House Tour

Happy Place

After decades of summer visits, this longtime camp-goer has a home to call her own in Searsmont.

TEXT BY LAURA WALLIS
PHOTOGRAPHED BY JAMES R. SALOMON
STYLED BY JANICE DUNWOODY
Searsmont home

ABOVE Owner Christina Sidoti relaxes on the screened porch, which features Victorian white china from the Searsport Antique Mall and a pillow from The Meadow in Belfast.

Happy Place

After decades of summer visits, this longtime camp-goer has a home to call her own in Searsmont.

TEXT BY LAURA WALLIS
PHOTOGRAPHED BY JAMES R. SALOMON
STYLED BY JANICE DUNWOODY
Searsmont home

ABOVE Owner Christina Sidoti relaxes on the screened porch, which features Victorian white china from the Searsport Antique Mall and a pillow from The Meadow in Belfast.

When she was 12, Christina Sidoti looked across Searsmont’s teardrop-shaped Lawry Pond and saw the 100 forested acres she would one day own. She had traveled from Queens, New York, with her parents to stay at Camp Searsmont, a collection of simple cabins dotting the waterfront, and was immediately struck by the beauty of the 85-acre pond, the reflection of the clouds and surrounding pines forming an abstract painting on its still surface.

That summer began a decades-long ritual: From the day after school ended to the day before it began, she’d be at the pond with her parents, and later her two children, and the dozens of friends they’d made. With just a handful of waterfront-property owners, turnover was virtually nonexistent. That was, until 2007, when a longtime friend told Sidoti he was thinking of selling the land that had been in his family since the 1940s. He wanted to find someone who would lovingly care for the parcel, without subdividing it, and she assured him she’d be that person. “I said, I believe what the Native Americans say, that we are only guardians of the land,” recalls Sidoti, a Queens-based real estate broker and the former owner of the Camden restaurant Paolina’s Way, which closed in 2012. So, with a handshake and a hug, a deal was struck.

Over the next few years, Sidoti worked with Northport’s Holland & Foley Architecture, and local landscape designer Walter Lamont Jr., to plan what would become a mostly solar-powered, Adirondack-style home, two guest cabins, and a one-acre organic vegetable garden. Associated with the late-19th-century “Great Camps” in New York’s Adirondack Mountains, the architectural genre emphasizes native building materials and rugged finishes. Pine logs harvested from the property trim all of the home’s windows and doors and support the 16-foot-tall vaulted ceilings in the living-kitchen area and screened porch; a giant, double-sided fireplace, assembled from stones unearthed on site, anchors each space. Paul Jurutka, of Belfast’s Maine Rustics, collected branches and built mirror and bed frames, stools, tables, trellises, and a clothesline. What wasn’t readily available on site didn’t travel far: Warren’s A.E. Sampson & Son supplied locally sourced cedar paneling and pine flooring, and many of the vintage furnishings that give the home its cozy, lived-in look came from nearby shops.

"Canopy Room" in Searsmont Maine home

ABOVE Belfast’s Paul Jurutka crafted a framework for the master “Canopy Room” from branches found on the property; vintage French bedding and a rug from a Moroccan Bedouin tent play up the romance. BELOW In the “Adirondack Room,” Sidoti paired a mirror and headboard by Jurutka with Pottery Barn bedding and a paisley pillow from Josephine in Camden.

When she was 12, Christina Sidoti looked across Searsmont’s teardrop-shaped Lawry Pond and saw the 100 forested acres she would one day own. She had traveled from Queens, New York, with her parents to stay at Camp Searsmont, a collection of simple cabins dotting the waterfront, and was immediately struck by the beauty of the 85-acre pond, the reflection of the clouds and surrounding pines forming an abstract painting on its still surface.

That summer began a decades-long ritual: From the day after school ended to the day before it began, she’d be at the pond with her parents, and later her two children, and the dozens of friends they’d made. With just a handful of waterfront-property owners, turnover was virtually nonexistent. That was, until 2007, when a longtime friend told Sidoti he was thinking of selling the land that had been in his family since the 1940s. He wanted to find someone who would lovingly care for the parcel, without subdividing it, and she assured him she’d be that person. “I said, I believe what the Native Americans say, that we are only guardians of the land,” recalls Sidoti, a Queens-based real estate broker and the former owner of the Camden restaurant Paolina’s Way, which closed in 2012. So, with a handshake and a hug, a deal was struck.

