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Latest Features

12 Accoutrements for the Coffee-Crazed

For millions of people across the globe, morning means one thing: coffee. Whether you prefer a classic cappuccino, a cold brew with cream, or a straight shot of espresso (talk about a wake-up call), these 12 expertly-designed products are guaranteed to take your simple coffee corner to the next level.

PLANETARY DESIGN | Airscape Classic Coffee Storage Canister

Made from stainless steel with a patented plunger lid that removes and locks out air, this coffee storage canister is a key tool for keeping whole beans fresh and flavorful. Available in two sizes and nine different colors, the BPA-free canister can also be used to preserve dry goods in the pantry.

Shop It: Planetary Design

HEARTH GOODS | Double Walled Glass Espresso Cups

Keep coffee drinks and espresso beverages warmer longer with these insulated, double-walled glass cups in Amber, Clear, or Smoke. A beautiful addition to any coffee corner, the shatter- and scratch-resistant cups are microwave safe and extra-durable.

Shop It: Hearth Goods

BARISTA WARRIOR | Pour Over Gooseneck Coffee Kettle with Thermometer

Turn your home brew into a barista-approved special with this chic and ergonomic coffee kettle. An integrated thermometer alerts you when water reaches the perfect brewing temperature, and the easy-to-pour gooseneck spout ensures precise water flow for high-quality pour over coffee.

Shop It: Barista Warrior

BRUVI | Bruvi Brewer

Make tastier coffee drinks at home with the high-tech Bruvi Brewer, which uses a pod recognition system to auto optimize brewing temperature, brew time, pre-infusion, and more to ensure your beverage is brewed exactly as the roaster intended. Using Bruvi B-Pods that hold up to 40% more coffee than a typical pod, the machine makes seven different drinks (including cold brew, matcha lattes, and infused coffee) and only takes five seconds to heat up.

Shop It: Bruvi

CRATE AND BARREL | Merge Cream and Sugar Set

Level up your coffee game with this pleasing white porcelain and hardwood cream and sugar set. Both microwave and dishwasher safe, the charming set is easy to pass around the table when entertaining guests.

Shop It: Crate and Barrel

MoMA DESIGN STORE | Cocca Moka Espresso Pot

Add a pop of color to your morning with a Memphis-inspired stovetop Moka pot that brews three cups of espresso in less than two minutes. Available in two sizes, the pot’s red, yellow, and blue color scheme is sure to bring a smile to your face every time you brew.

Shop It: MoMA Design Store

FELLOW | Ode Brew Grinder

With an aesthetically pleasing matte finish that adds a hint of minimalism to any kitchen counter, the Ode Brew Grinder features anti-static technology, smoother bean feeding, and a 100-gram catch cup for large-batch brewing. While ideal  for cold brew, electric coffee makers, pour-over, and French press, note that the grinder is not recommended for espresso drinks.

Shop It: Fellow

EMBER | Ember Mug 2

Sick of lukewarm coffee sitting at your desk all day? Ideal for home or the office, this 10 oz. smart mug maintains your chosen beverage temperature for up to 1.5 hours with battery power (or all day when placed on the charging coaster), ensuring the perfect sip at any moment. 

Shop It: Ember

YIELD | Glass French Press

The perfect marriage of function and beauty, this elegant French Press is made from heat-proof borosilicate glass, making it more resistant to thermal shock than a typical French Press. Whether you prefer the bold blue, clear, or deep amber colors, the delicate look of this 850 mL press pot will make your mornings bright.

Shop It: Yield

ACAIA | Pearl Scale

Reimagined with responsive weight technology and optimized sunlight readability, the Pearl Scale is an award-winning tool perfect for baristas and home brewers alike. With a modular design and built-in flow-rate indicator, this sleek scale—which began as a Kickstarter campaign—is hand-built and made to last.

Shop It: Acaia

PANTONE | Pantone Mug

Show off your design expertise with a Pantone Mug in your favorite color! From this year’s Color of the Year (Viva Magenta) to Dark Green 3435, Very Peri, and more, each mug is a perfect vessel for hot or cold coffee drinks.

Shop It: Pantone

SINONIMO | Essentials Tamping Set

Built to enrich your espresso making experience, the Essentials Tamping Set is a modern take on a classic coffee tool set. Designed for 58mm portafilters, the balanced kit includes a stainless steel funnel, an aluminum and cork knock box with a sleek oak cover, a tamper, and a smooth tamping station.

