Editor's Note

Maine Homes by Down East magazine, January/February 2020

Editor’s Note

The Guide

Timely pink and red finds, Victorian sailors’ valentines to collect, a pro floral arrangement you can make, a Camden auto body shop turned gallery/restaurant, an East Winthrop schoolhouse in need of saving, the story behind Houlton’s Blackhawk Tavern, roadtripping through Yarmouth, and candid advice on your home and garden conundrums.

Get Inspired

We’re crushing on this cozy Rangeley camp, a cramped kitchen becomes a welcoming spot to prep and perch, five minutes with York designer Sara Fitzgerald O’Brien, Falmouth artist Laura Fuller’s glass works inspire hope and healing, and, whoa, Nelly, this Camden tiny abode used to house — a pony!

Getting to Know Inez

Shortly after moving into their Edgecomb home, a couple discovers they’re not alone.

By Georgette Carignan

Looking Back

Waaay back at some venerable Maine homes celebrating big birthdays this bicentennial year.

By Brian Kevin, Kate Ladstatter, Sarah Stebbins, and Emmeline Willey

What’s Next

Local pros weigh in on the looks you can expect to see a lot more of this year — and how to make them work in your home.

By Laura Wallis


Past Perfect

A young family puts their stamp on a 19th-century blacksmith’s home in Portland’s West End.

By Jen DeRose

Modern Love

Experienced renovators help an iconic former party pad in Cape Elizabeth get its groove back.

By Sara Anne Donnelly

Hello, Bungalow

A small house in Scarborough reveals its cozy charms to new owners.

By Virginia M. Wright

Getting Warmer

Welcome to “Mainedinavia,” where, last winter, friends gathered for a shvitz and Scandi-inspired meal.

By Jesse Ellison

Why I Live Here

A real estate photo of a bright-red barn sold Lisa Steele, of backyard chicken-keeping website Fresh Eggs Daily, on her Dixmont farm.

Cover photo by: Erin Little

Editor’s Note

On Friday evenings, I do what any self-respecting home magazine editor would: gather the family in the living room to ooh and aah over a renovation show. Our favorite is Home Town on HGTV, in which an amiable young couple creatively restores period houses in Laurel, Mississippi (some quite similar to ones here), for owners who, to we Northerners, seem to be getting a spectacular deal (think: $100,000 for an adorable bungalow, allegedly including renovations). Our 6- and 9-year-olds love diagnosing the problems in each place — “popcorn ceilings!” “a pink toilet!” — and the mock-crises the producers gin up before commercials — termites have done a budget-busting number on the porch! — almost as much as the pizza or “breakfast for dinner” we have on these nights. And if there are folks out there who don’t love watching owners see their thoughtfully fitted-out dream home for the first time, I hope I never meet them.

Like snowflakes, home stories require a couple basic ingredients to take shape — people, houses — but each is always its own unique thing. To my mind, these endless nuances mean the genre, unlike the flakes, never gets old. Take the tale of veteran renovator Laurel LaBauve (page 60), whose blog and social media accounts I enjoy even more than Home Town (someone get this woman a reality show!): She and her husband, Richard, took on a mid-century party pad in Cape Elizabeth with two living room koi ponds and a bedroom whose wallpaper repeatedly spelled “mushroom” and made it their own. Or Claire and Mike Hammen, owners of a Portland Federal (page 52) whose past inhabitants include a brawny blacksmith, who supposedly threw 1,200-pound anchors around, and John Calvin Stevens’s architectural firm. I could go on, but I’ll let you read the magazine.

Something Old, Something New (from left to right): A graceful mix of period and modern style awaits inside Claire and Mike Hammen’s 1800 Portland Federal (page 52) — and is “heartbreakingly beautiful” too strong a phrase to ascribe to a sofa (page 47)?

The Hammens’ 1800 home figures into the early landscape we attempted to recreate through rarely seen historic photos of dwellings erected before Maine became a state — 200 years ago this year (page 42). In the next page flip, we pivot to a roundup of the most beautiful, practical design trends local pros are predicting will catch fire this year — proof that there are plenty of great stories still to be written.

Sarah Stebbins

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