Are we there yet?

?..are we there yet..?
Construction countdown....

Ever been on a long journey with someone asking "are we there yet?" every five minutes? Does it drive you crazy too? If it does, you will appreciate why I needed to take a blogging break these past few weeks...for I would have surely driven you as crazy as I did a few others. Tahilla Farm is in construction countdown and I have been beside a decision making frenzy.

Our general contractor, Tim Groesbeck, is the lucky man who gets to answer all my questions. Over the past weeks, each day, after the last hammer was struck and the team departed for the day...I turned my attention to every nook and cranny, inside and out. I had a mental checklist going 24/7 and couldn't wait to return each morning to run through my list of questions. I loved it all...even the look of ' oh no, here she comes again' as I rolled up the drive, leaving a whirl of construction dust in my wake (cough, cough). 

Mr. H says that I have a knack for asking the same question ten different ways, as if trying a new angle, will result in the answer I am looking for.  Tim answered with the same steady, calm reply and a simple explanation that made all the sense in the world to me. Until I managed to ask the same question a few days later. The man has the patience of a saint!

It has been a tremendous learning curve...says she, an amateur, a mere babe in the minefield of construction and renovation. I learned the hard way...and the easy way...and am still learning. I do not see a homeowners renovation award in my future, but I do see a beautifully designed and constructed house created by masters of the New Hampshire trade. Each and every one of them, male and female, have been superb. We could not ask for more than that and count ourselves fortunate for the quality of work they have put into this project. 

If you are starting to have that sneaking suspicion that I am going to lead you into a daily recount of the last ten weeks of summer construction (twelve months in total) ...don't worry, I wouldn't do that to you. I did consider another daily writing challenge to get back into the swing of things but left that idea as quickly as it came. I plan to write more frequently than before...which will be easy to do since my last post was written in July. ;)

I am currently tapping away at Chateau Mango in Vietnam. Yes, I have come and gone, sad to leave New Hampshire but happy to back in the swing of life in Saigon. In a few weeks, my youngest son, Connor, will come home for a two week visit and a few trips between the Philippines and Vietnam.

In November I will be New Hampshire bound once again. Thanksgiving and the long awaited Christmas family reunion at Tahilla Farm awaits and there is so so much to do...but first we need to complete construction of the house..which is looking good for the end of October. 

We have literally been 'tucking' the house into the landscape and vice versa these past few weeks. I have a total appreciation for the ins and outs of grading a property...and the many assorted earth movers that make it happen.

It was the summer of stone as they were hauled, lifted and sorted into dry stone retaining walls stretching out to the north, south, east and west sections of the property. I was amazed by the stonemason, Deb Shelley. She told me her husband simply describes her job as picking up rocks and moving them. The woman is a marvel, there is so much more to what she much more!

From the entrance of the house...
where two ladders rest,

and a retaining wall stretching to the east.
Can you spot the difference 
between the two photos below, 
the obvious and not so obvious?

 To the the kitchen,
a goshen stone terrace is underway.

and to the south, steps to a view are taking shape.

"Are we there yet?"
There were times when I doubted we would ever get there..


But as days passed, the stone walls came together, 
slowly but surely, just as it should be done.

We would not be here today 
without the creative collaboration,
between our architect, Sheldon Pennoyer (left)
and landscape architect, Gordon Hayward (right).

Sheldon Pennoyer and Gordon Hayward
Hard to believe all this and more started with a few sketches 
on a piece of paper two years ago...and it is still going on.


 Oops, ok...
maybe I did just recount the last ten weeks!
I will leave you here, but before I go,
I just want to say...
for reading along.
I look forward to getting back 
into the swing of blogging again,
I have missed you all!

Jeanne xx

The Tahilla Farm story


  1. I'm glad to see a post, Jeanne - I've been thinking of you and your little project, and hoping you are making the kind of progress that lets you sleep at night!

    1. Thank you Quinn for coming back! Fortunately, the people around this project let me sleep at night. Given the 12 hour time difference, it is a different story when I wake up...but then, they are off to sleep. So it makes it challenging..and fun! ;)

  2. Jeanne, it's looking close to perfection now after all those months of work - you certainly picked the right people to make your dream home come true (and of course Bob being a NH native - is loving that they are treating you well up in his home state!).
    Enjoy these days back at Chateau Mango and then when you return your New England celebrations can begin. I see you already have lovely flowers blooming.
    Happy days my dear.
    Hugs - Mary

  3. Congratulations for Surviving a Summer of Renovations! It looks beautiful!
    Renovations can take a lot out of a person mentally as well as physically. I think questions are a healthy release, and relief, from the hefty weight of decisions and concerns.

  4. so glad you had a good summer watching the house grow, and it does look spectacular. thanksgiving ing is just around the corner, and having everyone together in your new home will be just the beginning of the next chapter. enjoy!

  5. Hello Jeanne,
    What progress you have made at Tahilla Farm. It is all so beautiful and the stone walls and steps are the icing on the cake. I would love to watch Deb the stonemason at work.
    I am sure you are looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas at Tahilla Farm.
    Happy to see you are back blogging
    Helen xx

  6. I don't think it would be possible for you to tell me or show me more about Tahilla Farm that I wanted to know:).

  7. Those stone steps are the icing on the cake! You have done such a beautiful job coordinating the renovation. I know the inside will be treated with the same attention to detail!

  8. So good to hear from you...I can only imagine how busy you were this summer....asking all those questions! Everything is looking good, though. Love those rock walls! ;)

  9. Your family home is coming together so beautifully. I have enjoyed every post and Instagram photo. I love your slate mud room grout choice, too. And, I said to go dark! I was wrong. You exude such a warm and sincere personality, I can imagine your home most certainly will, too. This Christmas will be a special one to be sure!

  10. You're almost there, Jeanne! And, it's a good day for all of us to see you're back in the blogging saddle again! Cheers, Joe.

  11. It's looking beautiful. You had a vision, Jeanne, and now you are bringing it to life. So glad that you are sharing it with us.

  12. Oh Jeanne, Tahilla is looking fabulous! You must be so excited! Your project is definitely in good hands with the team you've chosen. Having seen a few of Gordon Hayward designed gardens in our area, I'm looking forward to seeing his vision for your home. We used Ashfield stone for our home on the front walk and the pool terrace out back. At the time we built, we were allowed into the quarry and it's quite a sight and hard to imagine that you're standing at the bottom of an ancient seabed. Beautiful stone from both of those MA quarries. As I said before, your stonemason Deb is a true artisan and the stone walls are magnificent. The Autumn cool-down has come on within a day it seems, the stifling humidity has finally departed and the trees are changing colors in New favorite time of year! It's supposed to be another snow-laden winter, so perhaps there will be some snow on the ground when you and your family return for Thanksgiving!


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