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Traditional Home Blog

It’s rare in a house renovation that there’s literally nothing to report. This week, unfortunately, that rare fact rings true. Everything is at a standstill! We’re still waiting for the town to approve raising the house, and I can’t express how disappointed I am. I figured when we came back from vacation, when I was still recovering from my bracelet loss, I’d at least come home to a lifted house... More
This week was our last visit to the house before they start lifting it, which was a somewhat melancholy and bittersweet experience. We fell in love with the house as a small, authentic Connecticut beach cottage. So while lifting it is, in fact, saving it, I feel like I’m saying goodbye to the house that was. Inside will still be the same—even better now—but the outside will change dramatically... More
By Jaqui Lividini This week we went to Harborside, Maine, to an amazing store for antique fixtures called Architectural Antiquities. The owner is John Jacobs, who’s been in the business forever and has the most beautiful antique sinks, doors, arches, windows, mantles, portholes, light fixtures…the list goes on! He travels all over New England to find these unique pieces. The store is literally... More
So continues our gorgeous trip through Coastal Maine. I’m hoping it’s coming off as the sequel you’ve all been anxiously awaiting! As we continued east, our next stop was Tenants Harbor. We popped into Stonefish, a store that mixes antiques with modern designs. I, of course, pillaged everything immediately on arrival. I found a temple bell to add to my bell collection (great for clearing space... More
For this week I thought I’d take you on a turn through my trip to Coastal Maine. Now that I’ve taken you through much of the technical renovation talk I figured it was time for something a bit more fun…home shopping! To kick off my first shopping day in Boothbay Harbor, as a New Yorker, I of course contemplated where to get a super big decaf/skim cappuccino.  Boothbay Harbor... More
The house under construction today. Last Tuesday was the big town meeting we've been waiting for—the one to decide whether or not our plans to raise the house would be approved by our town. (A little ironic because the town demanded the variance in the first place.) The zoning “board” meets every month to determine the viability of house projects that need special attention.  The town... More
I’ve made so many mistakes in my life as a “mad renovator” – many just common sense lapses.  I asked Chip Brian and Mike Daddio, the principals at Design Development, to share with us their expert thoughts on the top 10 most common renovator mistakes.  In looking them over I realized I have committed every single one.  So much for the “seasoned” renovator tag! Design Development... More
When asked who their style icon is, many women answer Audrey Hepburn or Jackie Kennedy. Mine is Helen Ballenger, my late maternal grandmother, poised and impeccably slim with a Hollywood smile. Her dark flashing eyes and Alpine cheekbones were often emphasized by a hat. She loved to tell the story of applying for a job at Chasnoff’s, a toney store on Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza.... More
This week’s post gets down to one of the fun parts of renovating – the kitchen. I’ve done many kitchens in the past and it always seems to slip my mind how difficult this process can be until the task is before me (yet again). Designing a kitchen is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle.  Since my cottage has limited kitchen space, the trick is fitting all the appliances in effortlessly.... More
There are many elements of renovation that don’t necessarily sound sexy or moving. But that’s what I’m here for, to make you realize that things like storage can actually be as delectable as the Met Ball images you’re perusing online. Yes, storage…you heard me correctly. When we moved out of Easter cottage in 2002, we were expecting to buy a house in Stonington, so we moved the entire contents... More