A round up of the most inspiring interiors in Maine
DYNAMIC RESTRAINED DESIGN
R.P. Morrison Builders/Morrison Design House
At a house in Falmouth, first impressions are of the utmost importance. The living room is the first space someone sees when they walk through the front door, and Jennifer Morrison wanted the arrival to be dramatic; she wanted guests to see right away that the interior is visually complex. Morrison played with contrast throughout the space, but she wanted one or two colors to dominate while subtler neutrals complement the palette. She was inspired to avoid the typical choices and to allow black and white, colors that are often overlooked in Maine interiors, to take center stage. “It was incredible to have such an open-minded and trusting client who allowed me to showcase what I love the most: dynamic restrained design,” says Morrison.
There are a few pops of green, but they were brought in organically through succulents, branches, and various plants. The coffee table is a beautiful blackened white oak. The handmade bench is designed by Katy Shelton for Charleston Forge. The bookshelves, which anchor the room and add volume, are from RH Modern. The rugs are from Bradford’s Rug Gallery—a fantastic local source.
The overall space exudes sophistication and subtlety. While there are a lot of sharp lines and clean contours, nothing is too modern. The homeowner purposely kept the space slightly traditional, and the juxtaposition of old and new creates a dynamic feel. The living room is oddly proportioned, and walking paths had to be taken into consideration because so much foot traffic moves through this space. The painted ceilings in the living room are almost 16 feet high, and “Alabaster White” by Sherwin Williams was selected because it is warmer than a traditional white. Last, the fabrics had to be family friendly, so although everything is white, each fabric is performance grade.
Heidi Lachapelle & Katie Judkins
Heidi Lachapelle Interiors
The initial inspiration for this room came from the home’s incredible ocean views. “In the main living space, you can’t even see land below when you look out the window, so it feels like you’re practically floating on water,” says Heidi Lachapelle. Lachapelle and Judkins really wanted to open up the space and bring the outside in as much as possible. To accomplish this, blues and neutral tones that echo the ocean were incorporated through the entire space. The goal was to create a room that would have a coastal feel without turning nautical—Lachapelle and Justkins achieved this through their approach to color and fabrics.
The ceilings in the home are very low, so the design team replaced the small double-hung windows in the main living space with seven-inch picture windows to give the illusion of height and switch the focus of the room toward the view. In the kitchen, open shelving was installed so that everything at eye level would feel lighter and airier.
The most important color selection was made in the kitchen so as not to take away from the neutral and textural feel of the rest of the living space. “Oval Room Blue” by Farrow and Ball was chosen for the cabinetry. The rich blue has so much depth it set the stage for the overall design. Matte black was incorporated through lighting, hardware, and fixtures for contrast and clean lines.
The space is furnished with pieces that include a natural linen sectional, vintage leather directors’ chairs, and modern wire stools. The wool area rug is from Mougalian Rugs, and the vintage indigo pillows were sewn by Home Remedies. The artwork above the sofa is by Louis-Pierre Lachapelle.
The overall ambience of the space is cool, modern, and comfortable. It offers an exciting mix of vintage and new, which is where Lachapelle’s and Judkin’s design passions lie—in the opportunity to blur the lines between modern and traditional.
A CASINO BEACH COTTAGE THAT HONORS THE PAST
Leah Lippman, AIA
The inspiration for this redesign was a historic cottage revival. Maintaining the classic yet quirky 1930s architectural forms, Leah Lippmann transitioned the neglected, renter-worn interior into a functional family weekend home. The goal was to strip it back to what it once was and to update it with a simple yet refined style that enhances historic style points.
Like many old cottages, this one went through a series of changes over time, including additions that created awkward areas. Lippmann created a more functional space with improved flow by changing a few wall placements and constructing new openings. The family wanted kitchen access to the outdoors—a raised terrace off the kitchen accommodates their vision and extends their entertaining space. Knickerbocker Group had to remove an existing garage to make room for the terrace because the lot size was already at capacity. “By accepting what we had to work with, we were able to breathe much-needed new life into the home, giving it a fresh purpose: to welcome a new generation,” says Lippmann.
