ABOVE Sarah Pike and sons Ben, 12, and Sam, 9, in the living room. Sarah acquired her love for maps from her father.
TEXT BY VIRGINIA M. WRIGHT
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ERIN LITTLE
Sarah Pike has just pulled into her driveway with her latest junk-shop find: three wire clam baskets that she carries into the big white barn attached to her Waldoboro farmhouse. Holding one upside-down, she says the baskets will make fine pendant lights for the patio that she and her husband, Josh, are building. “I love design and creating welcoming spaces,” she says. “Anything vintage, anything old school, anything that looks like it’s been rolling around the bottom of the ocean for 100 years — I’m like, ‘Yes!’”
Welcoming spaces are important here at Tops’l Farm, where the Pikes run a luxury-camping retreat and occasionally make their own house available to wedding parties. The boundary between home and work is almost seamless.
After several years running their own businesses in Massachusetts, the Pikes returned to their native Maine in 2016 to embrace a rural lifestyle. They tackled several projects at once —while renovating the house, they also built camping platforms, cabins, and an event barn. To double the size of their kitchen, they absorbed a hallway, and Waldoboro carpenter Zach White used the dismantled wall boards and beams to fashion a table. The Ikea cabinets are painted Benjamin Moore’s Newburg Green. The dual-oven Bertazzoni range was a splurge. “I’ve learned where to invest and where to find creative solutions,” Sarah says.
On the second floor, a clawfoot tub faces the Medomak River, which is a 10-minute walk from the house. The brass binoculars on the windowsill are another junk-shop score.
Sarah and Josh’s bedroom occupies what was once unfinished second-floor space, enlarged with the addition of dormers. The closet door, which slides to save space, came out of the barn. The boys’ rooms were reconfigured to add a hallway so the family wouldn’t have to walk through one bedroom to get to another. To simplify maintenance, walls throughout the house are painted Sarah’s favorite white, Benjamin Moore’s White Dove. Rich Burns, of Cornerstone Carpentry and Consulting in Nobleboro, did the renovation.
Sarah and her five siblings grew up eating dinner around this dining room table at her family’s organic beef farm in Montville. “It was a workbench — my parents found it at an antiques shop. It’s caved in the middle, so when milk would spill, or on the rare occasion that my parents got lobster, everything would just go to the middle. There’s just a lot of family history here. It’s really cool to have this piece.”
Until a few years ago, Sarah had little interest in country living. “I spent my whole life running in the opposite direction of dirt roads and farms,” she says. But a fall 2015 weekend at her brother’s farm in Edmunds changed her mind. “The whole family was there, picking and pressing apples. It was awesome for us all to be connected and creating something.” On the drive home to Massachusetts, she did a real estate search, and up popped Tops’l Farm. Comprising 83 acres with 1,000 feet of frontage on the Medomak, it had been in the same family since its founding in 1938 by an apiarist and avid sailor (the name references a topsail, not, as many assume, topsoil). The Pikes wrestled with what to call their new venture, but after finding the original plans, as well as a Tops’l Farm burgee nailed to the barn wall, they decided, “This is Tops’l Farm. Who are we to change it?”
Sarah’s passion for collectibles extends to the boys’ bedrooms. In Ben’s room, an old first-aid kit makes a fine box for small treasures, for example. He also has several vintage pennants hanging above his bed. Sam’s room, by contrast, is decorated with old fishing and hunting prints. “He’s our fisherman,” Sarah says. “He wakes up thinking about fishing and goes to sleep thinking about fishing.”