I’ve heard a lot of people talking a lot about how 2017 was the literal worst…yeah the world got a bit crazy, but in our little corner of the world it was a pretty wonderful year! We’re full of goals & resolutions for 2018, but I want to take a look back at all our big milestones from this year, and trust me there were a lot of them!
January 2017 – If I had to pin down a “busiest month of the year” while working at Attention to Details it would have been last January. Our supposed “slow” time of year, it certainly did not seem that way! I had two six figure projects installing at the same time, Chris had his biggest sale to date starting construction, plus our normal workloads, problem solving a few big vendor quality control issues, and somehow we managed to fit in a weekend in Palm Beach to celebrate Papa Conte’s 90th Birthday.
What a perfect pause this was to a busy start to the year! This trip also started to scratch the interior design itch that ended up getting me back into the game – the super cute AirBnB the whole family made home base for the weekend was so up my design alley it reminded me that I was missing half the fun stuck on finishes & fixtures. Such good rugs and art and sooo many pops of my favorite color, Orange! We also got stuck on a plane on the tarmac for 9 hours but we try to block that experience out [ahem don’t fly United, but 2017 did a good job of making sure everyone knew that!]
After we got back and got caught up, I took a trip to NH to shop for wedding dresses with my Mom & my longtime Besties & Bridesmaids; Lauren & Shay. I thought this would just be a fun day to dip my toes into the water of finding a dress and have lunch with my ladies but I ended up finding my DREAM dress. If you happen to be in the area, I highly recommend Country Bridals in Jaffrey, NH – they turned me, someone who doesn’t buy anything until they have looked at every. single. option. available. into someone who buys the 4th dress they try on… And they gave me Champs & goodies when I said yes to the dress. That was the perfect experience every bride deserves. Then I had to wait almost 3/4 of a year to show it to Chris!
January was also the month of my Most Liked Photo of 2017, typical me, a shoe-fie from where I stood in Village Tile on my favorite mudroom floor tile ever that I have yet to be able to use. (If you’ve got a mudroom to redo in 2018 and like this, please navigate to our “Contact Us” Section! Hah!)
February 2017 – We started February off with a fun business trip; a visit to the Kraftmaid Factory which continued our airline misfortune by arriving to the Albany airport at 6 am to a freshly cancelled flight, and the next flight wouldn’t come in ’til halfway through the tour! We drove to the nearest Denny’s to figure out a game plan when I had the realization that wasn’t Ohio like – just on the other side of New York? Turns out we were only saving an hour by flying with connecting flights and if we just drove west, we’d only be a half hour late. So we got in the car and drove!
When we got back, Chris took me cross country skiing for the first time, though it was a rocky start being my first time on ski’s Chris is a pro and taught me how to pizza and once I got that down I really started to enjoy myself. We are looking forward to lots of skiing adventures this year with all the good snowfall we’ve gotten!!!
March 2017 – March was a pretty uneventful month, ski season was still hanging on so we weren’t in to the crazy spring building fever yet. Even though I made my last delivery in January, my big whole new house project with 13 rooms of cabinetry finally completed and after the interior designer on the project, Lillian Bogossian of Decorative Interiors, finished staging the place, I was able to head over for the day and play photographer! This is still one of my favorite projects to date, it was so fun (and a little bit stressful) to work with clients with a lot of remodeling experience and fabulous taste and who weren’t afraid of a one thousand dollar faucet! We used Danby Marble in almost the entire house, Imperial in the baths and Eureka in the Kitchen and Dining spaces – which turned out gorgeous. The clients requested a custom Honey Onyx top with an ornate edge just like they had back at home in New Jersey which was NOT an easy find in Vermont, but just as I had given up, we got a visit from the owner of Surface Creations of NH filling in for our sales rep and he remembered they had a partial slab in their warehouse from an old display they did that was just barely big enough to create the built up edge – such a stroke of luck and it turned out beautiful!
April 2017 – Spring had arrived in full force, we were crazy busy again, but we already broke the grill out of hibernation and the roadster, and we were just about to pull the trigger and move forward with a HUGE addition onto the back of our house on Cass Terrace, when just across the street, the house we later bought and now live in came up for sale! Though it took me a minute to let go of my beautiful dream kitchen, and our tight squeeze but gorgeous master suite with a great view of the Lye Brook Wilderness, it wasn’t hard to let go of the mind boggling amount of details and plans we were trying to iron out in our off hours. At the time I wondered if we were making the right choice as told our builder to give someone else our time in the schedule, but looking back I am so happy in our new home, I couldn’t imagine another choice!
This was also the month of my favorite photo(s) of 2017 outside of our wedding pictures, Chris texted these photos to me from a job site waiting for a granite countertop guy to meet him and said “Made friends with a dog” “I love you so much” along with each one.
May 2017 – The coolest thing about May was our trip to Burlington so Chris could run the Vermont City Marathon for the second time. Chris likes this marathon because it is a fun experience, the crowd really gets into it, different neighborhoods in Burlington host block parties to cheer on the runners, they set up sprinklers and give out shots of maple syrup. His favorite sister also lives there. But if you ask Chris he’ll reply with “I just felt like runnin’ .” [this man loves Forrest Gump]. Chris beat his first time by 8 minutes, running a 3:10 marathon, so I was very proud of him, but he’s still a few minutes off from qualifying for the Boston Marathon so he’s already signed up to run again this year. We also visited the Trapp Family Lodge before grabbing dinner in Stowe and I got to have my Sound of Music moment twirling around in a field singing “The hills are alive…” so that was definitely a big highlight for me. We were the last house guests before my Sister-in-law Faye & her fiancee Corey embarked on a huge home remodel. We helped them with the cabinetry for their kitchen, that we can’t wait to share photos of when it completes in the next few weeks.
