Before & After

Clean Slate

Intrepid DIYers put their stamp on a Freeport cottage buried beneath layers of finishes (and a massive rhododendron). 

Clean Slate

Intrepid DIYers put their stamp on a Freeport cottage buried beneath layers of finishes (and a massive rhododendron). 

ABOVE In the revamped living room, Sarah Madeira Day matched a slipcovered IKEA sectional with a vintage rug from her favorite online source, eSaleRugs; Wes Day made the walnut coffee table, and their daughter, Elle, contributed the fireplace art.

TEXT BY SARAH STEBBINS
PHOTOGRAPHED BY ERIN LITTLE

You should have a reality show” is a line Sarah Madeira Day and Wes Day hear a lot. The couple has extensively renovated three homes, including their current 1729 Cumberland Foreside Cape, known to 7,144 Instagram fans as This Maine House. Their niche: budget rehabs of dilapidated places in desirable neighborhoods — to which they bring a familiar dynamic. “I’m a little more like Chip and Wes is more like Joanna,” Madeira Day says, referencing the husband-and-wife stars of HGTV’s Fixer Upper. “He keeps the boat steady and I’m like the wind a little bit.”

ABOVE Benjamin Moore’s white base paint and Sherwin-Williams’s Shamrock, along with zealous hedge pruning, transformed the home’s exterior.

Their latest project, shown here, was a gut reno of a 1920 gambrel-roof cottage in South Freeport they purchased to rent and live in part-time. Among its trouble spots: dropped ceilings, a claustrophobic plan, and mold- and carpenter-ant-infested walls. During days off and evenings after work (Madeira Day is an artist and Day a pharmacist), the couple stripped the place down to the studs, reconfigured rooms, sanded paint off the wood floors, installed new wiring, insulation, and Sheetrock, pruned hedges, and whitewashed walls inside and out. A gas fireplace with a soapstone surround replaced a non-working brick one in the living room, which Madeira Day outfitted with her signature vintage rugs and white furnishings.

Next up? Maybe an art studio or another rental. “People have said other things,” Madeira Day says. “But that’s not real life.” At least not yet.

Electrical Contractor: Merchant’s Electric, Windham
Square Feet: 1,033
Renovation Time: 1 year


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