Friday, December 6, 2013


I feel the need to imagine the scene over here is as adorable as this gnome moving his toadstool.

We've begun to pack nearly the entire contents of our house and we'll be putting it into this 20' roll-off storage unit that arrived in our driveway today.  Once spring is here we'll remove all the doors, windows, moldings, kitchen cabinets, appliances and wood floors in preparation for Demolition Day. Stella's concerned that we'll find a petrified squirrel in the walls (huh?), I wouldn't be surprised if we find fifty pounds of cat kibble strategically stashed by mice over 18 years.  Either way, we're excited to see the old Smead's hunting cabin come down to make way for the new gorgeous Noble Home!  I wonder what our late neighbor Bob would think.  He used to own this place and worked hard maintaining it until it made sense to sell...that's when we entered the scene.  Rest In Peace Bob Nichols we miss you very much, and I'm pretty sure you would give us your sweet smile of approval, chuckle and say, "Keep the Faith!"

Thursday, December 5, 2013


It's finally final!  Here's a link to a sweet little piece that appeared in our local newspaper yesterday Dec 2nd, about the beloved "Madeline's Meadow".  The newspaper used one of my photos, taken from our kitchen patio in summer, where there will soon be a span of 16 feet of glass!  I love all the green, it heals me and fills me with joy!  The meadow is also a great sledding spot these days.

‘Iconic’ Shelburne Center property to be preserved | The Recorder

View from our kitchen in summer

Sunday, November 24, 2013


Score #3 took place after dropping off 5 students at JFK in a monster rental SUV, I scooted over to Brooklyn, which by then it was nearly 10pm.  I met a guy named Irwin who was selling a brand new, never installed double-ended extra-deep acrylic claw foot tub.   It's huge and beautiful.  I love the idea of having a bathtub-centric bathroom; our new master bath will be a dreamy oasis of self-care and tranquility!  This "Baths of Distinction" tub is the 73" Bateau Collection; the price on the website for the full kit is $1989, I paid $740 (it included everything still in original packaging, and the feet are white cast iron, which we preferred over the chrome finish seen in photo).  

The next day, I had arrangements to meet Todd in Harwinton, CT who was selling a kitchen sink.  After tagging about 100 kitchens on for inspiration we realized that we no longer wanted to go with a stainless steel sink, which we were adamant about only a few weeks ago.  With the appliances being SS, it seemed it would be too cold to have the sink be steel too. So we went back to wanting a cast iron white enamel farm style sink.  Kohler makes a wicked sweet reproduction one, but it's expensive.  A few other companies have some at much better prices (American Standard & even Ikea).  When I saw this CL post, I just had to check it out... for sale was a Kohler Gilford 30" Kitchen Sink, brand new never installed, still in the box.  It has a tall back-splash with holes for wall a mounted faucet.  The sink ranges from $1500 (from Home Depot) to $2000 (from Kohler).  This was Score #4, I paid $450.  We LOVE it, we're now excitedly looking at faucets.  This photo, taken from, shows the actual Gilford sink.

Thank you Irwin & Todd.  And a big thanks to my rockin' mom who allowed us to store these things on her secure screened in porch until spring.  We ordered a storage unit, the kind they drop right on your property but we're on a waiting list, zoinks. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013


While searching craigslist for the most needed things for our addition - like sinks, tiles and a tub, I veered off the path into dream-land and saw a post I couldn't ignore.  The ad was for a couch and chair of our dreams!  I contacted the sellers and made plans, even outside of a driving job, borrowed a friends truck and drove to Greenwich, CT - TODAY, my one day off.  Nuts! but beyond worth it.  When my ass hit that sofa I melted head to toe into the down stuffed cushions covered in soft white cotton linen.  Both pieces are made by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams.  Our score was a lightly used Nicki II 98" slipcovered sofa and matching chair.  The sofa alone can be purchased today for $3000, we paid $500 for both.  WTW?!  We may not have a kitchen or bathroom for a few months but atleast we'll be cozy on our couch at the end of an exhausting day of demolition or construction.   Thank you Jennifer and her husband, the bungee-cord rockstar, we'll keep them well covered until the work is done.  
(It's too dark now to take a photo, so here's one from the original CL post, which makes the sofa look frumpy, but it isn't at all!)
This project is like a giant glitter-rainbow covered Rubik's cube.   I have to re-arrange and move the order of things with efficiency, and in this case a strategy that is mostly faith-and-joy-based, so that when all the spinning is done we'll have accomplished a beautifully aligned home on a super tight budget.   

