A Bowdoin Family's Stone A-Frame Is On Point
Inside, rooms are stacked on six levels and packed with pieces by local makers.
ABOVE A license plate nailed to a utility pole in front of the A-frame reads: Kat’s Place — Kat being the prior owner, Kat Paquet. Her husband, Jamie, a contractor, built the house for her. “We’re never taking that down,” says Whitney Gill, who bought the home with her husband, Amory Raymond, in 2018. Gill admires Kat’s extensive gardens and Jamie’s craftsmanship. Others do too. “People drop by asking about the stone,” Raymond says.
TEXT BY SARAH STEBBINS
PHOTOGRAPHED BY MYRIAM BABIN
From the January issue of Down East magazine
For two years, Whitney Gill and Amory Raymond watched a Bowdoin A-frame go on and off the market. Listed as having one bedroom and one bath, it didn’t sound ideal for their blended family, which includes 13-year-old sons Mylan and Oliver. But in 2018, they went to check it out anyway. Hand-built of local granite by the previous owner, with forest-green trim emphasizing its precipitous peak, “it fit our creativity,” says Gill, a ceramicist and manager of the Maine Crafts Association’s retail affiliate, Shop Maine Craft. Inside, rooms are stacked on six levels, and a rear bump-out now accommodates a second bedroom with improvised “closets.” The cherry on top: a two-story garage they’ve converted into his and hers music and pottery studios. “I don’t care if it has one bathroom or an outhouse,” says Raymond, a jazz guitarist. “I wanted something different, so this is absolutely the best.”
“During COVID, this house was a godsend,” Gill says. “Everyone got their own space, and it never felt claustrophobic.” Mylan and Oliver like to retreat to this fifth-floor hangout, one level above their bedroom, furnished with a lawn-like rug and foosball table from Wayfair. Gill painted the abstract mural and the track lights to match it and the rug. Framing the window: a painting by Gill, wooden trucks by Solon’s Different Drummer Workshop, a small print by Portland’s Hannah Hermes and, below it, “fan art” by Mylan of a different Hermes print.
“When you’re the curator of a shop, you shop all day,” says Gill, whose work finds in the second-floor dining nook include ash-and-paper pendants by Portland’s OCB Design, a tea towel displayed as wall art by Waterboro’s The Faithful Hound, a painting by Gardiner’s Matt Demers, and assorted ceramics. A deacon’s bench from a Bangor church, unearthed on Facebook Marketplace, pairs with Gill’s grandparents’ table and chairs, the latter updated with inky paint and Shaker tape.
In a work-from-home spot off the third-floor living room, plants in containers by Gill and Scarborough’s C&M Ceramics appear to dangle from vines painted by Kat’s sister, Naomi Bernier. The desk has been in Gill’s family for a couple of generations. “The bright-red paint delighted me as a child,” she says. “Eventually, I harassed my dad about it enough for him to haul it to Bowdoin for me.”
A quatrefoil-patterned rug, nabbed at Renys, anchors a living-room corner outfitted with an antique leather loveseat purchased from Portland photographer Erin Little, driftwood and Shaker tables, a vintage light-up globe, a cribbage board by Morrill’s Butler Woodworking, a Matt Demers painting, a wooden wall hanging by Camden’s Karina Steele, and a print by Portland’s Lisa Pixley. Situated one floor up from the kitchen/dining area, with an adjoining deck, the room is ideal for entertaining.
To turn a closetless ground-floor room into their bedroom, Raymond and Gill installed maple cubbies for him and a clothes rack and shelves for her. Gill white-washed the pine walls and freehanded a sinuous pattern on the linoleum floor, topped with a Wayfair rug. While the paint dried, the couple slept in a tent on an adjoining patio. “We ran an extension cord and watched movies on TV,” Gill says. On the walls: a floor-model snowshoe from L.L.Bean, where Gill’s dad used to work, displays earrings and antique wooden skis serve as curtain rods.
In another living-room seating area, Wayfair and vintage pendants bookend a mid-century sofa from a Georgetown camp, found on Facebook Marketplace. Above the blue cart, a $4 Salvation Army find, sun- and moon-face prints by Belfast’s Isatopia look (aghast?) at a lion rug from Wayfair. “I’m a Leo,” Gill explains. Four years after landing here, Raymond still marvels at his luck. “I have dream guitars that just go in a file under favorites; I don’t get them,” he says. “This house was our fantasy choice.”