Bright-Minded Home February 2017
Q+A with a Cumberland homeowner on refurbishing a historic carriage house
When the homeowners first stepped onto the porch of this John Calvin Stevens carriage house in Cumberland, they knew they’d arrived home. However, the historic structure built in 1900 needed updating. With the help of architectural designer Travis Kinney, Wright-Ryan Construction, and Maine Street Design Co., the couple restored the building—and made it more energy efficient in the process.
Q. What inspired you to save this home?
A. Some said it should have been torn down or “plowed into the ocean.” We were drawn to its proximity to the water and cheerful yellow color, but the fact that it was a John Calvin Stevens carriage house built in 1900 was reason enough. We saw the history and the potential and knew that we wanted it to be more energy efficient and returned to its original charm.
Q. How did the updates make it more energy efficient?
A. We updated all of the old 1950s plate glass windows with new Marvin double-hung windows and switched to LED lights. We added a Tyvek barrier beneath the clapboards to protect the house in storms (and boy, does this house take a beating in an easterly windstorm) and spray-foam insulation in the crawl spaces, knee walls, and the attic. The old plumbing and heating system was upgraded with a new high-efficiency boiler and radiant-heat floors. We also added a gas fireplace insert in the living room, which warms the entire first floor and creates a wonderful ambience.
Q. In what ways does the interior design support your goals?
A. Brett Johnson at Maine Street Design Co. selected a color palette to complement the colors in nature, especially in the kitchen, where we have an expansive view that reflects the bright greens and subtle blues of the interior. The curtains were made here in Maine, in Brett’s workshop, and have a flannel lining to keep things warm in winter, and the carpets bring added warmth with wool and natural fibers. Overall, the colors and furnishings are quite timeless. We hope that one day our kids will return with their partners and children to enjoy this home for many years to come.