Editor's Note

Maine Homes by Down East, Winter 2022


Editor’s Note

The Guide

Home products in richly hued stripes, Biddeford’s first boutique hotel is a showstopper, artful menorahs by Maine makers, a Norway shop with eclectic décor (and violins?), for a fixer-upper, this Machiasport cutie is not too shabby, and a handsome Queen Anne for a 19th-century earmuff inventor.

Get Inspired

We’re crushing on a Hope new build that heats itself, no more heavy ’90s finishes for this Kittery Point place, five minutes with Bath abstract painter Jana Benitez, following a tragedy, a Fryeburg family builds anew, a Stockton Springs couple’s grand Italianate is resplendent — in gingerbread, harness the Maine outdoors in unexpected holiday displays, and one woman’s quest to renovate Dover-Foxcroft.

Writer’s Retreat

A Phippsburg author finds inspiration, and a 19-year-long project, in a former fish-drying shack. By Matt O’Donnell

New and Now

From “Granny” wallpaper and Me-Decade shades to drought-proof lawns and locally sourced insulation, here’s what pros are looking forward to in the year ahead. By Sarah Stebbins


Grand Plan

In Freeport, a builder’s castle-inspired home was designed with family — and indoor scootering! — in mind. By Sara Anne Donnelly

In Living Color

Splashy shades and a homeowner’s fearless mix-and-match style enliven an oceanfront Scarborough condo. By Michaela Cavallaro 

Old School Cool

Intrepid renovators transform a spitballed former academic building in Gardiner. By Joyce Kryszak

2022 Maine Homes Gift Guide

From wooden toys made in China (Maine!) to tea towels from Rockland to garden tools from Pownal, here are 26 design-savvy ideas for everyone on your list. By Annie P. Quigley 

Barn Raising

How a farm building became a soaring cookspace with a four-star view. By Sarah Stebbins

Cover photo by Jeff Roberts

Editor’s Note

Last Christmas, there was enough space in our house for Santa to slide a massive arcade-style basketball game down the chimney and into the family room next to the tree. (Where it lasted for maybe a week before the kids’ relentless shooting and the machine’s robotic cheerleading drove me to banish it to the basement.) Now? The family room is a walled-off construction zone and we are ensconced in a makeshift hangout space in the dining room, where there isn’t a spot for a coffee table, let alone our usual seven-foot-tall Tannenbaum. Since the crew from Portland’s MA Builders arrived in August to construct a bedroom/bath addition for Mark and me atop our existing family-room/powder-room addition, I’ve been embroiled in non- stop internal debates. At night, gazing up at the glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling of our older son’s room, where Mark and I are camped out, I turn over fixture, tile, and hardware styles, paint colors, and siding materials. “This is our one chance to get things right,” Mark said recently, underscoring the stakes. “We’re not doing it again.”

Nana and editor Sarah Stebbin's younger son shoot hoops in the family room
Editor Sarah Stebbins, her older son, and lovable pup, Junie

Christmas Past: Nana and our younger son shoot hoops in the family room; when we got some snow, our older guy, our lovable pup, Junie, and I went cross-country skiing at Portland’s Riverside Golf Course.

Fortunately, we’ve discovered a city full of people willing to help. Kelly Masters, at Fogg Lighting, steered me away from clear-glass bath-sconce shades in favor of opaque ones that will illuminate the mirror and countertop better. Tia Green, at Capozza Floor Covering Center, assuaged our fears about selecting stain-prone Carrara marble for our shower walls and vanity top: “It’s not like your kids are going to be splattering toothpaste in there.” (Fingers crossed.) Austin Bousquet, at F.W. Webb Company, assured us that we didn’t need to spend extra on a toilet, the item at the bottom of my priority list; an entry-level model would perform just fine. And Kevin Coolbrith — aka the Silver Fox according to the nametag he used to wear — in the paint department at Maine Hardware, schooled me on exterior-finish sheens.

As always, this magazine has also been a source of inspiration. While reporting our design-trends piece (page 43), I switched our siding order to New Limerick–made engineered wood, recommended by Portland architects Phil Kaplan and Adam Wallace; began researching “granny wallpaper,” beloved by local designers, for our new powder room; and informed Mark that we’ll be planting a clover lawn, advocated by Portland landscape architect Matthew Cunningham, this spring.

With the renovation scheduled to last into January, the Big Guy won’t be wheeling in any unwieldy presents this holiday. I’m not even sure where we’ll shoehorn the tree. Do me a favor and create a showstopper, like Waldoboro designer Michelle Provencal’s (page 32), for me.

Sarah Stebbins