Editor’s Note by Sarah Stebbins
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My husband and I are in that life phase when many of our friends are trading starter homes for larger, family-friendly places. When we visit, I lust after their master suites with double sinks and walk-in closets, finished basements, bonus rooms, and two-car garages. But when I think about leaving our 83-year-old Portland Colonial, I remember the faint imprint of a yoga ball on our bedroom floor, leftover from late nights bouncing our burrito-wrapped babies; our older son losing his first tooth to an apple in the kitchen (and insisting this warranted a hospital visit); and our younger guy emptying the bathroom cabinets and asking, “What’d you do?” when I discovered the mess. Then I remember all the renovating, retrofitting, room shuffling, wallpaper stripping, painting, and decorating we’ve done and how much more we want to do. True, we have no sequestered hangout space for our kids when they’re teenagers and our cars don’t fit in our tiny garage but, gosh-darn it, we’ve made an investment and I want to see it through!
If we ever do move, I think I’ll try out contractor/designer Michelle Peele’s coping strategy. She’s christened most of her 15 houses, including her sweet Alna Cape (Fresh Start, page 62), by sledgehammering a wall. “It’s kind of like everything’s real raw — you’re sad because you left something that’s done and was beautiful,” she tells writer Sara Anne Donnelly. The hammer has seen her through these transitions — and an unspeakable tragedy. “You throw your whole self into a new project and you don’t have much remorse for very long,” she says. “You don’t have time to think about it.”
Then there’s the question of what kind of house to live in. I long to own a net-zero place, like those highlighted in Greener Acres (page 44), and seeing how builder Patrice Cappelletti fitted hers out with reclaimed materials reminds me that a super-efficient structure can look as warm as it feels. The modern art lover in me would feel at peace in the architectural equivalent of a Piet Mondrian painting (Artful Aerie, page 54), and my romantic side yearns for an antique cottage like designer/Instagram phenom Loi Thai’s (Meeting Their Match, page 68).
When decisions stymie you, you’re supposed to get away, clear your head. I’d say a stay on Rheanna Sinnett’s houseboat (Home Floats, page 38) should do the trick, but I’m certain I’d come away wanting one of those too.
P.S. Did you hear the news? Maine Homes is going bi-monthly this year! Thank you for all your support and please keep the comments and suggestions coming.
A home for a family (and their pet birds) nests among the trees on a precious Washington County plot.
By Sarah Stebbins
Seasoned renovators find solace in a riverfront Cape — and a sledgehammer.
By Sara Anne Donnelly
Meeting Their Match
It was love at first sight for a Maryland couple and their cheerful
By Laura Wallis
Out of the Woods
An expansive, serene haven emerges from decades of taming a stony forest.
By Virginia M. Wright
Reader Bob Dennis settles in the beloved southern Maine community he’s been photographing for 26 years.
Swinging tasseled finds, putting the Color of the Year into practice, Portland’s hip new hostel, 19th-century maritime crafts to collect, roadtripping through the Queen City, the backstory on an 1893 world’s fair pavilion, rare landmark buildings on the market, a storied Colonial Revival in need of saving, and advice on your home and garden conundrums.
We’re crushing on this adorable wooden yurt, a dated suburban home gets a Shingle-style makeover, five minutes with designer Tracy Davis, inside the studio where painter Jan ter Weele creates his richly layered scenes, and a mid-century houseboat anchors a former helicopter pilot on Rangeley Lake.
From Rags to Riches
Twenty-three years ago, a writer’s decision to buy on Portland’s Munjoy Hill was considered questionable; now she’s lauded as a real estate genius.
By Amy Sutherland
Net-zero subdivisions are becoming more plentiful, popular, and affordable — should you make a move?
By Jessie Ellison
Among the perks of owning property in Vacationland: an influx of visitors who may be willing to shell out for a stay in your pad. Capitalize on your asset with help from our guide.
On the cover: The U-shaped Washington County home featured in Artful Aerie, photographed by Trent Bell