Cheerful terrazzo finds, Maine stoneware to collect, local pros sound off on Pantone’s Colors of the Year, HGTV’s Portland “dream home,” the city’s artisan-centric Venn + Maker gets an update, a Cape Elizabeth lumberyard dedicated to local products, the backstory on a Rockland congressman’s Queen Anne, a Sears kit house in Washburn needs a hero, small houses for sale!, and candid answers to your home dilemmas.
We’re crushing on this St. George cottage on stilts, a night-and-day makeover for a Kennebunkport bedroom, five minutes with Colby artist programs director Daisy Bousquet-Derosiers, Portlander Kels Haley’s sweet new textile line, and inside a fanciful, “shoppable” Kennebunk Airbnb.
For two weeks on Penobscot Bay, a writer is willing to put up with a rental’s many quirks — and bring his own frying pans.
By Gary Schiro
Shipping containers are of a piece with Maine’s maritime setting — so should you live in one?
By Jesse Ellison
Living here presents questions, practical and aesthetic. We’ve got answers, culled from trusted local pros.
By Michaela Cavallaro
Former elite rowers find their niche in a friendly Falmouth neighborhood.
By Sara Anne Donnelly
With the completion of a finely crafted Cape Elizabeth home, a former executive strikes the final item from his bucket list.
By Rachel Slade
Art and curiosities fill every nook in a creative couple’s Gardiner farmhouse.
By Virginia M. Wright
In Gorham, a second-generation grower’s garden sanctuaries are a balm for the community.
By Aurelia C. Scott
Channeling the Field of Dreams philosophy, civil service retiree Molly Walpuck built a new life in St. George and now they come — by the carload.
Cover photo by Sian Richards
As a kid, I logged a lot of miles pedaling my purple ten-speed from my house on Yarmouth’s Cousin’s Island over the bridge to my best friend Julie’s place on Littlejohn Island. When my tires hit the crushed-rock driveway leading to her family’s 1901 shingled home on Casco Bay, a cacophony of poodle barks pierced the air and her dad, Peter, would appear in the screened door, shaming the shrill posse for perhaps the third or fifth time that day. For Julie’s house was like a neighborhood pub, a place you went for nourishment, talk therapy, and to see who all was going to show up, and Peter was the beleaguered, big softy bouncer who waved us all in.
The person many came to see was Julie’s mom, Kathy. The only female business executive I knew in those days, she worked long hours and left the carpooling, lunch packing, and field-hockey-cleats purchasing to Peter, who worked full-time as an attorney. But Kathy was her family’s, and her sprawling community’s, emotional anchor. On any given day, you could find her holding court at the head of the dining room table (which, in the 1980s, an interior designer convinced her to orient diagonally in the space), heading off with a group for a power walk, or curled up on the sweeping front porch, counseling colleagues, friends of friends, and, eventually, her children’s friends, on their personal and professional paths. Having been among the many beneficiaries of her love and wisdom over the years, my husband and I knew Kathy was the one to perform our wedding ceremony.
Island Life My lifelong mentor, Kathy, officiated my wedding (in a hurricane!) on Portland’s Great Diamond Island (right) in 2008. Kathy passed away last year, but the boat named for her still bobs in the water in front of her former home on Yarmouth’s Littlejohn Island (left), now occupied by her son and his family.
Kathy and Peter’s house was beautiful, with its wide water views, paintings by local artists, and walls of books in the living room. But what made it memorable, magnetic, were the people who filled it. Believing this is the essence of any great house, we aim to show Mainers in their homes as much as possible, and share how they’ve shaped them. We think you’ll be glad to “meet” the Blackmore family, whose Falmouth cottage is a repository for pieces from their Moroccan travels, and a cheerful homeschooling base (page 54); Louis Kaucic and Billy Merritt, whose Cape Elizabeth place (page 62) has a corgi-size arch on the porch for their beloved Huggy to peek out from; and artists Matt Demers and Allison McKeen, who have decorated their Gardiner farmhouse (page 68) with displays of Campbell’s Soup boxes and boldly patterned thermoses, and a grocery cart with a potted dracaena in its basket.
Last December, Kathy died at age 72, following Peter, who passed five years earlier. As I’ve grappled with the injustice, and the preposterous idea of a world without one of my lifelong role models in it, the old house on Littlejohn has brought some comfort. Kathy and Peter’s son, Rob, and his wife, Becca, live there now with their three young children. I like to think of them in those familiar rooms, welcoming friends, maybe advising some of them in their quiet way, which is different from Kathy’s, but would nonetheless make her immeasurably proud.