December 2014

By Susan Grisanti l Photography by Nicole Wolf


I spent a fair amount of my childhood in search of the perfect house. Most Sundays, my sister and I would ride along with my parents through Southern California neighborhoods, stopping to tour realtor open houses. Transplants from Western New York, my father and mother, a doctor and a nurse by trade, had discovered and developed a shared passion while living a new life on the West Coast. They began buying, renovating, and selling homes that they redesigned with meticulous detail. The majority of time, however, was spent hunting for that “perfect” next project, which in reality was most often anything but perfect. 


I was raised around discussions of floor plans, light, location, building materials, and flow. Years later, I too struck out for a new life across the country from where I grew up, and have taken on a project of my own, the restoration of a mid-nineteenth- century home. For the last year and a half I have immersed myself in the process of reviving this old house, peeling away a century and a half’s worth of paint, grime, and decay to let in the light, to straighten and strengthen the structure, and to make it my home. Never before have I appreciated more both the art and science of architecture—and never before have I appreciated more what a journey this process really is. 


The stewards of this journey are the architects with whom we work. Their expertise and artistry meet our vision for the place we want to call home. In our annual Architecture Issue we celebrate the more-than-meets- the-eye methods and projects of our state’s skilled architects in a roundup of 20 brilliant and beautiful Works of Architecture of every style, size, and scope (page 100).

Debra Spark introduces us to the innovative and influential Toshiko Mori (Weaving Past and Present, page 56) who applies her conceptual and theoretical explorations to the design of the new CMCA, scheduled to open in the summer of 2016 in Rockland. Spark also writes of Scott and Karen Benezra’s nineteenth- century farmhouse (Assembling the Past, page 84) resurrected by Caleb Johnson Architects and Builders into a stylishly textured space filled with the Benezras’ salvaged treasures. In Sitting on Top of the Bay (page 66) Sarah Stebbins shares the story of Bill and Eileen MacDonald’s home, finely crafted by architect John Morris into the granite ledges above the crashing waves of New Harbor. And in The Canvas (page 137) Jamie Thompson showcases the work of Clint Fulkerson, Leon Anderson, and Lauren Fensterstock, artists who explore the intersection of art and architecture.  


My parents have a passion for design that they shared with me— not just for beautiful things, but also for the life and vibe reflected within a beautiful and intentional space. They appreciate how things are built and the quality of the elements and materials used within. It is my honor and pleasure to share that passion with you through this special issue, and every issue of Maine Home+Design. 

Share The Inspiration