Nine months and counting...Tahilla Farm

Greatest the most unlikely places
Conversing with the world..
Those of you who have been with me these past five plus years will know that I started Collage of Life in the midst of a move from New Zealand to England (2009) and that I continued writing through our move to Vietnam (2012). No one is more surprised than me that I am still writing in 2015.
I thought blogging would be a passing fancy, one of the many project I start and not quite finish. Instead, it has been my rock, one I sit upon, wide eyed and amazed, while conversing with the world. I am sure other bloggers would say the same. When writing friends come calling, it feels like home.

I never in a million years would have thought it would translate to the purchase of an actual home. 

And above all, watch with glittering eyes 
the whole world around you because 
the greatest secrets are are always hidden 
in the most unlikely places. 

Roald Dahl

It started with a blog...

When people ask me how we found Tahilla Farm my answer is always the same.  I tell them it developed through the friendships created in the pages of my blog, Collage of Life.

I tell the story of Lisa, the story of Joe...and then the story of Joe and Paula and then more stories and more people... Gary, Gordon, Maude, Dan, Swift, Sheldon, Renee, TimPhyllis..and so the pages turn, in friendship and design, each earmarked for return.

On some occasions, when I am too tired to talk, which does not happen often, I tell people that I found Tahilla through a friend, end of story. My daughter Claire, always breathes a sigh of relief when I give that answer. She often reminds me that I "do not have to tell every living soul our entire life story". To which I reply, "where is the fun in that?".

 I do not see blogging in her future. ;)

All of the people mentioned above have had a hand in the transformation of Tahilla Farm.  Acres of trees were cut, a mountain was discovered and old pasture stone wall were rebuilt before we started on the house.  Last September, the trucks rolled in and it all came tumbling down ... a beloved 200 year old ailing tree, a barn and two wings connected to the original house. 

We started by raising the old house built in 1790 for much needed TLC. Shortly after, from the dust...came a new barn, two new wings to the house and a warm embrace around the original old house.

I have written often about Tahilla Farm...sharing stories and  motivations for some of our design ideas. One story in particular, Tarzan Meets Tahilla, talks about Mr. H's inspiration for our master bedroom windows. We each had our own ideas, I was thinking of the windows in the movie Something's Gotta Give and he was thinking of the windows in the sea faring vessel from the movie, Master and Commander. We compromised...the window in the photo below, top right, is in the master bedroom, with a complementary window in our dining bay (top left). The windows in the bottom left corner of the photo are within the 'great room' containing our kitchen, family room and dining space. The bottom right photo is the window view from the reading nook which connects one section of the old house to the new. Needless to say, we have a lot of windows...we started this project with three words in mind..."let there be light". I think we covered it. 

I would have thought the hardest part of this project was deciding on the architectural plans. I am going to put myself out there and say that it was a piece of cake compared to trying to sort out the interior. From my office in Vietnam, I sometimes want to bang my head against the wall and ask myself what I have done.

But like all wild passes and I get on with the project at hand. Sort of.

And then the emotions come back and I decide there is only one person who can bring sanity into my life again...and she does, every time. Our decorator, Phyllis, didn't seem to mind when I emailed her twenty shades of white PMS colours for the interior walls and asked if she could find the perfect white. I threw in one proviso...that it not be too yellow, green, blue or grey. I wanted the perfect 'calm' warm white that would compliment the artifacts and paintings from our travels and sit well with our furnishings. 

I also asked if she could help select the wood floors and stain for the new sections of the house with the request that whatever is chosen compliment the wood floors in the old house. Just a little pressure...

Mission accomplished, just as I expected. HUGE sigh of relief..until the next decision. 

I am hoping the next round of decisions can wait until my 38 days. The house will not be in 'move in condition' for several more months. I planned ahead on this one and found a little cabin in the woods to rent, not far from our house. I hope to spend the summer 'hanging' around Tahilla, finalising plans and tending to our garden...and when the floor is laid on this porch, I hope to sit in a chair with my feet up and feel the 38 days.

Porch Rising

Lastly...a special thank you to Susanne, the realtor who acted on the behalf of the previous owners of Tahilla Farm. As I was packing the house last summer, she stopped by to say hello and wish us well with the construction. In her spare time, she made the wonderful tote bag below for me. It was such a sweet gesture and so very thoughtful of her, a memory of the old and the new Tahilla Farm...where it waits for my return in 38 days...nearly 37. :)

For those of you celebrating 
Mother's Day this weekend
I wish you the happiest of days,
 filled with love and joy!