Shop It: Sinonimo

Sitting in Style

It’s no secret that one of the most popular (and enigmatic) items to design is the chair. Take a look at the numerous design lessons MH+D editor Danielle Devine has written over the years: of the 45 articles published, 10 of them have been about chairs. With models as different as the Proust Chair and the Bubble Chair, this relatively simple piece of furniture can be redesigned, rethought, and backwards engineered into hundreds of iterations—some that focus on comfort, some on aesthetics, some that hit the sweet spot and achieve both—but all of which serve a common purpose: providing a place of respite, however briefly. We interviewed five members of Maine’s design community to learn what chair has stuck with them throughout their careers, and why they love it.

The TOGO chair is absolutely one of my favorites—and it has transcended time. It’s just as chic, beautiful, and evocative now as it was when Michel Ducaroy premiered it in 1973.  For me, it’s both casual and fancy; that’s a combination that I dream about. It looks like a pillow resting on the floor, but the form is so sophisticated that you know there’s real creativity on display. It almost invites you to throw yourself down, sink in, and relax. I would feel very comfortable placing this chair, or one of its configurations, in a house of any age or design. 

—David Duncan Morris, director of the residential studio at Woodhull of Maine

Hans Wegner’s CH24 Wishbone Chair. I love its beautiful curved lines so much. It’s having a bit of a moment now, so I hesitated to list this as my pick, but the truth is, I think it’s such a classic, and its enduring design will survive any trend. Its curves and natural paper cord seat lend it a softness and femininity, and I think it welcomes personalization via a sheepskin throw or custom cushions. Someday, I will have a set of these at my dining table!

—Jocelyn O Dickson, founder and principal of Jocelyn O Dickson Architecture

Funnily enough, I do have a love affair with chairs, although, as a landscape designer it isn’t something I’m often called on to talk or think about professionally! I’d pick the Egg Chair by Arne Jacobsen. The Danish designer is well known for his architecture and furniture design, but it’s his lifelong work with the landscape that first exposed me to him. As a landscape architecture student, I was deeply influenced by the functional yet elegant simplicity he espoused in creating landscape spaces, and re-imagining a modern experience of indoor-outdoor living. His designs for small-scale and garden-suburb housing included an integrated vision of architecture and landscape that just made sense to me: being less about high-concept flash, and more concerned with basic pragmatics. He maximized a sense of light and space in his designs by blurring interior and exterior spaces with graduated landscape “rooms.” He created places where the everyday business of living could be enjoyed.  

The summer after finishing grad school I traveled to Scandinavia, visiting numerous landscapes and following in the steps of designers I’d read about and studied. It was a wonderful blur with a lot of walking through cities, drawing in gardens, and picnicking in parks. In Copenhagen we made a different kind of stop at the SAS Royal Hotel—a pinnacle of Jacobsen’s design career—where I marveled over the clean lines of the architecture and the jewels of brightly colored furniture. Sinking into an Egg Chair designed for the hotel lobby and bar, I felt protected and held in the soft organic curves, floating gently above the polished floors—an experience that felt both luxe and refreshingly simple. A love affair was born!

The chair encapsulates so much of what I admire about Jacobsen—his distillation of ideas down to their simplest form, his emphasis on functionality cloaked in elegance, and a lovely dance that weaves natural influences and organic shapes with architectural structure and order. If you have a chance, head to the SAS bar for an overpriced cocktail and enjoy this spectacular confluence of nature and nurture!

—Emma Kelly, founder and lead designer of Emma Kelly Landscape

The Curva chair, designed by Joaquim Tenreiro, is rooted in traditional values but reimagined through a modern lens. This is such a delicate balance within furniture design, and this chair beautifully captures that tension and balance. Also, there is an incredible level of craft to achieve the light and airy proportions of this chair.

—Heidi Lachapelle, founder and lead designer of Heidi Lachapelle Interiors

I am torn, as chairs are one of my favorite things to design and build. If one were guided by aesthetics alone, I would say Sam Maloof’s Lowback Chair, for the sheer beauty of its lines. However, precisely because chairs are so sculptural and anthropomorphic, people tend to forget their primary purpose: comfort. Simply put, most chairs sacrifice comfort for aesthetics. Keeping this in mind, the AP19 Chair by Hans Wegner is my choice. First and foremost, because it is legitimately a comfortable chair. More commonly known as the Papa Bear Chair, famously described as such by a journalist who claimed he got the feeling that the chair was hugging him and his arms were resting on the “paws,” this chair is a marriage of form and function at its best.

—Stefan Rurak, artist, furniture designer, and founder/lead designer of Stefan Rurak Studio

Eight Maine Artists Curate Works Inspired by Marsden Hartley

“When I’m in my studio getting bogged down in painting, I often look to (Marsden) Hartley for some guidance,” writes Dan Schein about his work in the painting-rich group exhibition And So Did Pleasure Take the Hand of Sorrow and They Wandered Through the Land of Joy. The exhibition’s title, from a 1904 poem by American Modernist painter and writer Marsden Hartley (1877–1943), has an inherent dualism and a welcoming tone as if to say, “Come with me on this walk.” It fits an exhibition replete with painterly contrasts, hidden-in-plain-sight connections, and older works side by side with new ones.