The color palette is reminiscent of the sea and sky, integrating a calm sensibility. The tiles in the style of a bygone era honor the home’s historic nature but with a modern feel. The entry tile is encaustic concrete with a traditional pattern that fits the period of the cottage. The bathroom vanities encompass a modern vibe through their flat panel, and their driftwood finish lends a beachy feel. The pendants over the kitchen island that were purchased by the homeowner on a trip to San Francisco add a touch of whimsy. The built-in banquette seating is upholstered in a modern, high-performance fabric, offering a splash of color to enhance the space’s palette—the color of the cabinets is complementary. To make space for the bunk room, Knickerbocker Group opened up a small closet under the eaves, and some additional space they acquired from another bedroom allowed them to tuck a second bunk into the room.
This Cape Elizabeth project was inspired by its view from Trundy Point. “Whether it was calm or rough, the boundlessness of the ocean provided most of my inspiration,” says designer Vanessa Helmick. Her aim was to bring the ocean view into as many spaces as possible while staying away from conventional nautical themes; instead, Helmick chose elements that reflect the location.
A mix of contemporary lines and natural textures creates a soothing ethos. Uncommon blues are layered with neutrals such as white, brown, and gray throughout, which are intentionally mixed to avoid time-stamping the house with a trendy gray color scheme. The color palette visually flows together: the blue of the living room chairs complements the kitchen island, which complements the bedroom wallpaper. Between the rooms, these elements weave an elegant thread and lend harmony to the space.
Prior to the renovation, the home had two additions that felt disjointed. Walls were taken down and windows were added to brighten dark spaces. To draw the eye away from awkward angles and varied ceiling heights, Helmick created strong focal points in each room. Engineered wide-plank white oak flooring from Distinctive Tile and Design echoes the white oak used on the ceiling, walls, and trim. The transparent chandelier in the dining room preserves the ocean view from the kitchen.
Indisco Kitchens and Baths designed the vanities in the bathroom to provide ample storage for the clients and the sleek Brizo faucets were sourced from Ferguson. The paintings are by Charlie Bluett, who is represented in Maine by Elizabeth Moss Galleries.
OLD, NEW & BLUE
Walsh Hill Design
Designer Lisa Walsh wanted to create a sensual, spa-like retreat for her clients. She incorporated elements inspired by Maine’s natural environment, such as the sea, sky, and woods, along with traditional details that reflect the family’s heritage. Because the wife has a background in the furniture industry, the nuances of neoclassical and Hepple-white-style furniture are familiar to the clients. Walsh incorporated fine-furniture details throughout the space and designed the vanities based on antique family pieces found throughout the home. One client’s favorite color, sea glass blue, was incorporated in custom cabinetry. The client wanted formal lighting and furniture details throughout, so Walsh brought in shiplap, grass-cloth, and glass tiles to add texture and to keep the space from feeling too precious. The locally photographed rock art is another nod to nature that brings balance to the space.
Walsh strives to design spaces that reflect her clients and honor their individuality. The homeowners wanted a refined space—one that would reflect the home’s natural Maine setting but also include traditional fixtures and furnishings, such as a Victorian tub, blue-painted vanities, and ornate sconces. The challenge was to balance the seemingly disparate elements to create this unique and highly personalized space that feels collected and genuine.
Samantha S. Pappas
Samantha S. Pappas gravitates toward designing with clean lines that have a modern feel and traditional touches. Before she started decorating Fifi’s nursery, Pappas knew she wanted to create a whimsical space that would be girly without being cliché. She found her inspiration by accident when she was walking past a coral, pink, and orange tassel display in Anthropologie’s window; she knew the color scheme and simple, linear design would give the room the right touch. She chose coral, soft pinks, lavender, gray, white, and gold to give the room an elegant and feminine feel. Pappas incorporated a vibrant coral ceiling with soft gray walls to complement the texture from the Anthropologie tassels that now hang in the nursery.
The white and wood Oeuf crib gives the space a modern flair and complements a more traditional side-board-turned-changing-table. For storage, Pappas added a glass IKEA cabinet for valuable things such as books, blankets, and sentimental items. The vibe of the room shines through the light fixture, which casts playful shadows on the soothing light-colored walls and neutral wood tones. It is a timeless space that will carry Fifi from sleepy newborn to energetic toddler.
