TEXT BY SARAH STEBBINS
PHOTOGRAPHED BY MEREDITH PERDUE
When friends asked the husband-and-wife owners of this Kennebunkport Federal how they ended up in Maine, they tell them, “We had a really nice weekend.” The Pennsylvania couple visited the town on their anniversary in 2015 and liked it so much they started looking at houses. Three weeks later, they closed on their three-story place, built in 1790 and added onto in 1810. The renovating process was similarly serendipitous. After completing a first-floor overhaul with Kennebunkport’s Spang Builders, they invited the contractors back to revamp their bath. That project led to a reimagining of the adjoining bedroom and storage-area-turned-office. How did the owners find a designer to carry out their vision for the suite? You might say the wife took a really nice walk.
She and local Ryan Donnelly met while strolling with their respective golden retriever and Jack Russell terrier and became fast friends. When he left a Boston firm to strike out on his own in 2019, she was his first client. Donnelly suggested the couple carry the bath’s nickel-gap-paneled ceiling into the bedroom, where the ceiling was lowered from 14 to 10 feet to create a cozier feeling. A Cowtan & Tout botanical drapery fabric the wife fell for launched the design scheme, which combines her favorite blue-with-hints-of-red palette with Donnelly’s masterful pattern mixing. His strategy: Pair one bold, overarching motif with coordinating solids and a smattering of smaller-scale prints. To soften and give depth to the patriotic shades, he went with pinky reds and a spectrum of blues that conjures the ocean in different lights.
As the bedroom was coming together, Donnelly nudged the couple to make better use of their small storage room, now an office for the wife with a custom reclaimed-pine desk by Kennebunk’s Americana Workshop and a chair slipcovered in whimsical Schumacher fabric. Looking back, she says, “It all snowballed in the best way possible.”