Over the next few years, Sidoti worked with Northport’s Holland & Foley Architecture, and local landscape designer Walter Lamont Jr., to plan what would become a mostly solar-powered, Adirondack-style home, two guest cabins, and a one-acre organic vegetable garden. Associated with the late-19th-century “Great Camps” in New York’s Adirondack Mountains, the architectural genre emphasizes native building materials and rugged finishes. Pine logs harvested from the property trim all of the home’s windows and doors and support the 16-foot-tall vaulted ceilings in the living-kitchen area and screened porch; a giant, double-sided fireplace, assembled from stones unearthed on site, anchors each space. Paul Jurutka, of Belfast’s Maine Rustics, collected branches and built mirror and bed frames, stools, tables, trellises, and a clothesline. What wasn’t readily available on site didn’t travel far: Warren’s A.E. Sampson & Son supplied locally sourced cedar paneling and pine flooring, and many of the vintage furnishings that give the home its cozy, lived-in look came from nearby shops.

"Canopy Room" in Searsmont Maine home

ABOVE Belfast’s Paul Jurutka crafted a framework for the master “Canopy Room” from branches found on the property; vintage French bedding and a rug from a Moroccan Bedouin tent play up the romance. BELOW In the “Adirondack Room,” Sidoti paired a mirror and headboard by Jurutka with Pottery Barn bedding and a paisley pillow from Josephine in Camden.

Searsmont Maine home
Searsmont home
Searsmont home bathroom

LEFT TO RIGHT 1) The double-sided fireplace faces the screened porch and living room; the Adirondack chairs and vintage lobster trap are from Camden’s Antiques at 10 Mechanic. 2) On the screened porch, a birch-bark sign from Belfast’s Arts in the Park festival and a vintage French copper fish mold greet visitors. 3) The master bath’s soaking tub, from Fixtures in Rockland, is one of Sidoti’s favorite spots: “I get to the house, light a fire, and go run a bath — time just stops.”

ABOVE 1) The double-sided fireplace faces the screened porch and living room; the Adirondack chairs and vintage lobster trap are from Camden’s Antiques at 10 Mechanic. 2) On the screened porch, a birch-bark sign from Belfast’s Arts in the Park festival and a vintage French copper fish mold greet visitors. 3) The master bath’s soaking tub, from Fixtures in Rockland, is one of Sidoti’s favorite spots: “I get to the house, light a fire, and go run a bath — time just stops.”

ABOVE Signs from Sidoti’s daughter’s wedding, held on the property in 2014, and her former Camden restaurant, Paolina’s Way, crown the kitchen; the stools are Jurutka’s creations.

When allocating square footage, shared spaces took priority. “We decided to make the house a glorified kitchen,” jokes Sidoti, an avid cook like her Italian grandmother and Colombian mom, of the towering central space outfitted with custom birch cabinetry and pro-quality appliances. “That kitchen has probably put out a million pancakes by now!” Not to mention huge batches of homemade tomato sauce, pesto, tamales, and empanadas made with veggies from the garden. Then there’s the 1,200-square-foot screened porch, as deep as the house itself, decked out with multiple seating arrangements; a yoga area stocked with mats, blocks, and blankets; a Ping-Pong table; and a pine farm table that seats 16, where Sidoti hosts her children, five grandchildren, and assorted friends.

Three bedrooms, each with its own décor theme, bath, and French doors leading to a little screened porch allow everyone a measure of privacy. The more rustic guest cabins, meantime, furnished with kitchenettes and a mix of twin, queen, and bunk beds, “were built for kids — dirty feet, playing, sleeping,” Sidoti says.

Which, with the exception of the gourmet meals, pretty much sums up how days are spent here. “We get up, and everyone is down on the lake,” Sidoti says — swimming, canoeing, paddle-boarding, lounging. In the evenings, she sits on the porch, watching the sun dip behind the blackened shoreline — a scene made even sweeter by the presence of loved ones silhouetted against the pastel sky.

Lawry Pond

ABOVE The camp looks toward 85-acre Lawry Pond.


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