And So Did Pleasure… is the generous vision of curator and Bates College Museum of Art director Dan Mills, who “deputized” eight mid-career and established artists—Eric Aho, Jack Balas, Katherine Bradford, Jennifer Coates, Lois Dodd, Mark Milroy, John O’Reilly, and Dan Schein—to self-curate works with connections to Hartley. For the exhibition, each artist selected from their body of work or created new work and chose a drawing from the museum’s Marsden Hartley Memorial Collection to accompany it. The artists were also invited to write about their affinities with the modernist. “They really get it!” the Hartley scholar Gail Scott remarked with delight at the opening night gallery talk, referring to these eloquent and revealing wall texts.

Many of the exhibition’s artists share Hartley’s devotion to landscape as subject matter. John O’Reilly’s Dogtown-Hartley Series of photomontages are visual conversations with Hartley’s coastal landscape paintings of Dogtown/Cape Ann, Massachusetts. Eric Aho seeks out the exact locations where Hartley painted, with a searching interest in “fusing” the self and nature through the act of painting. Even his Finnish name “Aho,” which he translates as “wild forest lake,” resonates with the Hartley drawing he chose. Jennifer Coates’s imagined landscapes are deeply connected to a beloved place in Lakewood, Pennsylvania, where she has a studio. Coates shares Hartley’s interest in landscape as a “portal” for exploring abstraction. His rocks function like her trees, she explains. They play dual roles in the painting: they’re grounded and nameable, but they also carry symbolic content or abstract worlds within them.

Reverence for Hartley, the “painter’s painter,” is deeply felt in the palette and robust, confident brushwork of Dan Schein’s figurative oils, and in Lois Dodd’s paintings, with their respect for the rigor of revisiting and reconsidering over time and seasons, a subject that might seem unremarkable to others.

Mark Milroy, Jack Balas, and Katherine Bradford are all captivated by what Bradford calls the “plainspoken and forthright manner” of Hartley’s figures. Milroy loves Hartley’s portraits for their quality of “thereness,” and the Hartley drawing installed next to Milroy’s portrait of Win Knowlton could be a study for it. Hartley is a primary inspiration for Balas’s visual odes to the boldly outlined “big beefy guys” both artists painted for beauty and desire. Bradford’s paintings of front-facing, stand-ing figures—swimmers in the water, another standing alone near a column of campfire blaze—are paired with Hartley’s Study for Fisherman’s Family, and it’s as if Bradford’s swimmers have inherited their gentle humanity.

In the context of the exhibition, but also plainly, undeniably, there is an expression of profound kinship and connection in each of these unique encounters with Hartley. The modernist is in the contemporary studio, “awake and buzzing” (Coates).

And So Did Pleasure Take the Hand of Sorrow and They Wandered Through the Land of Joy is on view until March 18 at the Olin Arts Center at Bates College Museum of Art in Lewiston.

Inner Beauty: 15 Maine Interiors That Inspire Us


Folly Cove

Principal Nicola Manganello of Nicola’s Home believes the landscape is an integral part of a project’s overall design, so she designed both this waterfront spec house and its landscape simultaneously.

The goal was to create a family-friendly space with the knowledge that the buyer would most likely be from out-of-state and would enjoy the home during their summers spent in Maine. The palette throughout the home is light, with earth tones and neutral colors marked by moments of pink. Manganello says she finds that pink brings a unique welcoming warmth to a space. Since the house has clean lines, furnishings were brought in to add texture.

The kitchen was located on the water side of the house, but at the last minute, the designer decided to move it to the front of the house. The challenge was that there were two sets of French doors to contend with (the house was already framed with the windows and doors in). It just proves it’s never too late to make a major change and reimagine the space.

When designing a home from the ground up, Manganello will often use a rug as the inspiration for the rest of the design. “While it’s just one design element, the rug literally and figuratively grounds the room and serves as a foundation for everything that follows,” she says. “For clients, it’s likely the first thing they see, and it’s what they feel on their feet when they walk around their home.” And often it represents a significant investment, so it can be a difficult decision to make. “Once that decision is made, the rest of the design starts to flow, allowing me to add and adjust layers that make the space complete.” Nicola’s Home takes pride in balancing function and beauty and designing comfortable spaces to be enjoyed for years.

