18 interior design projects that strike just the right balance between form and function
Northeast Harbor Haven
Leandra Fremont-Smith Interiors
Photography by Jeff Roberts
Hedgefield is a shingle-style home nestled in the summer town of Northeast Harbor on Mount Desert Island. It was built on the original location of the historic Kimball House Inn, which was torn down in the 1960s.
One of the homeowners grew up spending her summers on Mount Desert Island with her childhood friend, designer Leandra Fremont-Smith, so she turned to Fremont-Smith when she and her husband purchased the property. They requested a palette of blues and greens throughout the home, reminiscent of sea glass the wife had collected on MDI beaches in her youth. These vibrant tones, paired with natural textures and local artisan treasures, create a peaceful but energizing sanctuary for the couple and their three young sons.
Because of the close connection the wife has with the island and its inhabitants, there was an emphasis on using local contractors, merchants, and artists, all of whom took pride in their work.
Custom furniture pieces designed by Fremont-Smith, such as a sectional upholstered in a Quadrille ikat and a tufted guest bed upholstered in a Schumacher floral, were fabricated in a local Maine workroom. Custom-colorway China Seas wallpapers and fabrics were integrated with hand-blocked Galbraith and Paul fabrics. The children’s media room, located in the eastern turret at the top of the home, features a custom tented ceiling in a Miles Redd fabric.
The clients wanted an interior that is fresh, sophisticated, and fun. Fremont-Smith saw this as an opportunity to use wallpapers from lines such as Sister Parish, Thibaut Design, Farrow and Ball, and Meg Braff, which would have been a mainstay in any traditional Maine cottage. The combination of having young children and wanting to entertain friends and neighbors guided this workhorse design that will grow with the family.
East End Organic
Heidi Lachapelle Interiors
Photography by Erin Little
The pendant lights were the catalyst for the rest of this kitchen’s design. The clients had found an “inspiration image” that featured the lights, which they fell in love with, and Heidi Lachapelle and Katie Judkins were able to locate the maker and have them imported from Australia. The designers were inspired by the clients’ extensive ceramics collection, which they wanted to feature on custom ash shelves. Much of the color and texture was pulled directly from these pieces—most notably as translated in the tile backsplash. The design team wanted the kitchen to be a focal color moment but also provide a sense of grounding calm. The green they selected checked all the boxes. Overall, Lachapelle and Judkins strove to make everything in the open-concept floor plan calming, texture-heavy with pops of color, and collected.
The condo had had a fairly cookie-cutter spec kitchen, and Lachapelle and Judkins’s job was to transform it into a space more reflective of the clients’ aesthetic. They added a soffit to cap the cabinetry and give it a more finished/custom feel. Additionally, they ran the tile backsplash all the way to the ceiling to add texture and give the illusion of height. The aesthetic was a bit of a departure for Heidi Lachapelle Interiors, but in the best possible way. The team loves a good design challenge, and while this space feels different from most of their work, it’s also grounded in much of what they’re known for: neutral textures, unique pops of color, a mix of old and new, and a curated and collected sense.
Photography by Jamie Salomon
The clients purchased their newly renovated Falmouth Foreside home with a fresh start in mind. They brought very few pieces of furniture, rugs, and accessories rom the former traditional home where they had raised their family. Huffard House collaborated with the clients on an overall design that is clean, classic, and comfortable.
The unique, single-story home forms a U-shape and wraps around a pool and patio. The design incorporates a lot of windows, lending abundant natural light inside. The side entry, sitting area, dining room, and living room form one large space, and Huffard House used area rugs, textiles, and color to define each area. The artwork in the living and sitting areas greatly influenced the color palette in those spaces. In the sitting area, the colors for the game table, chairs, and rug comprise a palette of deep blues, purples, and grays that relate to the shadows in the beach scene above. The living room palette is a mixture of neutrals with navy striped chairs and a navy and pink pillow scheme, which creates a soft nautical relation to the reclaimed wood wall and misty sailboat painting. Details such as the light fixtures and fireplace feature wall were selected by the developer and a previous designer, and were appreciated by the home-owners. Huffard House integrated these into a final design that provides a classic, colorful backdrop for a fresh start.
