During the spring of 2012, Claire and her husband made the decision take their lives in a different direction. Over a few month period, they got engaged, quit their cushy jobs in Boston, bought a house in Vermont without knowing a soul in the state, and moved to the country to see about a more peaceful, sustainable life.
Claire had often dreamed of buying a fixer-upper house with endless projects to work on and studio space to run her online vintage shop. Her husband wanted to try his hand at growing food, raising animals, and living closer to the land. When they found the half forest, half meadow 10 acre lot with a little red farm house and separate barn workshop they turned to each other and said, "Well, should we just go for it?"
Claire describes the year and a half that followed as somewhat of a whirlwind. Among other things, the couple converted a barn space to a workshop, tapped maple trees, planted two vegetable gardens, and began growing some of their own food. They also DIY remodeled the bottom floor of their house, adding an office, bedroom, bathroom, and sun room. Throughout it all, Claire has been chronicling the process on her blog, The Little Dog Blog, and running her vintage Etsy shop in the barn, constantly working on improving her photography, the quality of stock, and customer service.
Claire has also become increasingly interested in vintage textiles, specifically rugs, and uncovering old kilims in antique malls and flea markets has become the thrill of all thrills. Last winter she began taking weaving lessons from a weaver in Vermont with a goal to eventually make her own rugs to sell. "At the moment I still have a lot to learn, but I am really enjoying the process" she said.
In the meantime, scouring flea markets and antique stores is still her favorite place to be, and getting to run Little Dog Vintage full time has been a dream realized. According to Claire, aside from the beautiful design and quality of older pieces, buying vintage reduces the amount of trash ending up in landfills and pollution generated from the manufacture of cheap, throw-away goods, not to mention the resources used to ship merchandise overseas from China and India. "I just feel better about it," she says. "Better quality and less environmental impact. It's a win-win."