Firm: Nicola’s Home
Interior Designer: Nicola Manganello
Architect & Builder: Nicola’s Home
Photographer: Ben Folsom
Location: Yarmouth

Kennebunk Retreat

The inspiration for the interior was driven by sand and water. Fiore Home transported coastal colors into the palette while using organic shapes and textures.

The exterior architecture is very traditional, but the client who purchased the home gravitates toward modern interiors. The goal of the design team was to blend these two styles in an intentional way. The renovations were subtle in some areas: lightening the floors, renovating the bathrooms, changing lighting, and adding a new kitchen backsplash and hood. The space now looks seamless, making it hard to distinguish between the original and new parts of the home.

The design team kept the palette neutral and textural to create a calm, modern sanctuary. The dining room is filled with white oak furniture from Fiore Home. The light fixture’s banana leaf fibers mimic the look of linen. The Fiore Home team used nontraditional lighting fixtures in all the rooms, from fiber to ceramics, blown glasswork, and metal. The homeowners are avid art collectors, so the lighting was chosen to function as complementary art pieces. The powder room’s wainscoting and vanity colors were custom matched to the wallpaper. The onyx sconces complement the organic forms in the wallpaper and the Brizo plumbing fixtures.

Firm: Fiore Home
Interior Designer: Vanessa Helmick
Architect: Peterson Design Group
Builder: Thomas and Lord
General Contractor: Dean Bradbury, Southern Maine Creative
Wallpaper Installer: Miller’s Fine Wallcoverings
Photographer: Jeff Roberts
Location: Kennebunk

Deer Isle Cottage

The clients decided to give up their busy life in New York City to settle into the Deer Isle community. Huffard House’s goal was to infuse an existing cottage with warmth and style to suit the client’s day-to-day activities and expand the space to welcome friends and family from all over the world. The living and dining rooms are contiguous spaces, so they needed design clarity and connectedness.

The wallpaper from Scalamandre was the jumping-off point; from there, Huffard worked in several shades of greens and neutrals while adding pops of color. A generous scale Katie Leede stripe was selected for the roman shades, which were mounted as high as possible so as not to obstruct the views. The dining table and chairs, along with the bedside lamps, were important pieces to the clients, so they were refinished and reupholstered in Fermoie textiles. The design team was able to honor the items from the clients’ past that were meaningful while mixing in other styles, colors, patinas, and finishes. The result was a beautiful, welcoming, not-too-precious home. The mixture is what makes this space an updated classic.

Firm: Huffard House
Interior Designer: Bronwyn Huffard
Photographer: Abraham Ziner
Location: Deer Isle

Couples’ Retreat

Hurlbutt Designs was inspired by the incredible wraparound view of Kennebunk’s most popular beaches and the ocean with its ever-changing fleet of fishing boats, sailboats, and pleasure vessels. This condominium needed many structural upgrades to achieve the currently comfortable, open nautical vibe. The designer worked closely with the contractors during the renovation, keeping in close contact with their Canada-based clients as the design shifted when walls were opened and ceilings were replaced.

Hurlbutt Designs had previously worked on three other projects for the clients, so they knew the end goal was to create a welcoming vacation retreat for extended family. The space is navy and white with splashes of red, from the custom cabinetry to the area rugs and furniture in the great room to the bedding and accessories in both the owners’ and the guest bedrooms. The condo has many nautical touches, including boat cleat handles, navy and white anchor wallpaper, antique ship models, and custom paddle artwork.

Firm: Hurlbutt Designers
Interior Designer: Bonnie Weeman
Builder: Hazelwood Handyman
Flooring: Quality Floor Finishers
Cabinetry: Sylco Cabinetry
Furnishings & Accessories: Hurlbutt Designs
Photographer: Heidi Kirn
Location: Kennebunk Beach

Pattern Play in Falmouth

Situated in the middle of town, this house is rooted in New England style. The clients are new empty nesters who do not take themselves too seriously, which is reflected in the design. Keeler and Company took a layered, whimsical approach to the design of the space. There is an emphasis on usability and comfort, timeless silhouettes, adequate lighting, and ample storage. Every corner was considered.

The clients wanted the family room to be the heart of the home. Opening off the kitchen, it’s the space where the family gathers for holidays and regularly entertains. The design team used the client’s existing area rug and painting as their guide, setting the palette of blues, reds, pinks, greens, and gold throughout the space. Keeler maximized the furniture plan to allow plenty of seating when the house is full while ensuring that it is intimate enough for two to sit near the fireplace and enjoy a good book. Performance textiles were used throughout to allow for stress-free living and forgiveness for the clients’ dogs. The pair of sofas, chairs, and ottomans allow for the ultimate flexibility: lounging by the fireplace, seating up to ten, or just putting up your feet.

