Good Design Endures


To be honest, I was worried that we wouldn’t see many submissions for AIA Maine’s Annual Design Awards this year, but I was clearly wrong. The pandemic couldn’t stop the Maine Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Maine) from honoring the extraordinary work by Maine-based architectural firms in their much-anticipated annual awards. The projects selected for the annual Design Awards are a mix of commercial, single-family residential, renovations and adaptive reuse, and small projects (with budgets under $250,000). The sole judging criterion? Design excellence. Firms can submit work located anywhere in the world, but it must be designed after 2014 by a registered AIA Maine architect, an associate AIA Maine member, or a current Maine architecture student, and it cannot have been honored in years past. Last year AIA Maine added another element to qualify for an award: they asked that all submitters reveal how their project helps transform the day-to-day practice of architects to achieve a zero-carbon, equitable, resilient, and healthy built environment. The ten measures include design for integration, for equitable communities, for ecology, for water, for economy, for energy, for wellness, for resources, for change, and for discovery. To recognize the work of their allied professionals and professional organizations, this year, for the first time, AIA Maine connected with the Maine Interior Design Association (MIDA) and the Maine Section of Boston Society of Landscape Architects (BSLA) to add a landscape and an interiors award designation. “We included a landscape architect and a registered interior designer into the jurist group to help honor these newer categories,” reveals executive director Jeannette Schram.

The Design Awards program commences with the committee’s search for a jury of out-of-state peers suited to judge designs in light of Maine’s unique geography and history. This year the Austin, Texas–based jury deliberated over a total of 56 submissions before presenting 15 awards. “We believe we have some of the best architects living and working right here in Maine. It is an honor for our chapter to recognize and celebrate the innovative and inspiring work of these local practitioners,” says Schram.

MH+D is honored to present the winners of the 2021 AIA Maine Design Awards.

Institutional + Commercial

Falmouth Memorial Library, Falmouth
Simons Architects

Architect: Julia Tate
Project Team Members: Lauren Angst, Kayla Caron, Ryan Kanteres, Scott Simons, Seth Wilschutz
General Contractor: Ledgewood Construction
Structural Engineer: Ethan Rhile (Thornton Tomasetti)
MP Engineering: Sonia Barrantes, Jacob Staub (Ripcord Engineering)
Civil Engineer: Will Haskell (Gorrill Palmer)
Electrical Engineer: Tim Matthews (Swiftcurrent Engineering)
Landscape Architect: Sarah Witte
Photographer: Ryan Bent

From the Jury:
“The Falmouth Memorial Library Renovation and Addition complemented the existing structure with simple gable forms, which are expressed on the interior and create spacious light-filled volumes. The splashes of warm wood are used judiciously throughout and articulate the various facades.”

Project At-a-Glance:
The additions and renovations to the Falmouth Memorial Library blend new, modern library spaces with the existing, more traditional ones, creating energy-efficient and light-filled spaces for the community. The library was doubled in size without increasing its operational costs or requiring any additional staff.

Project Summary:
The Falmouth Memorial Library had its beginnings in a home the library purchased in 1951. As the demand for services and space increased, the library constructed an addition in 1995, with a large meeting room and additional children’s and adult areas. Since that expansion, there has been a 238 percent increase in circulation, putting a growing strain on the already tight space. In addition to the lack of space, the library was missing a sense of fluidity, which was a large hindrance to its operation. After numerous false starts with other architects, Simons Architects was asked to double the size ofthe library without increasing its operational and energy costs and without requiring any additional staff.

Working closely with the community, they developed a plan that expanded the library from its previous 10,780-square-feet to 18,720-square-feet. The original Iverson House was removed, and two new wings were added to the existing 1995 library building to double the amount of space available for library patrons. The additions were designed to have a feeling of spaciousness and connectivity, allowing for maximum visual oversight as the library increased in size without increasing its staff size. The children’s and adult areas were separated into two wings, linked by an open periodical reading area, with an adjacent public computing area and study rooms. The new gabled roofs of the additions match the angle of the existing gables on the 1995 addition, helping to blend the new with the existing. Large windows provide generous amounts of natural daylight with views of the gardens and courtyard outside. The new, expanded library is a bright and open modern facility with high-performance features. It is a sustainable building that acts as a vibrant hub for community engagement and learning in Falmouth.

Pathway Approach to a New High School & Career Technical Center, Sanford
Lavallee Brensinger Architects

Architect: Rich Pizzi
Project Team Members: Chris Drobat, Julie Spence, Chris Urner, Lance Whitehead General Contractor: Hutter Construction Corporation
Structural Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti
MEP/FP: Rist-Frost-Shumway
Civil Engineer: Sebago Technics
Geotechnical Engineer: S.W. Cole Engineering
Lead Interior Designer: Ryan Tirrell
Interior Designer: Christina Mellor
Technical Leader: Carmine Deblasi
Acoustical Consultants: Cavanaugh Tocci Associates
Radon System Designer: Air & Water Quality Commissioning Agent: NV5
Education Planning: New Vista Design
Theater Consultant: High Output
Food Service: Crabtree McGrath Associates
Photographer: Siri Blanchette (Blind Dog Photo)

From the Jury:
“The thoughtful planning of this new high school and career technical center creates multiple communities within a large school, facilitates easy way-finding, and maximizes daylight. The jury appreciated how learning and collaboration were celebrated throughout, creating a space that supports the curriculum goals and students’ career preparedness.”

Project At-a-Glance:
This high school and technical center created an integrated secondary school that would enhance the student experience by highlighting learning opportunities and increasing student interest in career and technical education. Complementing the learning communities, a large agora stair is the heart of the school, designed to bring the students together.

Project Summary:
The high school and technical center, serving 21 communities, sought to create an integrated secondary school that would enhance the student experience by highlighting its unique opportunities and increasing student interest in career and technical education. The curriculum bridges between typical high school areas of study and specific career pathways, were strengthened through a thoughtful design that co-located specialized labs with related learning areas. The phrase “integration with purpose” was coined to describe the facilities’ co-location of similar programs.

The 332,000-square-foot facility is organized into four career pathways, each with its own identity, allowing students and teachers to craft a learning experience tailored to the student’s interests. Career pathways, which operate as schools within the school, include science and technology, business and marketing, arts and communications, and health and human services. Each pathway offers different technical labs and delivery methods to implement common curricula like math, history, and literature. The design responds accordingly, offering different identities through color and display. The pathways accommodate a range of learning styles via numerous differentiated instructional spaces. Corridors designed with technology-rich collaboration spaces encourage small group and individual learning. This pathway approach supports the curriculum, facilitates learning and socializing, and encourages student independence.

Complementing the smaller learning communities, the heart of the school is a large agora stair. This space is designed to bring the school together and serve a variety of functions from presentation to dining to speaking to lecturing. Venues like the 920-seat performing arts center connect seamlessly with modern technology and related learning spaces such as a music suite, video production labs, and a TV studio—a community broadcast area. Large spaces, like the competition and practice gyms, offer further community use. From the start, the design intention was a completed educational facility that is also an outstanding community center.

SeaWeed Company, South Portland
Caleb Johnson Studio

Architect: Patrick Boothe
Principal: Caleb Johnson
Architectural Designer: Lydia Mather
Interiors Architect: Mariam Mojdehi, Meredith McDaniel (MAAM)
General Contractor: Keith Levan (Woodhull Construction)
Structural Engineer: Structural Integrity Consulting Engineers
Civil Engineer: Mike Tadema-Wielandt (Terradyn Consultants)
Roofing: C.O. Beck & Sons
Audiovisual: Tucker & Tucker
Front Custom Canopy: Cumberland Ironworks
Earthwork: Les Wilson & Sons
Landscape Designer: Soren deNiord Design Studio
Landscape Installation: Pinnacle Landscape & Design
Millwork: Woodhull Millwork
Security Design Consultant: Jim Landau
Branding Consultant: Might & Main
Photographer: Trent Bell

From the Jury:
“A new retail experience within SeaWeed is elevated to a modern standard. It was refreshing to see restraint as well as an architecture that moves beyond the old days of dispensary experiences. The jury felt that the project hit it out of the park on all design disciplines. The stormwater was integrated into the landscape approach, the interior materials and forms supported and complemented the architecture, and the overall tenor and rhythm of the architectural moves created a simple yet refined experience for the users. The muted palette and play-on texture of the SeaWeed Company interiors create a relaxing, spa-like atmosphere. The angled wood ceiling and decorative wood panels bring added interest to a clean, simple aesthetic.”

