Name: Jacob and Caitlin Glaser
Location: Williston, Vermont
Size: 2,000 sq/ft
Years lived in: 12 years, owned
Who else lives here: Ollie the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Annabelle the Maine Coon cat.
Natural light spills into Caitlin and Jacob's spacious and airy Vermont home, reflecting off walls of pumpkin orange and lemon yellow. Wide windows frame a vast field where horses frolic, and a tranquil pond where Great Blue Herons have been spotted through a pair of binoculars always at the ready. In the distance, the Green Mountains undulate across the horizon.
Caitlin and Jacob worked with Time Line Architecture to build their house according to the principles of Feng Shui thought. A sense of harmony pervades its square frame, the ideal shape for a house according to the ancient Chinese system. Within this symmetrical form, the chi is able to settle, and a stable, solid environment results.
Flowing from one to another, inviting rooms are furnished with a mix of old and new. Sofas and chairs from local furniture shops join heirlooms passed down through the generations, as well as treasures collected during travels to Europe and Asia. A gilt mirror above the mantle came from Jacob's grandmother's New York City apartment, where it hung for 70 years. A framed poster from an art show his parents saw in the 1960s hangs nearby. In the entry, a pair of old wooden theater seats collects hats and scarves. And down the hall, a huge antique mirror reflects a small office Caitlin set up beside a staircase with an old Vermont farm table and an exercise ball.
A couple years ago, they realized there was one thing missing in their Feng Shui layout - water, one of the philosophy's five basic elements. So they put in a pond. A serene stopping point for migrating birds in the fall, it's a fun place for family and friends to cool off in the summer. A solar panel, hidden behind a grove of baby pine trees, provides all the energy they need to maintain it.
My/Our style: Artistic, eclectic, Feng Shui/Vastu.
Favorite Element: The surrounding land and mountains.
Biggest Challenge: The color of our bedroom walls - being brave enough to paint them Rhubarb, which I thought about for two years! And now love it. Red is a wonderful warm color according to Feng Shui (Chinese balanced design) and Vastu (Indian Feng Shui/natural energy balance).
What Friends Say: It feels like you're in the middle of nowhere, yet you can walk to the library!
Proudest DIY: The raspberry and blueberry bushes and cherry trees that yield enough for three families, plus a full supply all winter.
Biggest Indulgence: My 18th century mirrors from France.
Best Advice: If you've got a yard, grow a cutting garden, and have fresh flowers in the house all summer.
Dream Source: The flea markets of Paris.
Green Elements/Initiatives: Since the house is so open, it required less building materials. Square houses have a smaller footprint because you build up and not out. We installed a solar panel to provide the energy for the pond pump. We shop locally, and purchase any new items from small local businesses or artisans. But the bulk of our decor has been passed down through generations, and the antiques we've bought during our own travels have become instant family heirlooms. We compost, grow a lot of our own vegetables and only buy organic at the super market.
Hardware: Close to Home - a local home grown hardware and bath business that's located in our town.
Furniture: Most of it is stolen from my mother's house! Some of it has been passed down from Jacob's parents and grandparents. A few things we've bought new from local businesses. The Antique Tibetan cabinet is from the Burlington shop Kit Cornell. The Cherry drop-leaf table that I use for my desk I found at a tag sale in Huntington, Vermont.
Accessories: I like to have little things that I can change around to fit my fancy or mood…a postcard, a tomato can whose label interacts with the color of a room, antique toys, plants...
Lighting: The blue and white ginger lamp in the bedroom once belonged to my mom's friends Bill and Ben who were decorators in New York in the 1960s. One of them was a dancer and a good friend of Martha Graham.
Rugs and Carpets: Family heirloom rugs from my great grandmother who lived in Buffalo where her parents owned a furniture store in the early 1900's.
Tiles and Stone: Natural local blue stone.
Window Treatments: I like to buy fabric scraps and simply wrap them over a curtain rod - it's an easy way to change the look of a room.
Beds: Burlington Furniture Company
Artwork: Statue of Liberty print, passed on from my mom. Portraits of my aunts and uncles as babies in the 1920s. Paintings my mom did on a pair of cabinets. Old family circus photos. A painting of Irises inspired by Van Gogh, painted on pages from the Wall Street Journal. A painting by Woody Jackson (of Ben & Jerry's fame). A watercolor by Tom Vieth. My own artwork! Lots of watercolors, collages, and family portraits painted from photographs onto yogurt lids. I've recently started taking workshops at Winslow Art Studio in Cambridge, Vermont.
Paint: Low VOC from Benjamin Moore.
Flooring: Red birch from Canada.
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(Images: Celeste Sunderland)