Editor's Note

Maine Homes by Down East, Spring 2023


Editor’s Note

The Guide

Grids, ginghams, and plaids give your décor an edge, the Waterford Inne returns to its homesteading roots, bird perches we think are pretty fly, Falmouth’s Charlee Charron brings flowers to the people, a Lebanon schoolhouse needs a hero, and the Sorrento Public Library was once party central.

Get Inspired

We’re crushing on this Windsor camp, a Portland Second Empire gets a glow-up, five minutes with SoPo seamstress Josiane Mutangana, level up your landscape with help from local pros, a Portland artist’s flower-packed prints are cropping up all over, for a Sugarloafer, home is a vintage caboose, and book lovers share their organizing strategies.

Long Time Coming

A writer and his family reclaim a beloved Waldoboro property, 70 years after it slipped out of their hands. By Eliot Daley

Serving Up Style

The recipe for designing a kitchen you’ll love for years to come? An efficient layout, durable materials, and plenty of personal style. The choices these homeowners made amount to a heaping plate of inspiration. By Sarah Stebbins


Barn Charm

A family trades the suburbs for a quirky 19th-century agricultural building and hobby farm in Harrison. By Sara Anne Donnelly

Looking Fresh

In Yarmouth, a clever couple reimagines their 19th-century farmhouse in whimsical pinks and greens. By Michaela Cavallaro

Art Land

Conversation pieces — and plants! — cover virtually every surface in a couple’s Topsham home. By Virginia M. Wright

Emerald Oasis

On a Buxton hilltop, a couple’s natural pool is a haven for wild creatures — and a glorious place to cool off. By Aurelia C. Scott

Purple Reign

A Portland designer’s Victorian-meets-modern living room will make you rethink an overlooked wall color. By Sarah Stebbins

Cover photo by Erin Little

Editor’s Note

When I think back on the memorable moments in our house, most have unfolded in the kitchen. There’s Mark and me, sitting cross-legged on the floor, watching our first baby, a rescue pup, tentatively explore her new home. And there we are, seven years later, shattered after the vet called with the news that she’d passed away during the night. There’s our colicky older son in his infant seat on the stovetop after his beleaguered parents discovered that the roar of the range-hood fan would lull him to sleep. And there he is as a first-grader, losing his first tooth in an apple, and sobbing as though he’d been deprived of a limb. There’s our food-motivated younger guy learning to crawl by following a Cheerios trail on the floor, and there he is as a toddler in a fireman’s costume presiding over the “wedding” of his brother and a neighbor.

When we renovated our kitchen six years ago, these recollections were tangled up in the process. There were flashes of panic — we’re ripping out the floor our babies crawled on! — and pressures associated with choosing a backdrop for the next couple decades of memories. Given the centrality of kitchens, it’s no wonder magazines devote so many pages to them. In our first dedicated story on the topic (page 46), we focused on the personal decisions that drove five strikingly different designs. You’ll meet homeowners whose kitchens were inspired by their art, cooking habits, a seminal architect, a charming shade of yellow (see also the dreamy pink kitchen on our cover and page 62), and their children. “I’m going to tear up,” Cameron Zinman told me while describing her decision to move with her now-teenage son and daughter from New York to Yarmouth in 2020. “I had a lot riding on this. And so, this kitchen is a love letter to my kids. Everything I did had to fit with this vision of them waking up here and feeling cozy, settled, and home.”

Maine Homes by Down East editor Sarah Stebbins in front of kitchen china cabinet, designed by Block Brothers Custom Cabinets
Kitchen with Glazzio Victorian Icon glass tile

Focal Points: I hung wallpaper, leftover from our powder-room reno, in our kitchen china cabinet, designed by Northport’s Block Brothers Custom Cabinets. Artful glass tile enlivens one of our favorite local kitchens (photo by Liz Daley, page 46).

That sentiment was a subtext in our renovation too. I can’t always head off the mistakes our kids will make, or the hurt feelings they might experience, after they head out the door. But I can make sure they’ve got a dedicated seat at the little table attached to our island, where they can have a meal, share what’s on their minds, and, hopefully, feel at peace.

Sarah Stebbins