A New Chapter

How To Wear A Tunic Sweater
By Jess
13 Sep 2023
when we first bought our RI house in 2017

When Craig and I bought our first home 6 years ago it was a milestone we weren’t sure we’d ever meet. Together we’d lived in nine different rentals. We lived in NYC, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and various apartments and houses in Rhode Island. We desperately wanted a place of our own, and in 2017, we finally got it.

We were beyond excited. A space to make our own, a yard for our dog. We started working on that house from the day we moved in and almost never stopped. We spent 4+ years turning into a space we loved. We renovated the kitchen, we added a deck and pergola, we built an addition, we planted a garden, we renovated bathrooms, refinished floors, the list goes on.

To us, it felt like our forever home. It was the place we would raise our daughter. The place we spent those early months of Covid when the whole world shut down. Rhode Island was the place we grew up and where we thought our daughter would too.

Until the spring of 2020. We put an offer on a house in Vermont. Because of Covid we couldn’t go see it. We had been looking at houses in Vermont casually for a few years. We felt like, if not now, when?

Before we knew it we were buying a house in Vermont.

Were we insane? Was this a mistake? We didn’t know anyone. We loved the town as visitors but didn’t know much about it (or the house for that matter). We spent many sleepless nights wondering if we did something we would regret.

The first year we were very isolated. No one was socializing because of Covid, we had a newborn, we didn’t know anyone in Vermont. We worked on the house and went back and forth to Rhode Island. As things started to open up again we started looking for daycare. There was an opening in Vermont, and we went for it.

We spent that fall, winter, and spring in Vermont and headed back to Rhode Island for summer. We met so many families and made new friends. Another year went by and as summer approached we we weren’t ready to leave. We wanted to see our families and spend some time at the beach, but Vermont was home now.

We always said we’d never sell our Rhode Island house. We loved it. We poured everything we had into making it a home we loved. We also knew that if we sold, we likely wouldn’t be able to buy there again. I think part of us held on to the idea of “what if we change our minds?”

And then in June, back in Rhode Island something had shifted.

I told Craig I was thinking we should sell the house. He said he was thinking the same thing. I anticipated feeling more emotional about it, and there’s no denying it was a huge decision, but we both just felt at peace.

The process moved quickly and we closed before the end of the summer. As we drove away from the house headed back to Vermont I was waiting to feel sadness or regret, but I just felt at ease.

It’s hard to describe what it’s like to be a Vermonter.

I share the magic of this place with anyone who will listen, but also feel protective of what feels like our little secret. I know that words can never truly do it justice. In some ways it’s like everyone here is part of this special club, where we all have an understanding of how lucky we are to live in this state.

We often talk about the things that make Vermont special, and most of all, it’s the community and the people. It might not be for everyone, but for us, it’s hard to imagine being anywhere else (except during mud season and then we’re all collectively commiserating).

We’re stepping into this next chapter as Vermonters, feeling grateful we took a chance at a time when we thought what we had was already pretty perfect. And of course nothing is ever perfect, but Vermont is pretty close.

It was a life changing and incredibly special experience to share the transformation of the Rhode Island house with all of you. And now we’re excited to do it again in Vermont!

Here’s a little trip down memory lane with some of my favorite projects from our Rhode Island house.

outdoor deck and pergola
Our deck and pergola
living room with Sixpenny furniture and Frame TV
the living room
outdoor shower
my favorite thing, the outdoor shower

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12 Comments

  1. Alex Williams wrote:

    Exciting! We also moved to Woodstock in 2020 and never looked back. Thanks for sharing 💚

    9.13.23 | Reply
  2. karen fleer wrote:

    I followed along — and though I now live in CT, your posts always took me back to my days in Newport and on Aquidneck Island.

    You made a beautiful house and life — and a social media business! Congrats.

    Karen

    9.13.23 | Reply
  3. Jesse Syswerda wrote:

    This is so life affirming for me to read. We have been planning to move from Boston to Vermont for years and as our move date approaches we find ourselves waffling even though I know it will be the right choice for us. We’ll be moving away from family and that is tough with small children. But the promise of what life could be in Vermont just won’t leave us alone. Thank you for sharing!

    9.13.23 | Reply
  4. Kate wrote:

    Congrats and I feel the same. My husband and I moved to the Upper Valley when our son was born. We are Dartmouth alums and wanted to be back in a place we love. The 18 months we spent here together were the happiest of my life. We felt so so lucky to live here.

    My husband was killed by a car in Dec 2022 and I have thought a lot about where I go from here. Life in the UV was a life we were building together and I don’t know if I can or want to make a life here without him. But I keep coming back to how happy this place makes me and how much I love living in NH and in a time when I can’t trust much of what I think or feel it’s something I can hold on to and that feels like everything I need it to be.

    9.13.23 | Reply
  5. Sydney wrote:

    So incredibly happy for you and your family!! I’m a little sad as I loved seeing you two make this house a home. Loved all the updates and following along to what changes were happening but I understand the feeling its time to move on. Congrats and excited to watch along on your home reno journey in VT!

    9.14.23 | Reply
  6. You sure did a great job on that cute little house. There’s a time and place for everything and it is your time to move on. Wishing you all the best as you make Vermont your new home

    9.14.23 | Reply
  7. Molly wrote:

    I moved to Vermont a little over a year ago and the peace I feel living here after living in big cities (DC, Philly, Miami) is just so comforting. It is an incredible place, so special. But I agree – I tell anyone I can but also want to keep it special for those of us who live here. <3

    9.14.23 | Reply
  8. Lynn Caplen wrote:

    I didn’t know you sold your RI House. I feel I have gone through so many joyful and sad things with you guys there. I lived just barely on the Vermont border in the Berkshires but went to
    Woodstock so many times . I’ve been going through such a very hard time lately that I have barely had time to read your posts . My husband got sick with Altzheimers, then my daughter… my first child got Cancer and it’s very serious . At the same time my beloved Kitten a year old and healthy suddenly has had an unknown fever for three weeks undiagnosed with every possible test. . I love her so very much and I think about what happened with Nora who you loved so. I’m doing my best to get through this very hard period, but I’m so glad Woodstock is now home . I know that lifestyle and nothing would make me happier than to be a healthy family again and go back there to live . So happy for you guys❤️
    Lynn

    9.15.23 | Reply
  9. Donny G Nienow wrote:

    The room has a modern style, I also like this white tone. Papa’s freezeria

    9.25.23 | Reply
  10. Jim H wrote:

    What a beautiful journey you’ve shared with us! Your story is a testament to the power of taking a leap of faith and embracing change. Looking forward to hearing more about your adventures and transformations in Vermont. 🏡🍁💚

    9.25.23 | Reply
  11. Ace wrote:

    Your story is a testament to the power of taking chances and embracing change. Vermont sounds like a wonderful place, and your decision to make it your home is inspiring. But can you confirm whether it’s true that there are more cows than people in Vermont? 😅

    10.16.23 | Reply
  12. Tessa wrote:

    You are NOT vermonters! You moved in from your liberal bullshit state with an ideology that will DESTROY this place just like you all destroyed the rest!

    YOU ARE NOT WELCOME.

    10.27.23 | Reply

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