Deciding where to place the furniture was a huge challenge. The room is large, but there was not a lot of useful wall space: three of the four walls have large windows, and two have built-in bench seating. Pappas wanted the nursery to be functional not only for diaper changes, feeding, and lulling to sleep but also as a place to play. She decided to make the crib the focal point: she placed it in the center of the room and worked the remaining furniture around it to optimize each piece’s functionality.
A DESIGN STORE WITH AN ECLECTIC MIX
Ariana Fischer Interior Design
At her store, 22 Milk Street, Ariana Fischer pays homage to the city of Portland and the state of Maine. She offers raw wood, abstract nautical elements, locally sourced antiques, and one-of-a-kind items and features the works of local artists and craftsmen. Fischer sees travel as an important aspect of life, so she sources unique international wares such as handmade Rwandan baskets, Tibetan sculptures, and Turkish rugs. “It was important to me to set 22 Milk Street apart, to bring in antiques and internationally designed items and to have a revolving inventory so the shopping experience is always evolving,” says Fischer. She wants to create a shop that reflects her design style but is still welcoming and comfortable for guests who want to explore their own ideas for their homes. Whether 22 Milk Street is a one-stop shop for a client’s space—furniture, rugs, and decor—or where someone comes to find a unique, one-of-a-kind accessory, it has to be a satisfying experience for all.
The shop is accented with grass-cloth wallpaper that’s reminiscent of craggy coastline. The furniture and lighting are a nod to traditional design, with tailored simplicity that creates a contemporary feel. The interior juxtaposes traditional, elegant paneled ceilings with reclaimed barn-board shelving that give the space warmth and is a nod to Portland’s remote country roots. Fischer seeks to combine antique and contemporary, local and international. She believes in designing a space that highlights her clients’ favorite pieces, ever focused on creating truly unique, inspiring, and comfortable spaces.
Sarah Welch and Louise Hurlbutt
This project was inspired by the clients’ love for coastal Maine and sunny Florida combined. There are many shades of blue layered throughout the home—a reflection of the sea highlighted by soft, neutral hues.
Hurlbutt worked closely with the builder, Thomas and Lord, to brainstorm and to bring many details to life in the structure of the home. Finishing touches such as built-in cabinetry, reading nooks, storage benches, and an office were all achieved through collaboration with the builder.
Vibrant tones of blue and aqua flow through the main living space to create a playful and inviting environment. The open-concept layout of the living room and kitchen make for a perfect place to host evening cocktails and conversation. The color palette in the owners’ bedroom mirrors the blue and neutral tones found throughout the home and on the ocean’s coast, but with a softer feel than that of the main living area; the space exudes a feeling of relaxation and peace. The sunroom continues the flow of beautiful coastal tones but incorporates a more organic feel, with a few pieces of distressed furniture that are constantly kissed by the sunlight that streams through the windows. Rough-sawn walls create a sense of softness and complement the breathtaking view outside. Draperies and natural shades complete the overall look while serving a purpose.
Overall, the home has a cordial nature. “When you walk into the space, it’s as though it’s welcoming you to sit right down and unwind,” says codesigner Sarah Welch. That is what Hurlbutt aims for when designing a space. Of course it should be beautiful, but more important, it should feel like home.
Natural wood influenced the overall look of this home. The homeowners are very active and spend a lot of time outdoors, and they wanted a home that reflected that. For this project, Nicola Manganello utilized a neutral palette for all of the base pieces and added color through small pieces and details.
The space’s overall atmosphere is organic and natural. The clients have an affinity for wood grain and wanted to incorporate many wood species. Manganello accomplished this by layering varieties of wood. The color palette is timeless and reserved. Manganello and the homeowner chose a stair runner that she absolutely loved, so Manganello drew inspiration from the colors within the runner and worked those tones into the rest of the home. The owner is also big on organic fabrics and environmentally friendly materials, so Manganello did her best to integrate these throughout. “We were a good match from the beginning; there was good chemistry between me and the homeowners,” Manganello shares. The clients encouraged Manganello to use salvaged goods and mixed materials throughout, while layering timeless, neutral fabrics. This space, Manganello feels, “really represents my design to a T.”
