Wednesday, October 24, 2018

the stone cottage

This is the lovely stone cottage we rented through Airbnb. It's located in Navarre, Ohio and was built in 1846.

The night we arrived, it was quite cold and dark. We had been up since 4 in the morning and then spent the day touring around. But on the way into town, we passed the local high school. The field was lit up, the stands were packed and the field was covered in football players, cheerleaders on the sidelines and two marching bands. It was a Friday night football game! Welcome to the U S of A. The boys were so excited (even Ryan admitted he would love to stop and watch) so off we went. "It's kind of like hockey but with no sticks and ice!" announced Hudson as we made our way to the field. Unfortunately, the minute we got to the entrance it started pouring.We had umbrellas and raincoats, but we could only make it through about 20 minutes. It was just too much for the littlest ones.

Driving up to this old house was such a warm welcome. We were so excited when we opened the front door because honestly, the photos online didn't do it justice. And really, neither will mine. But here they are anyway.

The entire house must have been redone - a total gut job.

Thankfully, all of the beautiful character was left, and in some cases, made more beautiful. The exposed stone looks like it has been re-pointed. The beams have been exposed, but all the electrical and plumbing has been moved and hidden. This makes everything look clean.

Patio doors to the back yard allow for extra light. The hidden plumbing and vents are to the right, in the bump out.

There is a brand new kitchen.

And small dining area.

And then upstairs, there are two bedrooms, and a bathroom. This is the master bedroom. It's a good size, though it had a double bed. I think this may be because it would be hard to get a queen sized box spring up the stairs.

I'm very picky when it comes to quilts, but she had a couple lovely ones! The blue one was actually the reverse side of a very classic, busy quilt, but I so preferred this fabric.

The bathroom is also lovely with a large shower (though no tub), and an antique wash stand that has been made into a sink.

The second smaller bedroom is also so charming with it's exposed beams. It has a tiny door which lead to a tiny ladder-like staircase to the the attic space. It hadn't been touched, but it would make a cozy loft space.

It was so nice to have a whole house to ourselves - especially for the kids. It gave them room to play and stretch out (or separate) after being in the car for so long. And we had everything we would need, including access to laundry, which was very handy.

For a rental house, it was furnished nicely, but it was so fun to sit with my coffee, dreaming up how I would furnish it if it was ours. With a house this full of character, it doesn't take much!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

weekend in ohio

 I'm a proud Canadian - I love my country. But if I'm honest, every time we take a trip to the US and discover these amazing small towns, full of historic homes and a rich history, we get a little day-dreamy and start looking up real estate.

Of course we wouldn't actually move there. After all, we have our dream historic home right here! But I am always thankful that so many great places are only a days drive from us: Nantucket, New York, Boston, New England, and even Ohio. Aside from the cottage, most of our favourite places to road trip to are in the States - usually out East. We are very much drawn to the East Coast. (Though we can't wait to head South one year and cross Charleston off our list!)

We stayed in this charming stone house I found on Airbnb. It was more reasonable than staying at an inn or hotel as a family of 6, and was so much more comfortable. It has recently been completely refinished, and done very well! It had all the gorgeous character of a stone house - exposed beams, exposed stones and deep window ledges - but all the comforts of a modern home. It was also spotless.

My parents "cottage" in Amish Country a couple times a year. We decided to find somewhere to stay near them, in the Holmes County area, so we could meet up with them, but also tour around the surrounding countryside. 

I think my favourite small town was Winesburg, with it's population of 352 people. Wooster was a pretty city, with a gorgeous college district full of big old homes, and some great little shops. And the countryside, it's just beautiful. Farms are tucked in the valleys, horses, cows and sheep dot the rolling hills, and every now and then you have to slow down for a horse-drawn buggy.

This stone cottage was a tiny inn in the town of Winesburg. It was beyond charming!

Another reason we picked this area was because we were travelling with the kids. It's a lot harder travelling with four kids - one a toddler and one a newborn. We made lots of stops, and did a lot of "dividing and conquering". If Ryan found a brewery he wanted to check out, he would pop in for a tasting and I would sit in the car and feed George while Jude slept, and the boys ran around outside. Or I would drop Ryan and the boys off at a great park in town and take George to quickly pop into the shops I wanted to browse. And then of course one evening my parents took the boys so we could go out for a couple hours which was lovely. We also selected buffet style restaurants which meant the boys could pick what they wanted and didn't have to wait around. (It's also their favourite kind of place to eat, so it was something special for them.) While driving we listened to Harry Potter on audio book, which kept them fairly quiet and entertained. And having a house to ourselves was nicer than a hotel room, especially for them to have space to play.

I will hopefully get around to posting some photos of the rental soon. Honestly, the one morning I just sat in the arm chair, sipping my coffee, furnishing every square inch of the home in my mind.

Not to mention all the homes we found along the way that would be gorgeous. Like this old home with an attached storefront - I mean seriously...

Monday, October 15, 2018


I recently watched a sketch of two neighbors - Canada and the United States - saying hello at the fence. The Canadian neighbor was wishing his American neighbor a Happy Thanksgiving, to which the American responded "Isn't that a bit early?" The Canadian explained how we celebrate in October, and that no, none of our other holidays are early; we celebrate the rest at the same time. The American hints at an invitation, and when the Canadian obliges, he adds that no, they wouldn't be having Sweet Potatoes with mini marshmallows as "that's just weird".

A huge amount of bloggers, and Instagram accounts I follow for inspiration, including Magazine publications like Martha Stewart Living, are American. So a lot of Fall focus is first on Halloween and then Thanksgiving, which can also tend to have a Christmas feel to it.

Personally, I'm not sure which I prefer. With our Thanksgiving being early in October, it can often feel less like Autumn, and more like Summer still. However, I like the space we have between Thanksgiving and Christmas. For the past couple of years, I've just decided to celebrate both. You can't have too much gratitude - or Pumpkin Pie, in my opinion. One usually includes large get togethers with our families, and the other, a small intimate dinner for just us.

Regardless, this year, as nearly all of our immediate family was out of town, we didn't have much planned, so it honestly snuck up on me! My parents were the only ones home, and as my mom wasn't busy making hundreds of pies for the store, she wanted to make dinner. She told me I could have it at our place, which suited me perfectly, as it meant I could still enjoy setting the table. So set the table I did.

I have envisioned this pair of pheasants down the center of my Thanksgiving table for a very long time. My mom and I purchased from an antique shop five years ago to sell at the store. For a couple years my Aunt had them in her kitchen, and this past Spring, knowing how much I loved them, gifted them to me. They were my inspiration.

I made simple arrangements of white Roses and berries from our Ivy in clay pots. I liked how the clay picked up the copper tones of the birds.

The greenish blue tones that they also have made the blue berries and greyish blue squash good accents.

I love the woven chargers with our dining chairs. and simple ribbon-tied napkins to make each place setting more special.

George sat content, sleeping quietly, as I puttered around.

The next morning was a holiday Monday, but we lazed around like it was a Saturday. I made Pumpkin Spice waffles and we spent the morning reading. In the afternoon, the boys went for a hike, while I walked around the Balls Falls Thanksgiving Show with George.

All the historic buildings were dressed up for Fall, and everything is tucked in and around the old village. It was a gorgeous weekend - the perfect way to put one in the mood for Fall.

Looking forward to seeing how you all decorate your Thanksgiving tables.

Ribbon and Candles - Everyday Occasions 
Chargers - Pier One (in stores only)
Table Cloth by Ralph Lauren - Homesense
Soother Clip - Darling Emma Handmade