A Tiny House With A Big Heart
When you visit Kimberly Rock and Eric Haggard’s doll-sized house on Main Street in Falls Village, it’s immediately apparent that they’re a child-centered family. The grandest room in their 1840s eyebrow colonial is their daughters’ playroom, an addition they built for Jessy, 5, and Jordan, 3. Like many busy, doting parents in the digital age, they obsessively document their children’s lives, downloading thousands of images that rarely find their way out of their computer’s hard drive and into photo albums or picture frames. Ironically, Kimberly and Eric own a company called Pulp Products that designs and manufactures winsome photo albums and scrap books (but you know what they say about the shoemaker’s children . . .) Now, Kimberly and Eric have started a business that makes it convenient to creatively custom frame your digital photos without breaking the bank (or leaving your house). They call their company Real Memories, because their mission is to help people commemorate and celebrate life’s joyous moments. “We think our website will help
Jordan and Jessy painting at an Offi chalkboard table in their playroom.
people connect to the people they love,” says Kimberly. “It’s especially good for sending gifts to grandparents, aunts, uncles, bridesmaids.” A year in development, Real Memories was designed to be as personalized as a website can be. Once you upload your photo, you choose the size of the picture and mat and then you select from one of two dozen wooden frame styles. Then your picture is printed, matted, assembled and gift-wrapped at the Real Memories factory in downtown Torrington, CT. “Other companies will frame your photos but no one else gives you this many options for personalization,” says Eric, noting that you can add a custom caption—elegantly letter-pressed in gold or silver—to any mat for $4.50.
Their belief that small details make all the difference is evident in the way they renovated and decorated their house, adding a stone wall and white picket fence that enhance its historic character. Alas, there was little to save on the inside. “We basically gutted it, and we did almost everything ourselves” says Kimberly. “The first day we owned it Eric took a crowbar and started knocking down walls.” And what began as a weekend house for two stressed-out New Yorkers evolved into a full-time residence for a family of four. “That’s why we had to build the playroom. There are only two bedroom upstairs and the girls’ is so tiny that they sleep in bunk beds.”
The center of the house is the kitchen, which bridges the cozy, autumnal living room and the airy, pastel playroom. The kitchen has dark wood cabinets and walls of pale yellow wainscoting that are hung with the children’s artwork, along with a large painting, Tuscan Table, by Eric’s mother, Marijune, who now divides her time between Seattle and Mexico. The breakfast nook is piled with colorful pillows that make it a comfy place to hang out with a cup of tea or take a nap. Around the corner, there’s a bathroom with a clawfoot tub, which makes it possible for Kimberly to make dinner and bathe the girls at the same time. “Eric thought of that,” she says. “It is such a small house that we had to use every inch creatively. He designed it so the girls could run around the house in circles. and we used to let them ride their tricycles around the house when the weather was bad.” Now that’s what you call giving your children real memories.
The girls’ artwork is hung with clothespins on a wire line from Ikea on the kitchen walls.. The jaunty block-printed linen pendant shade is from Room & Board
The kitchen island is one giant cutting board made of end-grain cherry. They splurged on a Viking stove and hood. “We cook for our kids almost every night,” says Kimberly, who has a serious Guido’s habit.
The Haggards planned ahead so when the girls start getting homework, they will have a cheerful corner to work. The antique cupboard hides the television. The walls of the skylit playroom are painted Pale Sea Mist by Benjamin Moore. The rag rug came from the Rhinebeck Antiques Fair
The long table in the living room was purchased at an antiques fair in Kinderhook and it came with a story; the seller said it had been his family’s wheat threshing table back in Wisconsin. The Haggards found the fireplace mantle at Keystone, in Hudson. “I spent 20 hours sanding and refnishing it with Bree Wax,” says Kimberly.
A REAL DEAL
Real Memories is offering Rural Intelligence readers a 15% discount on orders.
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