Ariana Fischer Interior Design
Photography by Winky Lewis
The clients’ vision for converting a small camp dwelling into a comfort-able and modern space for their young family was a great invitation to think about scale, textures, and function. The family is young, creative, and open-minded and loves bold colors along with midcentury design. The overall space feels cheerful, functional, open, bright, comforting, and thoughtful—it’s modern yet country, and Scandinavian to a degree.
An element that needed to be considered during the design process was that this is a multiuse space for play, study, and work. It had to provide room for everyone to engage in a variety of activities. The color scheme was based on a desire for vibrancy and to bring the outdoors in, so Fischer stayed loyal to a tight color palette: only greens for the pillows and a saturated orange for the window seat. Fischer also had to make sure there would be room for kids to play and read, so the hard floor is covered with a large sheepskin and the window seat is soft and deep to snuggle up on and read.
Fischer’s goal in any space is to bring together her clients’ favorite elements and manifest their vision for the look and use of the space. She endeavors to create spaces for clients that give them respite and inspire them.
Calming Country Kitchen
Balance Design Studio
Photography by Rob Karosis
The inspiration for this project was a Lacanche French range. The client loves to cook and had researched (and dreamed of) her range long before Weiland was brought on board. The space is French country inspired. It has cleaner lines and a calmer palette than classic French-country, but there’s a refreshing embrace of in-the-moment possibilities. Windows that are not symmetrical due to plumbing limitations, mixed metal finishes, and take-it-where-I-can-get-it shelves keep the personality of the space relaxed and real. Ensuring a delightful cooking experience on the 55-inch range was the biggest design challenge. The kitchen isn’t small, but with the desire to seize every possible window opportunity, there weren’t a lot of placement options.
The color palette is cool and serene. This allows the faint gray of the range to stand out just enough. Looking at the space mid-installation, one might have suspected that the end result would be stark. But the client has a beautiful supply of treasures—all of which were incorporated—that bring warmth to the cool backdrop. The kitchen palette is juxtaposed with a vibrant pantry of blue cabinets and walnut shelves. Lisa Flynn of Morningstar Stone and Tile was consulted for tile and countertops, and Tim Barnard of Barnard Woodworks oversaw the project. When the project was in its final phases, the client made breakfast for one of the contractors, who raved about her cooking. “A client who experiences such joy in such a personal space could not be a better representation of my design philosophy,” says Weiland.
Tree Top Studio
Duquette & Company
Photography by Rob Karosis
This studio sits high on the tree line of a hill overlooking acres of woods. It had great light, but the space is only 240 square feet and still needed a full bathroom, a kitchenette, a small seating area with a television, and a sleeping area. Space was a challenge, so Duquette inset the bed into the wall under the eaves. It rolls out if someone doesn’t like the cozy feel, and to make it easier to make the bed. The overall feel of the finished space is airy, modern, and concise but also warm and inviting.
A soothing, neutral warm gray color wraps the walls and vaulted ceiling. It is the perfect contrast to the crisp navy and white colors used through-out. Inside the sleeping area, there is a recessed light with a rheostat for reading or mood. Bedside tables move easily and can do double duty as work tables or side tables while sitting on the sectional watching TV. All original art adorning the walls is by Maine artist Gina Adams.
Bowerbird Design Collective
Photography by Lauren Sawyer Photography
The design challenge was to help a leading technology company prepare for growth by increasing space and incorporating elements of their unique brand style. Bowerbird Design worked in collaboration with Mark Mueller Architects in a three-year effort to design a state-of-the-art, 95,000-square-foot campus that can accommodate up to 750 employees. With collaboration and flexibility at the forefront of the project goals, the new campus was integrated with a wide variety of conference rooms, demo rooms, lounge spaces, and phone rooms, along with a large centrally located cafe, an auditorium, training rooms, a fitness center, and access to trails for outdoor activities.