Jeanne xx

 With thanks to Sheldon, Renee and Tim 
for supplying the construction pics of Tahilla Farm


  1. Loving it all...and always! Looking forward to your return, gasping in awe of the transformation and catching up. Happy Mother's Day! Lisa

  2. Happy Mother's Day!

    Love the windows! The more the merrier I say.
    Thirty eight days will be one before you know it.

  3. Oh Jeanne, those windows and the light. You have and will continue to make wonderful and right decisions. Living off site, this summer, is a wise decision. I am delighted for you.
    I also compliment you on continuing to blog. I miss those who used blog and have now disappeared. Their voices are missing and there is a void.
    Have a glorious weekend.
    Helen xx

  4. Love the light. Can't abide driving by houses with the blinds closed and drapes pulled together. Maybe that's city life for some, but not me. Your windows should allow you to be free to see all the bird and wildlife, and not have to worry about nosy neighbors--birds, moose, or otherwise. Happy Mother's Day ..... Hope Mr. H shows you all the adoration you deserve.

  5. Jeanne, you're going to have a wonderful Summer in that log cabin. It will be great to be close to Tahilla so you can pop over and see the progress. You may even start a bit of gardening. It's so hard not to resist. A very Happy Mothers Day to you xx Anita

  6. Oh Jeanne. As someone currently living in a house with puny windows I couldn't be more excited about your construction. It's going to be an amazing home.

  7. It inspires me so much to read your posts on the house. We're in the midst of deciding on window details. Goodness gracious so many decisions. Casement, double-hung, stain, paint, lite pattern, etc You and I could probably talk for an hour on window decisions let alone the hundreds of other topics. I'm sure you are itching to get to Tahilla. One day Tahilla will have to meet Nehemiah over here. Good luck!

  8. It is amazing to watch from afar! I know that you know how very much it will be beyond worth it in the end. Still, sending a dose of love and strength plus a little patience until you are reunited with your beloved TF again...

  9. I am looking for the perfect white, too. What did you end up with, Jeanne?


  10. How difficult to be doing so much from afar, but it sounds like you have people in place you can trust to make good decisions. If Tahilla Farn brings you as much pleasure as we've gotten from our place in Maine you have much to look forward to beginning in what, 37 days?😊

  11. I love how your home is coming together and the decisions you are making. It will surely be a place of respite and joy for you and your family. Thank you for sharing your process here. Happy Mothers Day!

  12. Can't say enough about those windows! I'm excited for you...can't wait to see your place all fixed up! Happy Mother's Day to you too! ;)

  13. A BLOG.........and ALL those people PLUS a HOUSE!Pretty IMPRESSIVE................
    HAPY MOTHER's DAY to YOU!I have one SON in CAPE COD for the summer working his FOOD TRUCKS!Are you close to CAPE COD........maybe one day I can send YOU to find him and his TACO's and corn on the cob with Feta and cilantro.......looks YUMMY!THis is Nicholas with the long hair and dreds that is now pretty short...............I would LOVE it if you showed up and said, "YOUR MOTHER SENT ME!"XXX

  14. I'm coming to visit some day in October. xx

  15. So beautiful to see your plans coming together! You'll love all that light!

  16. Slowly Tahilla Farm will blossom. Patience is a virtue.

  17. Exciting, Jeanne!! Loved catching up on your project and look forward to seeing the finish :) Happy Mother's Day!

  18. Oh, Jeanne, it's just lovely and going to be such a perfect home! So glad to see the photos of so much progress. A very happy Mother's Day to you ... and where you are now it's only 35 days!

  19. All I can say is WOW. The house is already looking pretty amazing. I don't know how you do it! I am sure it will look gorgeous when it is done and I can't wait to see the photos.

  20. Jeanne, a belated Happy Mother's day to you! I hope that Tika is feeling better!

    I was traveling and missed this post, the Farm looks fabulous and I am sure that in 38 days so much more will be done that you will not recognize it. How wonderful to have Phyllis there to oversee your beautiful home, I am sure that she is treating it as her own and making the perfect decisions for paint and floors.

    I can only imagine how beautiful the Farm will be in the end and how exciting it will be when you have the entire family there in December.

    I hope that you have a great day!!!
    xo Elizabeth

  21. Hello, Jeanne
    I love your post so much
    I am Indonesian


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