Architecturally, the team grappled with how to place the fireplace in a space where it would be very much off-center. Working alongside cabinetmaker Robert Meserve, they chose to incorporate the fireplace into a large cabinetry design, including much-needed additional lighting from the sconces.

The dining room is in the original part of the house, so the design team took a traditional approach. There is a warmth created by the rich striped wallpaper and the layered family heirlooms, including chairs and sideboards passed down through the generations. The new dining table extends for hosting dinners of all sizes. The embroidered parrot draperies were inspired by the clients’ love for Jimmy Buffet, a subtle nod to the joie de vivre that you feel in this household.

Keeler and Company’s design mission is driven by the intersection of function and beauty. Layering pattern and texture is something the company believes differentiates a space. This concept is translated in this project with window treatments on top of wallpaper, playful pillows, fabric, art, and color.

Firm: Keeler & Company
Interior Designer: Laura Keeler Pierce
Custom Cabinetry: Robert Meserve
Painting & Wallpaper Hanging: Tom Webster, Peter Pelozzi
Photographer: Sean Litchfield
Location: Falmouth

The Point House

The client wanted an open-concept design for their summer home, to accommodate their family of five and to entertain extended family and friends. The house was originally built in the early 1990s with a small kitchen oriented toward the back of the house that did not take advantage of the spectacular ocean views. The dated kitchen had a low ceiling and a wall dividing it from the living space. Knickerbocker Group removed the wall to allow more light to enter the home, and the new kitchen is now the heart of the space. The entertaining island is painted in Farrow and Ball’s Hague Blue, and all the custom millwork and woodwork around the range and wall ovens is painted in Benjamin Moore’s Simply White. The range hood has a brass flat-stock accent with exposed rivets to pick up the other nautical brass details throughout the house.

Located at the edge of the kitchen and the open living space, the custom bar can accommodate large crowds or intimate gatherings with a wine fridge, an ice maker, and fridge drawers. The cabinets with glass doors are lit internally to show off the client’s collection of crystal glassware. The backsplash is an antique mirrored tile, which makes the cabinet appear more open. Like the kitchen, the bar has brass fixtures and a brass sink.

The design team updated the existing board-and-batten walls and added wallcoverings using a blue and white color palette throughout. The clients have a long history with Blue Hill and have acquired work from many local artists along with historic maps of the area, which are displayed throughout the home. Each room has a brass placard cast with the name of an area in the state that holds a special meaning to the family.

The new space fits both the clients and their families. They say they relax as soon as they walk into the house and can now comfortably entertain large groups.

Firm: Knickerbocker Group
Interior Designers: Leah Lippmann & Nanette Tanner
Architect: Leah Lippmann, Knickerbocker Group
Builder: Mike Osborne, General Contractor
Millwork: Block Brothers Custom Cabinets
Photographer: Darren Setlow
Location: Blue Hill

Tidal Run

Maine Street Design Company (MSDCo.) worked with architect Bruce Butler and Wright-Ryan Construction to update a post-and-beam home built from repurposed lumber with views of an ever-changing tidal cove. The oyster farmers, clam diggers, and kayakers that share the waterways in the distance served as the inspiration for the design team.

A cozy living area was created using two facing sofas along with two swivel chairs positioned in front of a dramatic fireplace clad in Freshwater Pearl granite. Although the spaces feel airy and open, the rooms are small, making efficient space planning crucial and creating a unique challenge for the design team.

The artwork throughout the home is photography taken by the client that was curated within the space by Brett Johnson and framed and installed by Tony Cox of Casco Bay Frames. The upholstered furniture is all custom-made in the United States and sourced through MSDCo. Shop. The upholstered fabrics are all extra durable blue and white Crypton, to hold up to the rigors of grandchildren. The pillow and accent fabrics invoke the sea, marine life, and fisheries. The wood beams were painted white, creating a more modern feeling in the space, and the walls and ceilings were all painted in soft Edgecomb Gray from Benjamin Moore. The flooring and other architectural details are white oak, and the fireplaces were all finished in Maine Freshwater Pearl granite with iconic affect.

Firm: Maine Street Design Company
Interior Designers: Brett Johnson, Maine Street Design Company; Bruce Butler, By Design Architecture
Architect: Bruce Butler
Builder: Wright-Ryan Construction
Fireplace: Freshwater Stone
Furniture & Pillows: Maine Street Design Company
Photographer: François Gagné
Location: Brunswick

Cali Vibes in Maine

Morrison Design House designed a light-filled kitchen to ease the transition for their clients relocating from California. This was accomplished by keeping the finishes on the tonal side, resulting in a space that felt crisp but not cold. Various white tones were layered, creating a soothing foundation. The oak flooring adds warmth, and the ebonized black island grounds the space. The client has an amazing collection of vintage rugs and small wares that provide texture throughout the room.

