Home Sweet Home

After renting for about four years post college, we made the plunge and bought our first place- a charming english cottage style coop in the Hudson Valley.

We lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts for three years while Will was in law school, then moved to New York in 2012. We rented for a year in Hastings-on-Hudson (a commuter Rivertown 30 minutes north of Manhattan) to get our feet wet and see how we liked the area. We fell in love with the historic Hudson Valley and with a buyers market and historically low interest rates, we knew it was time to settle and find a home.

After endless months of searching, we ended up at the beginning with one of the first places we fell in love with. We really wanted a house and a yard, but this coop was too good to pass up. Will’s apiary, vibrant vegetable garden, and backyard chickens will just have to wait a little longer.

In August, we happily moved into our 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath, 1400 sqft coop. It was a fierce and long process (or so it felt like) between the coop and mortgage paperwork, but thankfully all parties involved were competent and kind. Coops are a little more complicated to purchase, being that it’s sort of a transaction between three parties instead of two. Coop board has to approve the buyer and the bank has to like the coop’s financials. Thankfully all seemed to be in order and the process was tied-up within a two month period.

To see detailed photo captions, simply hover over the photo with your cursor or click the photo to enlarge.

The building footprint is a giant “H” shape, with a front courtyard and back courtyard, with a slight elevation shift at the halfway point. This is due to the naturally sloping land that often accompanies being so close to the Hudson River. The building, originally built in the 1930s, has unobstructed views of the river, with stunning night-time views of the city to the south and Tappanzee bridge to the north- not to mention the imposing palisades to the west.

To prepare for the move, Will and I completed numerous DIY projects. After making such a LARGE purchase, we felt like being prudent and sought to save money where possible- a philosophy which should always serve well. For the coop, we did all of the painting (master bedroom went from dark green to light grey, spare bedroom from yellow to light/cool lilac, and downstairs living room from off white to an aged beige). Everything else stayed light and bright! For allergen purposes, we also ripped out the carpet in the bedroom. The ripping part was quite easy- pulling out over one thousand staples from solid oak- not so much. Otherwise, the previous owner had renovated the 1980s unit in 2012, so the kitchen, bathrooms, and electric were all up to date.

863024_mul_m860077_bwh_bThere’s still a number of items we want to cross off of our list before we can call our home complete. For starters, the entire second bedroom needs to be resolved. Also, the front hall seems bare and is begging for either a collage of framed pictures or a hand painted mural. I have a vision of painting a victorian-esque tree and branch mural with birds and a few blossoms. So far I’ve either been too lazy or intimidated, but for once we have our own walls to do with as we please! The downstairs half bath could also use some character, and an interesting wallpaper could look great above the chair rail. I love nearly every wallpaper from Anthropology (see examples to the right).

The projects we have completed so far have been pretty easy, and I recommend learning how to reupholster to anyone willing to try. All you need is a base (Home Depot will do simple cuts for you with wood or mdf), foam and/or batting (I even reused an old mattress topper), staple gun, and material of your choice (Joann Fabric has a decent selection and is always running 40% off coupons). It does help to know how to pull the fabric when stapling, however. You stretch the fabric like a canvas (starting on the middle of each side and working your way out with opposing tension- watch a youtube video or two). So far, we’ve done the cane bench, two leather chairs (pulling and re-using the original studs was not that easy, however), dining room benches and chairs, and repurposed ottoman in the living room.  We also painted (spray paint, we used all purpose Rustoleum from Home Depot, about $4 a can) the coffee table and bureau, and refinished a side table. It’s hard to point out anything in our home that we bought “new”, and we love the character of all the pieces we’ve accumulated. Plus, as they say, they just don’t make things like the used to (see Ikea wardrobe in bedroom- it’s practically solid cardboard).

The Hudson Valley is a beautiful place to live and offers the unique ability to be a part of a historic, small town while still having access to the city. Sleepy Hollow is only 20 minutes north of us, and we love to hike the Rockefeller land on weekends, stepping back in time amongst century old trees and stone bridges and walls. We like to think that Hastings is one of the best kept secrets, but after two town profiles in the New York Times, this small town may eventually just become an extension of the city itself- but hopefully not for a long time!

Side note: Did anyone spot at least one cat in almost every room photo above? That was not on purpose- they just like to follow you everywhere. I would shoot one photo, and turn my camera two seconds later for an entirely different frame and BAM- cat would be there again (see bedroom photos above).

It’s Been Awhile

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To say it’s been awhile since the last post in April, is, well, the perfect truth. Things have happened, photos have been taken, but no blogging in nearly half a year. What was April rain is now fall foliage whipping through the air with each gust off the Hudson River.  June 1st saw the wedding celebration of Will and I with family and friends (all photos can be found here). And August witnessed the purchase of our very first home. Since then, we’ve been settling into our new abode and finding the rhythm of home and happiness. (Photo at right is the view from the Hudson National Golf course, where the wedding party was held.)

I’ve been collecting photos to share, most on my iPhone due to its ease and availability. But some gems were captured on my DSLR. In good time, I hope to share some interior photos of our new home, an english cottage-style coop in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York- about 30 minutes north of the city.

(Below is a photo of our building, along with a view of a Hudson River sunset from our backyard, and a rose in bloom that was outside our front door.)

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To usher in the fall spirit, we recently attended the Stone Barns Harvest Festival. Stone Barns is a functioning farm located in Pocantico Hills (near Sleepy Hollow, NY) on the Rockefeller State Park Preserve. The farm is always open to visitors but during their fall fest, guests can really explore all of the farm’s features, from learning how to raise bees to meeting the pigs, turkeys, chickens, and sheep.

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And of course, no photo update would be complete without more cute (and sometimes hilarious) photos of Marshall and Lily.

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Marshall hiding under the couch.

It’s now that I realize that the past six months of my life seem to be vastly dominated by cats.

So that’s some of what we’ve been up to in the past half a year. A lot of work went into purchasing our first home- from navigating the endless paperwork to simply preparing for the move. During the process, we completed a number of DIY projects to get the coop ready, from painting rooms and tearing up carpet to reupholstering furniture. We scored a number of great finds from yard sales and such, and really revamped some older finds by painting or refinishing some old pieces. Our home is still a work in process-  a whole room needs to be resolved and I have some more painting ideas, (like a victorian inspired tree and bird mural near the front door) but I’m hoping to post some photos of where we’re at so far, soon.

Of course, the fall season would not be complete without a day of apple picking (and I don’t mean stealing iPhones). The panoramic photo below is from Stuart’s Farm in Granite Springs, NY.

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For those in New England, cheers to the brisk, cool air and colored trees, fall wardrobes  and spiced cider. For those in warmer climates- be thankful you don’t have the impending chore of shoveling snow.

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BONUS photos below!

Random assortment of photos that have been lingering on my camera memory card and subsequently Lightroom for quite awhile. . . barely seeing the light of day until now!

Izzy.