Maine Homes by Down East magazine, Summer 2022


Editor’s Note

The Guide

Mushrooms are sprouting up on home décor, art blooms indoors and out at this SoPo gallery, cool new cabins to book, a Portland home-goods shop with a general-store vibe, a new Brunswick hotel marries streamlined and 19th-century styles, and a grand Eastport Second Empire needs a hero.

Get Inspired

We’re crushing on this down east cottage, a colorful makeover for a York Harbor Cape, five minutes with Bangor artists Decontie & Brown, a Portland designer pushes for realistic room portrayals, behold these artists’ home murals, and a couple falls hard for a historic Boothbay Harbor log cabin.

Roadside Attraction

A writer investigates a deteriorating Frankfort landmark-turned-yard-sale-spectacle.

By Michele Christle

Summer Idyll

In Northport, you’ll find gingerbread cottages with spiritual roots, friendly owners, and clever patch jobs.

By Virginia M. Wright

Refresh Your Furniture

Wondering what’s involved in getting a piece reupholstered in Maine? We’ve got you covered. Pull up a chair.

By Sarah Stebbins 

Visual Feast

The Islesboro home of iconic decorator Sister Parish lives on as a family retreat — and real-time design lab.

By Petra Guglielmetti 

Strange Magic

Curiosities and cleverly repurposed pieces fill a photographer’s New Gloucester farmhouse.

By Sara Anne Donnelly

Retro Revival

A couple shines up a mid-century-modern gem on Lovell’s Kezar Lake.

By Jesse Ellison 

Smell the Roses

That’s what passersby stop to do when they encounter this enchanting sunken garden on Castine’s Main Street.

By Virginia M. Wright

Why I Live Here

In Jess Pierce’s North Yarmouth sitting room, massive windows immerse her family in nature (and a disco ball glams up kids’ performances).

Cover photo by Jeff Roberts

Editor’s Note

Three years ago, my family and I went to photographer Jeff Roberts’s New Gloucester house for pizza. Despite knowing Jeff for years, I approached the evening with the anxiety parents tend to feel when theirs are the only kids in a place. Do children try to compensate for being outnumbered by behaving like wild apes? I’m recalling the time outside a Bar Harbor restaurant when our then-three-year-old son stomped in a mud puddle next to a woman dressed entirely in white. At our table, he smashed a stack of plastic creamers, spraying a fellow diner and our server. But Jeff headed off any potential rowdiness in kind. Within minutes of our arrival, he was wrestling with our two boys on the living-room floor. Coming up for air, our younger son whispered loudly in my ear, “He’s fun.”

Jeff decorates the way he deals with kids: instinctually and without fear. Although he spends his days photographing homes for some of the state’s top architects and designers (and magazines like this one), he isn’t overly influenced by them. “I like interesting things that bring me joy,” he told writer Sara Anne Donnelly for our feature on his place (page 62). Among them: a giant wooden water buffalo that presides over his living-room windows, and, on his dining-room walls, a vintage yellow-plastic serving tray bearing the command “EAT!” and a set of seven clocks displaying different, random times.

Editor Sarah Stebbins and her Anthropologie drapes
a polka-dot/antique-settee
Jeff Roberts’s quirky New Gloucester home

Bold Moves: The Anthropologie drapes in our dining room are my gutsiest decorating decision. How fab is this polka-dot/antique-settee combo (page 49)? Jeff Roberts’s quirky New Gloucester home is a visual tour de force (page 62).

In this issue, gutsy design is a clear theme. Take iconic decorator Sister Parish’s Islesboro Cape (page 54), which fairly pulses with color and pattern on wallpaper, upholstered and painted furniture, needlepoint rugs, patchwork quilts, and porcelain collectibles. Or the eye-popping murals we captured in local painters’ homes (page 36); the glam dining-room light fixture Bangor performance artist Jason K. Brown crafted from old crib spindles (page 32); or the furniture transformations that combine modern fabrics with antique silhouettes in our reupholstering guide (page 49). I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to up my decorating game.

Back at Jeff’s, we ended our evening in the kitchen, where even the refrigerator received his singular touches: brass peafowl handles on the doors and a graphic black-and-gold tapestry on one side. This summer, I’ll be angling for an invitation to lounge in the hammock in his dreamy backyard, pictured on our cover. Wherever you while away the season,

I hope you’re with some inspiring friends. Brownie points for them if they’re willing to wrestle with your kids.

Sarah Stebbins