Project At-a-Glance:
A Maine-made marijuana retail space in an approachable setting appeals to a broad range of customers.

Project Summary:
When a Maine cannabis retailer was ready for a brick-and-mortar shop, the space needed to echo the professional, high-quality product and service. Maneuvering state and federal laws around retail cannabis’s legality and the schedule was an ongoing obstacle. But the client’s clear vision and dedication to the design and architecture would anchor the project throughout production.

The building is separated from the surrounding commercial spaces, cutting a low profile just below the road and tucked into a corner adjacent to expansive natural wetlands. Upon arrival, the cedar-clad structure doesn’t shout to be noticed; it reveals itself slowly, and you experience it with a subtle impact. The design focused on a clean, upscale vibe, unlike your average cannabis shop. The 3,000-square-foot space is flooded with natural light and allows for open interaction without crowding. The ceiling has an inverted hip truss that creates a vaulted space and opens to the backside of the building. Woodhull of Maine completed custom millwork from Maine ash that serves as a backdrop to showcase products and encourage customer engagement.

Single-Family Residential

House on a Wharf, Brooksville
Elliott Architects

Architect: Elliott Architects
Project Architect: J.T. Loomis
Project Team Members: Matt Elliott, Maggie Kirsch, J.T. Loomis
General Contractor: M.K. Purvis Construction
Structural Engineer: Becker Structural Engineers
Interior Designer: Lisa Morris By Design
Lighting: Peter Knuppel Lighting Design
Landscape Architect: Richardson & Associates
Photographer: Trent Bell

From the Jury:
“House on a Wharf is a handsome house with beautifully composed spaces. A theme throughout our jury conversation was the subject of restraint and calibration. This house exhibited a level of rigor that is commendable. The small footprint and streamlined floor plan contributed to the beautiful architecture. It is an inspiring form perched along the northeast shoreline.”

Project At-a-Glance:
This new residence on a coastal harbor occupies roughly the same footprint as the original early-twentieth-century building. A deck wraps the first floor, grounding the new building and creating outdoor spaces that take advantage of the inimitable site, providing a connection to the tiny guesthouse/studio that sits adjacent.

Project Summary:
The old structure had many uses over the years. In addition to servicing the steamers arriving along the coast, it at various times functioned as an apartment house, a laundromat, and a summer home. To shore up the site, its stone wharf was raised and the new house placed on piers to comply with floodplain regulations, elevating the structure above the high tides that periodically washed into the living room of the existing house.



Loon Lake Retreat, Lakes Region, New Hampshire
Whitten Architects

Architect: Tom Lane
Project Team Members: Tom Lane, Jesse Patkus, Russ Tyson
General Contractor: K.P. Hood Construction
Structural Engineer: Albert Putnam Associates
Interior Designer: Heidi Lachapelle Interiors
Cabinetry: J.A. Joy Custom Woodworking
Lighting: Reflex Lighting
Landscape Designer: Soren deNiord Design Studio
Outdoor Concrete Furniture: Ken Hood
Photographer: Trent Bell

From the Jury:
“The Loon Lake Retreat is a sweet, small residence that is nicely crafted with a subtle palette of materials and playful details.”

Project At-a-Glance:
Like a fresh-cut log, this small, contemporary cabin nestled in the woods along a quiet lakefront in New Hampshire features a dark, timber exterior, punctuated and lined with warm, amber accents throughout.

Project Summary:
The clients have deep roots in this small town in New Hampshire situated between the lakes region and the White Mountains. They imagined a home that expressed enduring ties to this place while reflecting a breadth of ideas learned abroad.

The property is a peaceful lakefront plot featuring tall pines and hemlocks. An initial challenge in gathering understanding and inspiration was the existing dilapidated cabin that occupied the site. The sprawling structure presented a psychological challenge to imagining a fresh, natural site and potential architectural intervention. The architects determined that the new house footprint, being smaller, would sit inside the existing cabin footprint to maximize views down the lake and receive winter sunlight while minimizing site impact. A screened porch situated on piers could be nestled in the woods with minimal impact to the earth and surrounding trees. The porch appears like a lantern from the woods and offers another point of view to the site.

The 1,500-square-foot T-shaped plan implies two courtyards, extending the domestic zone of the home into the landscape. Granite boulders emerging between hardscape express the splice of the architectural intervention with nature. The entry courtyard lies to the north, and the south courtyard gestures toward the fire pit and lake. The living space, housed in the vertical leg of the T, opens with glass sliding doors and a corner window to the lake. The horizontal leg of the T contains the bedrooms and bathrooms. The owners’ bedroom opens to a private patio with an outdoor shower facing the lake.

The house is clad, like a cut log, with dark bark and amber wood. The dark siding is western red cedar stained black. The amber siding undercover, along the entrance axis, is Douglas fir with a natural oil finish.

Whipplewood, Standish
Winkelman Architecture

Architect: Eric Sokol
Project Team Members: Eric Sokol, Will Winkelman
General Contractor: Tom West
Structural Engineer: Albert Putnam Associates
Civil Engineer: Albert Frick Associates
Photography: Jeff Roberts

From the Jury:
“The Whipplewood Residence truly blends the program of an artist’s home with the steep, heavily wooded, linear site. You arrive at a concrete fortress, which dissolves toward the landscape. The design includes a variety of quirky details, including a beautifully crafted wooden spiral staircase.”

Project At-a-Glance:
Whipplewood is an artist’s home that blends into the trees and wooded landscape of a steeply sloping site. The structure was designed to reach up into the treetops but also anchor solidly into the hillside, weathering naturally over time within its surroundings.

Project Summary:
The goal of the project was to replace the owner’s old cottage, which had burned down, with a small, low-maintenance structure that would appear to be something of an extension of the natural landscape. Since the old cottage was close to the water, nestled among stands of tall mature trees, integrating the new building into the site and weaving it into the treetops was of critical importance.

The back of the house is a sculpted concrete base nestled into the hillside and growing out of the ground to be visible to the exterior. This is meant to be durable and maintenance-free and was also a nod to the history of the fire with the old cottage. More importantly, it fits the vision of something emerging from the topography of the site while simultaneously being softened and reclaimed by the surrounding vegetation over time. To the water side of this base are large glass panels set inside a frame of steel and reclaimed timbers, looking out to the views of the treetops and the lake.

The arrival to the house is on the upper level, tethered to the back of the hillside, where guests leave their cars. A three-story plan emerged, with an entry/mudroom and wet bar at the top, accessible from the parking area via a sculpted footbridge. Beyond this entry, the room is an open deck and rooftop garden, cantilevered out into the treetops. Below this is the kitchen and main living area with another cantilevered deck, and under that, burrowed into the hillside, is the owner’s suite. All three levels are connected by the central jewel of the house: a continuous helical stair, an element that the owner modeled and fabricated from reclaimed heart pine timbers using a combination of CNC machines and hand tools.

Woods & Water, Peaks Island
Rachel Conly Design

Principal Designer: Rachel Conly
Architect: James Gauthier
General Contractor: Thompson Johnson Woodworks
Structural Engineer: Dovetail Consulting LLC
Civil Engineer: Engineering Assistance & Design, Incorporated
Landscape Architect: Charlotte Maloney Landscape Architecture
Photographer: Rachel Sieben

From the Jury:
“Although Wood & Water is a small project, it packs a punch with two striking elements that make the writer’s studio a modern jewel. First, the modestly responsible footprint is a strong statement. And secondly, the dogtrot and how the building situates itself into the landscape speak to the careful articulation of the indoor–outdoor experience. It felt important for the jury to honor this humble work that is honoring a breathtaking landscape.”

Project At-a-Glance:
Woods & Water is a studio created for writing and retreat on an island in Maine. It was designed to thoughtfully integrate with the natural beauty of the surroundings, while also being energy-efficient, durable, and made of low carbon footprint materials.