To serve Tyler Technologies’ valued customers (more than 14,000 government offices and schools), Bowerbird designed a client lab that houses interactive touch-display monitors in the walls, which allows the company to demonstrate and showcase their software capabilities to new and perspective clients. DNA light fixtures cascade across the ceiling and down the walls. The cafe features unique lighting and textural elements, and is designed for connection and respite. With picnic-style tables and benches, fun-patterned carpeting, and five-foot George Nelson pendants, the space is made to bring people together.
Tyler Technologies’ Yarmouth campus is characterized by complex aesthetics featuring rich woods, textural finishes, and a color palette of blue and green, as well as a holistic-minded approach with sustainability. The addition harnesses the character of the original building by tying its rich history into modern interiors. The project received MEREDA’s Top 10 Notable Project Award in 2017.
Bright Bar Harbor Blend
Interiors by Details
This shingle-style house with modern elements required a blending of styles. With a casual, open floor plan, the vibe of the space is playful with touches of color. The color palette includes charcoal-painted cabinetry and veined quartz countertops with white shiplap walls and black-framed windows and mullions. The teal FiveStar gas range inspired the multicolored tile backsplash. Natural materials create a comfortable atmosphere, and seating at the island encourages conversation during meal preparation. Earth tones create warmth through distressed hickory flooring over radiant heat, floating shelves, and a butcher-block table. A stainless-steel chimney hood and a built-in Sub-Zero refrigerator reflect modern conveniences. The post-and-beam design was driven by Ellsworth-based Details, Inc.
The biggest challenge was to find creative storage for dishes and glassware, pots and pans, and packaged food without the use of wall cabinets or a pantry. The solution was found in deep, wide drawers and pullout base-cabinet food pantries. Floating wood shelves display every-day items.
In every project, Connie Dedam’s goal is to highlight her clients’ prized possessions, incorporating the old with the new. Using her clients’ descriptions of their lifestyle, Dedam transforms wish lists into dreams.
Pool House Loft
Photography by Michael D. Wilson
The homeowners had two requests: The first was that this oceanfront space would be a relaxing retreat for guests, but without a coastal theme or blue and white furnishings. The second was a cut-log wall incorporated into the design. Standing in the loft, there are views of the treetops on three sides and a seascape of the Atlantic from extra-wide glass doors in the front.
The large, open space finished in white nickel-gap incorporates a bedroom alcove, a tiled bathroom, a comfortable seating area, and a kitchenette as well as a rustic console table made by a local woodworker for easy dining. The finished wood floor is wire-brushed oak, which was acid washed and stained. The natural- fiber window shades and faux-wood crossbeams hide the drapery tracks and were selected for a tree house feel. The rustic vibe of the log wall was mixed with the spa-like feel of aqua, gray, and beige furnishings. Items like the antler and driftwood chandeliers, the live-edge bar shelves, the handmade console table, and the iron bed all continue that fun, camplike feel. The soothing shades of aqua and greige work together beautifully against the white wood walls and the rustic wood finishes. Weeman custom painted the homeowner’s blanket chest—repurposed as a TV stand—to match the kitchenette cabinetry and updated it with whimsical moose head drawer knobs. The bar cabinet has pinecone knobs, as does the sliding barn door that separates the bedroom closet; draperies separate the bedroom alcove from the rest of the room. The wood feature wall has custom-cut logs that were pieced together like a big puzzle, and the coffee table is faux bois—it’s actually made of concrete and iron and intended as an outdoor table, so it’s very durable.
Maine Street Design Company
Photography by Peter G. Morneau
This seaside living room was reimagined to add updated bright colors to its traditional, saltwater farm stone interior. The overall space is warm-and-cozy traditional with a twist. The room has a brick floor and a heavy stone fireplace wall, so the need to soften the space was one of the biggest challenges. A custom-fabricated wool broadloom carpet adds comfort underfoot, while the lush English bump–lined curtain panels create a sense of warmth on a wall of windows that looks out to the island pasture and sea. The color palette—deep coral chenille on the reupholstered antique sofas and pops of blues, yellows, and chartreuse—evoke the rolling meadows that surround the house.
