Editor's Note

Maine Homes by Down East, Winter 2021

Editor’s Note

The Guide

Home products in seasonally coordinated greens, a funky new Waterville vintage store, nearly everything in this Portland blanket shop is for sale, a colorful 1906 Bingham house needs a hero, Cherryfield’s history flows through this handsome Federal, and candid answers to your home dilemmas.

Get Inspired

We’re crushing on this Freeport barn-inspired home, dreamy room makeovers for Freeport sisters, five minutes with Portland artist Evelyn Wong, a maker of bright bird feeders lands in Boothbay Harbor, novel ways to decorate with quilts, and artful approaches to wood stacking.

Living Large

For a writer and her little brood, a sprawling Brunswick home is the perfect fit.

By Mary Pols

It Took a Village

To satisfy his penchant for rescuing, and living among, period houses, a Pittston antiques dealer created his own 19th- century-style compound.

By Sara Anne Donnelly

Homegrown Holiday

Everything you need for a stylish season is right here in our snowy midst.

By Sarah Stebbins


Minding Their Manor

An Alna couple presides over 250 years of history on the Sheepscot River.

By Sara Anne Donnelly

Like Magic

That’s how a Rockland homeowner thinks of her stylish cottage, especially at this time of year.

By Jesse Ellison

Double Take

Attached at the hip for more than a century, these Portland row houses have polar-opposite personalities, thanks to the modern families that inhabit them.

By Petra Guglielmetti

2021 Maine Homes Gift Guide

From candlesticks to kids’-room décor, to kitchenware, we present 25 clever ideas for the design lovers on your list.

By Jen DeRose

Why I Live Here

After two decades in Paris, Erica Berman built a cozy Newcastle home, and found a new calling, growing food for needy Mainers.

Editor’s Note

Last holiday season, we were all wrestling with the many ways in which the pandemic was mucking up our traditions. “All of the other years we weren’t worried about you coming to our house, but now we are because of COVID,” my older son lamented to Santa, though he noted that Governor Mills’s proclamation exempting the Big Guy from the state’s travel restrictions provided some comfort. Meanwhile, my younger son’s letter fixated on whether Santa would be able to ride on his sleigh with his elves. And if he had to fly solo, what would happen if he hit a blizzard?

Raise your hand if you can identify with St. Nick, drifting along without a posse to help navigate seasonal stressors and spread cheer. Longing to feel more connected to my community, and support those whose businesses were in COVID’s crosshairs, I made “buy local” my holiday mantra last year. I assumed I’d find the approach somewhat inconvenient, and not particularly speedy. But within days of ordering online, packages started accumulating on our doorstep: artful pinched-porcelain mugs by Eliot’s Elizabeth Benotti for my brother and his fiancé; an adorable boiled-wool pixie hat by Ellsworth’s Cute Knits for my nephew; whimsical screen-printed tea towels by Waterboro’s The Faithful Hound for a friend (and, ahem, me); a seascape embroidery kit by Portland’s The Mod Stitcher for my mom, hand-delivered from my friend Jessica Thomas’s Handiwork shop. In a single afternoon, my husband wrapped up most of our shopping, with stops at the city’s Treehouse Toys, Sherman’s bookshop, and Fitz & Bennett Home to pick up online orders.

editor Sarah Stebbins cross-country skiing
tea towels by Portland’s Freckled Fuchsia
editor Sarah Stebbin's sons writing to Santa

Small Gifts: The upside of fewer holiday parties last year: more time for cross-country skiing. Aren’t these tea towels by Portland’s Freckled Fuchsia delicious (page 71)? During a COVID Christmas, writing to Santa was therapeutic.

This issue is a love letter to the elves in our midst who work so hard behind the scenes to make the holidays more beautiful and meaningful for the rest of us. We gave over the entirety of this year’s gift guide (page 71) to design-savvy products by local makers. In Homegrown Holiday (page 41), we rounded up creative Maine-made cards, ornaments, and wreaths, plus decorating inspiration from some of our favorite pros. And in a few page flips, you’ll find local décor in seasonally on point greens (page 11), meet a Portland maker of handcrafted journals (page 26), and discover new home-goods shops in Waterville, Portland, and Boothbay Harbor.

The holiday outlook is much merrier this year, but I’m sticking to my Maine-centric shopping strategy. This time, though, I’m hoping to meet more of my heroes in person.

Sarah Stebbins