Editor's Note

Maine Homes Magazine, Summer 2021

Editor’s Note

The Guide

Porch-ready products to boost your home’s curb appeal, Maine-made decoys to collect, brilliant locally crafted lighting, the Kennebunkport Captains Collection revives four storied inns, meet a Cape Elizabeth house portrait artist, a blue to-do in Waterville, the backstory on a Revolutionary War vet’s Swan Island Federal, the former Cherryfield General Store needs a hero, and candid answers to your home dilemmas.

Get Inspired

We’re crushing on this Oquossoc log cabin expansion, DIYers transform a dated Greenwood camp, five minutes with Portland artist Pam Chévez Zendejas, Saco antiques dealer Erin Donovan shows how to help your shelves, Portland’s Neon Dave wants to turn you on to light as an art form, and how a kitchen designer outfits his Morrill cook space.

Cool Companions

In a brave new working and recreating from home era, Mainers are building inventive studios, offices, and hangout spaces in their own backyards.

By Jesse Ellison

Past Perfect

A new book celebrates the knotty-pine, windows-thrown-open to-the-breeze beauty of archetypal Maine houses.


Island Escape

An eccentric real estate magnate’s 1898 estate on Falmouth’s Clapboard Island is ready for the next century.

By Sarah Stebbins

Play House

On a Windham pond, a once-seedy hangout becomes the stuff of childhood fantasies.

By Jesse Ellison

Retro Redux

A family feels right at home in a Cumberland ranch with groovy left coast vibes.

By Sara Anne Donnelly

Common Threads

Artfully placed works of whimsy lend continuity to a Harpswell garden.

By Virginia M. Wright

Why I Live Here

A couple finds solace on a Falmouth property with wildflowers, berry bushes, fruit trees, and a virtual driving range.

Cover photo by Myriam Babin

Editor’s Note

I have a longstanding habit of projecting stress onto house projects. Weeks before our first son was born, I was teetering on our kitchen countertops, organizing the upper cabinets. On the day I was induced, I packed the makings of a wedding album I wanted for our coffee table, thinking surely I’d have time in the hospital to affix zillions of photo corners to zillions of snapshots. (The album remains unmade.) Then there’s the pandemic. Since the world turned upside down more than a year ago, I have found it suddenly and urgently necessary to overhaul our linen closet and learn the proper way to fold a fitted sheet (a skill I did not ultimately have the patience to master, but, fortunately, my husband, Mark, did); drive to the far reaches of New Hampshire for a Facebook Marketplace find; clean inside all the kitchen cabinets; weed out mountains of toys and sort a pile of LEGOs the size of a small dog by color (a project that ended with me threatening to trash handfuls of miniscule helmets and swords if the rest of the family didn’t pitch in); and tear out the ceramic tile in our front hall, revealing (phew) oak flooring beneath. Okay, okay, this job was actually completed by Mark and a pair of young “helpers” in pajamas and swimming goggles, but I set it in motion!

Sarah Stebbins and her mussel shell wreath
Veteran home makeover show viewers, our kids exclaimed, “We’ve got hardwood!” when we started pulling up the tile in our hall.

Star and Stripes: This Union-made wreath is now the highlight of our Portland front porch. Veteran home makeover show viewers, our kids exclaimed, “We’ve got hardwood!” when we started pulling up the tile in our hall. My taste in patio décor and boys’ pj’s is in sync.

It’s now been a few weeks since I’ve tackled a laborious house project. Mark and I have just received our first vaccine doses. We’re seeing our (vaccinated) parents again. And our kids will soon return to school on a somewhat regular schedule. Bundle these developments with warmer weather, and the world is starting to feel less like my workshop and more like the place we’ve attempted to capture in this issue: a place where one might while away an afternoon “upta camp” by the ocean or lake, floating in a backyard pool, driving around admiring Maine’s quirky old architecture, or giving a room or porch a fun refresh. Our story with Saco antiques dealer/“shelfie” kit creator Erin Donovan inspired me to pop shells and dried wildflowers into vessels I had, perking up a mantel and bookshelf. And the stunning twig-and-mussel-shell wreath Union maker Sarah Norwood created for Warm Welcome? It now enlivens our front door.

As of this writing, COVID variants are circulating in Maine at an unsettling rate and case counts are once again on the rise. We’re not out of the woods yet. But if anxiety were measured on a scale of separating an avalanche of LEGOs into a dozen different bins to blissing out in a pool on a raft resembling a giant pizza slice, à la Cumberland homeowners John and Linda Meyerses’ son, Fletcher (page 73), I’m drifting contentedly somewhere in between. Wherever you’re spending the summer, I hope you feel the same.

Sarah Stebbins