Cybil and Coco: A First HOME


Do you ever land in the most amazing places? I do. Often. I’m super lucky. And I’m also happy to take you along with me for home visits, and to share their stories with you and share that luck!  Watch the video to take a tour of Cybil and Coco’s first home with us and to learn their beautiful stories!

Amazing places are usually to do with the people we find in them. I was lucky enough to meet a very special woman, who is now a dear friend, named Cybil (well, that’s sort of her name, more on that later.)  She taught my children in their Montessori preschool, and brought such magic to our lives and hearts and blew us away with her sense of adventure, her fantastic mind, and her huge heart. And her art. Oh her art.  I’ve saved every single card she ever penned us, most of them full stories, bound in wonderful ways, and illustrated to within an inch of their storied lives. Cybil is a gift, to all of us. And one we are so lucky to love.

She’s given us so, so much over the years, and also brought us to know and love her husband Coco. Their story is a beautiful one that will warm your heart. Our gifts in return, aside from our friendship and love, have been two meaningful ones: a lifelong friendship with another woman who is also dear to our hearts and whom we ‘set-up’ with her on a friendship date. (More on that story as well, another day, it’s a good one.) And a kitchen.

Cybil bought her first home at almost the very same moment that I bought our new home. We were both planning to do gut renovations of our homes, and one day, we brainstormed, that while the kitchen that was in the property I just bought didn’t work there, with work, we could move it to her new home, and make it work there. Yup, we moved a kitchen 16 city blocks, and breathed a whole new, magical, whimsical, and yet practical and functional wonderful life into it. So amazingly fun, right?

Once Upon a Time…

You know those people who say never show the before, just the after? We aren’t those people. How on earth would you know how far we’ve come if everything just looked like magic from the start? That’s the fun: the process. #trusttheprocess

Cybil and Coco found a beautiful — and what the real estate agents refer to as “charming” — home in a transitional, or what some refer to as an “up-and-coming” neighborhood. They had tired of rent, were responsible enough with their teacher- and chef-young salaries, and made a smart move: they bought a home rather than continuing to pay rent.

It’s arguable whether renting or owning makes more sense. The old school thinking is always own. The new way of thinking is that it depends on how long you’ll stay put. And many, many, many other variables. For Cybil and Coco, buying where they did, what they did, when they did, was a super-smart move. They chose a 2-story, 3-bedroom home that’s right next door to a community garden that needs mucho love.  The two of them have plenty of love and talent to share, and are no strangers to hard work.

Here’s what they bought with their first time home owner’s assisted loan, and some hard earned savings:

The kitchen was tiny and in the rear of the home, there wasn’t central air, the systems all needed to be replaced and come up to code, the bathroom was gross, and unfortunately, no, those floors didn’t have another sanding in them. But otherwise, it was PERFECT!!!  There are plenty more before photos in the video.

Meanwhile, 16 blocks away, we had a great kitchen, that just wasn’t right for the space it was in. In addition to which, while a whole kitchen is valuable, to try to save it and/or parts of it, in the midst of a large-scale gut renovation that required structural work, just would never be worth it. And so we moved it, reorganized it, and Cybil and Coco themselves painted the cabinets and added new hardware and voila! Now they have a kitchen build for their loves, talents, and lives!

We took that kitchen right out of one home, and plopped (understatement) it right into a new home!  So fun, right?

The Journey…

The house was remodeled over 6 to 8 months. New systems, roof, floors, walls, trim, tile in the bathroom, doors, all of it. The layout stayed the same, no major walls were moved; they kept the original stair rail because it’s amazing, and they also freshened-up a gigantic mirror in the entry. Otherwise, it was all touched up, on a super-tight budget that came together by miracle after miracle, and lots of hard work.

What was the kitchen, is now a sweet sitting area/gallery/workspace that leads out to their own garden which as all city folk know, is a special space!

One of the larger rooms upstairs is working as a library, one as a bedroom, and the third as this wonderful playroom full of kept and collected treasures!

What was once a yucky bathroom (did you see it in the video?) is now, thanks to some paint, subway tile, floor tile and fixtures, a peaceful retreat!


This home is a labor of love, as are all wonderful things in life. And now these two are continuing their very own unique journey through their lives, and this home. I love them both dearly and wish them all the happiness in the world, and I thank them both for sharing all they do with all of us, always!

We all find HOME in each our own way, and we’re so lucky that you shared yours with us.  Your stories and journeys are inspirational to all of us.  Thank you for opening your hearts and home to us.  I love you both so much and wish you all the happiness in the world.  xoxo A