Bringing Vacation Home: Amee Farm, VT
We recently took some time off to get some R&R and headed to a really quiet spot in the tiny town of Pittsfield, Vermont. What brought us to that particular town is a rustic, yet contemporary, renovated farmhouse at the top of a grassy hill with terrific mountain views.

I have a hard time "doing nothing", but I really, really needed it and this place made that completely possible. No schedule. Sipping coffee and watching the snow fall one afternoon was a true highlight. This place was such a great find because it is rustic enough to authentically fit with the environment and the experience, but contemporary enough to be a comforting place that felt right to our taste. I am a little obsessed with "rustic modern" lately, and this really fit the description for me.

A key component of our relaxation time was a pellet stove that sat in the corner of the sunlit—or sometimes snowy-gray—living room where we spent much of our time reading, writing, talking and just watching the snow fall out of the row of windows. This stove could pump out some heat! Unfortunately, we don't have any venting setup for a fireplace or stove at home right now, and this made us want one even more.

Vacations stay with us through new memories and the therapeutic rest they provide. Of course, the surroundings play a very important part in doing that. Incorporating native vacation finds and replicas at home is a great way to keep that vacation feel going—at least a little, until the next adventure!

1. A natural piece of oak for a headboard contrasts nicely with:
3. Mimic a winter's day that smells like firewood burning.
4. If you can't get around to installing a full, natural stone shower, start with a pebble mat.
5. A pellet stove is a great thing, and for our home this more modern version would fit in nicely.
6. General stores are "a thing" in Vermont and are charming and wonderful to visit. This book gives the historical background.
7. How can anyone resist real Vermont maple syrup? Especially packaged in these pretty leaf-shaped bottles. Plenty of local farms have their own labels so be sure to support them and buy local.
8. Whether at home (or that vacation home I am dreaming about owning one day), rustic-modern feels just right with a reclaimed barn door.

Modern Love
Looking for something that symbolizes love at home all year? Our modern takes on gifts and sweet gestures do the trick.

Christopher and I have enjoyed picking up artwork and furniture together over the years. Adding to that collection can happen on trips together or can be given as surprise gifts. I love that this gift idea is built together, over time—kind of symbolic of your life together. Nice! If you're not into investing deep (an original signed Robert Indiana serigraph goes for around for $5,000), a framed reproduction above is an equally sweet addition to your collection. Or, you can go pop-tastic with this pair of Andy Warhol prints from (below). There are also a lot of great original pieces from emerging artists on Etsy as well as on 20x200.

The ubiquitous map and neighborhood prints popularized by designers like These are Things (below) and FlyingJunction are great ways to commemorate places you've lived or visited together.

It's always nice to know that someone is thinking of you across the miles,'s time to rethink the gift basket. In theory, the gift basket is such a great idea but the execution has gotten pretty generic and dated. It needs a makeover! And Früute, the dessert and tart company in LA with the to-die for website we've all been oogling, has done just that. They also make cookies and packaged confections, and I'm really falling for these wonderful gift boxes and baskets they offer, including some special ones for Valentine's day, too. I mean, the gray felt basket alone—swoon!

This basket also comes with rose-scented incense (great idea) and a little message in a bottle that you can customize at check-out. Früute photographs their products beautifully and accompanies them with detailed descriptions of each baskets' contents. This cookie above is the Lavender Noir, "a delicate layer of fragrant lavender cream in between extra dark chocolate wafers." Mmm.

Whatever you decide to send to loved ones, be sure to wrap up that package with the very modern and boldly declared "packed with love" tape designed by Nina von Wahlberg.

I can't think of anything more romantic than spending hours upon hours sifting through digital photos, deciding what to print (um, kidding). If you are anything like us in the photo department, you have thousands of them sitting on your computer and not many on the walls. This year, we promised ourselves to get years of vacations, parties, holidays—and dare I say, our wedding pictures from 6 years ago—printed, framed and hung. I finally decided where to put such a photo collection: above our great room's bookcase. It has enough continuous wall space, is visible to guests, and is well-lit:

Once we pick the selection of frames and sizes we want, I plan to use this trick I have always liked to help determine the placement and arrangement of the frames. (Image via BHG).