Project Summary:
Woods & Water was designed for a couple who relishes early morning hours and the serenity of the water’s edge. The clients were interested in a place that would sit quietly on the land that they love and foster enjoyment of the outdoors. It is a place for creating, sleeping, and being.

The 750-square-foot studio is divided into two distinct halves, sharing one roof and woven together by 1,000 square feet of white cedar decking. Sitting on a bluff of spruce and pine overlooking the sea, the structure’s minimalist form and material palette create a space for stillness, contemplation, and inspiration. Vertically installed cedar boards line the monolithic western face and are interrupted only by a framed entry view of the horizon. The elevation hugs the ground, resting comfortably in the company of boulders. In contrast, the eastern side of the studio is raised high above grade, opening wide to the ocean and sky with large sliding doors and generous window glazing. The northern half contains a spacious writing studio, the southern half contains sleeping and bathing spaces. The outdoor passageway around and between the two structures celebrates the unique beauty of the site, with places to retreat and places to expand among tree limbs and the blue sky above.

The studio was designed to be carbon-conscious and to meet high standards of energy efficiency. The wood-framed building includes materials that were carefully selected for durability, beauty, and low carbon footprint. The untreated siding, decking, and pergola were constructed from locally sawn white cedar. Cabinetry, flooring, and wall accents were made of rift-sawn white oak. Other materials include dense-pack cellulose for insulation and air-tight, vapor-open membranes for air sealing. “We feel like we have a front-row seat to nature,” the couple says.


HELM Restaurant, Portland
Stephen Blatt Architects

Architect: Steve Hoffman
Project Team Members: Jessie Couture, Steve Ruszkai
General Contractor: Halcyon Built
Food Service Consultant: Thomas McArdle (TJM Consulting)
Mechanical Systems Engineer: Kurt Magnusson
Photography: Erin Little

From the Jury:
“The HELM restaurant creates a welcoming yet intimate dining experience. The custom curved oyster bar, banquettes, and storage solutions elegantly solve various design problems. The tambour and wood-slat ceiling designs create a cohesive palette and establish a clear design language throughout the space.”

Project At-a-Glance:
A 50-plus-seat restaurant in the newly developing Foreside district along Portland’s eastern waterfront is inspired by the client’s passion for the Maine landscape and their vision for providing a refined dining experience.

Project Summary:
The client asked for a space that is fine-tuned to the experience of the diner and the kitchen and service staff alike; a space that is elemental, but sensuous; a space that echoes the beauty of the rocky Maine coast, without reverting to tired imagery and the clichéd tropes of “lighthouses and lobster traps.” The design realizes these poetic aspirations through its materiality and the artful crafting of the infrastructure that supports hospitality service. With subtle references to minimalist early modern design of the ’30s and ’40s, the room is defined by discreet elements set in an open “raum-plan” spatial field: bar, host station, oyster station, server’s station, and kitchen pass-through are each deployed as pieces of an integrated, functional, and aesthetic composition that facilitates the service and shapes the diner’s experience. A palette of gray, terrazzo-flecked concrete that evokes the granite-strewn beaches of the seacoast is accented by banquettes and paneled walls of rich natural wood grain, which in turn imbues the space with the tawny hues of Maine forests. A delicate wood-slatted ceiling provides a branch-like rhythmic overlay above the free-form plan and acts as an acoustical baffle. The slats conceal linear HVAC registers and recessed lights, removing visual clutter and highlighting milk-glass globes and sleek black-steel cylinder lights that drop from between the wooden boards. Glassware and bottles that catch the light are arranged around the room like museum objects in refined steel and glass vitrines.

Renovation + Adaptive Reuse

Damariscotta River View Cottage, Boothbay
Whitten Architects

Architect: Jessie Carroll
Project Team Members: Jessie Carroll, Rob Whitten
General Contractor: Marden Builders
Structural Engineer: Albert Putnam Associates
Interiors Consultant: Krista Stokes
Landscape Consultant: Richardson & Associates
Landscaping Subcontractor: Sunset Knoll Landscaping
Photography: Trent Bell

From the Jury:
“The jury appreciates the level of care taken with the Damariscotta River View Cottage Renovation. It is an artful move to recognize how to transform an existing structure like this, including reclaiming interior space for an outdoor room.”

Project At-a-Glance:
Above the Damariscotta River, this home required substantial renovations. The design included the partial demolition of the existing building, reconstruction of primary spaces, and finishing of previously underutilized spaces—all to maximize southern exposure and increase river views. The landscape was renaturalized and reprogrammed for an indoor–outdoor living experience.

Project Summary:
The New York–based clients sought this incredible property, situated high above the Damariscotta River, to be near dear friends. The eastern river view shines in the morning and hums with lobster boats. Long views extend to South Bristol and open waters beyond.

Substantial renovations were required to improve the home’s relationship with its surrounding context and meet the new owners’ needs. The existing home faced the street with three large garage bays surrounded by suburban landscape. Primary spaces had limited southern exposure due to a split-level addition. Small openings belied the stunning nearby water views.

The site-specific design included demolition of the split-level bedroom wing to bring in sunlight to the main living spaces. The former living room was rebuilt to accommodate taller wall heights and larger openings for better views and daylighting. Interiors incorporated minimal detailing and a restricted palette to emphasize the windows and views beyond. A hidden door in the millwork provides access to an oversized butler’s pantry, laundry, and mechanical room, keeping new, essential utility spaces out of sight but accessible.

A new screened porch replaced the southern bedroom wing, serving as an evening destination with proximity to entertaining spaces. This heavy timber structure holds screen panels that maximize views of the river and forest. The covered connection to the dining space provides year-round firewood storage and access on rainy days.

Guest rooms were relocated into the previous garage bays, utilizing the existing footprint. The new, open-tread stair leads upward to create an owners’ suite, which features a cleanly detailed bathroom and a rehabbed second-level deck overlooking the river.

Landscape architects renaturalized the property, bringing native plantings to the building’s edge, incorporating sitting and grilling terraces as well as a destination fire pit. The reconsidered and the reprogrammed landscape provides an indoor–outdoor living experience ideal for Maine’s coast.

NYA Learning Commons, Yarmouth
Simons Architects

Project Manager: Adam Wiles-Rosell
Project Team Members: Scott Simons, Adam Wiles-Rosell, Philip Chaney
Structural Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti
Photography: Ryan Bent

From the Jury:
“The NYA Learning Commons renovation made a huge impact on a limited budget, preserving a historic structure while reinventing it as a modern learning space. Smart sectional moves increased daylighting, and improved accessibility has transformed and reinvigorated the building, creating an inviting space that respects the building’s history while contributing to the future of the campus and its students.”

Project At-a-Glance:
Originally a gymnasium that was converted into academic space, the learning commons lacked ground-level accessibility and access to natural daylighting. Simons Architects’ goal was to reimagine the existing space in a way that would provide an environment for collaboration while offering students a variety of spaces to engage in learning.

Project Summary:
A 2017 master plan effort highlighted several areas for improvement on the school’s campus. This project, which was a former 1930s gymnasium wing added to the main academic building that served as the school’s library,

was selected as the first project to undertake. Serving students K–12 and considered to be the hub for learning and student activity on campus, the existing ground-floor library and upper-floor student lounge needed attention. The design approach reconfigured these two spaces into a unified learning commons that includes student study rooms and faculty offices while addressing significant life-safety and ADA upgrades.

Initially, the team developed alternative concepts for renovation and addition. The limited budget of $800,000 meant that they needed to work within the existing footprint. Honoring the history of the 100-year-old building, they determined that removing the existing floor and its structure could allow for opportunities for greater interior volume and natural lighting. The new upper floor was designed one foot higher than the previous level and was held back from the exterior wall to create a sense of place for students to read, study, and gather. Existing arched windows were removed, and the sills were cut to the floor to allow more natural daylight to enter the space. Along with the exterior glazing, a new terrace and accessible entrance helped to create a stronger sense of cohesion with other campus buildings. The transformation of the learning commons has injected new life into the school’s campus and revitalized an existing building.

Telecommunications Building Renovation at the University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH
Oak Point Associates

Architect: Kenneth T. Weston
Project Team Members: Jason Karlin, Bryan Laroche, Robert C. Tillotson
General Contractor: Charters Brothers Construction
Structural Engineer: David Martin
Civil Engineer: Daniel Phillips
Electrical Engineer: Wayne Whippie
Mechanical Engineer: Christine Lyle
Fire Protection Engineer: Laura Clebak
Geotechnical Engineer: R.W. Gillespie & Associates
Interior Designers: Sarah Smith, Sara Matthew
Landscape Architect: Kerry Peiser
Photographer: Randy Williams

From the Jury:
“This submission garnered the most debate during jury deliberation! Often we assume the goal of architecture is to be welcoming, but at the core of this renovation is a dichotomy between a pleasing interior for its inhabitants and a “prickly” and provocative exterior for the campus community. It is an unusual design challenge that emerges with the innovation—and nice articulation—of a unique facade, which pushes the single-component, insulated metal wall panel from ordinary to extraordinary.”

Project At-a-Glance:
The project involved a second-story addition to the existing telecommunications hub for the UNH campus. The addition utilized a single-component, insulated metal wall panel system with a variegated color scheme and shadow-casting fins to provide visual interest along the side of the building facing a major campus walkway.

Project Summary:
Welcome—but please, don’t come in. This became the central paradox and design challenge of the project. The client needed a second-story addition to a 3,600-square-foot, occupied telecommunications service building in the heart of a busy university campus. The architects were asked to make the addition welcoming, but very few people passing by would need to enter the building (it is by appointment only). This addition/renovation project challenged the design team to creatively balance the need for occupant privacy with a very public facade that would front a pedestrian walkway at the center of campus.

The charge was further complicated by the need to keep the existing ground floor occupied and operational while the second story was constructed above the computer servers that are the communications hub for the entire campus. Furthermore, research determined that the existing one-story building was constructed on piles; so, not only did the design solution need to be erected quickly, the 3,800-square-foot addition also had to be lightweight.

A single-component insulated metal wall panel was both light and quick to install. Taking cues from expeditious tilt-up construction methods, the wall panels were envisioned as a single span from top to bottom. A variegated color scheme was used to create visual interest, and shadow-casting fins were added to keep the eyes moving quickly across the staccato rhythm. To avoid expensive foundation work, the stair connecting the new story, which fell outside the existing footprint, was hung from the roof framing. The playful pattern is inviting to look at, but contrasting the colors, materials, and forms with those of the neighboring academic buildings was intended to make it clear that this is not likely your destination, thereby fulfilling the paradox of the original brief.

Small Projects

Surfer Studio, York
Caleb Johnson Studio

Architect: Patrick Boothe
Principal Architect: Caleb Johnson
General Contractor: Nick LaVecchia
Photographer: Nick LaVecchia

From the Jury:
“This tiny building is both refined and quirky. The details are clearly thought through, and it lifts the spirit and delights the senses. We loved the restrained use of materials.”

Project At-a-Glance:
A previous client requested services to develop a cost-effective, energy-efficient outbuilding that would complement his existing home to be used as a studio space and loft.

Project Summary:
Nick and Molly LaVecchia, owners of the Surfer Home, asked Caleb Johnson Studio to design a studio space that would be energy-efficient, economical, and distinctive. The floors, walls, and roof are all built of SIP panels. Nick volunteered to be the general contractor for the building and was not scared off by the studio’s request for site-built glazing.


Establishing Socially Inclusive Environments: Supporting Multigenerational Populations in an Urban Context, Portland
Jordan Stickles

Photographer: Jordan Stickles

From the Jury:
“The student project underscores the potential for architecture to engage pressing contemporary issues and provide innovative solutions. While the jury was thoroughly impressed with the investigation itself, including a multitude of diagrams, plans, sections, models, elevations, wall sections, and visualizations, the importance of the project resides with the inhabitants themselves. The project carefully articulates socially inclusive spaces that bridge age and abilities.”

Project At-a-Glance:
This project, located in Portland, focuses on the reintroduction of the community as a source of support for those suffering from Alzheimer’s. This socially inclusive environment merges multigenerational populations and promotes empathy by caring for the elderly community through the convergence of people and tactility for intuitive wayfinding.

Project Summary:
Multigenerational living, important in certain cultures, is not as traditional in the United States. Culturally, the United States places more value on the individual than on our ability to collectively support each other. In facilities such as assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and hospice centers, other individuals take care of elders’ essential needs as America’s current financial system makes it difficult for loved ones to be cared for by family members.

The United States’ living system of demographic separation does not work for communal integration. This project provides a cultural shift in thinking about how we as a community can live together, with people of different ages, including the elderly. In this paradigm, the elderly program is placed alongside those in affordable housing, a preschool, and a research center, establishing a socially viable environment for residents, locals, and visitors. Located in Portland, this multigenerational environment resides within a reviving urban downtown, enveloped by the growing community. As Maine’s elderly population grows faster compared to the rest of the United States, communal housing for seniors, those with Alzheimer’s, and young adults will combat the issue of isolation typically felt by the elderly population.

Sony Walkman

Sometimes you just need to disconnect from everything. Today that usually means putting down your phone to stop scrolling through Instagram, but once upon a time it meant putting on headphones, pressing PLAY, and tuning out the world. It’s hard to imagine, but personal portable music didn’t exist until 1979 when the Walkman was released by the Japanese company Sony. The iconic cassette tape player went on sale on July 1, 1979, for $150. The advent of the Walkman let people walk around to their own private soundtrack. “We just got back from Paris and everybody’s wearing them,” artist Andy Warhol told the Washington Post. He followed up by praising the headphones for preventing his hair from blowing around.

So where did the Walkman come from? The story goes that Sony’s co-founder Masaru Ibuka decided that he wanted to listen to opera in a more portable form than Sony’s existing TC-D5 cassette players. He charged Sony designer Norio Ohga with this task. Ohga came through with a prototype out of the Sony’s Pressman cassette recorder. Ibuka brought the result to Sony’s Chairman, Akio Morita, and reportedly said, “Try this. Don’t you think a stereo cassette player that you can listen to while walking around is a good idea?”

The company did not have high hopes for their device at first. Morita, in particular, was so unsure of the device’s success that he ordered a manufacturing run of only 30,000 (a drop in the bucket for the company at that time). Within a year and a half, Sony would produce and sell two million Walkmans. Steve Jobs, then the young CEO of a Silicon Valley startup called Apple Computer, personally received a Walkman from Morita on a business trip to Japan. Jobs was there in search of disk-drive suppliers in the early 1980s. When Jobs returned home, he didn’t bother listening to a cassette on the Walkman. He opened it up and examined the components piece by piece.

The original Walkman was made from aluminum, but later models were made of plastic. The Walkman also created the need for lightweight headphones. Prior to its arrival, headphones were for stationary use and heavy, but Sony was able to get the headphones down to just 45 grams for the Walkman. Morita initially thought people would want to listen to music together, so he put two headphone jacks on the player (you need to remember headphones went over your head not like the earphones/pods you can share between two people today). Until this point in time music was primarily a shared experience via the barroom jukebox, boom boxes, and record players. After the Walkman, music could be a private experience, silent to all but the listener.

The Walkman was mentioned literally everywhere: in movies, magazines, newspapers, music compositions, etc. Most of us remember the famous scene in Pretty Woman with Julia Roberts in the bathtub listening to her yellow Sony Sports Walkman, singing along with Prince. The Sports Walkman was splash proof, ideal for use by those whose outdoor activities would ruin normal cassette players. This device spawned the idea of listening to music wherever and whenever you want. Susan Blond, a vice-president at CBS Records, told the Washington Post in 1981: “It’s like a drug: You put the Walkman on and you blot out the rest of the world.”

As a child of the ’80s and early ’90s I lived during the heyday of the Walkman. The yellow Sports Walkman was literally the only thing I wanted one year. I even decided to “invest” in Sony stock for my fifth-grade project, following the ups and downs of the market for the year. The WM-F5 (shown here) marked the first appearance of the distinctive yellow seen in later sports models. The case was made of impact-resistant ABS plastic, and all controls were protected by cool rubber seals to make them splash proof. The green and blue play and stop buttons were also rubber and shaped and positioned for easy use.

I know all of you are eager to find out if I ever got that Walkman. The answer is no, my mom somehow got confused and got the yellow Sony Walkman of my dreams for my brother that Christmas, and I got a Pogo Ball.

