Adventures in the North Fork

When you are buying and/or selling properties, things can get “extra” (as the kids say) real quick. For instance, convincing your sister to drive down to Long Island (from Boston) and back in the same day with you to pick up chairs you *may* have already purchased over the phone to ensure your potential buyers sign the purchase and sales agreement.

When we had to re-list #PorterStreetLoft we needed to look as appealing as possible; so when the buyers asked for – no kidding – HALF of our furniture, I obliged. What a dumb move. The bar stools they asked for didn’t even belong to me – they were my sister & brother-in-laws. Knowing they were from West Elm, I figured it wouldn’t be hard to replace them. WRONG!  Turns out West Elm had stopped making them in that fabric and color and the only place they were still in stock was 160 miles PLUS an hour ferry ride away in Riverhead, New York.

So off we went…


My sister, always being a good sport, humored me by coming along – even after I told her I would be picking her up at 5:15am!


I remember vividly having our friend and realtor-extraordinaire Ed letting us know on the afternoon of the mortgage contingency that the buyer couldn’t secure a mortgage. After having #PorterStreetLoft off the market, in the height of the summer-selling-season for almost 30 days, we were disappointed to say the least. Having to go through the process of relisting our home felt like we were starting from scratch. We really wouldn’t have made it through the process without Ed. He was calm, reassuring, and worked his tail off to set up private showings & open houses. He is the best and if you’re in the Boston housing market – there’s no one who is going to work harder for you than Ed!

I digress, but turns out the trip down to Riverhead was completely worth it. Not only did they have the counter stools in velvet grey dove as needed but my sister and I both brought home rugs at seriously reduced prices.

Mid-Century Upholstered Counter Stool, Lagoon, Pecan



While the location wasn’t ideal from Boston, I would highly recommend the Tanger Outlets in Riverhead, NY for the West Elm & Williams Sonoma stores alone. As most outlet stores, they don’t hold merchandise for you and typically get new inventory daily. I always  make a list of items I need for each project and go in armed with that information. That way, I don’t end up buying unnecessary things. I try to shop as consciously as possible and encourage my clients to do the same!



Until next time!

-Rustic Acres Design


Hey gang – Since I’ve worked in the political arena for the last 15 years (yup – a story for another day!), I’m not an expert on interior design/decorating. I’ve taken a passion for both and started down the road to becoming legitimate through courses & certifications, BUT sometimes the best way to learn is to just do.

Since starting Rustic Acres Design, I’ve found myself constantly reaching for the same tools and equipment over and over again. Some are obvious, like a tape measure; others like chalk, are not. Well, at least not to me!

So here’s my ole college try at weekly series, where I’ll post about a tool that I constantly have in my bag ‘o tricks.

Huzzah! My new idea: #ToolTipTuesday!

We’ll kick this series off with a roundup of the best tape measures a girl could ask for. While this may be pretty mundane or obvious to many of you – tape measures are something I carry around with me on the daily, and you’re going to want the right one for the job.

Here are my two hand dandy tape measures that I always have in my bag:

I typically have a flexible tape measure with me too. That’s critical for those tough-to-measure spots, think window treatments or under cabinet lighting, as well as any small, hard-to-reach corners.

You don’t need anything fancy when it comes to flexible or standard measuring tapes. The flexible tape measure I bought on Amazon for $4 and I think the Stanley one was around $10. No need to break the bank but make sure to look for density when you buy your standard measuring tape. You want it to feel heavy in your hand with the right release mechanism for times when you’re taking measurements alone.

And because I want to know what my measurements mean, I always have space dimensions and room plans saved in my phone to verify and use as a guide!

Plain and simple, carrying a tape measure in my bag may seem batty but it has saved me multiple times from buying a piece that’s too large or too small (the WORST!), or just not quite right for the space.

Happy ToolTipTuesday!

-Rustic Acres Design

We’re in!

It’s official – we moved into #BirchRoadReno a little over a week ago and are loving it! We’ve been quiet on here and insta, but it’s been a bit overwhelming with the pure amount of STUFF we have to unpack. Example “a” below:


As the sunset on what was to be our first night in our new home, the movers finally arrived to unload our belongings. Two storage units, one basement of boxes, one temporary living situation, which I realized when my sister and brother-in-law brought over multiple bags of stuff we left there, that we had WAY more in their home than I remembered , were all loaded into various rooms of our home <insert wide eye emoji here>

This go around we used Gentle Giant as our movers and despite their almost double price tag from the last few moves we had, their service was superior. They were polite and helpful, they took pictures of the damage done to our belongings from the previous movers (yes, I filed a complaint with them) and had me write down the time they arrived and time the left. We will use them again in the future!

I thought I was being clever by using different color duct tape to color coordinate what boxes would go where in the new house; except for the fact that I packed most things so long ago I couldn’t remember what the color of the duct tape stood for. Needless to say, there were pots and pans on the third floor and bedding in the kitchen but it was fun to “find” all of our stuff again.

Here are a few pictures of our state of affairs! Check our instagram for daily posts and stories and…for our other projects to take a turn being reported on.



Managing {great} Expectations

I’ve written this post three times in the last two weeks. 

