Federal-Style Farmhouse in Vermont Inspires Reinvention
The couple’s efforts went beyond decorating, though. To take better advantage of the views, they added a west-facing outdoor patio, a mudroom, and a screened-in porch off the kitchen. The porch, anchored by two Mayan hammocks, is part dining room, part hangout. “We live in those hammocks,” Peter says. “We don’t watch TV; we watch the weather.”
They’ve also made ambitious use of their five acres of farmland, adding a large organic garden stocked with chicory, tomatoes, fennel, and a dozen other vegetables, plus flowers for cutting. In another corner, they transplanted 10 raspberry bushes from Sea Cliff, which soon multiplied to create two densely packed rows of fruit. Following Swiss tradition, Graziella planted elderberry bushes along the drive: “They believe it keeps away bad spirits,” she says.
She and Peter have added quince, cherry, and plum trees to their orchard, as well as peach trees trained espalier-style along a stone retaining wall. They do all the farm work themselves: pruning the 140 apple trees over two months in the late winter, then harvesting all the fruit come fall. They don’t even irrigate, preferring to water the gardens by hand. “I once told Peter, ‘At our age, you downsize,'” Graziella says. “And he said, ‘No, you energize.'”
For Peter, it amounts to a new way of living. “My day is dictated by nature now,” he says. “I’m learning to find a balance between my work, the farm … Maybe it sounds corny, but nature is teaching me to find that balance.”
Graziella and Peter Weber maintain a studio apartment in their home, which they rent out to friends, visiting artists, and tourists. For details, visit: airbnb.com/rooms/64703