Thursday, September 10, 2009


One thing we know we want to do is get off the grid, at least primarily, for our electricity. I've worked briefly in the wind power field, hydropower won't work on a small scale, geothermal requires a heck of a lot of earth-moving from what I can gather. So solar it is. And I have an acquaintance who did the engineering for a company in New Jersey to outfit a Whole Foods to run on solar power.

The garage/office that we want to build seems like its roof would be situated perfectly for solar panels across one slope.
Walking around the neighborhood I've noticed quite a few homes with solar panels, but usually just 2-4 panels. I'm guessing they're not running off them entirely.
I used to babysit at a home in Vermont that was entirely solar, as solar installation was the father's career. They had low-wattage everything, and the lighting was quite dimmed in the evenings, but otherwise it seemed pretty straightforward. So we might have to outfit the house with all new lighting fixtures and a few other items.

Here's some info I found that might be helpful:
For Massachusetts residents:
Free financial assessment for solar in the home:
A company that supposedly 'does it all' and maintains the installed system for 18 years:

Also, we want to add a small inground pool at some point. We'd like to heat it, and we have friends who have a solar-heated pool that is really cool. So I'm sure I'll be picking their brains about that!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Out & About, Aug '09

I walk a lot in neighborhoods nearby. I try to carry a camera in my pocket when possible. Here is random home/landscaping stuff I liked from the month of August...

I need more mid and late
summer color in our yard.
I keep seeing these big
flowers in many different
hues on my walks. I asked
my neighbor about hers
finally: Rose of Sharon.
Probably explains why my
friend down the street has
a some in front of their
house, I'm guessing it's
because her wife's name is
Sharon. Awww....

I haven't looked up what these dark pink flowers are yet, though they look rather similar to impatiens. I just love the dark foliage...
I love climbing vines that flower. Are these morning glories? I really want a Wysteria vine too.
That's it for August. I'll probably have more in September now that I thought to do this!

Monday, August 31, 2009


I keep thinking if I just sleep on it, or if I write down pluses and minuses, or convince myself to by a lottery ticket, that all the overwhelming financial obligations of the home renovation process will make themselves clear. But no. It is what it is. and we don't have much to begin with.

Given what I WANT to do, and knowing that these sorts of projects always go hideously over budget, I figure we need
approximately what our
house cost in the first place
to complete an addition and
renovation of the score I

But we can barely afford
socks right now, like many
in this country right now, so what to do? Well, doing nothing sure isn't going to get me what I want. So I'm going to start small. I'm going to try to save a measely $10 per week every week 'til the end of this year, and reevaluate in 2010. That ought to buy me a new sink fixture, right?! LOL

Monday, August 17, 2009

In the beginning...

I went for a walk today, a hot muggy day not meant for a meander through the neighborhood. I needed to get away from home to think about our home: an old yellow colonial right next to a busy road, supposedly built in 1879, with a few additions since.
We've been there since 2002. We've replaced things, thrown away stuff, painted inside, done some gardening outside.
But this was never meant to be my dreamhouse. Until my children were all born here. And now I don't want to leave. Sentimental.

I grew up on Gardiner's Bay on Long Island. On the beach. And near the woods too. A year round local on an island populated mostly by tourists. But I always envisioned finding my way back to the water...Chatham, the Hamptons, Maine, Cairns, Florida coast.
Yet now I can't imagine leaving where I am. I never wanted to move here, and now that I'm here I realize how good I have it. How good my family has it.

So what to do about the house...

I spent my childhood designing plans for my dreamhome. I almost went to architecture school. I was a nanny for 2 architects' kids. I still buy home design magazines and landscape architecture books. I have spent countless hours pregnant in this house renovating it in my mind's eye again and again and again.

But on my walk today I realized I need to do something more tangible. Something proactive. It's time to compile what I know I want, and figure out a plan to get it.

This blog is about my quest to create my dreamhome from a house I never dreamed I'd be living in. If it takes a decade, or two, or never at all, I can learn a lot from others along the way about what I want and what I don't.

Even if my dreamhouse only exists on virtual paper, it's time for it to become a reality.