We did a big thing toward the end of last year.

After moving my brother and Dad to PA last Spring/Summer, and before Dad got as sick as he did, my brother asked a not unexpected question.

“Shouldn’t we sell the Sedona house and get another vacation home here?” which caused me to react in near nausea.

We had just spent months prepping/moving/cleaning/sorting/packing/unpacking/listing/selling/etc. to get the both of them moved from AZ to PA with many many unexpected complications. The last thing I could think of was going through that again, dealing with our packed home in Sedona, filled not only with all of our collected family furniture and heirlooms, but all the remnants of my Tempe condo that had flooded 3 years prior. The thought of sorting through, packing, moving all of that stuff was way beyond my ability to fathom, knowing of course it would fall entirely on the backs of my husband and I.

“I need a break from moving for awhile–let’s just let it sit there and appreciate,” I replied.

Then a week or so later, my husband and I started thinking out loud about this. It no longer made sense for us to retain and manage a family vacation home across the country. We knew my Dad would never get back out there again–it was hard enough to get him moved across the country, no matter how amazing my husband made that 10 day road trip through the American West for him. His mobility had made it clear he would not be traveling far again.

Nonetheless, we started thinking about it. Mainly, because I realized this family gathering place meant way more to my brother than any of us. His social outlets are minimal. He’s always relied on our family cottage in Maine and later our Sedona condo as a place to look forward to and celebrate at. Getting there would not be practical for him either–so we had to realize he had made a good point. And frankly, for many reasons, I was just done with Arizona. It was really just staying there out of exhaustion and the fact that my husband enjoyed his trips out there. I had not stepped in that home for a year and a half and to be honest, didn’t miss it. I was ready to let it go, but it was going to be a ton of work.

A fraction of what he sorted through.

So, Alfonse kept talking about a beach house. Which would also be its own huge project, distance and upkeep-wise.

Then my husband said “you know if he likes water, there are a lot of lakes in PA”.

We knew that it was a good time to sell property and so crawled in bed that evening, opened the laptop to just see what was out there in our price range. It would be nice to have a kind of lateral financial transfer from what we could get from the Sedona house, to what we could purchase more locally.

We spent three hours brainstorming and searching. “Kicking tires” as they say. We saw so many things from fixer-uppers to multi-million dollar lakefront homes. We even searched in to NY State, up in the Finger Lakes, realizing what a difference a line makes in terms of taxes (gasp! property taxes are insane in NY).

We hopped all around the State, gleaning ideas of what we liked and what we didn’t want — mainly a project.

Then we stopped on this one listing and gasped. It was one of the most beautiful homes we’d seen–every bit as grand as some of the million dollar-plus ones– and in our basic price range. We could hardly believe it. Suddenly what had just been a curiosity expedition started to seem like something.

We had already planned an overnight to Ithaca that week–something we were doing to get breaks from the intensity of caretaking my Dad and brother–which was kind of in the area of this lake home, so we planned to just cruise it. John called the realtor to see what was involved in seeing it. She had Covid at the time and was quarantining, so we had time to gather the proof of funds required and set an appt. to go back in a few days. We had a sense that we needed to act quickly on this home. It was just on the market three weeks.

View from our lower dock.

Fast forward: we made an offer on the house after touring it that first time. Dad was rapidly declining at the same time. It was a lot to juggle. We knew if we didn’t act fast, we would lose this incredible opportunity and be haunted by it forever, yet my Dad was rapidly slipping from this world. We talked to him about selling the Sedona house which he was on board with, but by the time our offer on this was accepted, he was declining so rapidly neurologically we chose not to tell him. It was clear he would never make it to the house and I just felt like it was too hard to show him where our future was headed without him. He passed within days of us signing the contract for the house. It was a time of very intense emotions.

Yet, having this house in our sites, helped all of us deal with the extraordinary and somewhat sudden loss of our Dad. It was a lot though.

Miss you Dad.

