Letter from the Editor – January 2013

By Heidi Kirn

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Having grown up in Maine, I never stopped talking about how magical it is here, even when I moved away. So it is no real surprise that I was able to convince my great friends Mike, Scott, and Neil to move up here on a whim with me when I accepted an art faculty position at Berwick Academy. My pitch was that we could rent a whole house for less than they were paying in Brooklyn at the time. Each of us could have a bedroom and a studio, a garden, and a beach nearby. They were sold, and the laid-back, quiet lifestyle, natural beauty, and fewer distractions were the perfect conditions for creating a body of artwork.

Those days in Maine did not disappoint. With no TV or Internet to distract us, we spent our time painting and preparing homemade meals. Having lived in New Mexico, Mike taught me how to make a mole sauce. We ate our dinners sitting around the table, which usually led to us talking for hours into the night. Bundled up, we enjoyed the beach in the off-season. We played music, four-tracked songs we wrote, and later formed a band. We each produced large bodies of work during that time and had an art show at our studio. It was on the beach that year that my now-husband, Neil, and I got engaged.

Around that time, Neil and I purchased a vintage Volkswagen bus. We immediately went to work fixing up the interior—drawing sketches, tearing out magazine pages for inspiration, and pulling color chips. We cleaned it from top to bottom, found just the right fabric, made curtains, cushions, and rugs. We even purchased a second orange bus that didn’t run just to use its table and seats, which were in better condition. After pouring our hearts into it, the interior was complete—and just what we envisioned. We soon learned that we were not so savvy with fixing the engine. The bus could barely get over 30 mph going up a hill, and soon it would begin to fill with black smoke just driving around. After a few trips to the beach and a camping weekend, the bus would not start. It sat beautifully unmoved in our driveway for months after that.

I’m reminded often of the bus when I work on the pages of Maine Home+Design. The houses we select for each issue are always beautiful, always well crafted and artistically designed. They are the cumulative outpouring of talent from a team of designers, craftspeople, architects, and builders. And of course, the photographs we produce and select highlight that beauty. But that’s only half the story. These homes are also highly functional, thoughtfully created spaces that serve the people who live in them. The best of both worlds: beauty and function.

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