I've been collecting inspiration for framing on my "Spaces // Clever Arrangements" board on Pinterest. I am leaning toward a light, natural wood finish frame with a white mat right now. We shall see. I'll post it when it is completed. Here are two organized, yet not-too-rigid, arrangements I liked:

Left: Dining room arrangement by blogger Jake, featured on West Elm's Front & Main blog.
Right: Norwegian freelance photographer and designer Hilda Grahnat's home.

So, how about a romantic evening hanging a collage of framed photos as you reminisce over each one? (Just be sure to save the champagne until after the measurements are made and the nails have been hammered.)

Chocolates in a heart-shaped box from CVS? You can do a bit better. I'm all about "it's the thought that counts", but that one sounds like it was born somewhere between gassing up the car and picking up milk. And ladies, we're not the only ones who might enjoy something chocolate-y. Spice things up with a decadent preparation of authentic Mexican hot chocolate.

There's nothing better on a cold winter's night, as a dessert after that dinner date in, or when simply hanging out with friends. Try to find small biz artisans like Taza, who are located right here in my city. I've toured their factory and they throw fantastic tasting events and dinners—which is also another great gift idea. You may be able to find a similar chocolate maker near you. Or, you can also order pretty much all of Taza's products online.

1. Hernan Olla De Barro pot
2. Taza Cinnamon Chocolate Mexicano
3. Moninillo carved chocolate whisk

Here is the Authentic Mexican Hot Chocolate recipe. Enjoy!

Love, from Ourhaus to yours.

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!
We're hunkering down in New England right now for what forecasters are saying will be the biggest snowstorm we've seen in years. Quite timely, seeing as we just passed the 35th anniversary (Feb. 6) of the infamous Blizzard of '78. I've lived here my whole life, so I've learned to not only embrace, but love, winter!

Wouldn't it be fun to go out and play with this beautiful toboggan made of steam-bent ash wood? (For the price, you might as well also use it as a chair in your living room when it is off-duty!) This one is the "Peak Snow Sled", made by Sirch in the Alpine foothills of southern Germany. Check out their other sled versions and furniture as well. Really beautiful stuff.

(A very timely find from Maxwell at Apartment Therapy featured in
 his daily finds column.)

Vote for Ourhaus in the 2013 Homie Awards from Apartment Therapy
We are huge fans of Apartment Therapy—from the breadth of their content to the opportunities they present to feature their readers and aspiring bloggers.

Their annual award, The Homies, awards a distinction to the best blogs in 6 different categories. Anyone can vote on blogs until Feb. 8th, as a nomination. The top 6 in each category then get reviewed by Apartment Therapy to determine the winner in each of those categories.

We are nominated in the "Best Home Design and Inspiration" category, so please give us your thumbs up and vote. We'd love the exposure and opportunities it would bring to make this blog better than ever.


But time is ticking—public voting ends FEBRUARY 8th!

Thanks so much!
- Jodi & Chris

About Us

Christopher Scott and Jodi Vautrin are the husband and wife team behind Ourhaus, where they chronicle their adventures in home improvement, decorating and travel. After purchasing a unique loft space just a few miles north of Boston, they began photographing and writing about their projects and it blossomed into a creative outlet and platform.

When they’re not home improving, Jodi spends her days as a freelance creative director & designer with a focus on user interface and interactive design, and is an entrepreneur at heart. She serves on the board of AIGA Boston as Vice President of Emerging Ideas & Events.

In his professional life, Christopher is the Technology Director for a multi-service ad agency based in Harvard Square. In his private life, he enjoys tinkering in all its forms, whether it's rebuilding the Ourhaus home network (again), fooling himself into thinking he knows how to fix home appliances, or trying to unravel the mysteries of the guitar. He also flies planes, performs open heart surgery and sings at bar mitzvahs (though not all at the same time).

They share their “haus” with their adorable, highly food-motivated chocolate lab, Lucy.