This room fits Maine Street Design Company’s design philosophy by honoring the clients’ family history while creating an upbeat and family-friendly updated interior.
Laura Fox Interior Design
Photography by François Gagné
When this elegant Tudor-style home was purchased by the client, it came with a lot of the existing furniture. Very few people had owned this early 1900s home, so it was important to keep much of its history intact when the renovations began. The home had incredible bones and architectural features and details—the mouldings and fireplaces were all kept intact. Several of the original fixtures were used, and additional period-appropriate antique light fixtures were brought in. Wood paneling, wainscoting, and ceiling beams were all kept in place and were highlighted with added details such as wallpaper and bold paint colors.
Luxurious fabrics and rich colors embrace the history and architectural features of the home while creating an updated aesthetic. The color palette was largely driven by existing wallpapers in the dining room and foyer, and existing rugs in the dining and music rooms. While renovating the kitchen, Fox kept the existing cabinet color in order to stay true to the period and architecture of the home. Pieces with history and antiques dating as far back as the 1700s were incorporated throughout.
The toughest challenges came from working on much of the project remotely—Laura Fox Interior Design is based in Maryland—and making sure the client’s deadlines were met. It was also important to the client that only local tradespeople be involved. Fox bases every project on two building blocks: communication and organization. Organization was imperative to the success of this renovation taking place several states away, as was listening intently to how the client experiences everyday life. Despite snowstorms and various other unexpected challenges, everyone worked together to get the job completed on time.
Casco Bay Calm
Photography by Darren Setlow
The homeowners travel extensively for business. The goal for the home, particularly the owners’ suite, was to provide a much-deserved respite from many hours of sitting on planes and running through airports. Designer Bob Francisco wanted the owners’ suite to feel like a series of rooms that one might find in a well-appointed seaside bed-and-breakfast. The homeowners wanted coastal references but nothing overtly nautical. The colors and material selections are all inspired by the rocky coastline and water beyond; the owners’ suite celebrates a view of Casco Bay from both the bedroom and the bathroom. The goal of the homeowners was to feel the exterior flowing into the interior.
Property line setbacks were a major challenge when laying out the configuration of the owners’ suite. The existing home was located within the setback, and Knickerbocker Group was not allowed to add any building volume within the setback. This restriction called for some creativity with the room layouts. Incorporating new and old areas under tricky existing rooflines and in parts where expansion was allowed was a big part of space planning.
The process of designing the owners’ suite and the rest of Drew House was one of collaboration. The homeowner was very hands-on with every decision, from room layout to the selection of cabinet hardware. The process involved a lot of listening, not only to the homeowners but also to the home itself. Now the owners’ suite seamlessly blends new spaces with those of a 100-year-old home. The philosophy was to preserve, repurpose, and make an old place new again without losing the soul that can only come from being lived in and loved over many years.
Mod Meets Scandi Farmhouse
Morrison Design House
Photography by Jeff Roberts
Jennifer Morrison’s design goal was to create a calm interior space for a busy professional couple. Inspiration came from the basic principles of Scandinavian design, and Morrison focused on a neutral palette with lots of daylight. She leaned into the natural light that plays off the white walls and brings tremendous life to the space; introductions of color, such as the blue of the kitchen, were intentionally bold to bring in colors of the Maine coastline. Neutral-heavy details with organic materials create continuity and brightness. The space’s open floor plan is comprised of the living area, the breakfast nook, and the kitchen, which is the star of the show. It’s cozy and uncluttered with an emphasis on form following function. The juxtaposition between the lack of window treatments and the greenery outside celebrates the beauty of the site.
