Their Blue Heaven
An Icelandic glacier was the springboard for a couple’s serene new build in Falmouth.
ABOVE The kitchen, with its moody-blue custom cabinets by Windham’s Rondeau Woodworks, ice-blue tile from Nemo Tile & Stone, and frosty elements — quartz countertops from Stone Surface in Naples, Anthropologie bar stools, and brass-coated Arteriors pendants — establishes the palette in Jeff and Mary Ann Doss’s Falmouth home.
TEXT BY SARA ANNE DONNELLY
PHOTOGRAPHED BY JEFF ROBERTS
STYLED BY JENNY MORRISON
Jeff and Mary Ann Doss are busier than the average bears. A maxillofacial surgeon and dental school instructor, Jeff works long hours six days a week, while Mary Ann, a hospital administrator, nearly matches him. So when they decided to downsize from the Cape Elizabeth Shingle-style home they’d built and raised their two children in, they sought a peaceful refuge. “At first, we thought we would buy a home close to the water and renovate it,” Mary Ann says. “But everything needed a ton of work. So we thought, ‘why don’t we find a piece of land and build again?’” — a process they’d enjoyed. “We’re both very organized, so it wasn’t stressful. It was actually kind of fun.”
Jeff wanted a secluded spot — the opposite of the packed street they’d once lived on, where “if you burped, they could hear you three houses down.” But solitude in the greater Portland area turned out to be a tall order. The Dosses looked for three and a half years before their Realtor, David Banks, found a quiet one-acre parcel abutting a nature preserve in Falmouth. The land was part of a small development owned by Roland Morrison, founder of Windham’s R.P. Morrison Builders, which, in a unique arrangement for the company, would both design and build the Dosses’ home. Mary Ann researched the firm, as well as Morrison Design House, owned by Roland’s daughter-in-law, interior designer Jenny, and loved what she saw, particularly Jenny’s nature-inspired, Scandi aesthetic, which seemed simpatico with the modern farmhouse-style structure the couple envisioned. “I like how simple it is, yet still elegant,” Mary Anne says of the genre, which updates traditional farmhouse design with clean lines, neutral colors, and a mix of rustic and industrial accents.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT 1) A kitchen hutch displaying Portland’s Campfire Pottery surprises with a pale-blue nickel-gap interior; behind, a glass chandelier from Scarborough’s House of Lights warms the dining room. 2) In the powder room, a Carrara-marble countertop from Stone Surface crowned with a concrete sink artfully blends with Lewis & Wood’s Bosky wallpaper. 3) Jeff’s office seems submerged in an icy sea thanks to saturated walls and built-ins, which designer Jenny Morrison brightened with a Restoration Hardware oak partner’s desk, brass picture lights from House of Lights, and a photograph by Kara Rosenlund. 4) Waterworks Carrara-marble fireplace tile adds modern crispness to the living room, which Jenny furnished with a rosy Kara Rosenlund sunset print and sofa from Portland’s Home Remedies.
ABOVE 1) A kitchen hutch displaying Portland’s Campfire Pottery surprises with a pale-blue nickel-gap interior; behind, a glass chandelier from Scarborough’s House of Lights warms the dining room. 2) In the powder room, a Carrara-marble countertop from Stone Surface crowned with a concrete sink artfully blends with Lewis & Wood’s Bosky wallpaper. 3) Waterworks Carrara-marble fireplace tile adds modern crispness to the living room, which Jenny Morrison furnished with a rosy Kara Rosenlund sunset print and sofa from Portland’s Home Remedies. 4) Jeff’s office seems submerged in an icy sea thanks to saturated walls and built-ins, which designer Jenny brightened with a Restoration Hardware oak partner’s desk, brass picture lights from House of Lights, and a photograph by Kara Rosenlund.
A trip Jenny and her husband, Josh, the firm’s project manager, took to the actual Scandinavia became the launching point for the home’s interior. “We weren’t planning on doing a blue kitchen,” Jenny says. But after visiting Iceland’s Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, where gem-like, pale-aqua icebergs float in midnight-blue water, “it dawned on me — can we incorporate that palette into the most important part of the home?” Shaker-style cabinets Jenny designed and had painted in Farrow & Ball’s Hague Blue mimic the Norwegian Sea, while handmade, muted-blue subway tile and frost white on the quartz countertops and barrel-back stools conjure the hulking ice formations.
The kitchen as glacial centerpiece invokes lowlights throughout the house: walls in Sherwin-Williams’s stormcloud–colored Gale Force in Jeff’s office, and doors, window frames, vanities, and stairway balusters in Tricorn Black, also by Sherwin-Williams. “Jenny said the kitchen would make everything pop and she was right — it’s perfect,” Mary Ann says.
The designer often bases her schemes on a moment in time in the natural world. Here, her inspiration was Jökulsárlón at dusk, when the setting sun’s rays dance warm light across the frozen landscape. As such, golden-brass and rose-pink accents counterpoint the cool colors in each room. Pervasive alabaster walls, along with oak floors wire brushed in a white finish and a pickled-pine kitchen ceiling — both carefully selected by Jenny to marry a Scandi modernity with the illusion of time-worn imperfections — add a grounding quality.
Light was critical for accentuating the crisp palette and nuances in the wood, so Jenny added several large, south-facing windows in an old-fashioned two-over-two style. She also designed an open-well staircase to create an airy, unobstructed sightline from the second floor straight through to the basement. “I wanted to bring in a bit of the lightness I felt in Iceland, a bit of the calmness,” she says.
According to the Dosses, she succeeded. Says Mary Ann, “The whole house, when I walk in, it’s like, aaah.”