Living on an Island

My Favorite Resources

Living on an Island

Our Building On An Island writer, Laura Serino of Island Apothecary, gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy earlier this month and is now settling in with him on picturesque North Haven island (shown). Before embarking on this journey, she put together this handy list of home suppliers and pros you may want to consider for your next project. Any companies you’d add to this list? Leave a note — and well wishes for Laura! — in the comments. – Sarah

For many of our big house projects, we hired a contractor and subcontractors who live on North Haven. These guys dug our foundation, put up the house framing, and handled our electrical and plumbing needs. We also relied on them, as well as friends who built island homes before us, for recommendations when we needed to bring in help from the mainland. I made the mistake of cold calling a few companies before going this route, and the response I typically received when inquiring about travel to an island job site was a flat-out “no.” Reflecting on those we ended up hiring, however, I have nothing but glowing reviews. Here are the people we used, the places we ordered from, and why.

Architect: Gerald Weinand

My husband and I bought a very expensive CAD program we planned to use to design our house. As it turns out, this is not such a good idea for people (us) who have zero experience with CAD drawings. We were totally overwhelmed. So we enlisted Rockland architect Gerald Weinand to put our vision on paper. We told him exactly what we wanted and he came up with some solutions we would not have thought of otherwise. Plus the bank appreciated having actual elevation and electrical plans — who knew?

Building Materials: Viking Lumber

When you’re working on a remote job site and need a bunch of interior doors, or another box of nails, having a company you can order from over the phone and that will deliver the items to you, is a godsend. Time and again, Viking Lumber brought truckloads of material over on the ferry and drove it to our house. My husband could not have finished our project as quickly as he did without them.

Cabinetry: Young Furniture (via The Home Depot)

Here’s a great tip if you want a custom kitchen look but have a big box store budget. New Hampshire-based Young Furniture offers its custom-made, solid-wood cabinetry through The Home Depot in Rockland. We ordered during one of the store’s kitchen sales and got beautiful cabinets tailored to our space. The only catch? The units are unfinished, so you have to paint them yourselves. We love them so much though, we ended up ordering all of our bathroom cabinetry from Young as well.

Drywall: Irv’s Drywall

The Sheetrock was one aspect of the house we decided not to do ourselves. Irv’s Warren-based team was quick, responsive, and excellent. If you can afford to hire out this work, I highly recommend it. All of our walls and ceilings went up in about two weeks.

Fixtures, Hardware, & Tile: Wayfair

One of the smartest things I did at the beginning of this house build was to open a Wayfair credit card. We have racked up significant rewards using the card, which we are careful to pay off each month. The company also offers free shipping on everything and the customer service is phenomenal. When a bathroom vanity arrived with a cracked marble counter, they asked me to send photos. After doing so, I was expecting lots of back and forth but they refunded my card immediately and told me to donate the vanity to my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Another time, they tracked down our order of slate tiles and had them held at a local carrier while we were out of town for a week. Consider me a fan for life!

Flooring: A.E. Sampson

With the exception of some slate in the entryway, our entire house — including two bathrooms — is outfitted with 6-inch white oak from A.E. Sampson & Son in Warren. This was hands-down our biggest splurge, but it was important to us to use high-quality flooring from a local company.

Paint: Sherwin-Williams

We sourced all of our paint through Sherwin-Williams in Rockland. Neutrals can be tricky and being able to pick up $7 pints of sample colors to try out before committing to a final palette was a huge help to us.

Rental Equipment: United Rentals

Remember the manlift saga? United Rentals was quick to replace our ailing machine and met us right in the ferry parking lot for drop-offs and pickups.

Well Drilling: Haskells Water Treatment

We contacted 10 well drillers before we got someone who would come to North Haven. Not only did the crew at Haskells answer the call, they were also great to work with. Even when some family issues came up for the owner, he kept us informed and prioritized coming out to help us. Hurray for water!

As far as furnishings go — we’ll be sitting on milk crates while we adjust to life with a newborn. But hopefully we’ll have resources for those in the near future!


One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *