A Kennebunkport condo is small in size, big on style
Ed Schiciano has been known to use the word “goofy” when describing the details inside the Kennebunkport condominium he shares with his wife, Lynda. He uses the adjective in a funny, self-deprecating way (“We picked these goofy doorknobs, this goofball light”), but what he really means is that he and Lynda love the unexpected, and every place they could infuse it into their home, they did. Maybe trade “goofy” for “surprising” or “artistic” or even “thoughtful”—or, if you ask Lynda, “anything but the ‘e’ word.” “Expensive?” Ed jokes. “Eccentric,” she says.
No matter what name you give them, the smaller details help give the space big personality: The uplights located cleverly in the floor to highlight a boat on the ceiling above. The modern doorstops. The contemporary light fixtures that look more like sculptures. The foldaway shower. And because the space is relatively compact (it’s a condo, after all), each decision seems to matter more, carries more weight. The collective effect of a few key decisions done right is powerful. From the exterior, the visual experience is what you might expect from a condominium: standard, safe. But once inside, convention gets a contemporary twist.
Then again, the Schicianos are not your conventional homeowners. This home is the 14th they’ve worked on together (although Ed admits they’ve lost exact count somewhere along the way), and their style evolves from home to home, a reflection of each space and its location rather than of them. Their main residence in Ohio on a horse farm is “Ralph Lauren-esque: horsey, but not overly so”; this condo on the Kennebunk River is “coastal inspired, but doesn’t scream it.” Lest this read as fickle, Ed and Lynda prefer a different “f” word: fun.
“Decorating is like going out to eat,” says Ed. “You can get the biggest plate and never put your fork down, or you can go out to dine and take your time. I mean, we have a lot of fun, but we take our time and look for things—the right things. The right piece is like the right wine, you know?”
Architect Richard Bozic knows—that is to say, he knows Ed and Lynda. He and his team at Blatchford Architects in Ohio have worked with the couple on a number of homes over the past 25 years. “We’ll sit and throw ideas back and forth. We work really well together,” says Ed. “Ed and Lynda enjoy the action, the interaction, and the results,” says Bozic. They also enjoy the process. The two are known to keep an ever-growing stack of images for inspiration. “We tear out pages from every magazine that’s ever been printed every month,” says Lynda. “Then we go from there.” When the Schicianos found this unit of the Point Arundel Condominiums for sale, they didn’t hesitate to make it theirs, their vision for the space taking shape before they even left it. “When I walk into a place, I immediately know what I want
to do with it,” says Lynda. “I can just feel it.” This space was no different: the obvious goal was to open it up to the beautiful view of the river and beyond and make the most of its modest footprint. They teamed up with their trusted architect, Bozic, again and brought on Geoff Bowley of Bowley Builders in Kennebunk to do the construction.
“It was a lot of fun working with Ed and Lynda,” says Bowley. “Especially knowing how many times they’ve done this before. They understood what goes into every decision and that if they wanted to take a couple extra steps here and there, they knew it would take time.”
When Ed and Lynda purchased it, the existing condo was a series of rooms, perfectly livable but closed off, with no real hint at the beauty out the back door. “There was a little openness,” says Bozic, “but not enough. And the finishes were simple but tired.” The team’s goal revolved around that water view: open up the spaces to the river and ocean from as many areas as possible, and create a light-filled space that feels casual, comfortable, and fresh. And of course, they would incorporate some of the unexpected flourishes the Schicianos love.
Working with the architect, Bowley and his team set out to open up the space. This started with removing the main kitchen wall, then the stair wall, which helped enlarge the feel of the dining area. To open up the dining area, the team lowered the walls, and in the den, the ceiling was lifted to increase the height and provide a unique home for a reclaimed boat that hangs overhead, a nod to the marina down the street. “It can look simple to remove a door here and open a wall there,” says Bozic. “You need to reach for a balance, and now it feels like it has always been open to the ocean and filled with light.”
The palette of materials was chosen to be minimal and light to provide spaces that are open and easy to live with over time. A light white oak floor runs throughout the first floor and up the reworked stairs. Large white tiles and small glass tiles provide an artistic touch in the bathrooms, as do minimal fixtures. The kitchen features white lacquered cabinets with thick white marble tops. Glass and wood shelves custom crafted by Derek Preble Cabinetmakers in the living room provide some visual interest, and lighting is flexible and sculptural. Furniture is a mix of both accessible and high-end: names like Ralph Lauren, McGuire, and Dedon sit alongside some clean-lined pieces from Ikea.
Bowley and his team enjoyed working with some of the more unconventional pieces the Schicianos chose—the foldaway shower by Duravit in the master bath, for example, was the first one they’d ever installed. “It wasn’t a straight-up installation, but we worked through the challenges. Ed and Lynda have great taste and know what they want,” says Bowley. The continuous slab of granite in the master fireplace was also a feat in itself, and one that paid off as a visual statement, second only to the view. “Houses on the ocean—don’t get me wrong—are fantastic,” Bowley says. “But they can be static. On a river, it’s constant action. Every 15 minutes there’s somebody coming in and going out.”
It’s a view that Ed and Lynda now know well, thanks to a clever redesign that proves good things can come in small packages.