The Sony Walkman can be found in the permanent collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.

Play Time

“We started working with a core team at the museum in 2016, when they had just started moving in the direction of expanding. We determined that all the experiences in the Children’s Museum would be based on learning through play.

“Visually, we wanted ‘Go With the Flow,’ shown here, and ‘Ramp Up,’ in the adjacent gallery, to contain joyous kinetic structures. In GWTF, we saw this fantasy water machine that kids could manipulate. You can use water jets to move balls, you can use pumps to make the tippy cups go.

“One of the other things you’re always trying to do with museums and discovery centers is design for different age ranges. For the water tables, there’s a lower table for the toddler age, and then the other table’s a little bit higher, and the experiences are a little more sophisticated. Successful exhibition design happens when kids can scaffold different experiences onto them as they get older and, when you have multiple ages in one place, being sure the families can stay together.

“Materials are a big deal in children’s museums. In GWTF, the water tables are stainless steel. Wherever we have a situation where there’s going to be high wear, we like to use stainless steel. And then we use a material called HDPE, a high-density polyethylene plastic, which was developed for the marine industry, meaning it’s great for water applications. It’s super durable and easy to clean. Boss Display, the fabricator of both spaces, suggested we finish the ‘Ramp Up’ ball-fall in a colored, spray-on finish that’s used in industrial applications or high-abuse situations. What I love about it is how it covers all the surfaces, the corners, there are no seams, no edges that can get chipped. Kids are so enthusiastic when they use interactive exhibits, and they just do the most unexpected things that, as a designer, they definitely keep you on your toes.

“The murals that Rachel Gloria Adams created are graphically beautiful and very sophisticated, and really add an energy to the spaces. They have a kind of drama to them. The large, iconographic shapes—I think kids will love exploring the visual patterns.

“I can’t tell you how much fun it is to be in a space that you’ve worked on for years. The best thing is when kids are there, and I sit and listen to their conversations—it’s just incredible.”

—Greg Belew, principal, designer & architect at Hands On! Studio

Keyway: an Island Meadow Home

This design by COVE by Knickerbocker Group is for a recently retired couple with two adult children and pets. The design, called Keyway, offers flexibility in the use of the house, allowing for home offices as well as room for family members to come and stay, and it also makes it possible for someone to quarantine if need be.

The home has a first-floor owners’ suite with three guest bedrooms on the upper level, as well as a screened porch, fireplaces, and an outdoor shower. There’s also a two-story entry and an abundance of natural light through the many windows and doors. It’s a coastal home, on a property with woods and an open field bordered by a stone wall, so the exterior details and landscape plantings have been designed to match the rustic character of the surroundings. Like all COVE homes, it has an efficient layout with practical consideration given to the flexibility of the spaces and importance to natural light and views.

Eco-friendly elements include the use of Maine slate and stone, Maine-made hardwood flooring, and thoughtful details such as the installation of a soap dispenser in the kitchen to reduce the number of plastic bottles going to a landfill.

Despite the hectic construction market, the homeowners were able to begin building within two months of meeting the COVE Homes team and will be able to move in by fall 2021.

Location: Westport Island
Architect/Builder/Designer: COVE by Knickerbocker Group
Project Team: Valery Tessier, AIA (architect); Angela Ballard, NCDIQ (interior designer); Bill Burge & Jessica Rodenhizer (project managers); Debra Wallace (project facilitator); Bill Plourd & Steve Arnold (site managers); Lauren Kohlhoff, Taylor Porter & Peter Nadeau (designers)
Landscape Architect: Kerry Lewis Landscape Architecture
Construction start: November 2020
Construction complete: September 2021

Design Wire June 2021

This summer, Westbrook’s MAST LANDING BREWING COMPANY, whose brightly labeled silver cans are filled with tasty, award-winning beer, will expand to a new 11,000-square-foot space at WS Development’s FREEPORT CROSSING. The new location will cover two floors and will include a tasting room, a pilot brewing facility that will showcase small-batch recipes made and offered exclusively in Freeport, and one of the largest event spaces in the area. A permanent culinary partner (not yet announced at time of publication) will occupy the conjoined kitchen space, and will offer lunch and dinner menus in the tasting room. The brewery is named after Freeport’s Mast Landing neighborhood, where president and CEO Ian Dorsey brewed the first batches in his garage, thus in many ways the expansion is also a return home.


Want to extend working-from-home to working-from-anywhere? A dreamy option would be the NISSAN’S NV350 CARAVAN OFFICE POD CONCEPT, one of several concept cars Nissan showed at the virtual 2021 TOKYO AUTO SALON. Based on the Nissan NV350 van, the Office Pod version would be retrofitted with a retractable workspace that fits neatly into the back of the van and can also slide out of the back on rollers, perfect for enjoying nature while also keeping productive. The workstation fits a desktop computer and a large office chair—such as the Herman Miller shown here—and the van includes a rooftop deck complete with a large, fold-out sunshade for relaxing before, between, or after working hours.


In March, the one-year anniversary of the pandemic, T Magazine asked three architects—VINCENT VAN DUYSEN in Antwerp, Belgium, TOSHIKO MORI in New York, and MASSIMILIANO LOCATELLI of Locatelli Partners in Milan—each to design a PAPER HOUSE that could serve as a concept for a postpandemic domestic space, and that anyone with a printer, paper, scissors, and glue can replicate. Van Duysen based his design on his 2011 DC2 Residence in Tielrode, Belgium, a “passive house” that has clear possibilities for mass production. Mori’s is based on a series of buildings she completed in rural Senegal, and like those, her paper house is inspired by the region’s round structures. It features an opening at the apex of the dome that pulls hot air upward and ventilates the interior. The curved shape prevents the sense of isolation caused by separate rooms. Locatelli’s paper house, shown here, is based on a prototype for a 3D-printed, 1,076-square-foot concrete home that he made for the 2018 Salone del Mobile. Made from four pebble-shaped, conjoined modules and able to be erected in less than a week, it could reduce housing costs and provide emergency housing in a crisis. Download a PDF that contains the designs from the New York Times website, and make them for yourself.


A recent study conducted by ENVIRONMENT AMERICA RESEARCH AND POLICY CENTER and FRONTIER GROUP found that New England has enough offshore wind to generate more than five times its projected electricity needs by 2050, and of those states, Maine has the highest ratio of potential wind power. Executive director of the center HABIB DAGHER told the Bangor Daily News in March, “Harnessing just three percent of the Gulf of Maine’s offshore wind would be enough to fully electrify heating and transportation in Maine.” Governor Janet Mills said that she plans to create the country’s first wind research farm here, 20 to 40 miles offshore, but this received objections from the state’s fishermen. In response, Mills has directed her energy office to review offshore wind regulations, and to ask for input from fishermen about the site of the proposed array.


For their third-year design project at L’ÉCOLE DE DESIGN NANTES ATLANTIQUE—an international design school in Nantes, France—HUGO MAUPETIT and VIVIAN FISCHER created a system that collects discarded gum from urban areas and refashions it
into recycled plastic SKATEBOARD WHEELS. Instead of littering, people were encouraged to stick their chewed gum onto one of several “gum boards” the French students placed around the city. The boards, which are made from polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) plastic, were then collected every week and brought to a factory to be crushed, mixed, and manufactured into small balls that were then injection-molded into colorful skate wheels. Once the wheels are worn out from use, the chewing gum wheel can once again be ground up and melted to create a new wheel, forming a closed-loop system. Maupetit and Fischer imagine the system as a collaboration between brands like skatewear label Vans and Mentos, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of chewing gum.


As the “beyond organic” movement becomes more prevalent in the agriculture industry, farmers will start to ask themselves what they can do to make their farms exceed the standards required for organic certification. California-based company MONARCH TRACTOR has developed a fully electric, driver optional smart tractor to cut down emissions and increase productivity and profitability. Built for 20 years of continuous operation, with zero tailpipe emissions and an ability to operate in the fields 24/7 with autonomous hardware built into the roof, Monarch Tractor is “ushering in the digital transformation of farming,” according to Praveen Penmetsa, the company’s cofounder. To prevent accidents, the tractor features 360-degree cameras for roll and collision prevention and vision-based power-take-off safety. The Monarch also has “gesture” and “shadow” modes, enabling it to follow a worker on the job. Machine learning techniques allow it to collect and analyze over 240 gigabytes of crop data, which can be used to predict yield and quality of crops as well as livestock production.


