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Nest — Spring 2017


Published March 14, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated March 24, 2017 at 2:40 p.m.


Come March, we’re all ready to Instagram some growing things and patches of green outdoors. But the truth is that Vermont hasn’t quite caught up to dreams of spring. In this issue we try to make up for it with a look at what’s blossoming in the housing market. These homesteads run the gamut from tiny houses to acres of land devoted to cohousing.

Specifically, the creative architectural students at Norwich University continue to develop very small homes that require very little purchasing power. The latest is the 288-square-foot SuCASA — for “single-unit” — whose prototype will be available later this spring. Its ticket price: less than $30,000. Really. Didn’t someone tell us small is beautiful?

In Huntington, Mark and Marijke Smith are looking to transform their beautiful 225 acres into a cohousing development called Commons at Windekind. The idea is a cluster of single-family homes that share resources and ideals of community, efficiency and sustainability. Residents will also be able to share Mark Smith’s “toy” railroad: a one-fifth-scale replica that can be ridden around the property in warm weather.

We also note another potential retirement option, the spiffy new senior housing development in Milton called Elm Place; as well as a uniquely reenvisioned blacksmith-shop-turned-studio — by jewelry maker Stacy Hopkins — in Hartland.

When you’ve got a new house, you might want new stuff to put in it. In Burlington, Sarah Coates and her husband, Peter Cowenhoven, aim to please at Sam’s Wood Furniture. The store, established in 1967 as Sam’s Unfinished Furniture, got a reboot when the couple took it over and began to offer chic and custom décor.

If you have an older home or are planning to buy one, a couple of history geeks offer step-by-step advice for sleuthing out its past lives. Bonus: Learning more about where you live can connect you with your neighbors in unexpected ways.

Prefer birds to people? No problem. An expert naturalist tells us just what to do to attract avian activity to our backyards. Move over, Twitter feed.

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