Since Morrison Design House was on the project team in the early architectural phase, they were able to successfully deal with spatial and design challenges before anything was final. The house is elevated and elegant without any fuss.

Morrison Design House focuses on thoughtful restraint and celebrating the Maine landscape with color, with an overarching design philosophy to keep things quiet. This project leaned into that approach. It feels calm, light-filled, and timeless.

Firm: Morrison Design House
Interior Designers: Jennifer Morrison, Markie Mello
Architect: Kirk Hendrickson
Builder: Letarte Bros Construction
Millwork: Northe Woodworking
Tile and Installation: Old Port Specialty Tile Co.
Photographer: Jeff Roberts
Location: Cape Elizabeth

Spanish Colonial

Tyler Karu Design and Interiors was inspired by the existing architecture and the clients’ desire for a warm, inviting living and dining space. The vibe of the space is rich, textural, and cozy. With multiple zones for seating and conversation, it invites curling up in the swivel chairs in front of the fireplace and cocktail gatherings for friends and family.

Large living rooms can be more challenging to program than smaller spaces. The team suggested more than one seating arrangement to create function and visual interest in the room. The color palette is deep and earthy: charcoal textured grasscloth complements the millwork on the walls and ceiling, ensuring the shell of the space is fully considered. To soften the nature of the space, curvy lines were selected for most of the custom and vintage furnishings.

The space provided architectural detail in elements such as the millwork, the arched door, and the large wood-burning fireplace. The challenge arrived in tying the elements together in a way that looked specific and original to the home. The millwork had been painted odd tones, and the fireplace surround was not appropriate for the space. The design team developed a materials plan that tied these elements together with warm tones and textures and built a textile and furnishing plan around it that complements the architectural elements.

The design team succeeded in creating a home that is both comfortable and functional while aesthetically resonating with the clients.

Firm: Tyler Karu Design & Interiors
Interior Designer: Tyler Karu
Contractor: Nathan Lagasse
Photographer: Erin Little
Location: Portland

North Deering Colonial

Robin Davis Interiors has worked with this Portland family for several years to update their large colonial, room by room. It was finally time to tackle the last item, an extremely dark and cramped kitchen. The rest of the home had been updated using a palette of light grays and whites mixed with warm neutrals, so the kitchen was as well. The space needed to be opened to allow natural light to flow through. This provides the client with the ideal atmosphere to host neighborhood families for game nights and allows plenty of prep space for large dinners. It was important that the room allow guests to feel part of the festivities whether they were at the kitchen island or sitting in the dining room.

Crisp and bright was the overall direction, along with pops of black and brushed gold accents. One challenge was replacing the kitchen floors to blend with the newer wood in the dining room and hallways. A porcelain tile was selected to match wood and oak transition planks that were added to meet the existing hardwood flooring, creating a visually seamless finished product. Traditional white Shaker cabinetry was sourced from Omega Cabinetry and blends well with the light gray used for the island. The white quartz countertops provide the simple and classic look the client wanted but with the durability required in a busy family home. Two different tiles were sourced through Capozza Floor Covering Center: a 3D-style blue tile provides depth and dimension from counter to ceiling, while the graphic patterned porcelain used for the dry-bar wall provides a lovely touch of pattern and color.

Firm: Robin Davis Interiors
Interior Designers: Robin Davis, Robin Davis Interiors; Diana Viles, Capozza Floor Covering Center; Alan Poanessa, Hammond Lumber
Flooring: Capozza Floor Covering Center
Photographer: Matt Congdon Photography
Location: Portland


This house is situated on Harpswell’s Quahog Bay, with incredible views of the water and forest landscape from almost every room. The designer wanted those views to be reflected in the overall design, from the color palette and the wood tones to the textiles and patterns.

This is a second home for the family, and it’s a place for them to relax, escape reality, and have fun. The goal was for the space to embody and evoke those feelings. The designer’s biggest challenge with the project was wanting the space to reflect the outdoors without taking away from the views. They needed to work together harmoniously.

The colors and textures throughout the space and the home directly reflect the colors and textures that can be seen in the nature you see when you look out the big, beautiful windows. Different shades of calming blues and rich wood tones bring the landscape inside and are married with local art of surrounding areas to also reflect the exterior landscape and color palette. Locally sourced art was important to the homeowners and was sourced through the Willard Gallery, Portland Art Gallery, and Maine Art Hill. There are also locally made custom furnishings like the stools and dining table by Kidwell Fabrications.

Designer Samantha S. Pappas paid close attention to the project’s location to produce a design that not only reflects the client but also fits into the nearby area and environment.