Saturday, November 16, 2013


So, my wife said she'd like a vintage-style sink in our utility room, and indeed Kohler makes a gorgeous reproduction one just like she wants, it's called the Brockway - they start at $1100, not including a faucet!  Then I did what I love and do best, I surf craigslist daily and then hit the pavement, of course in conjunction with a driving job.  And looky what I found - for $30!  It needs to be re-glazed, but it's authentic and comes with the hanging bracket, and I love it!  Thank you Bill of Framingham, MA.

Next week I look at a brand new, reproduction acrylic clawfoot tub in Brooklyn, NY right after I drop off 4 students at JFK.  I'll be sporting a monster SUV, perfect if I buy the tub which is currently available on various websites for $2000... stay tuned!

Thursday, October 31, 2013


YUP, in all ways!

Letting go, 
remaining calm
and keeping the faith
on bardwell-fairy land!

Monday, October 28, 2013


Here's version 1 of the floor plan we designed for the upstairs.  We're trying to be super smart about every inch of space--we need storage (we don't have an attic, basement or garage!)  Does anyone out there want to chime in with any brilliant ideas to make the plan even better?
The gray section at the bottom is the existing structure, the yellow upper section is the new:  a large master bedroom and a small bedroom for S, both bedrooms need to have access to the bathroom (with a real grown-up sized soaker tub!)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Our adventures begin!
We have been pre-approved by a local bank for a construction loan, which then rolls over to one big re-fi.  But there are limits, many limits.  The two most challenging ones are:  1.  We have 12 months to build the addition (the term of the construction loan).  At the end of 12 months we must receive a 'certificate of occupancy' from the building inspector (more specifically all the certificates of approval).  2.  Banks really don't want the home-owner to be the general contractor.  Hmmm, we understand some of their reasons, but folks in our income bracket can't afford a general contractor.  So it turns out we gave the bank a strong enough argument about economic injustice and a good tootin' of my own horn and ability to move mountains and get shit done -- because between us, our family and friends who are pretty darn handy and creative, the bank is allowing us (with lots of help) to be a part-time GC; they accepted our hybrid-GC proposal!   Is that a small town bank for you or what!?   Once we receive the loan we'll tell you who the bank is! 

Today I met with the building inspector to find out exactly what we need to have completed in order to get the certificates of approval (the key thing the bank requires).  Though it's no walk in the park, there are several things we don't need to worry about  - like all interior finish work - PHEW, 'cuz that helps with the bottom line and the time-line.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013


"Wabi-Sabi represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete."

WOW what a gorgeous New England fall day. Even though at this very moment I'm feeling very overwhelmed with everything we have to prepare for the demo in March, I only have to look out the window at the Meadows to feel a sense of relief and certainty that this is where I belong.

Our little yellow house as it is right now is CLUTTERED! And ya know it's not even like we have a ton of stuff but we lack any real storage. Two small closets, that's it; no basement or attic or garage so what you see is EVERYTHING we own! And really it's not that much. That said the little we do have there is NO space for and it's driving me a little crazy. S is seven, close to eight and it amazes me how much stuff we've acquired in those years.  My goal today is to make a dent. I'm starting on ONE area. Every inch of our home needs organizing and if I focus on it all, I'm stopped in my tracks and I can't move forward! I've always loved the idea of less is more and I really want to embody that in our new space, along with the wabi-sabi aesthetics we've always embraced. In just the very small amount of de-cluttering I just did, I can't tell you how much better I feel.

Friday, October 4, 2013


For 18 years this has been the view from our kitchen, and now it will FOREVER be our view.  Thanks to the Franklin Land Trust and the hard work of many of our neighbors, this 10 acres of meadow-lands is in conservation!
                                           Just in time for our big-little plans!
We're staying small but our home addition plans include big & exciting ideas. We're building a 20' x 28' two-story addition, designed by Noble Home LLC of Buckland!  (These guys are amazing and they really know how to do simple aesthetics, green building & space saving all bundled into one great living space.)
The two BIGGEST things about this project  -  we moms will have our own room AND we'll eliminate the nasty wet pathetic little basement - we'll replace it with a concrete slab with radiant floor heat!

preliminary first floor drawing