Blog :: 01-2015

Winter Projects in The Mount Washington Valley of NH & ME

I usually wait until spring to do a big clean/organize, but this year, all of our "stuff" was really driving me crazy. I have two kids, a husband that works outside, and a job that puts me in the elements sometimes as well. That means there are 8 hands that need gloves, 4 heads that need hats, 4 necks that need scarves, 8 feet that need boots, you get the point. And since we are "shoes off in the house" people, our entryway tends to look a little bit like an outdoor clothing store exploded in it, with everything on the floor. Walking into this was getting really old. It immediately stressed me out. So as I always do, I searched around on Pinterest for DIY storage tables. First we were going to do a built in storage bench with drawers, but being the Realtor I am, all I could think about was resale. What if we only had space for 4 drawers and someday the buyer has 3 kids? Or no kids? So we decided to clean up the entryway with a simple coat rack, and a console table with storage that could be removed when we move.

Here is the inspiration: 

Table and DeskSo off we went to pick up supplies. We were able to purchase the lumber and paint at Lowes for around $30. I found modern chevron print baskets in the storage section of Lowe's for $13 each, and they are really big. I bought one for each of us. Then I went to TJMaxx and dug through the clearance section and was able to find some vintage looking items to sit on top of the table, to blend my husband's taste of older looking things with my love for all things modern. We also purchased a standard shelf/coat hook combo to make things easy. My husband built the table (you can find instructions here, but you will have to adjust measurements to fit whatever storage containers you buy, and the size of your space) and then I painted it with 3 coats of white satin enamel. I waited overnight for it to dry and jumped out of bed the next morning (seriously, I did, I was super excited) and put the baskets in, and decorated the top with an antique style clock, lantern, plant box (plants to come) and a bowl for car keys. We are pretty excited about how our less than $100 project turned out! And it only took a couple of hours. It looks welcoming, and is functional. And the kids think it's fun to put their stuff in their own drawer! I realize this won't last forever, but I'm gonna roll with it for now.


Check it out:

A storage section of Lowe's for $13 eachCoats hanging up


Now, on to the next project!


What do you really want in a NH home?

I found an e-mail that my husband and I compiled during our search to buy a house in the Mount Washington Valley. Here’s the list:

  • Mountain view or plenty of woods around us
  • Close to ski resorts
  • Multi-stories
  • Master bedroom not on the first floor
  • Hardwood floors
  • Wood stove or fireplace
  • A great set up for entertaining and having family stay with us

We did not compile the list when we first started looking, however. In fact, we were going in a different direction. School was the priority. We had planned to buy in the Fryeburg area so that our 14 year old, Alex, could attend Fryeburg Academy. We aimed to relocate before he started high school.

Happily, we began looking. Our realtor was very patient! After house #4, it occurred to me that I should see what the tax implications were for my husband’s pension. As with everything, I googled it. This was on the way to taking another look at one of the houses we liked.

It turned out my husband’s pension would have been taxed at 8%. My husband and I looked at each other and said “new plan.” I turned to Alex, riding in the back seat, and said to him, “Hey son, the Academy is out – you’re going to Kennett High.” Our son is quick. Without missing a beat, he said “Fine by me”. And happily, fine it is.  

Kennett’s been a great school. Alex has an easy-going nature – a benefit of being the youngest of 4 kids. After raising the first 3, we’re tired! So maybe we are now more easy-going parents.  

So we did our “what do we want in our house” list. Being decisive people by nature, we didn’t think we needed one. But we did.  When it came down to it – what we saw when we looked out of our windows was as important as the house itself. I didn’t need a dream kitchen – my husband (lucky him!) could build one. But we knew we couldn’t change the view.

Jt Realty Broker Suzie Laskin with her dogWe’re not the only ones who appreciate the outdoor part of home ownership. Suzie Laskin, Broker, JtRealty, shared that her property is like a calming balm. Suzie and her husband, Bert, live in Chatham. Their home is on 5 acres surrounded by the White Mountain National Forest. They enjoy a gorgeous waterfall in the backyard.

No matter what you love, a modern kitchen, a certain school district, a big house or a small house – it really helps to write the list. In the end, I’m happy to say, our realtor helped us locate the home we love. As it turns out – it has everything on the list.

However, as winter rolls along, I sort of wish I’d put “garage” on that list!


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2014's Hottest Neighborhoods in Mount Washington Valley, NH

We keep a close eye on what's selling and what's not. Here's our opinion on the best-selling markets in 2014:

Nordic Village: This upscale Glen (Bartlett) NH resort saw huge market improvements in 2014. There were 9 sales, from a one-bedroom condo all the way up to a large two-bedroom lockout. This means a big range of styles and prices. 2014 sales more than doubled 2013 sales!  This ate up a great deal of the inventory there, so this first quarter should see some great activity!

Mountainside on Attitash: This luxury trailside condo development soared this year. There were five sales, which was more than the two prior years combined! The ski-in ski-out convenience and spacious layouts of the development must have been a huge draw. With little inventory on the market as of January 2015 and a big demand, things should heat up nicely for Mountainside sellers in 2015.Attitash Mountain in Bartlett, NH

River Run: When it comes to Attitash, River Run is the most affordable way to own a year-round vacation home as close to trailside as possible ... it's across the street from the base lodge! With a slew of amenities, there's always something to do there. There was 9 sales in 2014, in a range of sizes and prices. That's 33% more than 2013!

