House Tour

I Think We're Alone Now

To escape city stress (and crowds), a New York couple sought out a saltwater farm in Cushing.

TEXT BY AMY SUTHERLAND
PHOTOGRAPHED BY JAMES R. SALOMON
The Davis Farm, Cushing Maine

ABOVE Peter Kukielski, a nationally recognized gardening authority, designed the terraced landscaping.

For 10 years, Drew Hodges spent hectic weeks in New York City running his advertising agency, SpotCo, which creates campaigns for major Broadway productions. On the weekends, he needed to escape those pressures and any reminder of them. That ruled out going to the Hamptons, where he was sure to run into clients. None, he realized, would go as far as Maine. So in the summer of 2007, he began catching a crack-of-dawn Friday flight to Owls Head in time to board the 10:30 a.m. ferry to Monhegan Island and, despite the distance, would return to New York every Sunday night revived.

He loved his weekends so much that he began looking for a house. Not long before Hodges met his now husband, Peter Kukielski, he asked a real estate broker to find him a saltwater farm somewhere on the midcoast. If the search took two years, so be it. The agent called within four months to say he had just the place in Cushing, one of the state’s oldest villages, and Hodges flew up in February to see it.

The Davis Farm, as the property is known, sits atop a spit of land that protrudes into a small cove. A simple, early-19th-century white-clapboard house composed of four connected buildings runs along the spit’s spine. Fields of native ferns, grasses, and wildflowers tumble down to the water on three sides. The farm was bigger than Hodges wanted (it came with two tiny islands and a guesthouse), but when he returned to New York, he told Kukielski he couldn’t stop smiling while he was there. They purchased it in 2010.

Though well kept, the house hadn’t been updated since the 1970s when George Brewster, a respected Boston architect and painter, owned it. Brewster built the fourth structure, a cathedral-ceilinged addition with strikingly large windows on the gable end that the couple uses as a master bedroom. Otherwise, the architect had preserved the home’s classic lines.

Hodges and Kukielski wanted to preserve them too, but also make the house more livable. Working with New York architect Larry Bowne and Rockport’s Limoges Builders, they began knocking down interior walls. In the oldest section of the house, they transformed five rooms into a single living-dining-kitchen area. That opened up a water view, but through small 1800s-era windows. So Bowne designed expansive glazing that echoes Brewster’s on the compound’s other end. It’s the only modern twist the couple added to the exterior. “You could over-renovate and then it gets too polished for where it is,” Hodges says. “That’s what we didn’t want to do.”

ABOVE 1) In Drew Hodges and Peter Kukielski’s Cushing living room, a chaise from the Paris Flea Market anchors a vignette that includes Donald Judd prints, a Restoration Hardware lamp, and a sailboat bumper doorstop. 2) Their pup, Frances, is happy to cuddle anywhere, but especially here on the living room sofa with Kukielski. The former Portland interior designer Christine Maclin, who helped furnish the house, designed the custom pillows. 3) The couple’s preference for mixing old and new is on display in the living room, where a B&B Italia sofa and Design Within Reach metal chair mingle with an antique armchair from the Paris Flea Market. The small paintings are by Cushing artist Lois Dodd.

ABOVE 1) Hodges heads into the dining room, where the couple pushed together two antique oak tables from Trifles in Wiscasset beneath a chandelier by Lindsey Adelman. An Ellsworth Kelly print hangs over the mantel. 2) An antique island from Portland Architectural Salvage is the kitchen’s centerpiece. 3) In the sitting room, a seascape of nearby Round Pond by William B. Hoyt crowns a Chesterfield-style sofa from Restoration Hardware. An antique bench doubles as a coffee table. 

They didn’t want to do that to the surrounding fields either. Kukielski, who was the curator of the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at the New York Botanical Garden, left them much as they are, adding only a rose allée leading to the water. Along the house, they planted coneflowers, delphiniums, sedums, ferns, and hostas. And flanking the ocean-facing gable, Kukielski designed a pair of curving stone terraces bordered with lilies and irises. “A lot of people come and say ‘where is your five-acre rose garden?’” he says. “It’s not here because it doesn’t belong here.”

For the first five years they owned the house, the couple drove from New York, leaving by 4 a.m. and letting out a primal scream as they crossed the bridge from New Hampshire into Maine. The drive back on Sunday nights was less exhilarating. Passing through Portland on one of those trips, they realized if they lived there they’d already be home. They moved to a house in the city in 2015, and now, whether in Portland or Cushing, they are always at home in Maine.

I Think We're Alone Now

To escape city stress (and crowds), a New York couple sought out a saltwater farm in Cushing.

The Davis Farm, Cushing Maine

ABOVE Peter Kukielski, a nationally recognized gardening authority, designed the terraced landscaping.

TEXT BY AMY SUTHERLAND
PHOTOGRAPHED BY JAMES R. SALOMON

For 10 years, Drew Hodges spent hectic weeks in New York City running his advertising agency, SpotCo, which creates campaigns for major Broadway productions. On the weekends, he needed to escape those pressures and any reminder of them. That ruled out going to the Hamptons, where he was sure to run into clients. None, he realized, would go as far as Maine. So in the summer of 2007, he began catching a crack-of-dawn Friday flight to Owls Head in time to board the 10:30 a.m. ferry to Monhegan Island and, despite the distance, would return to New York every Sunday night revived.