In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, skateboard apparel company VANS has created a program called “Foot the Bill,” which creates limited-edition shoes for small businesses, the net proceeds of which go directly to those businesses. New partners are added weekly, such as BAO BAO DUMPLING HOUSE in Portland, the second restaurant from award-winning executive chef Cara Stadler and her mother, Cecile. Bao bao
in Chinese translates to “wrapped treasure,” which is a good description of the eatery’s tasty doughboys. The shoes are covered in a pattern of red and white squares stamped with the Chinese characters for bao bao and were designed by Westbrook-based WING CLUB PRESS together with Stadler.


THE MAINE COLLEGE OF ART (MECA) has plans to convert the 108-year-old building at 45 FOREST AVENUE in downtown Portland into a new student residence hall. MECA president Laura Freid told the Portland Press Herald that students can no longer compete for apartments in Portland’s hot housing market. The historic renovation project would include a cafeteria, classrooms, and a lounge space on the first floor; it is estimated to cost $15 million. Ready for occupancy by the fall of 2023, it would allow the college to release 71 student apartments downtown back into the rental market.

Design Theory | Addy Smith-Reiman

“It turns out one of the greatest threats to these migratory birds is glass— from small-scale residential to large-scale commercial.”


Q. How did you initially get involved in bird-safe architecture?

A. In 2017 PSA (Portland Society for Architecture) began a signature program called the Complete City. Our first project, Mapping Your City, distributed blank maps of Portland to residents, employees, and tourists and asked them to draw, write, and list what they loved, what they didn’t, and what they wanted to see change and/or stay the same. This amounted to a collection of over 500 maps that are being archived in the Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education at USM.

From that initial data collection, we launched a design competition, “The Complete City: Imagined,” gleaning from the maps and data how best to visualize change and growth in the city.

One of the winning entries, Forest City Bird Song, was a bird-friendly corridor proposed along the heavily trafficked arterial Forest Avenue leading from the peninsula out to the Riverton neighborhood and beyond. The entry took a regional approach to a connective layer in our built environment that we often take for granted. To see it, literally, from a bird’s-eye view was truly compelling.

We were mounting an exhibition of the competition at the UNE Art Galleries and reached out to Maine Audubon to help develop complementary programming and learned of their early initiative to discuss bird-safe architecture. Interestingly enough, UNE has the first bird-safe building in Maine (shown above) at their Biddeford campus.

Q. What came next? Did you consult with others or partner exclusively with Maine Audubon?

A. Around the same time, Nick Liadis, an architect from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was scheduled to give a talk at MECA as part of their DesignInquiry: Futurespective exhibition, and PSA was asked to help promote it. Nick had been working with an early leader in bird-safe building guidelines, Christine Shephard at the American Bird Conservancy, and he presented a cacophony of data.

He also introduced us to the NYC Audubon’s Bird-Safe Building Guidelines, the first document we had seen from the perspective of a designer, developed by Kate Orff, a MacArthur Fellow and principal with Scape in New York City and written by Marsha Fowle, then-president of NYC Audubon and the wife of architect Bruce Fowle of FX-Fowle Architects.

Q. What insight can help a landscape architect or designer to understand how to design bird-safe residential and commercial properties?

A. Designers problem solve. In Maine, where the environment is the dominant feature of an exquisite project, the successful choreography between topography, views, and wildlife will be award-winning. Add in new technologies for high performance that dimmish carbon footprints and respond to climate resiliency, and the practice becomes visionary.

But as design teams imagine their elegant response to the ecology of place, are all the problems being presented? I think there are still a lot of unknowns. What we’re beginning to recognize, as the winning entry pointed out, is that there is an additional layer of impact to any project, above ground.

Maine is located under the Atlantic Flyway, a migratory route of about 3 billion birds of 200 species (warblers, sparrows, vireos, tanagers, hummingbirds, swallows and swifts, and more) in the spring, and increased numbers due to their hatched offspring in the fall, on their return flight to the south.

It turns out one of the greatest threats to these migratory birds is glass, from small-scale residential to large-scale commercial. Birds see differently than humans, and their attempted navigation through the reflection of glass creates fatal collisions. Just knowing this can alter any design problem and, hopefully, garner an exquisite solution.

Q. What is the most critical part of this puzzle—designing a safe built environment?

A. There are many hazy pieces to this puzzle: fear of cost, new technologies, accessibility, and impact on aesthetics. This is a new admission, and there will be some reluctance and even denial. But it’s critical to ask: are there unintended consequences to what is being proposed, and are there measures to mitigate?

Q. What can we do as a design community in Maine?

A. Some clients are already demanding bird-safe measures, and firms are responding. Suppliers have developed products with invisible UV filters, embedded ceramic discs (fritts), and acid-etched patterns, and window manufacturers are testing these new technologies. Some designers are embracing creative screening, pushing the constructs of brise-soleils (architectural features that reduce heat gain within the building by deflecting sunlight).

All we can do is ask more, and learn more. I think celebrating both successes and failure, the latter a frightening concept in this field, is crucial to gaining more interest and traction.

Q. What is currently being done to help? What can we do?

A. PSA, in partnership with Maine Audubon, is in the early stages of planning to create a demo site at Gilsland Farm Audubon Center in Falmouth. This will make it possible for homeowners and commercial developers to see a variety of applications in situ that could work for their specific projects. I think any support of this program, and further inquiry about individual projects, is key.

Sage Advice

Sage is a tricky color to define: It is decidedly green but with a strong gray cast. Sages can range from deeper, mid-range tones to the palest, almost-white hues. One thing that is common to all sages is that they are muted and cool in tone—not too green, not too blue, and prettier than your run-of-the-mill gray. Depending on the saturation level, sage can recede or come forward, but it is never a showy, loud choice. It’s generally mellow, but if you shift the color just a bit, sage green feels incredibly fresh and of-the-moment.

Sage green is an ideal color for our current moment. Calming and cool, this nature-inspired hue is part of the new crop of neutrals that are dominating interiors. When furniture retailer CB2 surveyed designers about trends for 2021, 62 percent of designers surveyed predicted uplifting, mineral-inspired hues, like sage green, to be the colors of choice this year.

One of the reasons we’re seeing sage green trending in the home right now is that it’s been percolating in the world of fashion. Leatrice Eiseman, a color consultant and executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, explains that it’s common for colors to be a slow burn when it comes to the home. When a color begins to trend, consumers won’t run right out to buy, say, a sage green sofa, but they’ll maybe buy pillows with the color in the pattern. Gradually, our eyes become used to it, and then we’re ready to use the color in a bigger way. Nivara Xaykao, a color specialist for Benjamin Moore, also points out that grays have been trending for a decade, and says, “We are seeing grays evolve into more nuanced variations, especially towards the green end.” Here’s how to get started.

Create a nature palette.

Interior designer Jennifer Morrison, of Morrison Design House in Windham, has an unusual and intriguing suggestion for how to create a palette with sage green: Step outside and gather pieces of nature from your property. This is how she begins her color palettes for all of her projects, and she says that a chip of bark, a piece of lichen, leaves from garden plants, or the needles of a pine tree can all help you find the perfect sage green for your home—and colors to pair it with.

Use sage to create tranquility.

Morrison says she chooses silvery greens when she wants to create “a sense of calm,” making it a great color for bathrooms and bedrooms. For the greatest calming impact, use it on the wall, which Morrison says creates an “enveloping” feeling.

Employ it in your workspace to boost creativity.

An old wives’ tale says that if you plant sage in your garden and it thrives, you will do well in business. Modern research suggests that if you surround yourself with the color, your business might thrive. A 2012 study in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin showed that subjects’ performance improved when they glimpsed green before a creative task, and another study showed that business students who completed a task on green paper demonstrated increased visual creativity. Choose a greener-leaning sage to boost this possible effect.

If blue is your go-to, consider sage green.