Meanwhile, my husband stepped in to major action mode and took some trips out to Sedona to completely pack up our home there and prep it for movers. In fact, he was in Sedona the day Dad passed and on my birthday. There was just no time to waste. He was the true MVP of the whole situation for us. I was managing everything related to Dad, my brother, the dealings of being simultaneous buyers and sellers while navigating my Dad’s sudden decline/death and pretty complex estate.

We bonded with the sellers who designed and lived in this amazing home for twenty years. They invited us up twice to help inservice us on it which has systems upon systems for everything from multiple heating/cooling zones to specific garbage collection rules (it’s in the woods–there are BEARS!).

My view yesterday from the new sofa where I was stuck for about 6 straight hours.

ANYWAY, I really came on here to share about the SOFA SECTIONAL we got for the new house, but I went on a few tangents. We had very few things we needed to purchase for the lake house between all the furniture coming from AZ, some pieces we repurposed from both our homes in Lewisburg, plus all the furnishings we had accumulated. But our sofa was shot, so we decided our one big splurge would be a leather sectional sofa for the Great Room, that opens with a two story stone fireplace to a large loft upstairs. It is a room that requires a grand piece of furniture. Plus we are a family who likes togetherness in terms of seating.

Exhibit A

The fellas trusted me with making this selection, so I went about the daunting task of choosing a custom made sofa for a room we didn’t have access to yet. I knew I wanted to get it moving as furniture acquisition is incredibly slow at the moment.

I finally landed on a website called Sofas and Sectionals and thought it looked like a good place to get what we needed and I was right. I spent hours and hours perusing their collections and leather options, requesting MANY swatches to see in person. I mean I had one shot to get this right.

This was the house layout when we saw toured it.

The sellers of the home had a beautiful navy leather sofa, but a regular size–not a sectional. I realized how this very tall room needed a darker shade to ground the space. Plus with all the wood–floors, grand window, mantle, etc. needed some contrast. I had many chats with their sales person Matt who never seemed to tire of my questions and changes of mind.

I could barely find any examples of the leather color I landed on with online photos, so made my decision based on a 2 inch swatch I’d received. Which is one of the main reasons I decided to make this post–so anyone else out there searching on either this design and/or this specific leather, they might find this post to help them make their decisions.

We ended up with the Arlo sectional with recliners at both ends, in Bronco Carbon leather (it’s so soft and buttery, yet rustic).

The only photo I had to use to choose with

We were given a 12-16 week window to receive it and requested the White Glove service which meant they would set it up and take away all the packing material (smart move it turned out).

We set up the house, which we named Northstar, very quickly with just enough to get through Christmas up here which was WONDERFUL. We lined up 4 recliners in the Great Room for seating, had our tree and mantle decorated and the kitchen set up enough for all our cooking. Nothing on the walls, but our bedrooms functional. We are still living out of suitcases and have no real decorative elements yet, but it will take time to get fully settled.

Our sofa arrived yesterday- just two days over the 12 week mark- and I’ve barely gotten off it since. It is AMAZING. It fits in this room like a glove, is the perfect color (a kind of mottled charcoal) and is so comfortable right out of the gate. My husband had to go back down to our other house and just missed the delivery, but we will cuddle together this evening while continuing our Round Two binge-watch of Succession (what a show!).

Here are a ton of photos of the sofa in different lighting which I so wished I’d had while making that blindish decision. If you look closely, you’ll see all the recliners we were using stacked up in the library room behind, to be moved around to new spots later today.

So, sharing photos of some of the house in this Winter Wonderland (there will be more photos as we get more settled) and mostly of this awesome sectional. Hope this helps someone else out there make their furniture decisions. I desperately searched the internet for photos of this style and color of leather–so wanted to try and make it easier for someone else. I highly recommend Sofas and Sectionals though-if you have any questions about the whole deal, feel free to ask! I was kind of flying blind when I ordered this, but I know a lot about it now. They made the whole daunting process reliable, affordable and seamless for us.

A video I took this morning of the Winter Wonderland from the deck.

Happy New Year all! I have a good feeling about 2022. My word for the year is RECOVER as last year involved month after month of major life stress/events–even some good ones such as this amazing home. Still, stress though, that I intend to recover from right on this buttery soft sofa.

2 thoughts on “Northstar

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