Mindy Grossman in sunroom with dog

Photo: Simon Upton

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It took two seconds for Mindy Grossman to fall in love with the rambling old house and another nine years of gleeful collecting and fearless renovating to make it completely her own. What she's discovered along the way—about honoring the past, embracing the new, and staying true to your vision—could serve as a blueprint for living.

"My husband jokes that this is the only place I can do the movie version of relaxing—which is, you don't sit and relax, you're just in a different environment," says Mindy Grossman. The photograph behind Mindy is by Henri Cartier-Bresson.