“For a lot of people, there is an instant comfort working with blues,” says New York–based interior designer Emily Butler. However, Butler says that can often lead to what she calls “bluetral.” To vary the palette, she tries to steer people toward colors that play well with blue, such as sage green.

Swap in subtle sages for white.

Decorators will often suggest that a pale color can be treated like a neutral, but this is especially true for pale, sage greens. The lightest shades of sage can be a nice alternative to white, especially in a space that looks out onto a view of trees, foliage plants, or grass.

Warm it up.

Sage is by its nature a cool tone. Morrison suggests pairing it with warmer shades of white and ivory. “It’s too jarring when you do a cool true white, it stops the earthy nature of the sage,” she says. For a bolder way to add warmth and brightness, try pairing gray-greens with a muted yellow, but avoid anything too bright, she cautions.

Borrow Mother Nature’s palette.

Sage pairs well with a range of purples because the two colors are natural companions. When sage plants flower their blossoms are a lavender hue (many other culinary herbs also have purple blooms). There is even a variety of “tricolor” sage that has pale green, cream, and purple leaves that can be quite vibrant with a red undertone.

Work with woods.

Pair sage greens with wood tones for an all-natural effect. Greens work with almost any wood tone because they are found together in nature, but pay attention to how many woods you are using in a room. You don’t want a hodge-podge of different woods. If you’re mixing woods, try to use each type at least twice for a pulled-together look.

Try it monochromatically.

“Sage green can easily be used monochromatically,” says Butler, who suggests you might play up various textures and tones, rather than adding in additional colors. So you might start with a pale, gray-green wall color, opt for a deep sage upholstery, and choose a drapery fabric that includes herbal greens.

Play with textiles.

If you’re not ready to commit to a sage green wall color or even a major piece of furniture, start with textiles, say the experts. Morrison likes to use sage in both bedding and drapery, and Butler suggests the color for linen or velvet upholstery, which “are a beautiful way to add rich texture to a space,” she says. “A lush cotton velvet could elevate a space with a little bit of plush elegance, while a casual linen could suggest a relaxed luxury.

An Herbal Hue

The color sage has strong culinary and medicinal associations because of its namesake herb. The generic name for the herb sage is Salvia, which comes from the Latin word meaning “to heal” or “savior.” Sage has long been considered a medicinal herb in many cultures. It is described in ancient Roman texts and has been cultivated by monasteries for centuries.

In North American, some Indigenous tribes have long burned sage in ceremony. However, the sage used in traditional ceremonies and in the smudge sticks commonly sold today is the wild white sage, Salvia apiana, also known as “bee sage” or “sacred sage,” and it is native to the southwest and Mexico. The relatively newfound popularity of sage-burning in the new-age, neopagan, and herbal wellness worlds has led to overharvesting of the wild herb, however, so you may want to consider burning culinary sage instead.

Of course, the word “sage” also means a person who has attained wisdom. Its dual meaning may be more than just a homonym: a recent study showed that sage (and other plants belonging to the genus Salvia) may enhance memory, learning, and attention.

According to Google, searches for “sage green” have tripled in the U.S. since last year.

Palette Picks


Sherwin Williams Mountain Road
A deep hue with undertones of brown and gray.



Farrow & Ball Breakfast Room Green
A cheerful sage that leans very green.



Benjamin Moore North Shore Green
A light, timeless shade of green-gray.




Benjamin Moore Caldwell Green
Part of the Historic Color collection, this is a darker hue.




Benjamin Moore OMGreen
A mix of sage and seafoam that feels so fresh.

Natural Wisdom

Ted Carter has been planting, growing, and pruning since he was a child. Growing up in suburban Chicago, he found himself drawn to every wild, overgrown space. “I was kind of a loner,” the landscape designer says. “Though I am very social, I didn’t do a lot of play. I was more purpose-driven.” He felt that the “invisible world,” and the natural elements were “like friends.” Instead of games or sports, Carter cleared orchards and stacked bricks. It was an unusual childhood in some ways, but it worked for Carter, and his parents supported his passion. When he was a teenager, his family moved to Maine. His father built him his first greenhouse, and Carter started his very first business. Word spread, and his work spoke for itself. Soon, he was landscaping every McDonald’s in the state and hiring his classmates to plant hostas and trim boxwoods. At the age of 19, he had grossed over $100,000. “And those were in 1974 dollars,” Carter adds.

That was almost half a century ago. Although Carter has owned several different landscaping companies—he sold his first one and moved to Dallas for a time—he’s never stopped getting his hands dirty. Gardening gives him a sense of meaning and joy. As he’s grown older, his style has changed a good deal. He’s learned and evolved, as has the gardening world in general. “Back in the 1970s, landscaping was what you might call pedestrian,” he explains. “It was generic. You had geraniums and rhodondendrons, hostas and lilies.” He remembers Maine gardens being dominated by boxwood hedges. That’s what was available in the shops, so that’s what he worked with. “My palette was much more limited. I didn’t work with bonsais or tropicals or exotics like I do now. People’s tastes have become more sophisticated. They’ve become more diverse in many respects.”

Throughout his life, Carter has cultivated a certain sensitivity to the “invisible world.” There is a strong spiritual element to his work, because the land itself is a spiritual force. He’s always known this on some level, but he began delving deeper into energy work in his 40s. Carter had come to gradually realize that his landscapes were affecting his clients in ways he didn’t expect. “People would say to me, ‘We’re only going to be here a year,’ and then I’d see them in the grocery store years later,” he remembers. “They’d tell me that the landscape changed their appreciation for the house. It made them want to stay.” He began to realize that a good landscape, in a “subliminal and calculated way,” tells people how to move through the world. It tells you where to park your car and where to find the doorbell. It can also tell you to relax, to stop and smell the roses, to focus your mind on the present moment.

To better understand the energies that surround us, Carter turned to shamans. He studied under Lench Archulata, of Arizona, and a mentor, Caroline Myss of Caroline Myss Educational Institute (CMED) in Chicago. “I’m a dowser,” he says. “I carry a dowsing rod in my pocket as I walk, and I gather information from the land.” On every project, he works to get a sense of what the ground is telling him, and what his clients are telling him—both in words and in gestures. He seeks to understand their style and sensibility, what brings them comfort and joy. He takes this information and combines it with his knowledge of nature and the elements to create outdoor spaces that will last. “One of the things I hear a lot is, ‘It looks like it’s been here forever,’” he says. “That’s a sign that we did our job properly. We were mindful, and we were respectful of how things should work.”

He’s also responsible for solving practical, physical problems, like directing drainage or terracing a sloped lawn to make it more accessible. Recently, Carter worked on a house on Sebago Lake that had a huge problem with waterflow, a problem that he answered by creating a series of graduated stone steps and landings. The homeowners’ style was “eclectic and informal,” which freed Carter to play with textures and color. He brought in barren strawberry, hibiscus, and climbing hydrangea. For a more formal client in Kennebunkport, he used a rather different approach, bringing in bluestone, ornamental grasses, and weeping spruce. Each project feels distinct, natural yet sophisticated—miles away from the ’70s gardens full of geraniums and hostas.

Invariably, in the process of building or adding on to a house, the land gets disturbed. “Land, after a construction crew goes in, has been violated and destroyed. It needs to be healed,” Carter says. “If you wanted to boil it down to the spiritual element, that’s it. I work with the sacred feminine to heal the land after construction.” For him, this means paying close attention to his intuition and following his instincts. One thing he’s noticed in the past few years is how important it is to create a sense of congruity with his crew. “We used to have a masonry crew come in, the plant people, the flower people. The eco-field is all confused. It’s like, who are these people?” he says. This can introduce a disconnect into the design.

While some of this sounds quite mystical, there’s a certain common sense in Carter’s practices. It helps if everyone working on a project knows where it’s going. It’s good to observe your clients—not just listening to their words, but looking at their personal presentation and picking up on their nonverbal cues. Land does tell us what it needs. Just think of your half-wilted tomatoes and you’ll know what that means. The world around us is speaking, and as Carter points out, “We’re just visitors here. We have a perception that we own the land, but we don’t. It was here before us. People have come and gone before.” The land, wild or manicured, persists.