Firm: Samantha S. Pappas Design
Interior Designer: Samantha S. Pappas
Builder: John Libby
House Plan: Diane Bibber-Oden
Photographer: Courtney Elizabeth
Location: Harpswell

New House in the Round Meadow

The inspiration and mission for this new house was “unpretentious classical coastal” without being clichéd nautical. The ocean view inspired the layout to orient work areas toward the windows overlooking the five-acre round meadow on Casco Bay. It is earthy, soothing, and serene, and there’s an incredibly calming vibe in this wing of the new house.

The kitchen is a major thoroughfare to the rest of the house. The client requested a large island for food prep, flower arranging, and gathering. There is a majestic view of Casco Bay through a window above the primary sink. There was a need to bring in as much light as possible, given that there is a covered porch for dining and grilling off the kitchen. The natural wood cathedral ceiling adds a bit of drama. The mirrored cabinets were intentionally selected above the range wall to reflect the ocean view.

The natural oak island has a wire-brushed, whitewashed finish, creating a soft, mellow texture. The custom cabinetry was done by Tidewater Millwork, and the Perla Venata polished marble counters were sourced from Morningstar. These elements match the ceiling and floors incorporated throughout the new home. The walk-in pantry hides miscellaneous equipment, small appliances, and seldom-used items. This keeps the primary kitchen clutter free, and anything out in the open is a visual crowdpleaser. The full-height tile backsplash in the pantry is hand stenciled and sourced from Distinctive Tile.

Banks Design was also the architectural designer for the house, allowing them to steer the spatial relationships and blend the finished project inside and out.

Firm: Banks Design/Simply Home
Interior/Architectural Designer: Linda Anne Banks
General Contractor: Paul Moutal, Flying Point Construction
Appliances: Agren Appliance
Cabinetry Fabrication: Alex Hamilton, Tidewater Millwork
Countertops: Morningstar Stone & Tile
Hardware, Lighting & Counter Stools: Simply Home
Tile: Distinctive Tile & Design
Photographer: François Gagné
Location: Cumberland Foreside

Cape Porpoise Cottage

The clients wanted an open, bright, comfortable space to host their friends and family that would feel cozy yet elevated. The homeowners were open to recommendations for an open-concept gathering place. Bongiorno selected classic materials with an emphasis on natural, organic textures and neutral tones that fit with the coastal modern look.

The space is four rooms in one, with the kitchen, dining room, and two seating areas open to one another. This created the interesting challenge of defining the separate spaces while also making them feel cohesive. The idea was to create a family-friendly, relaxed atmosphere encouraging conversation between the multi-functional spaces while emphasizing the view. A bar area extends from the kitchen into the larger living space so guests can easily help themselves to drinks and snacks. Bongiorno was careful to select furniture with low backs to allow easy sight lines throughout.

The kitchen countertop and backsplash are both honed Carrara marble; the latter is from Ann Sacks. In the dining area, Bongiorno incorporated blue chairs with rope detailing and a woven rattan pendant light to provide texture as well as a nod to the coastal Cape Porpoise location. The color palette consists of classic layered neutrals with pops of seaside shades of blue and green inspired by the landscape. The designer embraces clean lines, using white backdrops with a focus on the natural surroundings.

Firm: Spaces by Nicki Bongiorno
Interior Designer: Nicki Bongiorno
Architect: David Graham
Builder: Tim Spang, Spang Builders
Kitchen Cabinetry: Sylco Cabinetry
Photographer: Chris Smith
Location: Cape Porpoise

Harvest Gold Hideaway

When the designer started the design process with the clients, they all agreed it would be a betrayal of the home’s heritage to reimagine it into anything other than what it is. The home is a traditional post-and-beam built in 1975, tucked in the woods and bordered by enchanting gardens. To bring the home into the twenty-first century, the designer used modern lines, an updated color palette, and bold and sophisticated lighting. The veil between past and present is thin, and the term “Grand Millennial” (love it or hate it) fittingly applies to this home and the overall inspiration for the project.

The most prominent design hurdle is that the home is a genuine post-and-beam, and redesigning the space to create the wide-open floor plan often seen now would mean the walls and beams would need to go, destroying the home’s beauty and uniqueness. It was important to the designer to understand how the family would use the limited space. The furniture needed to be easily moved and multifunctional, and a sleeper sofa was selected to accommodate guests. The designer admits that the Frame television was a genuinely transformative piece. It allows the clients to switch from a family-focused atmosphere to a formal adult entertaining area with stunning artwork.

