writing about what i love.

Behold! Ashlyn's pretty little attic bedroom here in New England. After I finish posting the pictures of our Harvard house, I'll start posting the before and afters of our home here on the East Coast.

This room was a pretty good makeover. We started with maroon floors and mauve and blue walls. And look at it now! I've said it before and I'll say it again: white paint is like magic in a can!

Over the last couple months, I have started writing a few posts for Oilo, one of my favorite textile companies. A few weeks ago I shared some fresh looks for girls' bedrooms and this was one of them; all white + a piece of brightly painted furniture.

Writing for Oilo has reminded me how much I love writing about design, about projects, and about fun things to do with my kids--basically I love writing about the things that make life feel beautiful and happy to me. It is so fulfilling to me to be creative in this way.

I have been slowly working on creating a new site where I will write, and hopefully one day, I will offer on-line classes for summer workshops & adventures, and mommy and me classes, birthday party ideas, and maybe even sell some of the party supplies I love to design.  :)

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closing the chapter on harvard avenue: lower level family room tour

photo by carin davis

It's been a little over a year that we've been here in New England. And oh what a year. One day we will write a book entitled 'Our Year In New Hampshire' and next time we see each other, ask us to tell you a story and you better believe, we will have a good one for you!  There are just so many to choose from!

We have had so many adventures, both good and bad. But we are adjusting to a new place, new people and beginning to find our place here on the East Coast.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.  Before I really get started here on this current chapter, I want to finish that chapter.

Yes that one.

On our dearly loved Harvard Avenue.

The last few months of living there were rough, with James commuting back east and the kids and I  at home trying to finish up the remodel...the remodel that was a couple days from full completion when Piper (the dog) used the water supply line in the upstairs bathroom as a chew toy and flooded the main level and the freshly completed basement while we were away for the day.

It is never a good thing when you open the front door, and it sounds like it is raining in your house.

Yes Harvard house remodel, you nearly did me in.  And then to have to leave you three months after completion, nearly broke my wee designer heart. I've started this post, several times over the last year, but the tears would start flowing every time I looked through these pictures. Not because of the remodel process(!) but because I've never lived in a place that so truly felt like home.

I loved living here, with our home being filled with friends and family. I loved the park up the street, Immigration Market, the Clayton Musical, breakfast at Eggs in the City, every child's school within a short walk, tree-lined streets in the fall, neighborhood carnivals. It was our little slice of heaven.

So I thought I would document this home with a little home tour before I get started documenting our new home. We'll start with the level that had the most drastic change. The lower level. There was not one inch that was not touched on this level. And it got really bad before it got better!

what we began with...warped slanted hardwood & yellow linoleum stairs and hallway

  knocking out walls, adding new plumbing lines, and pouring level concrete floors

 new open layout, new drywall, new duct work, new lighting & new concrete floors

 we didn't mind the weird wall/duct work since we knew we could hide it by building a media center cabinet here

the original hearth was so cracked and damaged when we bought the home that we knew we would need to end up redoing it. We did the floors in a durable, high end laminate (Mannington) & painted the walls in Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore (yes, along with the rest of the blogging world!)


photo by carin davis

Can you believe the difference?! I hardly can. It was a beast to live through, but this became our perfect little hangout/playroom for all of us. Just down the hall we added two bedrooms, one for Andrew & one for Cam, and a beautiful, albeit pint-sized, bathroom too. Those rooms are coming up next!

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happy august!

this august i am looking forward to:

backyard movies played on the back of our barn
lots of boogie boarding (the water is now over 65 degrees!)
finally launching our brand new gillar girl website!!
getting started on my training schedule for the Cape Cod half marathon
whale watching off the coast of Maine (i hope we see one!)

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happy july!

this july i am looking forward to:

a morning of strawberry picking followed right up with an afternoon of strawberry jam making
flying over those amazingly massive mountains into salt lake city
taking a bath in my brand spankin new bathroom
backyard campouts 
(just kidding. nope this one isn't going to be happening this year. there are BATS here people. lots of em. it is supah freaky)
and of course, 
celebrating this beautiful country with a
firework show in the charming little town of portsmouth

i'm pretty sure there's no better place to celebrate independence day than here in new england!

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hello 2015.

A new year is here. . . and we couldn't be happier about it!

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new england adventures || york maine

I am so thankful for this Jimmy.  How is it that we have been parents for 15 years all ready?!   I'll never forget how excited he was the moment we found out we were going to be parents.  He was pure excitement, so thrilled!  And I was a little terrified about the permanent new phase of life we were going to be entering.  And then eight months later Ashlyn arrived and I fell head over heels in love with her and with being a mama.