Here’s the Men’s Section

More than two hundred years ago, something happened to men’s shopping in the United States. The sophisticated men of the 1600s and 1700s had worn bright colors, jewelry, frills, elaborate wigs, and high-heeled shoes; they had refined taste in wine, furniture, textiles, and other consumer goods. But then came the Great Masculine Renunciation. This term (coined in the 1930s by psychologist John Carl Flügel) describes the moment around 1800 when fancy clothing and goods began to be seen as feminine. That’s when men started to stick to simple suits in dark colors and leave the “shopping” (a word that came into use around the same time) to women.

Rather more recently, Kennebunkport native Laura McCullough was considering the future of Dannah, the gift shop she’d recently bought from its longtime owner, Dana Sue Schoettner. Having worked at the shop for more than a decade, McCullough was used to being asked, “Where’s the men’s section?” The staff had treated it as a joke. “We’d give them a drink, send them out to the sidewalk,” she recalls. But in the summer of 2019, she decided to look at it differently. “I thought, maybe they are seriously wondering where the men’s section is. Maybe we should try out a little men’s section.” She cleared a space in a back corner and filled it with men’s socks, body care, and other small masculine items. “People went crazy,” she says. “We sold everything really quick. And I realized, we have no men’s store in town. Nothing just for men to enjoy—every store in Kennebunkport is geared toward kids and women.” In January 2020 she rented a retail space next door to Dannah and began buying stock for Dannah for Men. COVID-19 delayed the store’s opening until the end of July, but even with last summer’s restrictions on visitors to the state, it was immediately clear that the store was answering an unmet demand. “I think people felt that men didn’t like to shop, that shopping was a women’s thing,” says McCullough. “But more and more now, men are thinking about their appearance, wanting to take care of themselves, look good, feel good, smell good. They care about making their house or apartment look good.”

Five minutes into my first visit to Dannah for Men, I’ve made a mental list of a half-dozen items to remember for Father’s Day and birthdays (I won’t disclose them, as my family members are likely to pick up this magazine). “We have a lot of different things in the men’s shop that you don’t find elsewhere,” says McCullough. “Apparel, stuff for your bar, a fun book selection, stuff from all over the country. We have a great line of hats and scarves and gloves from Madrid, and a great line of belts and accessories from France.” There are also one-of-a-kind pieces from local artisans, including wooden bow ties and humidors made by Scott Dahn, wooden tables and boards made by John Dickinson of Winter Hill Farm, and charcoal drawings of sailboats by Derek Drinon. Vacationers will find games and puzzles in addition to more functional “toys” for the grill and bar.

And for those looking for the women’s section? The original Dannah is just down the block.

Father’s Day Gifts for the Design-Minded Dad

Clever engineering and sophisticated style make these six products extra-special gifts

1. Muzen speakers: Retro styling doesn’t mean retro tech in these speakers, which can stream music from your phone as well as pick up FM stations. The company makes speakers in larger sizes like the one pictured, but customers especially love palm-sized versions in shiny metal or lightweight wood. “We have a good sound system,” says McCullough, “but we just end up using this tiny one all the time because the sound is so good.”

2. Wallets by Secrid: These low-profile, unassuming wallets have a “quick access” mechanism that pops your most used cards out of the top, with room inside for a bit of cash and your ID. They are also extra-secure, with aluminum panels that protect cards from unwanted scans.

3. Rustico shop aprons: Made of waxed canvas with leather trim, these aprons are great for workshops, grills, or in the garden. The sturdy leather pockets and loops can carry hammers and trowels as well as mixing spoons and spatulas, and the waxed canvas looks great in muted natural tones.

4. Belts by Billybelt: This French company makes a range of casually fashionable accessories, but the belts, in a rainbow of seasonal colors, are especially eye-catching. Their woven design does away with the need for holes, so they can be adjusted to the perfect size every time—and they have a little bit of forgiving stretch, too.

5. W&P’s Sphere Ice Tray: If the dad in your life has taken up mixology, he’ll know that the shape of the ice cube matters. (If he hasn’t taken up mixology, perhaps you’d like to encourage him?) This tray turns out four spheres that will keep drinks cool longer without watering them down. They’ve been rigorously tested by the Dannah staff, who report that one ice sphere will last for two drinks.

6. Shinola watches: Watches are classic gifts for a reason. These are handmade in Detroit by Swiss-trained artisans and come in styles from sporty to sleek.

Remember the Ladies: Women Painters in Ogunquit, 1900-1950

Just before the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia, in a letter dated March 31, 1776, Abigail Adams wrote to her husband, “I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors.” As one can deduce—since the movement toward women’s rights reform did not begin until many years later—John Adams dismissed his wife’s request. Abigail’s statement is one Ruth Greene-McNally, curator and collections manager at the Ogunquit Museum of American Art, returned to again and again when contemplating the question of why, with Ogunquit’s rich artistic heritage, the many turn-of-the-century female artists who stud-ed at Hamilton Easter Field’s “Summer School of Graphic Arts” and Charles Herbert Woodbury’s “Summer School of Drawing and Painting” had not been given a central place in the museum’s exhibitions and programs. Why, in other words, had the ladies not been remembered?

At least half of Ogunquit’s summer session students were women, many young, and many had studied art in Boston under Edmund C. Tarbell, Frank Weston Benson, and George Hallowell, among others. Many of these women, like Gertrude Fiske, Nellie Knopf, and Susan Ricker Knox, would go on to become influential painters, teachers, and civic leaders. They were suffragists, activists, and abolitionists. Greene-McNally took a deep dive to find out why this place and time produced these pioneering “ladies of the brush.”

“It was right there waiting for me when I started to do research about the succession of widespread social and political reform during the Progressive Era,” Greene-McNally explains. “In 1870, the Massachusetts Drawing Act made provisions for free drawing classes for men, women, and children through a variety of programs. And in that same year the Massachusetts legislature passed an act authorizing the teaching of drawing in all public schools. So that really was the beginning: education and legislation.”

Via Instagram, Greene-McNally then connected with Darin Leese, a Michigan collector who had a rather vast array of art, including paintings, etchings, and sculpture by Gertrude Fiske, Anne Carlton, and Mabel May Woodward. Greene-McNally invited Leese to collaborate on the exhibition, which runs in the Long Gallery through July 16. The show is not comprehensive in that it does not include every female painter in Ogunquit between 1900 and 1950; rather, it’s an exhibition that examines some of the major players’ personal and artistic histories, alongside their art.

Mabel May Woodward, for example, who studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and later at the Art Students League in New York under William Merritt Chase, had a sparkling approach to the social scene in Ogunquit, particularly during the Great Depression. She shows many beach scenes in which people are involved in conversations. “You can feel the gossip,” says Greene-McNally, “the mothers and fathers tending to their children. There’s a strong sense of what it might have been like to face uncertainty at that time, and to find in this small beach community a sense of how important art was to maintain focus on outcomes. It was a very bad time socially for everyone, including people who had lost jobs and income.” Woodward became a long-time faculty member at RISD, where she pioneered the “Action Class,” a study of the human figure as a machine rather than a stationary object.

Katharine Seymour Day, in particular, demonstrated true allegiance to her community. She was the grandniece of Harriet Beecher Stowe and the granddaughter of Isabella Beecher Hooker, who was a key figure in the American women’s suffrage movement. In addition to being a very fine painter, Day was also a prime mover in the campaign to save many of Connecticut’s—particularly Hartford’s—historic buildings, which included the Harriet Beecher Stowe House museum and the Mark Twain House and Museum. She became a member of the Connecticut Hall of Fame in 1994 for her many civic responsibilities.

Gertrude Fiske, one of Greene-McNally’s favorites, who was known as one of the “Pine Hill Girls” for the period in which she, Elizabeth Sawtelle, and Charlotte Butler roomed together in cottages on Pine Hill Road, became the first woman appointed to the Massachusetts Art Commission, which has been in effect for over a century now and is now staffed exclusively by women.

As visitors move through the gallery, they will notice that these women were paying attention to the landscape as well as to society. They were also experimenting in a variety of media and developing many kinds of techniques, responding to their legal standing, and venturing toward greater freedoms and expression in their art. “We tend to think that today women have more opportunities than ever before, and that’s true,” says Greene-McNally. “But we also have passed through eras where women have made their mark and struggled to do well. It’s just that we need to remember the ladies.”

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