He loved his weekends so much that he began looking for a house. Not long before Hodges met his now husband, Peter Kukielski, he asked a real estate broker to find him a saltwater farm somewhere on the midcoast. If the search took two years, so be it. The agent called within four months to say he had just the place in Cushing, one of the state’s oldest villages, and Hodges flew up in February to see it.

ABOVE 1) Hodges heads into the dining room, where the couple pushed together two antique oak tables from Trifles in Wiscasset beneath a chandelier by Lindsey Adelman. An Ellsworth Kelly print hangs over the mantel. 2) An antique island from Portland Architectural Salvage is the kitchen’s centerpiece. 3) In the sitting room, a seascape of nearby Round Pond by William B. Hoyt crowns a Chesterfield-style sofa from Restoration Hardware. An antique bench doubles as a coffee table. 

The Davis Farm, as the property is known, sits atop a spit of land that protrudes into a small cove. A simple, early-19th-century white-clapboard house composed of four connected buildings runs along the spit’s spine. Fields of native ferns, grasses, and wildflowers tumble down to the water on three sides. The farm was bigger than Hodges wanted (it came with two tiny islands and a guesthouse), but when he returned to New York, he told Kukielski he couldn’t stop smiling while he was there. They purchased it in 2010.

Though well kept, the house hadn’t been updated since the 1970s when George Brewster, a respected Boston architect and painter, owned it. Brewster built the fourth structure, a cathedral-ceilinged addition with strikingly large windows on the gable end that the couple uses as a master bedroom. Otherwise, the architect had preserved the home’s classic lines.

ABOVE 1) In Drew Hodges and Peter Kukielski’s Cushing living room, a chaise from the Paris Flea Market anchors a vignette that includes Donald Judd prints, a Restoration Hardware lamp, and a sailboat bumper doorstop. 2) Their pup, Frances, is happy to cuddle anywhere, but especially here on the living room sofa with Kukielski. The former Portland interior designer Christine Maclin, who helped furnish the house, designed the custom pillows. 3) The couple’s preference for mixing old and new is on display in the living room, where a B&B Italia sofa and Design Within Reach metal chair mingle with an antique armchair from the Paris Flea Market. The small paintings are by Cushing artist Lois Dodd.

Hodges and Kukielski wanted to preserve them too, but also make the house more livable. Working with New York architect Larry Bowne and Rockport’s Limoges Builders, they began knocking down interior walls. In the oldest section of the house, they transformed five rooms into a single living-dining-kitchen area. That opened up a water view, but through small 1800s-era windows. So Bowne designed expansive glazing that echoes Brewster’s on the compound’s other end. It’s the only modern twist the couple added to the exterior. “You could over-renovate and then it gets too polished for where it is,” Hodges says. “That’s what we didn’t want to do.”

They didn’t want to do that to the surrounding fields either. Kukielski, who was the curator of the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at the New York Botanical Garden, left them much as they are, adding only a rose allée leading to the water. Along the house, they planted coneflowers, delphiniums, sedums, ferns, and hostas. And flanking the ocean-facing gable, Kukielski designed a pair of curving stone terraces bordered with lilies and irises. “A lot of people come and say ‘where is your five-acre rose garden?’” he says. “It’s not here because it doesn’t belong here.”

For the first five years they owned the house, the couple drove from New York, leaving by 4 a.m. and letting out a primal scream as they crossed the bridge from New Hampshire into Maine. The drive back on Sunday nights was less exhilarating. Passing through Portland on one of those trips, they realized if they lived there they’d already be home. They moved to a house in the city in 2015, and now, whether in Portland or Cushing, they are always at home in Maine.

library
Long Room, Cushing Maine
bedroom
bathroom

LEFT TO RIGHT 1) A leather Restoration Hardware chair makes for comfortable reading in the cathedral-ceilinged library. 2) The couple watches movies in what they call the Long Room, where they added a painted pine mantel and rug from ABC Carpet & Home. 3) In the master bedroom, an airy steel Oly bed allows Hable drapes and a watercolor by David Dewey, of Owls Head, to shine. 4) The master bath features the complementary kapow of orange grasscloth wallpaper by Phillip Jeffries and aqua Heath Ceramics tile, installed, along with the marble wall tile (and bluestone kitchen countertop), by Orland’s Freshwater Stone.

ABOVE 1) A leather Restoration Hardware chair makes for comfortable reading in the cathedral-ceilinged library. 2) The couple watches movies in what they call the Long Room, where they added a painted pine mantel and rug from ABC Carpet & Home. 3) In the master bedroom, an airy steel Oly bed allows Hable drapes and a watercolor by David Dewey, of Owls Head, to shine. 4) The master bath features the complementary kapow of orange grasscloth wallpaper by Phillip Jeffries and aqua Heath Ceramics tile, installed, along with the marble wall tile (and bluestone kitchen countertop), by Orland’s Freshwater Stone.


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