We still haven’t moved into #birchroadreno. We have been living with my sister and brother-in-law and their pooch since the end of November.

darwin doggo
Here’s Darwin half asleep and content to snug, half annoyed we are still on his couch.

The last few weeks, mainly since the beginning of 2019, have been a roller coaster of emotions. You name them, and I’m feeling them: excitement, disappointment, aggravation, anxiety, frustration and at times, delirium. Really feeling all the feelings these days. 

First the positive: 

Excitement over the progress and near finish of our house. Our general contractor Pat, who we’ve known for years, has been instrumental in keeping things on track, including herding our subcontractors. He’s also who we bought all of our cabinets, vanities and hardware from, and stone slabs through which was a great experience. 

Our electrician, Kevin, has been working away replacing the knob and tube and upgrading all of our systems/zones since August, and thankfully he isn’t sick of us yet! He has taken the time to explain the process and upgrade while dealing with our indecisiveness on our final lighting controls & fixtures. The tile work has been an incredible process to watch unfold and Luigi’s craftsmanship is beautiful. The same goes for our carpentry work. Our carpenter John, is an artisan. He has taken our kitchen cabinets, walls, windows and other details to the next level. The precision of details scattered around this old house of ours are truly beautiful. I have to admit, I was skeptical about crown modeling. In general it sounds old, even dated to me. But I’ve been proven wrong. I can’t wait to show you all. 

I can’t stress enough the value in developing meaningful, personal relationships with your team. One complaint I have heard repeatedly is that the homeowner can’t get their contractor/electrician/painter…etc on the phone.  We have built relationships with each one of our subcontractors and could tell you more about their families, kids and grandkids; their likes/dislikes and hobbies but most importantly, I know I can call/text/email almost all of our contractors personally. My husband and I are both collectors of friends so once you’re in our life, you’re kind of stuck with us. Take our friends Liz & Jeffrey for example. We met on vacation one year in the Caribbean and not only did they come to our wedding, but we see them regularly and are vacationing together later this year! 

This isn’t to say our renovation has been without hiccups. We have our fair share of those. Like when the stone fabricator figured out the quarry sent the wrong slabs ! (Thanks again, Marcelo!) or that our plumber installed the wrong bathtub filler and went MIA for the last several weeks instead of communicating what was going on. Turns our out builder’s wife had been hospitalized and the plumber (who works directly for him) was overextended. Had we known that at the beginning of this project it would have allowed for us to plan better and not have such high expectations on scheduling.

Gratitude: We are beyond grateful for being able to live with my sister and brother-in-law (and their pooch Darwin!) and disrupting their normal routine & home life. They have made this unpredictable time as enjoyable and comfortable for us we could hope for and it’s been great to be able to hang with them on the regular. 


Disappointment over missed deadlines, disappearing plumbers, delays, delays and more delays. We’ve moved our move-in date so many times, I can’t count what iteration we are on. I had to move it again last week. I was feeling like total garbage. I was depressed and anxious and really very on the edge. There were more than a few nights/mornings this past week where I felt like I would tear up if someone even looked at me wrong.

Aggravation over feelings of helplessness; rounded out by layers of anxiety and POOF! That’s me in a nutshell these days. 

Emotions are a funny thing. Sometimes they’re rational and sometimes they’re not. 

Takeaways & Advice for preparing yourself for any project large or small. 

Having clear communication between yourself, your general contractor and your subcontractors is key. That is one of the most important lessons we learned throughout this process. It prepares you for inevitable delays and construction issues. It helps to manage your expectations on issues such as scheduling, installation, lead times and drying times.

Which leads me to another important lesson we learned the hard way. Whatever time line you agree upon with your builders, I would add 2-4 weeks to it. I realize this sounds insane but it helps prepare you mentally for the home stretch. I have found the last few weeks of #birchroadreno  to be the most difficult. There are time consuming projects at the end of a massive renovation such as painting, staining the floors, and plumbing tie-ins, that can’t happen until everyone else is out of the work space. Knowing this ahead of time allows you to plan for the final few weeks.

I realize not everyone would have the luxury of living with family. We are incredibly lucky to be able to bunk with Julie and Ryan over the last few months. It’s emotionally exhausting – renovation and moving, never mind if we would have had to find temporary lodging – which many people must do. The cost whether it’s emotional or financial can be the deciding factor for some weighing a home renovation.

This whole process has been a giant learning experience. While I knew we were in it for the long haul, being so close to the finish line has created such a mix of emotions. I tell myself that anyone would have a hard time managing them. 

……right?? Hope I’m not alone!

Another postponement really put me in a funk this past week. But still, there is a light at the end of the tunnel – we only moved the movers by seven days. As I write this, it’s full speed ahead for this upcoming Saturday which coincidentally is the 6 month anniversary of when we closed on the purchase of #birchroadreno. That’s gotta be a sign, right?

-Rustic Acres Design Co.


This week #BirchRoadReno has seen a ton of progress. I plan on doing full before and after shots of each room as well as a recap of the entire design process with all of our contractors and subs covered later this spring. So for now, here’s a progress update on the second floor bathroom!


Could not be more excited for how this turned out. The brass is just the right amount of punch this marble bath needed!