“We felt that designing the home was not challenging—we started from scratch and loved the homeowners’ direction as far as the look they were trying to achieve,” says Manganello.
FUNCTIONAL FARMHOUSE KITCHEN
Balance Design Studio
Balance Design Studio’s project took place in a high- efficiency, new construction home designed by architect Hans Warner. For designer Catherine Weiland, it’s important that the details harmonize with the architect’s vision. Warner’s vision for the home was a fusion of old-world warmth and clean, modern lines with lots of symmetry and natural light, though it can be tricky to fuse old-world with modern, as the two styles are often at odds.
The color palette is light and neutral with an abundance of natural wood for warmth. The architecture and kitchen layout are strongly modern, while the materials were purposely selected to provide a traditional counterpoint. This is obvious in the Shaker-style cabinets and throughout the decor.
A 200-year-old European farmhouse often lacks ample storage space and consequently has a lot of ingredients and tools in the open, but modern design is much more restrained. The kitchen seamlessly blends these elements with a hard-working pantry that is steps away from the primary work surface, allowing the counters to be streamlined. Weiland focused on client behavior, like how each family member operates in the kitchen, from breakfast prep until dinner cleanup, to determine the best way to optimize storage. It was essential that the flow would align with clients’ life and cooking styles.
Weiland’s design philosophy starts with her clients. She wants the outcome to be better than they dreamed it could be. To accomplish this for this project, Weiland explored the kitchen visually and functionally, as if it were already in place. She used photorealistic renderings to help her, and so her clients could watch their dream become a reality. These renderings were especially important in this kitchen because of its highly personalized layout. “It was vital to ‘test drive’ the kitchen to be sure that it would exceed expectations, which, I’m happy to report, it did,” says Weiland.
ROOM WITH A COASTAL VIEW
Boehm Graham Interior Design
The Atlantic Ocean was the inspiration for this room. When the client fell in love with watching whitecaps crash against smooth gray sand on a beach in Wells, she knew she had found the perfect place to build her home and life. The color palette was born of the ocean’s natural influence: deep blue, crisp white, and muddied gray.
The biggest design challenge was to maximize seating without taking away from the view. Special attention was paid to a floor plan that would be welcoming but still showcase the sea. The lines of the sofa are casual and inviting, and the overall height is low enough to be unobtrusive in an effort to ensure each seat would have a clear view. Windows run the entire back side of the house for an unparalleled ocean vista. The luxurious and casually elegant space was designed to be comfortable, to be barefoot in, and to be fully enjoyed in its stunning location.
The client loves cheetah print, so a blue and white cheetah-patterned swivel chair was added next to the fireplace. A steer-hide rug works with the cozy, spacious sofa to anchor the space. The custom round cocktail table with acrylic legs allows for easy movement around the room and softens the hard edges and potentially cold materials found in the space. The round motif was carried through to the kitchen table, as its iron detailing extends to seat 8-10 people without overwhelming the space. A deep gray side-board repeats the gray tones in the kitchen. The texture of the space is decidedly beachy. The fabric for the custom dining chairs has a pattern that is reminiscent of sea urchins. The oversized coral artwork came from Anthony Catalfano Home.
Boehm Graham Interior Design’s philosophy, “the eye needs a place to rest,” is at the forefront of all of their projects. Through its color palette and furniture selections, this room represents that motto in a clean and timeless way.
Caleb Johnson Studio
This renovation was designed for a family with two small boys. It focused on the hub of the family’s home: the kitchen. Originally designed to reflect an old farmhouse kitchen, the space was lacking in both functionality and style. The busy family needed a space that would allow them to entertain but also handle day-to-day needs. The kitchen now has plenty of beverage storage, custom millwork with functional organization, beautiful natural and decorative light, and a place for everything.
One of the owners is originally from Yarmouth, and when she and her husband first purchased their Freeport farmhouse, the kitchen didn’t quite match their vision and failed to function as a coherent space. Nor did it provide the calm, light-filled atmosphere they wanted for cooking. A classic, timeless style was the building block, but pops of elegance and fun elevate the design from the expected.
