May/June 2019 issue of Maine Homes by Down East

Editor’s Note by Sarah Stebbins 

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Sarah Stebbins, editor of Maine Homes by Down EastWhen I was a kid, my aunt and uncle lived in the Jacob Randall Homestead in Pownal. A brick Federal built between 1796 and 1804, it had a room my aunt referred to as “the parlor,” a ghost she claimed tickled the piano keys at night, and a barn for her horse, Lady. I remember wandering their field and along the river across the road (where, subsequent research tells me, Randall operated a grist mill), wearing a coat to play in my cousin’s unheated bedroom, and imagining I was living in Little Women or Little House on the Prairie times. My aunt, a high school English teacher prone to wearing long skirts and quoting Walt Whitman, only furthered the fantasy.

Since starting this magazine, I’ve wanted to run a story mapping out where to find beautiful old Maine houses like hers. Many of us know about the treasure troves on certain Main Streets, but if you’re looking for more than an afternoon stroll, where should you direct your GPS? To my delight, architectural historian Julie Senk agreed to outline five road-trip-worthy regions for historic house lovers and detailed itineraries for each (House Hunting, page 39). Now, before you lament that your favorite town was not included, you should know that I adore this story so much I’m already planning the next installment! That is, of course, if you share my enthusiasm. Please drop a line and let me know!

Obviously, breathtaking architecture wasn’t just happening a century or two ago. As evidence, I submit Gary Foster’s artfully reimagined raised ranch in Phippsburg (Cool and Collected, page 62) and the 13 magnificent winners of the 2019 AIA Maine Design Awards, which we are honored to showcase on page 52. (Do you recognize one of the homes from our March-April cover?)

When you’re not ogling houses, I hope you also find some time over the next couple of months to reflect on the glory that is spring in Maine (we made it!). And if you’re searching for words to describe your feelings on this subject, may I suggest Leaves of Grass?

Sarah Stebbins


2019 Maine AIA Design Awards

Feast your eyes on the winners of the state’s most prestigious architecture awards.

Cool and Collected

An art enthusiast finds his place in a favorite community.

By Debra Spark

The Funhouse

Visual thrills await around every corner in a Portland couple’s colorful, historic home.

By Sara Anne Donnelly

One Cottage in Maine

A Washington County retreat takes its cues from Scandinavian style and beloved children’s stories.

By Laura Wallis

Moss & Blooms

Hard work, patience, and synergy beautify a neglected Camden lot.

By Virginia M. Wright

Why I Live Here

Come sit for a spell on reader Joan Black’s Biddeford porch with panoramic views of Basket and Stage islands and Wood Island Light.


The Guide

Fresh floral items for your home, elegant, 19th-century pattern glass anyone can collect, three stylish new places to sip or sup, a roomy American Foursquare in need of saving, a Windham vintage shop packed with unexpected treasures, roadtripping through Belfast, top designers’ wallpaper picks, and straight-shooting advice on your home and garden conundrums.

Get Inspired

We’re loving this Kingfield log cabin, a Portland couple wakes up their tired master suite, five minutes with designer Jessie Tobias, inside the studio where busy painter Amy Pollien creates her botanical still lifes, and a boathouse that had seen better days becomes a chic retreat for a Castine family.


Homey Things to Do This Season


Notes from Underground

A father’s basement record keeping provides his daughter with precious insights into his past.

By Lyn Mikel Brown 

House Hunting

Want to see some of the coolest period architecture Maine has to offer? Grab a partner, and our turn-by-turn guide, and hop in the car.

By Julie Senk 

How Does Your Maine Garden Grow? 

Don’t let our harsh climate intimidate you. Bright, colorful beds are easy to achieve with some simple precautions and an adventurous spirit.

By Virginia M. Wright

On the cover: The chic Castine retreat featured in our Nautical Style story, photographed by Jared Kuzia.

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