for it was during our time living in England that I came to appreciate them. Museums, paintings, design books, movies, photographs, is all here, it is my inspiration. To this mix I add an author and designer whose work I enjoy. For this farmhouse in the wilds of New England, I channel the work of Australian designer and author, Sibella Court..because I believe she would understand.

Channelling Sibella Court via her book 
'etcetera etc. creating beautiful interiors with the things you love'

I have only one rule: seek out beauty and meaning in everything, 
then embrace and display it. Even the most humble and everyday of objects 
can be transformed. I encourage you to look in unusual places, 
not just the pages of magazines. If you open your eyes to nature, 
history and story books, music, travel, fashion and textiles, 
sets in the cinema and theatre, art exhibitions 
or the ceremonies and customs of other cultures, 
then fresh, original ideas will follow.
Sibella Court

I think we have a meeting of the minds, don't you? 

With is my dream home...Tahilla Farm

The Dream Home.. a state of mind..

When I was looking for a home, I was not interested in a new home or recently renovated home with all the bells and whistles. I wanted something simple and with room to grow, not necessarily outwards, but from within. I was and still am in a state of mind as I approach this house. At the moment, it is my baby. No one else in our family has seen it..including Mr. H. My leap of faith will meet it's test when he
visits in a few months time. I am ready for the ground work...I will be there in a few weeks to kick start
the project and the following is what I have in mind. I am not looking for an instant fix...I want to take
my time, to consider it thoughtfully and artfully. I give you the 'current' photos and the 'dream' photos...

Tahilla Farm kitchen and breakfast room...

I love...
the simplicity and feeling I get when I am in these rooms.
The person before me loved this house, I can feel it.
I love the open space, natural light, 
wood burning stove
and the warmth of the pine wide panel floors and beams above.

My dream home would have..

A kitchen reminiscent of something my grandmothers cooked in
with a view from a window..

top righttop middle top middlebottom middlebottom leftbottom right

My dream home kitchen would have a place to spread out and cook..

leftmiddlebottom righttop right

and a space to gather comfortably with family and friends...

The very heart of a home is intimacy. 
For this is where we are most ourselves. 
And when we have the inner calm, 
this is when we give the best parts of ourselves.
Nancy Lindenmeyer

Tahilla Farm antique meeting room and study...

I love... 
the warmth of the floor, 
wood burning fireplaces, simple built-in bookshelves, 
natural light and the ability to create a cozy nook in each room.

My dream home would have...

A place to study and collect..

top leftbottom left,  top right ( India Hicks King's Retreat) bottom right ( Rudyard Kipling's study)

"Like the face of a clock, a home has its cycles, and reflects the passage of time
even when much of what is in and around it seems unchanged. 
Sometimes striking and sometimes subtle, sometimes permanent and sometimes temporary, 
sometimes joyous and sometimes deeply poignant, the transformations of time gives 
the house much of it's mystery. 

leftmiddle (Sibella Court) ,  top rightbottom right

Some rooms resist time and some rooms 
reflect it-but in either case, minutes, hours, days, months, seasons, and years work 
a mysterious magic in a home. 

 top left (Winston Churchill desk at Chartwell) , bottom left ( home of Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell, Charleston House)  top right (Valerie Finnis home), bottom right from Burnton Constable Hall via book 'Yorkshire' by Simon Jenkins

     The initial mystery that attends any journey is: 
how did the traveler reach his starting point in the first place? 
How did I reach the window, the walls, the fireplace, the room itself; 
how do I happen to be beneath this ceiling and above this floor? 
Oh, that is a mater for conjecture, for argument pro and con, 
for research, supposition, dialectic!
Louise Bogan

A place for dialectic!

   top left,   top right ( sitting room from movie 'Holiday'), bottom left (sitting room from movie 'Out of Africa') 
 bottom right

   In our homes we have the freedom to center around 
our own uniqueness and spirit and to be at one 
with the people we choose to live with and love. 
Here, we can emphasize all the things we value and cherish.
Charlotte Moss

Tahilla Farm bedrooms and new additions...

I love..
the natural light, the view inside and out, 
wide oak paneled floors and clear white freshness of space.

My dream home would have...

A place to rest and ponder life.

 top left bottom leftmid-bedroom,  top rightmid-rightbottom right (from movie Something's Gotta Give)

....every corner in a house, every angle in a room, 
every inch of secluded space in which we like to hide, 
or withdraw into ourselves, is a symbol of solitude for the imagination...
the house shelters daydreaming, the house protects the dreamer, 
the house allows one to dream in peace.
Gaston Bachelard

lefttop right bottom right

Tahilla Farm porch...

I love..
the view from this porch, the proximity to the kitchen, 
and the consideration given to the simple design..
it is a porch to love.

My dream home would have...
a place to kick off your shoes, lean back and relax.

bottom leftupper left porchmiddletop right single chairbottom right

An interlude...
I hope you enjoyed this interlude to a dream home..there is much more to come. We have yet to explore the barns and gardens. I need more consideration for both. The ideas are ticking over but haven't settled just yet. When they do..I will be back with more.


I thank you kindly for reading along. 
I think I just wrote a book...surely, it has been my longest post ever. 
If you have a dream home in mind...I encourage you to write about it.
Grab some photos, a pad of paper and go to town. 
It is good for the soul! :)

Before you start...listen and watch this wonder of the world.
Pure magic!

Then....I encourage you to read about
the Dream Homes of these wonderful writers...
I am sure you will be as inspired as I am!

PS.. I am a time zone ahead of most readers.
If the links above do not bring you directly to
a Dream Home post..they will soon!


  1. I have yet to see anything at Tahilla Farm that I don't like. My favorites are the porch and the meeting room.

    Wonderful post. Stepping back to look at the entire dream is an important element of design ideas, and creativity that I hope I can always remember.


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