Just thought I’d begin by sharing a brief chronicle of the progress we have made transforming a once derelict (but teeming with potential) A-frame in the woods of New Hampshire into our year-round home! This particular story commences about five years ago, when my Husband, Brian, and I began tackling the initial phase of this remodel primarily on our own, except for the electrical and plumbing work which we (naturally) hired out. I should mention, if only to humor myself in remembrance of our joint insanity, that we were actually living onsite while carrying out this extremely laborious, messy and protracted renovation. This could have proven to be a very poor decision, as sleeping on a mattress on the floor, amidst power machinery and mammoth piles of construction debris, isn’t usually the prescribed formula for ensuring a newly married couple’s happiness and stability…haha! But thankfully, we have survived and are still at it!

So here is the evolution of phase one of the undertaking, which essentially involved a full exterior and interior facelift. (For more photos and details, you can check out our “Before & After” feature on Design*Sponge here from a couple of years ago.)

The exterior (before, during and after):

cottage before reno    cottage reno phase 2    summer aframe

The interior (before and after):

looking into the kitchen before 1

interior after

(I have kindly spared you the sight of the bathroom in its unadulterated, “before” state. But if you are curious, I hope you will be satiated with the knowledge that there were relentless colonies of mushrooms growing from the soggy floorboards. And stenciled, green ducks on tongue and groove walls stained every hideous shade of orange imaginable.)

Once the A-frame was fully rehabilitated, we took about a year off to recuperate our energies before embarking on phase two of our grand plans for this property. For familial reasons, we knew that adding onto the tiny cottage was imperative, and fortunately, we had the land and the space to expand. So we drafted the design ourselves and once all the bureaucratic steps were taken to secure the go-ahead to build the addition, we enlisted a contractor to execute our vision. And here’s how that chapter of the story went:

aframe reno snow

remodel spring

This is where we stepped back into the picture. Ambitious (read: crazy) people that we are, Brian and I have resumed putting our collective stamp on our home by beginning to paint the exterior (at the moment, we have only finished the facade), and initializing some minor hardscaping projects, such as laying a rustic entry path of bluestone pavers to the front deck. Which as you can see, clearly needs to be repainted at this point given the abuse it’s been taking as of late!

remodel pavers

remodel painting 0

remodel painting

remodel painting 1

The to-do list for this summer is frighteningly massive and involves: painting the rest of the house, installing shutters and flower boxes, extending and painting the front deck, building a back deck with an attached pergola, depositing loam around the remainder of the property in preparation for hydro seed, building a backyard fire pit, and giving three of our sheds facelifts. Reasonable or delusional? We shall see in a few months…haha!

remodel back final

And that’s where we’re currently at! If all goes according to plan, this utilitarian shed in the foreground will be receiving a bit of an unexpected makeover very soon…stay tuned!


*Images and text by Astrid Insieme



  1. I’m in awe of the vision you had for this place. I fell in love with the A-frame and the way you decorated it but the addition is so inspiring. I’m so glad you started the blog, I can’t wait to see what happens next. Keep up the amazing work !


  2. WOW! I always see these A frames and wonder what could be done! This looks exactly like the kind of place I could call home. Inspiring! You guys are also mad ambitious, can’t wait to see the rest unfold!


    • I can’t wait for the big reveal myself, Karrie…hahah! Admittedly, it’s been quite a protracted renovation but we will get there soon enough! Thanks so much for your kind comment, friend…I hope you’re doing well!


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