House Tour

How a House-Flipping Project Became Their Home

Vibrant colors and a throw-caution-to-the-wind decorating mantra inform a couple’s SoPo condo.

Mike and Julie Bernier swapped out the living room’s dated brick fireplace for a sleek electric one framed with art-deco–inspired Norwalk porcelain tile.

ABOVE Mike and Julie Bernier swapped out the living room’s dated brick fireplace for a sleek electric one framed with art-deco–inspired Norwalk porcelain tile. Rounded edges on furnishings, and in Julie’s painting, echo its curving motifs.

TEXT BY SARAH ANNE DONNELLY
PHOTOGRAPHED BY DANIELLE SYKES

From the March 2022 issue of Down East magazine 

When we bought this condo, the plan was to flip it,” Julie Bernier says. In 2019, she and her husband, Mike, moved into their 1980 South Portland place, thinking they’d be in and out. “But toward the end of a year of renovating, we were in love.” To avoid debt, Mike, a carpenter, and Julie, a painter, fixed it up themselves, with cash. “When we had some money, we’d do a room or a project,” Mike says. “And we made compromises,” like painting the kitchen cabinets instead of replacing them. Today, the overhaul is nearly complete — Mike had just demoed the powder room at press time — and the home meant for future buyers is distinctly their own. “We got more bold as we went along,” Julie says. “I did whatever I wanted and didn’t care if somebody doesn’t like it. I’ve created a space we love to be in.”

Mike and Julie Bernier in their South Portland home's dining area

Dining Area

“When you walk through your door after a hard day’s work, how do you want to feel? Our word is joy. And that’s what we’ve created with our choices here,” Julie says. Among the cheerful accents are a hot-pink Langley Street loveseat, sidled up to a bamboo IKEA dining table, and a leather tote with a heart, from Portland’s Kurier, which hangs from an antique ironing board turned coat rack from SoPo’s The Lamp Repair Shop. The basket is from Julie’s grandmother’s root cellar.

Line-art wallpaper by Kate Rhees, from Spoonflower, in the entry

Entry

Julie spent months “trying to get myself to do something more boring or safe” here, before going with her gut and choosing Oakland Décor porcelain floor tile in teal, her favorite color. To the home’s black-and-white theme she added line-art wallpaper by Kate Rhees, from Spoonflower.

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Sherwin-Williams’s Extra White provides a gallery-like backdrop throughout the condo

Living Room

Sherwin-Williams’s Extra White provides a gallery-like backdrop throughout the condo that’s intended to showcase works by Julie and others, like this throw pillow by Gorham’s Erin Flett featuring one of the home’s recurring symbols. Earthy pieces, such as the West Elm mango-wood-and-metal coffee table, ground the aesthetic.

blue-gray American Olean ceramic shower tile and a “linen closet” comprising stacked Home Depot kitchen cabinets painted in Sherwin-Williams’s Talipot Palm

Bath

The primary bath is “completely us,” Julie says. “All of Mike’s handiwork is reflected, and I took more risks with color.” A blush-pink door gives way to the newly expanded space outfitted with blue-gray American Olean ceramic shower tile and a “linen closet” comprising stacked Home Depot kitchen cabinets painted in Sherwin-Williams’s Talipot Palm.

Honeycomb-like cedar shelves from Etsy and a wood-and-metal apothecary chest display succulents and scrap-metal creatures from Montana’s Stag Lane Primitives.

Collections

Honeycomb-like cedar shelves from Etsy and a wood-and-metal apothecary chest display succulents and scrap-metal creatures from Montana’s Stag Lane Primitives. “It’s about a love of animals,” explains Julie, a former puppy-school owner who frequently paints furry subjects.

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Breaktime by Sherwin-Williams on the walls and a floral duvet cover reference the colors and motifs from the home's entry

Bedroom

Breaktime by Sherwin-Williams on the walls and a floral duvet cover reference the colors and motifs from the entry, while art by Julie and South Portland carver Jon Strom lend a marine vibe. At the foot of the bed: an acacia-and-metal bench from HomeGoods.

An L-shape peninsula Mike built with birch butcher block atop a maple base solved the problem, while stools and Glacier glass subway tile sport Julie’s beloved seafoam.

Kitchen

The kitchen needed more prep space for Julie, who loves to cook. An L-shape peninsula Mike built with birch butcher block atop a maple base solved the problem, while stools and Glacier glass subway tile sport Julie’s beloved seafoam. “Now, Mike can sit and chat with me, or we can work together,” Julie Bernier says, summing up their cooperative dynamic.


One Comment

  1. Jo hawthorne

    I love the lamb art – where can this be purchased?

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