March/April 2020 Maine Homes by Down East magazine

Editor’s Note

The Guide

Rocking the colorblock trend, antique samplers to collect, a pro floral arrangement to try, pretty Maine-stitched pillows, putting the Color of the Year into practice, roadtripping through Brunswick, a Rumford mill-worker’s house needs a hero, the backstory on a Richmond Second Empire stunner, Capes for sale!, and candid advice on your home dilemmas.

Get Inspired

We’re crushing on this artful beachfront retreat, a creative makeover brings a bland Saco kitchen and bath back to life, five minutes with Portland arts advocate Márcia Minter, painter Hannah Secord Wade invites us into her Woolwich studio, and charred-wood siding is catching fire in Maine.

Tapping My Family Tree

A writer “from away” puts down roots in Thomaston — and reaps the rewards.

By Brooke Williams

Small Wonder

Mobile tiny home advocates are closing in on a legislative victory. But will the buildings ever be truly accepted in Maine?

By Jesse Ellison 

Peninsula Furniture Picks

Your path to the perfect sofa (or coffee table or armchair) begins at one end of Portland’s hip peninsula and ends on the other. Grab our guide and let’s hit the sidewalk.

By Amy Sutherland


Good Spirits

The Harpswell home of a liquor magnate’s family transitions to happy new owners.

By Joyce Kryszak

Fresh as a Daisy

A floral designer’s Portland bungalow is as abundant, and breezy, as her arrangements.

By Sara Anne Donnelly


An iconic chandlery-turned-summer-home for a notable midcoast family is ready for a new generation.

By Jen DeRose

Making His Own Path

Respect for the climate and natural landscape guide a Phippsburg gardener.

By Virginia M. Wright

Why I Live Here

After a trying few years, Sarah Richardson finds happiness, and spectacular sunrise views, in a West Newfield post-and-beam.

Cover photo by: Jeff Roberts

Editor’s Note

The other day, apropos of nothing in particular, my kids started sketching a “blueprint” of the “Best House Ever.” Rendered in green ink, the gabled-roof, quadruple-decker boasts a Lego Room; Basketball Room; Rod-Hockey Room; Video Game Room; Beyblade Room (for the blissfully uninitiated, Beyblades, or “Beys,” are souped-up spinning tops currently tormenting parents of elementary school boys everywhere); Racetrack Room; “Kitchen (with robots)” — shameless pilfering from Chris Van Dusen’s brilliant If I Built a House here — garage with twin Teslas parked inside; and, in the attic, a Money Room marked with Scrooge-style, draw-string bags emblazoned with dollar signs. Good thing they’re misers because, according to the boys’ calculations, this place will cost a quintillion dollars.

As it happens, we’re highlighting a grown-up version of the Best House Ever in this issue. Our new House Crush column (page 33) showcases a Maine abode with heart-stopping curb appeal. First up: a cubic, glass-front summer home whose segmented, exposed rooms conjure a fanciful cross-section drawing come to life. Our photo director said he’d sacrifice his right leg to live there. I hope your reaction is similarly, er, exuberant.

Their Dream and Mine: My kids’ fantasy house features a Rod-Hockey Room and kitchen with robots. Me?  I’ll take this beachfront retreat (page 33) and one of designer Heidi Lachapelle’s new pillows (page 18) please!

Honestly, though, I could apply the House Crush label to every home we feature. I am as enamored of Braxton Jarratt and Tanya Lacourse’s elegant, eclectic Bailey Island bungalow — formerly owned by a famous liquor magnate’s family — as I am of Michelle and Evan Glassman’s maximalist, boho-style Portland place and Margaret Castleman and Barry Evans’s rustic, spare chandlery-turned-vacation-home on Westport Island. We work hard to ensure we offer something for every taste and, if a house isn’t your cup of tea, we think we can still leave you entertained, and with some nuggets to glean. Ever wonder how to decorate around profuse wood paneling, for instance? Lacourse suggests a stark black-and-white palette that can hold its own. Or how to mix patterns in a room? Stick to no more than two busy motifs and temper them with plenty of solid neutrals, Michelle counsels. Or how to rehab your chandlery? Ok, ok. But Castleman and Evans’s story is poignant, involves some midcoast boldface names, and should delight anyone who cares about preserving Maine’s historic structures.

Having just wrapped a master bedroom refresh at our Portland home, I’m setting my sights on smaller updates — like picking up some gorgeous Maine-made pillows for our sofa (page 18) — at least until the boys build us that Money Room.

Sarah Stebbins

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