Maine Homes Design Awards 2020

2020 Readers’ Choice Winners

2020 Readers’ Choice Winners

When we began planning our third annual Maine Homes Design Awards contest in April, COVID-19 was cresting on the East Coast. With seemingly every public event canceled, we considered following suit. But we decided that our community could use a celebration of local beauty and creativity now, maybe more than ever, and we could use the contest to do some good. To that end, we’re donating all submission fees from this year’s contest to a nonprofit at the forefront of our pandemic response, the Good Shepherd Food Bank of Maine.

Once again, we tapped our cast of heavy-hitter judges with deep connections to the state: Susan and Eliza Crater, of iconic fabric and wallcovering company Sister Parish, renowned architect Annabelle Selldorf, and interior/garden designer extraordinaire Loi Thai all have homes here; architectural photographer Jared Kuzia has shot many houses for Down East and Maine Homes, including Thai’s; and Thos. Moser, founder of the eponymous Auburn-based furniture brand, is, to many, a household name.

Next, industry pros and readers laid to rest the question of whether anyone would enter a design contest in the midst of a pandemic: Dozens of talented folks submitted more than 100 entries across five professional and three reader categories. Thousands of visitors also viewed our online gallery, casting votes to pick a Readers’ Choice winner in each category, unveiled here.

Thanks to everyone who submitted and congratulations to all of the winners. And special thanks to Knickerbocker Group and Maine Sun Solutions for sponsoring this year’s competition. We can’t wait to see what you all do next year.


Knickerbocker Group
Maine Sun Solutions



Coastal Double Gambrel


Photographed by Cheryle S. Onge

Coastal Double Gambrel, Kennebunk Area

Jennifer Hart says: This home looks east toward the rocky shores of the Atlantic Ocean. Visitors approach through a white gate surrounded by beach roses. A grassy path leads to a gracious entry porch that runs the full width of the façade, punctuated with an outdoor sitting room at one end. A detached carriage house includes a private balcony with expansive sea views. The home’s gambrel-roof forms, stone chimneys, and elegant trim details recall turn-of-the-century Shingle-style “cottages.”

Jennifer Hart

General Contractor:
Maine Coast Builders

Landscape Architect:
Woodburn & Company


Pebble Cove, Cape Neddick
Photographed by George Gruel


Pebble Cove, Cape Neddick

David Brearey says: The centerpiece of this home is a large room comprising a dining, living, and kitchen area. Art, Italian luminaires, and a view of the porch, gardens, and beyond were used to give each area a distinctive feeling. The dining table has as its focal point a large Japanese maple, centered on the bay window and surrounded with plants and a pond, which I pruned. The decision to light the table solely with recessed fixtures brought the outside in!

Lighting Designer:
David Brearey

Dining Chairs:
Windsor Chairmakers

Custom Dining Table:
Thos. Moser


Peaks Island Cottage
Photographed by Trent Bell


Peaks Island Cottage, Portland

Russ Tyson says: This kitchen serves as the central gathering space in the cottage and has an open connection to the indoor living and dining spaces, as well as an elevated deck. These four spaces were carefully arranged to allow for views of the backyard play area, the beachfront, and the bay, with its islands, ferries, lobsterboats, sailboats, and distant views of Portland’s twinkling skyline.

Principal Architect:
Russ Tyson

General Contractor:
Bunton Construction

Interior Designer:
Heidi Lachapelle Interiors

Landscape Architect:
Soren Deniord Design Studio

Civil Engineer:
Walsh Engineering


Structural Engineer:
Albert Putnam Associates


Yarmouth Basement Renovation Bathroom
Photographed by Samantha S. Pappas


Yarmouth Basement Renovation

Samantha Pappas says: We took a step away from the all-white bath and dove into some fun pattern, color, and texture. Earthenware accent tile in the shower niche (see a peek of it in the mirror!) combines subtle pinks, greens, and browns, providing a slightly feminine touch, while perfectly complementing the modern green sconces. Clay Lotus wallpaper by Gorham artist Erin Flett adds a fun note to the vanity wall. We balanced the straight lines seen on the vanity and the wall and shower tile with curves on the sconces, mirror, and floor tile, giving the room softness.