As soon as we knew I was pregnant, Jimmy got to work getting a little nursery all ready over the next many weekends, painting, adding wainscot, helping his dad build a changing table.  One day I came home from work and there was a new rocking chair all wrapped up in a big bow sitting in the room.  And lots of nights when I would walk down the hallway heading to our bedroom, I would find him standing in the little nursery quietly looking around, and he would say "I can't wait until the baby is here!"  He is such a wonderful dad and is adored by all in this household!

To celebrate him on father's day, we made a delicious blueberry lemon crumb cake for breakfast (using this recipe.  it's a good one.) And then after church, we drove up the seacoast a little ways to York, Maine for a picnic and relaxing on our favorite spot overlooking the ocean.

One of things I love most about living near the seacoast is that there are so many picturesque beaches along the New England coastline.  We feel like we are on vacation every weekend!

Quintessential New England here.  And just up around this bend is the Nubble Lighthouse on a tiny rock island.  We went there a few weeks ago and I didn't have my camera, so you'll just have to take my word for it that it is the prettiest lighthouse I've ever seen!  And the clam chowder at the little cafe is delicious.

Jimmy admiring all his handmade cards (Ava Carmel looking on with her 3D glasses. haha!  She wishes she had glasses so bad!), and Ashlyn practicing her TED talk for the 1000th time for part of her English final.  (She spoke on the freedom every single person possesses; inner freedom, or the ability to choose your attitude independent of physical restrictions or circumstances.)  She got an A+ so I'm sure she did a great job!  (They actually give A+'s here and also they grade on a 5.0 GPA, not a 4.0.)  New to me.

But her final exams were intense.  It was a stressful place around here for a few weeks.  She's so glad they're over.  But I think the whole family breathed a collective sigh of relief after her last exam.  When Ashlyn ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!  I was oh so tempted to remind her every ten minutes to practice what she preached in her TED talk.  Teenagers love it when you do stuff like that :/

However I am so impressed with the education she is getting in her high school.  She has become a critical thinker, and her ability to express herself verbally and through writing, and (what I love most) her passion for learning has just taken off since being here. I love that she has become such a thinker and is exposed to ideas that push her mind and cause her to really examine what she thinks, what her life philosophies, opinions and beliefs are.  

Isn't being a parent the most rewarding job in the world?!  It really is like watching a little seed grow and gradually unfold itself leaf by leaf.  Only it's a thousand times more fun :)

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new england adventures || the crane estate

The sun has begun to shine more frequently here in New England, and (as expected) my happiness level with being here has increased right along with it.  

Also we have found a house!  We are under contract now on a victorian (with a cupola!) built in 1900--this makes my design heart so happy!  

And so that temporary make-shift feeling is starting to go away.  

This is such a beautiful part of the country, full of stories and history, and despite our frequent homesickness, we LOVE discovering it all!  

One of the places we have discovered is the gorgeous Crane Estate in Ipswich.  Oh beautiful manors that have rolling lawns to the ocean, you are our very favorite.  

I think maybe it is kind of an undiscovered gem here?--although I'm sure it must get busier once school gets out.  (Ugh, this is a never-ending school year. . . only two more days!)  

Anyway, everyone I've mentioned The Crane Estate to, has never been.  We however have been three times in the few months we've lived here!  

We have picnics on the lawns and wander down onto the beach and pretty much have the place to ourselves.  We just kind of pretend it's our house. . . or that we are servants at the house.  You can see the kids practicing greeting our guests--Downton Abbey style, in that picture above :)

Besides the incredible manor & bowling green & Great Gatsby-esque outdoor pool & gardens & outbuildings, the property ends on the best beach we've found so far--lots of sand dunes and trails to explore too.

We've yet to have a really warm, goosebump-free beach day, but I am promised they do actually come!  The kids crazily get into the frigid water sometimes. . . and insist it's not cold. . . and try to get me to come in too.  Nice try. . . no polar bear plunges for this girl.  I prefer my water Caribbean style.

We hadn't planned on getting in the water this day, so didn't wear our suits.  But Andy can never resist getting further and further into the water until his pants or shorts or soaking wet.  It happens every time.  Here he is wrapped up in a blanket while his pants hang on the fence drying off. . .  :)


Looking forward to a summer full of adventures with this little crew of mine.  xo

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