Editor's Note

Maine Homes by Down East magazine, Summer 2023


Editor’s Note

The Guide

Home products in punchy primary shades, new owners are putting their stamp on Maine’s historic inns, locally sourced rugs that have us floored, she scored her own private island in Addison, miracle-cure believers flocked to this Waterford landmark, and an 1830s Eastport Cape is a worthy project.

Get Inspired

We’re crushing on this A-frame-inspired Somesville retreat, a dark Brunswick log cabin lightens up, five minutes with Colby’s Jacqueline Terrassa, a Rockport Instagrammer’s thrifty renovations, in Belfast, a magical garden cottage immersed in flowers, and her home is a North Haven lighthouse.

Come Stay With Us!

But try not to spill on the sofa. A Biddeford writer wrestles with sharing his home with summer renters. By Nick Fuller Googins

Cottage Living

In the shadow of a lavish 19th-century resort, a close-knit community grows on Moosehead Lake. By Joyce Kryszak 

Finders’ Keepers

From nautical dioramas to vintage portraits, antiques dealers reveal what they collect. By Sarah Stebbins and Virginia M. Wright


Southern Charm

A couple feels right at home in a 19th-century Lovell Greek Revival with Lowcountry vibes. By Sarah Stebbins

Color Story

In Kennebunk, a homeowner dreams up a thrilling take on a coastal palette. By Sara Anne Donnelly

This (Old) New House

In Newcastle, history buffs decorate like it’s 1799. By Jesse Ellison

Safe Haven

On MDI, a couple’s native-plant garden shelters fauna (and fairies). By Virginia M. Wright

Getting Into the Groove

In Yarmouth, Brady Bunch-era pine paneling launched a living room’s funky design. By Sarah Stebbins

Cover photo by Sean Litchfield

Editor’s Note

Two summers ago, I met our builder, Matthew Alcorn, during a run with our dog in Portland’s Capisic Pond Park. I knew he lived nearby and had recently restored a decrepit Capisic Street Greek Revival people called “the Haunted House,” a transformation so impressive it won an Honor Award from Maine Preservation this year. (Read more about it in the May issue of Down East.) So I stopped to ask him if he’d be interested in building our addition, conceived by architect Kevin Moquin, who also lives in our neck of Portland. Soon after, we enlisted our neighbor, furniture maker Kyle Kidwell, to craft a bathroom vanity and met Matthew’s crew, all of whom live locally. “Does Matthew find people to work for him by going around the neighborhood and knocking on doors?” our then-nine-year-old asked after several members of the team biked to a meeting at our house.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever stop being surprised by the wealth of interesting, talented folks living in my midst. When I switched from working on national magazines to local ones, I worried there would be a dearth of content. And here I am, putting the finishing touches on our 22nd issue of Maine Homes, awestruck as ever at who we found. People like Casey Jordan, who turned a neglected lighthouse off North Haven into her summer retreat, hauling up heavy antique furniture with ropes and pulleys (page 36); Bob and Carol Lebeau, who are so dedicated to keeping up 18th-century appearances in their Newcastle reproduction Cape, they stash their full-size refrigerator in the basement (page 68); Bar Harbor’s Jan and Tom McIntyre, who nurture what is likely the largest collection of heaths and heathers in the state (page 74); and the eight antiques dealers who invited us into their homes to peek at their fascinating collections (page 46).

Schoodic Point
Matthew Alcorn putting a second floor on a house’s existing addition
walnut vanity by Kyle Kidwell

Home and Away: Now that Matthew Alcorn has finished putting a second floor on our house’s existing addition (right), I’m hoping to spend more time basking on rocks this summer. (Pictured: the always-dazzling Schoodic Point.) Among my favorite things in our new bedroom/bath is a walnut vanity Kyle Kidwell created.

During the five months Matthew and his crew spent at our house, our lives naturally became entwined. I knew what they were up to in the evenings and on weekends (mostly because I was eavesdropping — sorry guys) and they were witness to sibling squabbles and other trials happening here (oof, sorry again). To wit: Carpenter Kurt Stefancyk was the first person I laughed with when the photo calendars I made as Christmas presents arrived with “The Williams Family” emblazoned on their covers because I neglected to change the sample text.

This point in the magazine cycle feels a little like the afternoon the crew packed up their tools and moved on to other projects. There’s a sense of immense pride in what we created, relief that an intense period of life-disrupting work is in the rearview, and sadness because I’m really going to miss the wonderful people I met.

Did you recently complete a magazine-worthy house project in Maine? Or maybe you’ve got a sweet place to spend the summer in? Drop me a line — I’d love to hear about it!

Sarah Stebbins