Ledges of Birch Bend: This luxury community sits high up off of Glen Ledge Road in Glen. After a sleepy couple of years, the $500,000 price point performed well in this neighborhood, a mix of new construction and resale homes. Demand should be just as strong in 2015.

So what's in store for 2015? Our predictions are that River Run will continue to perform well, since there's still a lot of inventory on the market and people are buying there. The luxury market was strong last year and will continue to grow. Look for more activity in Hale's Location Country Club and Mountainside on Attitash. We also think developments like Cathedral Trail at Attitash and Cranmore Birches will make it back to the top of buyers' lists.

For more info on these or any other properties, please email or call (603) 356-7200.

Get Outside and Embrace Winter in Mount Washington Valley, NH

Winter in Mount Washington ValleyIs there a dream land where you can lose weight, improve your heart health and generally live a longer, better life? Yes! Mount Washington Valley.

There's a reason this area is a 4-season resort destination.

Okay, I'm excited my family moved here. So much so - The MWV Chamber of Commerce ought to be paying me a spokesperson fee. I knew I felt better since we've moved here - but now I know there's actual science behind it. Google "exercise and good health" and you'll see for yourself.

While I've always been active physically, the range of things to do here is amazing. Good thing too. Since the restaurants are all so good, we've been eating out like never before. During the winter, we love to ski. Of course, that gets to be expensive. One of the things we've always appreciated is that there are military discounts/weekends offered by MWV ski resorts. See below.

Engaging in the activities offered in this area is a great way to combat the winter blues.

Here are just a few:

Winter events Jackson, NHEvents at Wildcat Mountain

Events at Cranmore Mountain in North Conway, NH

Events at Attitash Mountain in Bartlett, NH

Activities at Brettonwoods Mountain in Bretton Woods, NH

With all the specials and clinics offered- it's never too late to pick up a new sport. While physical activity is key, the experts say, to good health - I also think there's a mental/physical connection to living in the mountains. Until recently, I commuted to Massachusetts for work. For 6 months I worked from a home office and made the trek across the border almost weekly.

I always felt my blood pressure rise once I left the mountains. Once you cross the border - you've got to be on your game! The road rage, the competition, the crowds and noise. If you're not hyper-vigilant - you're toast! My blood pressure seemed to boil.On the reverse side, on the return trip home, as soon as I passed Wontons Restaurant on Route 16 and suddenly there's that gorgeous view of the mountains - I could feel my heart rate plummet. I hope to see you out on slopes!

Home Sweet (new) Home

 By Corinne

North Conway home in winterYou know you're in heaven when you can fold laundry while looking out at the Attitash Mountain ski trails!

I read somewhere that the greatest happiness comes from enjoying the daily things in life - not just waiting for big things to happen.

And for the past 6 months, I've found that to be true. Recently, my husband and I have been skiing during the week - a new and fabulous experience for us. No crowds! No waiting in the lift lines!

Our move to this area was rather sudden. My husband retired as a police chief of a Massachusetts North Shore city last year. We thought, "What are we waiting for? Let's move to God's Country up north!"

The time was right. Three of our 4 children are grown and our youngest son, Alex, would be starting high school this past fall. So last spring we sold our house in Massachusetts and began the search for the home we've always wanted to enjoy the next phase of our lives.

And we found it - in Glen, NH. We looked at a lot of homes. Over the years, we've bought and sold a number of homes. The requirements changed as our lives evolved. Our last home was where we raised our children. It was close to everything, shopping, parks, schools and our neighbors were like family. It was a tight-knit neighborhood where people looked out for each other.

Mark & Corinne Bretton WoodsIn 2005, my husband spent a year in Iraq. In addition to his law enforcement job, he also served 30 years in the military. When Mark was deployed to a dangerous area in the region - the Triangle of Death - we had children ages 5, 9, 11 and 14. It was amazing to know the neighbors were always there to help. If I was at work and one of the kids forgot his or her key - there was always a welcoming neighbor home offering milk and cookies until I could get home.

My husband and I both led active work lives and our family time was precious to us. The ski trips to the North Conway area are some of the best memories we made with our children as they grew up.

For this home, we envisioned a place where we could have family and friends stay with us. We wanted to be near mountains and we hope one day to be teaching our grandchildren to ski (not yet though!).

Buying a home is such a personal experience and having a vision of what you want in a home base is vital. We looked at a lot of perfectly nice homes but nothing stood out. However, when we first laid eyes on the one we ended up buying - we knew this was it. Love at first sight!

We live in a quiet area, with a panoramic view of the mountains. We enjoy having family and friends stay with us and we have enough room for everyone. We live near Story Land so we are a favorite destination for our relatives with young children.

One such visit really tested this. For this particular visit, my husband hosted his sister and his brother-in-law, 2 nieces, their husbands and 6 children under the age of 7.

I confess that I was somewhat happy to know I was going to be out of town for work during the visit. Sure, this was somewhat gutless on my part, but I figured my husband was up to the challenge. He was a military commander after all.

When I called to check in, I expected to hear a lot of screaming/crying in the background. But it was not the case.  It turned out to be a terrific visit. The adults had the guest rooms and the kids set up air mattresses in the downstairs living room. It was like indoor camping!

I look forward to working at JtRealty and seeing other people realize their dream lifestyles as well. When my husband and I come downstairs in the morning - we take a look out at the mountains and give each other a big high-five!