Morrison believes in the power of nature-based design. Living in a seasonally specific place like Maine, she sees the importance of blurring the separation of the interior and exterior living environments. Winter can be long and sometimes harsh, so Morrison creates interiors that are uplifting in all seasons and always bring a sense of comfort. This project especially showcases the designer’s love of stylized contradictions and a “not too much, not too little, just right” approach.
Sebago Lake Contemporary
Robin Davis Interiors
Photography by Peter G. Morneau
The house is a five-year-old post-and-beam that needed an interior reboot. Without a doubt, the project’s inspiration was the view—an expanse of floor-to-ceiling windows frame a yearround, lakefront view of Mount Washington. When first meeting with the clients, Davis was tasked with three things: update the owners’ bedroom, create an office/den, and design a bar/refreshment center for the family room. As conversation continued, the project quickly turned into a whole-house update. As a vacation home, it needed to feel sophisticated but comfortable. The clients wanted it relaxed enough for their family of five but also elegant for entertaining guests and large groups.
When the client stated an affinity for matte black finishes and lighter neutral color tones, Davis started to pull ideas. It began with a matte black exterior light fixture with a touch of brushed gold. The client loved it but didn’t yet know of Davis’s plan to use the same fixture to replace the dated sconces inside, too. The new lighting style enhanced the wood beams in the great room and provided the balance of styles the client had asked for. The owners’ bedroom, once bathed in lilac paint, now sports a pale gray that enhances a custom charcoal gray accent wall behind the bed. The soft goods shine in subtle tones of white, cream, and gray that help it feel more like a boutique hotel bedroom. Raw wood in the bed frame, night-stands, and dresser continue the casual feel. Restraint is important for Davis. For instance, she believes not every blank wall space needs a piece of art. Where art was used, it was kept intentional and simple. It’s allowed to stand on its own, but it shouldn’t compete with the views outside.
Throughout the project Davis played with warm and cool tones, using black or charcoal to contrast and add dimension where needed and keeping it simple elsewhere.
South Ridge Road Dining Room
Samantha S. Pappas
Photography by Courtney Elizabeth
A set of Erin Flett napkins sparked the inspiration for this space—white linen napkins with a playful pattern and pop of mustard gold. Classic but fun, the inspiration gave way to bursts of color and different textures and patterns, which brought personality to the space while keeping it simple and organic. Pappas kept a neutral color palette and created a sense of calm that’s versatile and can be easily updated. Natural textures like the jute rug and woven chairs add personality and interest to the space. Splashes of pink and gold are among the natural colors and textures: gold adds sophistication, and pink brings a whimsical and fun element to the design. Two pink acrylic paintings, specifically created by Pappas for the space, hang in the dining room and bring it to life, tying in other accessories while making the space flow and feel as if it is one big room. The room was designed as the perfect place to entertain with ease, inviting guests to relax and, most important, have fun.
The biggest design challenge was choosing a light fixture for the dining area. Pappas wanted something that would flow with the overall organic, natural vibe. Lighting is a powerful aspect in any design, and it needed to be minimal but still give visual interest. In the end, Pappas found a chandelier from West Elm that fits in with the simple energy of the room and draws the eye up without overwhelming the entire space. The waterfall high-top table in the kitchen’s eat-in nook was custom designed by Pappas and built by local woodworker Steve Hall. Brass accents were incorporated into the tabletop to form a unique and fun pattern. A painting by Sarah Madeira Day was included to bring a touch of Maine’s natural beauty and rugged outdoors into the home.
Pappas’s philosophy is to make a space functional, fun, and interesting without being overstated. She incorporates trendy pieces while keeping the feel classic and timeless. Most important, each space needs to be customized to each client, making them feel at home, at ease, and in love with the space the minute they walk into the room.
