Things are FINALLY (after moving out over a year ago!!) starting to happen at the Meadow. There have been MAJOR delays with permitting at the county and contractors being backed up so we haven’t really done much at all since we moved out. I’ve been trying to focus on enjoying where we are now and am grateful we’ve got such a nice place to be in while we wait, but on so many levels, I CANNOT. WAIT. to get back to living in our house.
Owning two houses over a year longer than planned (and not even having started yet!) has been an exercise in stress management. I’m not going to pretend this has been easy. I keep telling myself being in uncomfortable situations is how we grow, but I think I have a bit of PTSD from our very first house where we lost a lot in the real estate market crash and had to move into my parents’ basement with our (then) 1 year old to lick our wounds, so it’s been challenging in my head to be okay with this to say the least.
BUT- I still feel a lot of gratitude for being able to be designing our house like this from the ground up. We’ve done so many of these for clients over the years and we have always kept to the same footprint in our own personal renovations so this is really the first time I’ve gotten to do something this extensive for our own family.
I was into the house in the meadow the first time I saw it. (as a real estate listing, above) The land caught my eye first but when I saw the few photos of the house that were on the listing, I thought it looked like a home that was very much in line with my “dream house” inspiration file. It was stucco with a front courtyard and sat on the top of a huge hill in the middle of a meadow. With mature trees and a creek running through it, the property looked special. We loved our house we were living in at the time, but have always been up for another adventure and I craved designing something from the ground up that could be both old and new feeling at the same time.
When we finally went to go see it in person, a year later, Dave and I immediately fell for it. (To watch the video walk-through of the house just after we closed on it, go here (you can make the video full-screen by hovering over the bottom of the video and clicking the “4 corner” symbol which is the second symbol over from the right. ) )
As we got to live in it for about 9 months or so before moving out to attempt to start the renovation, we grew to love it even more. We bonded with the deer and the birds on the property and we got to know the house. We felt what it would be like to live there throughout the seasons:
Besides the property I grew up on at my Dad’s house in the Midwest as a kid, I’m not sure I’ve ever felt such a strong connection to land before. Our last house -with the pond and the creek- were verrrrry close to this one, but the seclusion here makes me feel even freer. Our chickens still live there so we go there every day where it’s just a sad, demo’d gingerbread-looking shell at the moment.
I’m knee-deep in the design of the house now and the way I’m describing the vibe is “fairytale modern.” It’s a mix of streamlined, 70s modern elements like seamless pocketing glass doors, concrete kitchen, and large fixed glass windows mixed with romantic storybook details like arched shuttered windows, cooking fireplaces with cauldrons, French casement windows, stone walls and gardens leading into meadows and forest. I want it to have a bit of an old Italian vibe with lots of patina but also be fresh and light and clean.
Stone will be a key element throughout the design of the property, where we’re incorporating stone walls, terraces and a stone + glass “orangery” addition off the garden (affectionately known as my “witchy’ room -basically, a room for me to wash vegetables from the garden, grow some plants, store all of my seeds, books & herbals and have a big project/dining table and fireplace with cauldron). I’m planning to use this Dolomitic limestone (kind of full circle… my family is from the Dolomite Mountains in Northern Italy) :
It’s got lots of honey hues mixed with some grays and browns and I’m hoping will be just what I’m after.
For the orangery floor, we found antique Italian stone tiles from an old villa (top left in photo below) and I picked them because of how soft they are. After centuries of being walked on, many of the tiles have been smoothed down so that they feel like the inside of a seashell and I’m really excited about bringing in something with such history to the new addition. We didn’t get quite as much as we need so I may also add antique kronos stone (bottom right in the photo below) into the mix:
For our foyer & mudroom flooring, we’re going to look for stones around the property to make something like this:
I may have to buy some bags of stone to have enough but I’m really excited to find some special stones with the kids. I’m thinking of some sort of Celtic-inspired swirling pattern would be really cool down the long hallway. (pic below)
Framing should be starting in the next couple of weeks and then I’m hoping the project will pick up for real. I’ve designed the kitchen, laundry room, pantry and all the bathrooms and have a few plumbing fixtures + lighting to go to finish those designs up. I’m planning on posting some video walk-throughs of the designs themselves to explain what we’ll be doing… it’s all a little different and I’m SO excited to be getting to stretch creatively on this one!! (On a side note, we’re working on a project with old client friends of ours and we are doing some A-mazzzzzing things in there too… It’s always fun to work with people a second time when the trust has been built and they just want you to do your thing for them!!)
Have a happy weekend!!