Interior Designer:
Samantha Pappas

General Contractor:
RDB Construction

Porcelain Wall Tile:

Quartzite Countertop:
K&D Countertops

Tile Installer:
Steve Day, 207-212-8968

Worlds Away

Sazerac Stitches

Shower Accent Tile:
Clé Tile

Erin Flett

Wallpaper Installer:
Coastal Wall Covering


La Escondida del Mar
Photographed by Steve Doyon


La Escondida del Mar, Edgecomb

William Joyce says: This design was borne out of our clients’ desire to incorporate an Argentinian grill, known as a parrilla, and accompanying entertaining space, into a landscape featuring a pool, a massive ledge outcropping, and stunning views of the Sheepscot River. We decided early on to use an abundance of local granite to celebrate the exposed ledge and feather the cook space into its surroundings. Long, dry-laid granite retaining walls and a broad granite patio, reached via a granite stepping-stone pathway, are the bones of the design. Next, we layered on native and ornamental plants, lighting for ambience, and some fun details, including a dining table made from an Angelique-wood slab from a boat notched into a boulder and a basin for wine or oysters carved into another boulder.

Landscape Architect:
William Joyce

Knickerbocker Group

Landscaping Contractor:
Theo Congdon

Stone Mason:
Shangri La Stoneworks

Stone Supplier:
J.C. Stone


Multi Purpose Dream
Photographed by Glenys Sayward


Multi-Purpose Dream, Gorham

Glenys Sayward and Jim Kucheman

Glenys Sayward says: This 11 ½-by-21-foot room was added to the back of our Cape-style house to expand gallery space for my artist-husband, Jim Kucheman, and incorporate space for dining and overnight guests, as well as a gas fireplace. Most of the wood we used came from our family’s farmland in Union. The fireplace combines Colonial ledgestone with a live-edge pine mantel and matching integrated benches with basket storage beneath. We fit together eastern-white-pine floorboards with weathered-gray edges ranging from 14 to 16 inches wide, and included a gray-tile path to the back door. Pine beams, stained to coordinate with the room’s light tones, incorporate track lights aimed at the gallery walls. Blue globe pendants between the beams and in a kitchen pass-through add color pops. The room easily converts to a guest room when the compact, queen-size sleeper-sofa is unfolded and a dining space when the harvest table is open and centered.

General Contractor:
Village Builders

Artwork: Brightside Gallery

Floor Refinishing:
Harrington Floors, 207-632-1051

Lumber Processing:
White House Lumber and Village Builders


A. E. Runge Oriental Rugs

Endicott Home Furnishings

Stone Mason:
L & R Masonry

Stone Supplier:

Table and Chairs:
Glenys Sayward and Jim Kucheman, via Thos. Moser teaching programs


Photographed by Doreen Athans


Cape Elizabeth Kitchen Renovation

Doreen Athans

Doreen Athans says: When we updated the kitchen in our coastal Shingle-style home, we kept the cabinets, appliances, and layout from an earlier renovation to reduce costs and waste. We painted the walls, millwork, and ceiling Benjamin Moore’s Simply White and refinished the original birch floor. The cabinets are a custom warm gray accented with polished-nickel hardware. New finishes include quartz countertops and glazed subway tile with a crackle finish. The overall design respects the circa 1900s architecture, while new pendant lighting adds a modern note to the bright, airy space.

General Contractor:
Paul J. Cormier Remodeling

Backsplash and Countertop:
Blue Rock Industries

Dining Pendant:

Floor Refinishing:
Atlantic Hardwoods

Kitchen Pendants:

Painting: Maine
Coast Painting


Tiny powder bathroom
Photographed by Cindy Launer


Tiny Powder Bath, Bar Harbor

Cindy Launer

Cindy Launer says: My husband and I purchased this in-town raised ranch in Bar Harbor last fall, hoping to move in before the brutal summer hit in Florida, where we previously lived. There was not a room in the house that we didn’t remodel to some extent and the whole process took about seven months. The powder bath, which is next to the front hall, was cramped and awkwardly arranged. The door opened into the hall, the toilet was in front of the door, and a vanity that stretched the width of the room was in front of the toilet. I wanted the room to feel light and bright, despite having no windows, but also warm. The pine console washstand inspired the room’s palette and style and blends with the cottage feel throughout the house. We pushed the right-hand wall back two feet, removing a closet from the adjacent office, which allowed the washstand and toilet to fit side-by-side and the door to open inward. It’s still a tiny bath, but more functional and cozy.

General Contractor:
AB & JR Hodgkins

Country Roads Home & Vintage

Hammond Lumber Company