Aligned Design on Munjoy Hill
Tyler Karu Design & Interiors
Photography by Erin Little
This project’s inspiration came from architect Kevin Browne’s program as well as the urban environment. The design team wanted the vibe to be bright and spacious yet comfortable and personal to the clients, who are both creatives; the goal was to create a space that would be a true reflection of them. The design allows plenty of wall space for art (created by the clients and their family members), and the furnishings let the art take center stage in the house. The space is voluminous, and scale and proportion were carefully considered so that nothing would overwhelm nor feel too small in the space. It was also essential to make everything pet friendly, which wasn’t too difficult, as the design team are pet lovers themselves.
White walls, light wood floors, and floor-to-ceiling windows create a gallery-like space so that the furnishings and art can pop. Tyler Karu and her team designed the dining area in collaboration with Kidwell Fabrications. The furniture was created to work with the clean aesthetic of the design scheme; the eased edges and joinery of the table, bench, and chairs add the necessary warmth to the space. The design plan for this project needed to be clean and streamlined yet warm and comfortable in order to suit the architecture as well as the clients’ lifestyle. The space epitomizes Tyler Karu Design and Interiors’s philosophy that the architecture of the home and how the clients live are the first considerations for design.
Crisp Camden Kitchen
Walsh Hill Design
Photography by Jonathan Reece
The home sits on the shores of a pond that offers breathtaking views of Maine’s ever-changing seasons. To emphasize the view, Walsh shifted the axis of the space toward the pond and expanded the windows, adding a bank that provides a focal point and floods the space with light. The vibe is spa-like and serene—a truly sensory experience. Walsh introduced tactile materials—a large slab of honed quartzite, soft fabrics cushioning the built-in window seat, and hand-forged solid bronze cabinet hardware—to make the experience of the space truly memorable. A color palette of crisp whites with tonal blues ranging from navy to pale subtly enhances views of the sky, water, and foliage. Chris Raso created custom plaster and millwork to artfully frame the kitchen, and Pine Ridge Carpentry built the kitchen cabinets. The resulting setting is serene yet conducive to hosting lively events.
The homeowners, who are related to Walsh, love to cook and entertain family and friends. A functional serving bar was requested by Walsh’s brother to indulge his passion for mixing craft cocktails. It was difficult to find enough space for all of the kitchen equipment and the accoutrements of a proper mixing station, and the only place for the bar was a slight space between two windows. To avoid compromising or competing with the view, Walsh hid the bar with recessed shelving inside the wall. Pine Ridge Carpentry built the bar shelves in natural cherry to maintain cohesiveness with the sideboard. The doors to the recessed shelves are framed abstract photographs that complement the space and hold quite a lot of meaning—another one of Walsh’s brothers is a Philadelphia-based photographer who took the images of the Schuylkill River, a landmark in their beloved city.
Camp Sunshine Clubhouse
Photography by Dudley Warner
Designer Emily Wisecup was inspired by familiar surroundings. First and foremost, she wanted the space to feel comforting—a place where the parents attending Camp Sunshine with their children could feel relaxed and cozy, a feeling of home away from home. Wisecup designed the space to evoke the feeling of a rustic cabin while instilling a contemporary aesthetic. She blended natural materials with comfortable furnishings, clean lines, and subdued hues. The color palette was kept neutral, natural, and rustic throughout. Construction was well underway when Wisecup first walked through the space, but she saw the potential in the abundance of natural materials and wall of windows that seamlessly connect the interior space with nature. The vaulted pine ceilings in the great room and reflection room and the rustic elegance of the distressed hardwood floors dictated a subdued color palette for the walls. The grand 18-foot stone fireplace in the great room is a stand-alone work of art and the focal point of the room, so it needed no further embellishment. Keeping the color palette and furnishings complementary was key.
A big challenge to consider was the overall functionality of the space. Creating multipurpose rooms within the clubhouse required blending form and function. For example, the reflection room, a dedicated quiet space, called for a tranquil and cozy minimalist aesthetic, whereas the game room, the first space that greets you as you enter the building, required a more energetic vibe. For Wisecup, natural elements reign supreme, and combining different materials, patterns, shapes, and textiles creates a juxtaposition that is visually interesting