If you squint at this postage stamp of a home on Portland, Maine’s Pearl Street, you can imagine horses clopping along on cobblestones and swinging in through the arched, story-and-a-half door. Constructed in the early 1800s as a carriage house for the neighboring Federal-style residence, the building reportedly served as a retail shop, artist’s studio, and storage facility after the horses moved out. Then a pair of artists sized it up and saw their next home. The owners have made some alterations to the exterior — most notably adding a modern third level with a rooftop deck — but the original historic character of the building is well maintained, making it one of the best (and perhaps smallest) examples of adaptive reuse in the city.
Portland-based writer Julie Senk holds degrees in history and historic preservation and provides property surveys and architectural analyses to homeowners and businesses. To learn more about her work, visit northernvernacular.com.