new hampshire

[insert backyard pun here]

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about landscaping. Which is weird coming from a person who previously would have called a sidewalk planter with a tree stump and a few rotting cabbages “nature.” But I guess being a homeowner and getting excited about seeing our front and back yards thaw and blossom has changed my perception.

We always talked about wanting a garden. Not anything we could totally live off, but maybe a few fresh veggies we could clip right before dinner. I always imagine wearing a white apron and channeling Martha while doing this, although I’m sure it would actually be sneaking around the house in my pajamas hoping the neighbors don’t see, and then turning around and seeing that the dog has eaten all the tomatoes. But it’s worth a try.

The tough thing about gardening is that you have to start thinking about it while there is still multiple feet of snow on the ground. Some seeds take 8-12 weeks before they’re ready to be transplanted outside, so the garden needs to be planned and supplies ordered in February. At least that’s what it seems… I wouldn’t take my gardening advice on anything at this point. IANAG. Anyways, our biggest concern was keeping our future seedlings away from the dog. She has been digging up the previous owners’ garden since she came home with us, so we knew we couldn’t just plant things in the backyard like normal people. Luckily we do have a south facing front yard that she can’t access, so we’re going to try and keep edible plants in window boxes and flowers in the ground around the front walkway. I’m sure we’ll get other peoples’ kids/dogs running through so I don’t know what will survive here, but it’s all we’ve got right now.

Eventually we might fence off a garden area of the backyard, but for now, we’re only working with the front. Since our front yard currently looks like this:


…I had to reference a photo from when we first saw the house (October). I honestly don’t even remember it ever looking this green and lush.


So here’s the current plan:

-trim down the front hedges

build and install two window boxes for the bottom front windows, and plant any edible sprouts

-extend pavers to make room for lounge furniture (and, uh, buy lounge furniture…)
-refinish shutters (they are in worse condition than they look)
-add a carport?


-plant wildflowers and maybe some tall grasses facing the street

-since the front yard is southfacing, this would be a place where we could work during the day and get maximum sunlight. We might eventually add a front fence, just for some added privacy. But that definitely won’t happen for at least a year or two. You know, once we already have a fully matured garden and Martha is begging to come over for dinner. Then we’ll talk about a retaining wall or a tasteful fence to keep the riffraff out.

We already have seedlings planted– a few types of flowers, mint, tomatoes, strawberries, chives, and lettuce. All from Johnny’s, as were all our seed-starting supplies. I’m hoping to have the window boxes complete by mid-May to replant them outside.


Meanwhile, here’s what we’re thinking for the backyard. I already shared this post about inspiration for the back deck as part of the dining inspiration, but I think I’m starting to prepare to actually do some of it. As a reminder (mostly to myself, but also to you) here is what the yard used to look like before we bought it, and before it was covered in multiple feet of pure ice:

giftable@home giftable@home

-add a small fenced portion for future years’ gardens, probably about 2/3 of the depth of the garage (see above)-build a bonfire area, hopefully with a built-in pizza oven and seating

-add string lights to the deck– need to add height, similar to this tutorial

And to prove that we actually have made progress since that Dining Inspiration post, I don’t think we need to do that retractable awning. Sunlight isn’t really a problem, with all the large trees and north orientation. I think it would be more trouble than it’s worth. And we did receive a very nice patio heater from M’s mother, so I can mentally check that off our list (thanks Patty!). I also ordered some outdoor dining furniture and the string lights, so I’m not lying when I say it’s all coming together! Well, I might still be lying a little bit.


❤ v


New House!

So, we FINALLY bought a house in New Hampshire!!! This has been in the works for more years than I care to admit. Mike first told me he wanted to move to NH in 2004. I laughed and told him he’d be moving there alone. In 2008, once he’d put a ring on it, we took our first trip and I fell in love. We were living in Toronto at the time, but ended up moving back to NYC that August, where we stayed until 2011. Most of that time I was getting email updates about houses, but by the time we could book a weekend up north, the house in question was already sold. We decided to rent short term places until we found “the house”, and ended up empty handed after almost two years (with a 6 month break for the road trip) of constantly hunting.

I had just given up and was preparing to stay in our rental apartment for the winter. I finally bought a couch and unpacked the paper-covered artwork that had been sitting in the corner for nearly a year. And, of course, it happened. I got an automated email, just like I did every morning… but this one looked like it checked all the boxes. We dropped by the open house the first day it was listed and walked through relatively quickly and quietly. As soon as we stepped outside, we both whispered “we’re buying this house, right??”

And so we did. We’ve been under contract on houses before that have fallen through, so we didn’t get our hopes up until everything was signed.*

*(That’s not true– I made a secret board on pinterest and had already picked out paint colors. But I pretended that I wouldn’t have been totally bummed if it had fallen through.)

Enough talking. You want to see pictures?? These are from our inspection, so it’s all the previous owner’s belongings.


The living room is the first thing you see when  you walk in the house. It’s super sunny and a great size. A previous owner had opened up the wall between the living and dining rooms, so the first floor has a totally open floor plan which is great. The front entrance area doesn’t have a lot of storage space (the coat closet has been converted to a 1/2 bath), but there’s a side entrance that will be more of a “mudroom” with space for shoes and coats.


Most of the house has the original 1928 floors, doors, and knobs. I’m hoping we can find a few more to match, just to bring it all back to the correct period.


A real set of stairs!! Yay!! I don’t know exactly what we’ll do here but my first thoughts are maybe a photo wall and definitely painting the risers somehow. I also hate hate hate that white railing but M says I can’t demo it until we have a plan for a replacement. So that doesn’t really work considering my plan was to never replace it and just not have a railing. We’ll see.


The basement is enormous and is actually dry-ish (rare for NH) and tall enough for M to stand up (almost unheard of). We will probably section it off so I have a laundry area and M finally gets a music studio. Hope our neighbors don’t mind!


There is only one full bathroom, but it’s huge. The space is not well-utilized so we will do a bit of a renovation in here and maybe move some stuff around. Eventually. For now, I need to get that terrible dark brown color off the walls and do some major sanding (it’s hard to tell just how bad the paint job is… yikes). I do love the original accents in here but don’t know how functional they are, so I’m having an internal struggle about what it will end up looking like.


There are three bedrooms that are all relatively small, but they each have a new built-in closet and plenty of light. We’ll use this one as a guest room.

It’s an antique Sears kit house, and in mostly original condition (minus the kitchen and closets), so I’m feeling a bit limited about changing things. That just means I have to be more creative instead of tearing it down to the studs like we did in Sutton. Not like I would anyway– the house is gorgeous as it is. We weren’t even considering move-in-ready homes, so I’m kind of amazed to be saying all of this. But I’m super excited to see where this journey takes us!!

What do you think?

❤ v