The home earned its name from the unofficial color of the decade, Golden Harvest, which dominated home decor in the 1970s. (Some may remember that GE kitchen appliances almost always came in that color.) It was the jumping-off point for the entire interior design. Blues, greens, and yellows—all typical 1970s colors—were used throughout the space. A shag rug has two shades of blue that match the colors used in an oversized contemporary piece of artwork that hangs prominently in the living space. The wallpaper’s rich matte colors set on a black background are modern, but the floral print harkens back to a bygone era. Finally, the white linen curtains and the leather couch anchor the space firmly in 2022.

Firm: Susie Smith Coughlin Interior Design
Interior Designer: Susie Smith Coughlin
Plaster: Courtney Norod, Athena Paint and Plaster
Photographer: Peter G. Morneau
Location: Yarmouth


Two Lights Dental

Bowerbird Design Collective (BDC) teamed up with the Portland architectural team Mark Mueller Architects to create a calming and comfortable vibe for a new dental office. The focus was on using natural light to set the tone. When patients walk through the doors, they are greeted by a sunlit-drenched waiting room, helping to ease any pre-dental-visit jitters. This light-filled entry provides a perfect backdrop to a large, beautiful plant wall that brings in texture through biophilic design. The building was intentionally designed so that all operatories and treatment rooms wrap the perimeter, each with oversized windows featuring views of the forest beyond. Special consideration was given to the ambient light in each treatment room, designed to run along perimeter walls, freeing up the ceiling for individual flat screens that patients can view while reclined.

Because the program called for a certain number of operatories, space planning and arranging the chairs was the main challenge; chairs were centered for optimal views out of the windows while allowing space for the dentist and the hygienists to move freely. BDC collaborated with Patterson Dental to create an ergonomic and functional environment for the team and patients. The ceiling and lighting create a space that is calm and not jarring as patients look up toward the ceiling.

The color palette was intentionally kept minimalist. The light-colored wood-slat walls encapsulate part of the desk and return on the back reception wall, which features a newly designed logo by Makewell. The waiting room gives a slight nod to midcentury design with Eames side chairs upholstered in a sunny yellow fabric that complements tables by Hay, a sectional sofa in teal by Herman Miller, and a Dalmatian puppy sculpture by Magis.

Firm: Bowerbird Design Collective
Interior Designers: Melanie Scamman, Laura Zoulamis
Architect: Mark Mueller Architects
Builder: Benchmark Construction
Branding: Makewell
Photographer: Alice & Chris Photography
Location: Cape Elizabeth

Sailor’s Valentines


It’s a romantic tale: lovesick sailors, away for months or some-times years on whaling and merchant voyages, collected shells on tropical islands and spent hours assembling elaborate shellwork mosaics to bring back to their sweethearts. The truth is that the intricate shell mosaics known as sailor’s valentines were purchased in the 1800s by sailors as ready-made gifts, primarily from a cottage industry of makers in Barbados. This fact came to light in an article written by Judith Coolidge Hughes for The Magazine ANTIQUES in 1961. Hughes disclosed that a woman restoring an antique sailor’s valentine from a Massachusetts collection discovered an early 1800s clipping from the newspaper The Barbadian in the backing. The clipping mentioned that these “fancy work” items were for sale at Belgrave’s Curiosity Shop in Bridgetown, Barbados.

Ships often landed in Barbados as their last stop before returning to the United States or the United Kingdom. Belgrave’s Curiosity Shop was owned by English brothers B. H. and George Belgrave, who hired local women to create these works. Sailors on whaling ships would not have had all the components and equipment needed to create these mosaics: hundreds to thousands of tiny shells, seeds, wood, nails, cotton, glue, wax, cardboard, newspaper, colored paper, varnish, glass, hinges, screws, hooks and eyes, paint, and gilding. Nevertheless, sailor’s valentines were considered maritime crafts, like scrimshaw (scenes from sea voyages etched on whale teeth using sail needles). This was during the Victorian era and curiosity cabinets across the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States were filled with unusual shell specimens.

Most valentines took over 100 hours to make. They were inset in wooden octagonal hinged boxes, ranging in size from 8 to 18 inches wide and from 2.5 to 3 inches high; mahogany veneer was often used for the sides and native cedar wood for the bottoms. The shells and seeds were then glued on cotton batting. Colored paper was placed on the edge to delineate the designs, which often included hearts, flowers, and nautical symbols such as anchors or compass roses; some included messages like “Home Again” or “Forget Me Not.” After gluing down all the shells, the maker placed a piece of glass over the design to protect it when the box was opened.

The most valuable examples were made between 1830 and 1880 and can fetch up to $30,000 at auction. Occasionally a large single valentine will come on the market, but this means it has been separated from its other half. Condition is important when considering the purchase of a sailor’s valentine. The work should not have any missing shells and the box should be as damage free as possible. The more desirable valentines will incorporate motifs other than the heart and compass rose design. There are contemporary makers still creating these valentines today.

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