Let the Renovations Begin…The Longhouse

Last year's pile of fun things to consider...

Last year’s pile of fun things to consider…

Well, we’re about to begin the renovations on the Longhouse (aka…the Annex). The busy ski season is slowing down (although it is snowing outside) and things are starting to thaw out, so it’s time!

Thanks to Jim Edgcomb, our architect, once again, we have some great architectural drawings that are totally updating the spaces. Thanks Jim!

Of course, the things that you won’t see are the improved sound-proofing, insulation, plumbing, heating and electricity, but they’ll be there and we know you’ll be soooo happy!  What you will see, is the exciting design, Joanne Palmisano, our designer, is working on.

As with the Barn, we are working with the concept of recycled, salvaged and vintage goods, mixed with new and quality materials. We are keeping the overall Mad River Barn theme and coloring, but we will change it up a bit.

Joanne has come up with some concepts we’re really excited about so we thought we’d have you come along on our renovation journey. We’ll start with the bathrooms. Joanne usually starts with a drawing for us to get our minds around one of her ideas. For example, here is the drawing for the dining room.

Here was the first concept drawing for the dining room farmhouse table area.

Here was the first concept drawing for the dining room farmhouse table area.

Mad River Barn Dining Room close up

And here it is now…in reality!

 

This is Joanne's first drawing of what it may look like (things always get tweaked a bit). So once the drawing is done, Joanne starts looking for the materials she has in mind for them.

This is Joanne’s first drawing of what it may look like (things always get tweaked a bit). So once the drawing is done, Joanne starts looking for the materials she has in mind for them.

 

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At the Rebuild Center in Burlington, they had some amazing true 2×4′s that came in from a deconstruction project. Joanne and Brett (who will be building the vanities) went and picked up a whole bunch for the legs and lower shelf. Of course, Joanne keep picking out the ones with the most holes and shook his head, thinking about how much work it was going to be :) (So we heard).

 

This gorgeous Douglas Fir was flooring in an old Vermont house. Joanne will be using it for the detail behind the mirrors in the bathroom. We can't wait to see it!

This gorgeous Douglas Fir was flooring in an old Vermont house. Joanne will be using it for the detail behind the mirrors in the bathroom. We can’t wait to see it!

So we will be donating our old sinks and Joanne is picking up recycled sinks (like this one) to replace them. Full circle!

So we will be donating our old sinks and Joanne is picking up recycled sinks (like this one) to replace them. Full circle!

The flooring will be new tile that is non-slip and has an old world wood look. Joanne's got some plans for how it will be installed...should we warn the tiler? Nah!

The flooring will be new tile that is non-slip and has an old world wood look. Joanne’s got some plans for how it will be installed…should we warn the tiler? Nah!

 

She is sticking with the subway tile in the showers. It is classic and it works well!

She is sticking with the subway tile in the showers. It is classic and it works well!

The old turkey light fixtures in the Barn bathrooms are going to be hard to beat. Joanne is on the hunt for some cool stuff. So we will have to wait and see...

The old turkey light fixtures in the Barn bathrooms are going to be hard to beat. Joanne is on the hunt for some cool stuff. So we will have to wait and see…

That’s all we know so far…still working on shower curtain ideas, faucets and paint colors… :)

Our best, Heather and Andrew

P.S. Want to follow along on the journey, just put your email address in the box on the sidebar and you’ll get automatic blog updates.

 

 

 

 

 

Let the Golden Liquid Flow…Maple Syrup!

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Photo courtesy of Great American Things

That’s right, its that time of year. No…not when the mud covers your boots up to the ankle (but it can happen) but when the weather is just right–cold at night and warmer during the days – when that beautiful clear sap starts to flow from the maple trees.

We’ve always loved maple syrup but until we moved to Vermont, we had not idea how serious this liquid gold was to Vermonters and the state of Vermont. Vermont’s maple syrup is renowned around the world, not only for the flavor but for the quality of the syrup and everybody here is proud of that fact.  Now we are honored to part of it.

So we thought we’d show a little pride ourselves and share some interesting facts and tidbits, we thought you’d enjoy, almost as much as you do the syrup itself.

It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup. Think about it…better yet, we’ll give you a visual. There is about 98% water and 3% syrup in a gallon of sap, so the farmers have to spend a lot of time boiling all that water out to get to the good stuff.

http://www.lochsmaple.com/Maple/producingloch'sm.html

We borrowed this drawing from Lochs Maple Farm.

Maple syrup is taken so seriously in Vermont that there is actually a law that states it is illegal to use the word maple in a product — unless it uses 100% pure maple in it. Oh ya! No fakes here! (They even took McDonald’s to court for that once…)

Vermont’s maple syrup is renowned around the world, not only for the flavor but for the quality of the syrup.  They say it is something about the climate…works for us!

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Solar Sweet Maple Farm, not only is where we get our syrup but is it run by solar panels! You have got to visit them and see how it all works!

Even though Canada produces the most maple syrup, in the states, Vermont produces 920,000 gallons a year, more than twice as much as Maine (the next state in line for production). That is a lot of sap collecting, boiling, grading and packaging. Wow! Let’s give a standing ovation to the farmers who produce this magical syrup, they deserve it! Now, the farm, Solar Sweet Maple Farm in Lincoln, Vermont, where we get our goods, is using solar power to run the sugar shack — kudos to them!

