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On our huge beautiful deck nestled in the Santa Cruz redwoods.

The photos on this page are mostly of our collective home in Santa Cruz. We lived there for almost 13 years, from August 1997 through April 2010, when I followed Nick and Tom and moved out. The other children continued to live there, Daphné and Alban on and off, and Charlie and Alex when they weren’t staying with me in the condo.

It was the only home that we ever owned. We almost bought a larger house in Scotts Valley before Nick and Tom came to live with us in California in 1999, but chickened out of signing another mortgage before we had a buyer for our home. It proved to be big enough for all of us anyway.

One of the last photos of our home before I moved out. The office finally had the hardwood floors that Marie-Hélène had been dreaming of since we moved in, to go with the double glazing and paint which she had done a few years before. It looks lovely.

As a family, we had started out in 1994 in Le Tahu, in Hermeray, France, which is a small village located in the Forest of Rambouillet south west of Paris.

In 1996, we moved to St Hilarion, a nearby village, to La Bellanderie, which was a dream home for us: 4,000 square feet of charming delapidation!

Then on to Santa Cruz in 1997, where our mountain home is surrounded by lush woodland, with over 40 redwoods on the property. Their massive ancestors were logged a century ago, leaving these groves of younger trees. Tom asked to build a tree house in one of these groves, and I thought about that at length. The only reason that I said no was because I didn’t think that Tom would end up doing much of the building!

The most successful and long-lasting toy for the children that we have ever found.

We found the house in record time, thanks to Doug McGuire and Inez Pandolfi (“She’s the One!”) at Century 21 Realty. Above on the left is a corner of one of its biggest assets, the deck, soon after we moved in in August 1997.

From time to time, we stayed with Grand-père in La Grée; his delightful cottage in the heart of Brittany. It too has great charm, and until 2002 had a working farm next door where the children disappeared for hours on end “helping” Daniel, the farmer do his work or exploring the safe, rural neighborhood.

We also spent time in Marlow with grandma on vacations, but our focus, where we put our effort over the years, was in making our house our home.

Grand-père’s wonderful photographs of the Brittany countryside graced the living room wall before we redecorated.

On the right is the living room in early 2002. Grand-père‘s photos then moved into the breakfast nook, and the sofabed, which had made it from New York to Paris to California, had to be thrown out because the crooked French moving company which moved us to California broke its back and then refused to repair it.

That’s the difficulty with portraying a long-term home: it changes constantly. Other pictures are here.