June 2017 – Not that much happened in June! We went on a lot of motorcycle rides, I delivered the most tile I have ever sold at once, and Chris wrapped up (for the most part) his really big remodel he started in January. We got The Sneaker (our little 1964 Boston Whaler boat from Chris’s Grandpa) fixed and it took it’s first fishing trip in a long time for Chris’s Bachelor party in NH. Mainly we were just buckling our seat belts for a crazy summer.
July 2017 – We started off the month by celebrating the Fourth on the Sneaker up at Lake St. Cathrine in Wells. VT. We love it up there so much we have joked, someday maybe we’ll be so Vermont, we’ll have a summer house on the lake while living full time in Manchester! The next week we closed on our Richville house and got to work on the “light renovation” prior to moving in. I had my Bachelorette party in Brimfield, MA and we celebrated my birthday at the Silver Fork! Oh and I took my first group motorcycle ride, a Veterans Benefit Ride for the Veterans Retirement Home in Bennington and had a blast.
August 2017 – Another crazy month as life was proving the closer we got to the wedding. We started off with my Bridal Shower at Aunt Peggy’s house, which was such a blast, my favorite part was setting up with all the Aunt’s beforehand! At the end of August, we finally moved into our new house and that was the biggest reward after so much hard work, we were finally able to settle in and get OUT of our house on Cass Terrace so the real work could begin over there.
September 2017 – WE GOT MARRIED!!! I had to do this post chronologically or otherwise the wedding would have totally overshadowed everything cause um it was KIND OF A BIG DEAL! They say it’s the best day of your life, but it’s really the actual wedding ceremony that is the best when you’re marrying your soulmate, I cannot remember a time where I have felt more insanely happy and wonderful and complete and whole and in love and not nervous and just perfect as I did as Chris read his thoughtfully written vows to me. You can see me grinning my face off as we enter the reception venue like “Pinch me did this really just happen?!?!” Though our first dance was just perfect, another highlight is when we opened up the dance floor and David Bowie’s “Golden Years” played and I danced like a maniac with Chris and all my family and friends, it was truly jubilant!
We sandwiched the wedding between a backyard bonfire & rehearsal dinner hosted by Dad Conte & Margaret and a farewell Brunch Hosted by Mom Brogan and Yoshi which was so wonderful because we actually got to talk and visit with most of our guests that way! On Monday we jetted off to Mexico and got in some much needed R&R for the honeymoon at Beloved Resorts in Playa Mujeres, just north of Cancun.
At the beginning of September, I also got some good news not wedding related – I was selected for the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s 30 Under 30 Award for 2018! In just a week from today I’ll be getting on a plane to the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show in Orlando & presenting some fresh ideas for new appliances! [And lets be honest I can’t wait to get away from these subzero temperatures for sunny Florida!]
October 2017 – In October it was back to reality and back to work! I embraced fall a little too hard and made us as a household get really, really sick of squash, we broke in our new grill with a chicken roasting attachment and checked the dining room off our remodel list at the Richville house. We tried to get stuff done over at Cass Terrace but our super busy contractor had very little time and all we got done was leveling the kitchen floor which was frustrating. And we only got two trick or treaters at the new house which was also disappointing. In short, In October I was feeling those 2017 blues y’all been talking about… it’s hard to comedown from a year plus of looking forward to your wedding and when you come back and it’s over – what’s left to plan? I guess we got bored!
November 2017 – We started off November in a really not a great place, but ended November in the absolute best place, as Business Owners!!! We were working really hard but we were not happy and just came to the realization – what was holding us back from going out on our own? We have savings, we have the skills, and it’s only going to get harder to walk away from a steady paycheck – so we ripped off the band-aid, changed Northshire Living from just a blog to a website, filed as an LLC, and quit our jobs as Kitchen & Bath Designers. We found vendors and figured out pretty quickly we needed a showroom if we were really going to get into the swing of things and got to work on making it happen.
December 2017 – After thinking the place might sell instead and going on the hunt for other places and not loving them anywhere near as much, we were able to start moving into our new showroom space on December 15th, over the past two weeks we’ve been hard at work painting & building walls for displays… we have lots of stuff in the works and on the way and can’t WAIT to host a fabulous grand opening once it’s all installed in the New Year!
A little reflection …
We have been so lucky to receive such an outpouring of support from the community and our clients & contractors – we are looking forward to all the projects we’ve got to come in the new year. We would like to give a big thank you to all our family for their love & support, and an extra one to my Mom & especially my Dad who came up and helped us work on both houses, we would definitely still be eating dinner at our kitchen island if it weren’t for their help.
Our resolutions for New Year the mainly revolve around eating less and exercising more, as the post wedding weight gain is definitely a thing folks, we’re looking forward to a happy, and healthy 2018! We hope to help many others make their house a home and will be toasting to the future as the clock strikes midnight!
Thanks for coming along for the ride with us! 🙂