Grading (like we didn’t get enough of that at school…) well, that is a different story, literally, we mean different.  As of 2014, the grading charts in Vermont have changed…see below. We figure that we’d let VermontMaple.org give you the facts, since they’re the experts. Frankly, we think this makes our interior designer, Joanne Palmisano, happy, because she is a huge fan of the darker syrup and she felt it got a bad rap. Not anymore with this new grading system.

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What we really love about maple syrup is it’s a completely natural product, no preservatives or additives — so when we make our homemade granola for our inn guests (breakfast comes with our rooms) and our Maple Chicken for our dinner guests, we feel extra great!

Also, many people forgot about the great nutrients in maple syrup like potassium and calcium, vitamins, folic acid and amino acids. And maple syrup only has 40 calories per tablespoon versus corn syrup’s 60. (Take that Aunt J…)

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Photo from Wikipedia

So when did all this tree tapping start? Well, it’s believed that native Americans were the first folks to produce maple syrup — by carving out an old log, placing it over a fire and pouring sap into it.  Today, many maple farms use sap pumps that bring the sap through tubes straight to the evaporating storage bins, only recently moving away from the metal buckets. From carved log, to metal buckets to pump system, now that’s progress.

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Want to know where to go for a pancake breakfast or to boil some sap — look no further than Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association office website!

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Dakin Farm Pancake Breakfast

Pancake breakfast and making your own…these are two of our favorite things to check out in the spring. You’ll learn a lot more facts and get something tasty to eat as well. This is a Vermont favorite. Locals and tourist alike get out and hang out eating sugar on snow, pancakes and maple donuts dipped in coffee

Okay, enough talk about maple syrup, we think it is time to go have some!

Our Best,

Heather and Andrew

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Name for Annex and The Winner Is…

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So how much fun did we have sending out our first Enewsletter blast asking folks to help us rename the annex. Since we are giving half of it (4 rooms) a serious renovation starting in two weeks, we thought we should have a name that reflects the new and improved Mad River Barn eight guest room building.

We had 164 name submissions. Yahoo!  Also, anyone who submitted a name, was entered into a contest to win a Gift Certificate. And the winner was (selected by computer random drawing) Richard Barry! Congrats Richard!

Okay, we have to share some of the names that people sent in…so fun and funny… Mad River Stable, The Henhouse, Sky Wing, Siberia, The Sugar Shack Rooms, The Barn Mo Betta, The Mad House, The Mad Pad, The Corn Crib, Gizmo’s House, The Hay Stack, The Dog House, The Out Haus, (like spelling it that way as going to make that name better — ha ha).  There were others but this is a family program…

Then there were ones we seriously considered… The Back Barn, The Glen House, The Lodge, The Carriage House…but none of those fit quite right. So we thought about our current buildings names… the barn, the farmhouse…those really fit what they are.  We mean literally…they fit what they are.

So the definition of a historical house type that is for family groups, or serves as a housebarn is called the Longhouse.  Well….dah! that is what that building is for! Since we are already being so literal with the other two buildings, we thought…what the heck…let’s be that way with the annex.

It’s with great pleasure we give you the new name of the annex…drum roll please…The Longhouse! (a.k.a. The Barn Mo Betta)  We will be starting to call it that ASAP!

Thanks again for your participation — it was so great to get such an amazing response.  If you are not on our email list, just email us at madriverbarn@madriver.com and say… Yo! Please Put Me on Your Email List. We will only send a handful of Enewsletters out a year, but you could win something awesome like Richard did!

Soon, we’ll be showing off the progress of renovation of the Longhouse…we hope you will follow along (just add your email to the SUBSCRIBE box on the left hand side of this page to get the blog updates).

Our best, Heather and Andrew

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Current room in the annex…soon to be the Longhouse!

DIY – How to Make Your Own Monogrammed Wool Blanket Pillow

old wool blanket pillow by Joanne Palmisano

One of the many comments we get are about the cool pillows we have on our beds. Keeping with our recycle theme, our designer, Joanne Palmisano, recycled all our old wool blankets and made pillows for both the rooms and the dining room in the Inn.

Old wool blanket pillow DIY Salvage Secrets Design

As we get ready to redo the Annex (new name coming soon) rooms, she is back at it, making more pillows with our old blankets.  A hands-on designer for sure! Not only is she making them but she put together a Do-It-Yourself Tutorial for us, just like she does for her DIY NETWORK project.  Hope you get to make your very own pillow — feel free to monogram yours with the MRB as well :)

DIY Wool Blanket Pillow

First, Joanne washed the blankets in hot water and then dried them on high heat. She wanted to give them a felted feel (and make sure they were clean, clean, clean). Then she cut them to size (working away on her living room floor).

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Pick up some wooden letters at the craft store. Roll on the fabric (or craft) paint onto the back of the letters (remember mirror image) then press that onto the wool blanket. Make sure you place a piece of cardboard under the wool piece so it does not go through. Let the first coat dry and then if you want it darker, do it a second time (carefully!).

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Put the two pieces together and using embroidery thread and needle, go around at an angle. Leave an edge open to add the pillow insert or batting. Then finish up that side with the thread and needle and go around again, the opposite direction to give the thread a crisscross look!

Mad River Barn Inn Wool Blanket Pillow DIY

Voila. The vintage wool blanket from the original inn are now back in the rooms! Hope you enjoy the project! Photo by Susan Teare

P.S. Want to know how Joanne made the faux-leather headboards? Just go to DIY NETWORK and you can make your own!

Have fun DIYing!

Our Best, Heather and Andrew