The biggest design challenge was creating the truly massive walnut island top. The millwork shop, Woodhull of Maine, initially raised a skeptical eyebrow when they saw the dimensions. They were able to successfully pull it off, however, and the clients now have a beautiful centerpiece to anchor the room. The family was intent on keeping the style classic but indulged in a bright pop of color on the island’s base. It’s an unexpected yet sophisticated deep teal that keeps monot- ony at bay. The barstools provide texture and accentuate the hints of black brought in through the hardware and fixtures.
This project is an example of a renovation that works on many levels: transforming a misfire in terms of kitchen layout and functionality into a space with an intuitive flow that includes the home’s already classic vibe and keeps things bright and fresh throughout.
REVAMPING A NINETEENTH-CENTURY BATHROOM
Jessie Tobias Design
Designer Jessie Tobias sought to create a functional, durable space that will age gracefully for a family of four in the years to come, while also reflecting the clients’ classic and visionary style.
Tobias also wanted to maintain and honor the home’s original 1880s architectural details in a modern but timeless way; to do this, she used enduring materials in keeping with the architecture of the project.
“It is hard to describe the breadth of the challenges in designing this bathroom—it was compounded by a dysfunctional layout and several construction constraints,” says Tobias. Working with the contractor and builder, Casey Leonard from Village Builders, the design team had to reverse years and years of bad bathroom renovations, including orange shag carpet, two entrances, no shower, and a toilet in the middle of the room. On top of it all, they also had a small, awkward footprint to maneuver in.
Tobias highlighted grays, polished nickel, and white to keep the palette fresh and light. The marble subway tiles and herringbone slate floors were cost-effective ways to achieve a high-end look. Open shelving and built-ins create functional storage in an uncluttered way. One of Tobias’s favorite features is a window and skylight in the shower that bring the outside in while adding natural light to the space.
Huffard House worked to create spaces in the home that would be comfortable for two people or 102. The clients are very focused on spending time with family and friends, and they enjoy having people of all ages gather at their home. With this in mind, lots of guest space was needed. Comfort was extremely important as well as creating inviting and beautiful places to retreat.
The semblance of the home is colorful warmth paired with casual elegance and a moderate sense of humor.
In a large home such as this one, it can be challenging to create unique spaces with personality that keep the project and palette in mind; there needs to be a balance between continuity and creativity. Traveling through the house, the design is cohesive without clashing. Huffard House chose a base style and color range to anchor the project, with small deviations to keep things interesting. The palette for larger items stays mostly neutral with opportunities to add color and texture in the accessories. In the grandchildrens’ rooms, the colors are bolder and brighter. In the adult guest rooms, the palette is a bit softer.
Huffard House’s design philosophy is to create timeless, fresh, and beautiful interiors that suit each client’s needs and lifestyles. “We love being able to thoughtfully blend old with new, classic with modern, to create balanced spaces,” says lead designer Bronwyn Huffard. They know they have done their job when they walk into finished spaces and it feels as if it has always been there. Huffard House is ever-seeking to be part of creating functional, inspiring, and happy spaces for clients and their loved ones.
Robin Davis Interiors
The views offered by this condo are among the best in the city, and rather than compete with them, Robin Davis chose to enhance the influence of the outdoors by creating warmth through organic wood tones and textures. The home is warmly modern without being too masculine. It’s sophisticated and interesting, organic yet refined. For this particular project, Davis was given the last word on design decisions, “which was both amazing and stressful,” she says.
The main design was kept very neutral. Davis kept the color scheme refined throughout but added elements of walnut, brushed gold, matte black, steel, and warm white. The walls were painted in “Decorator’s White” to help keep the focus on textures, subtle tones, and incredible exterior views. In the kitchen, Cambria’s Berwyn quartz countertops are reminiscent of the beach. Waterfall features were added to both islands, creating subtle, visual texture. The side chairs give a midcentury modern vibe, and the over-size host and hostess chairs add drama that is both fun and casual. The furnishings are mostly neutral with varying pops of orange—the client’s favorite color. The fabrics are performance grade and easily stand up to parties, children, and UV-light.
Rusted Puffin Metal Works of Portland created the eight-foot custom steel barn doors that separate the living room and den. The finished steel product, which Davis designed, has a leatherlike appearance. The client was adamant about having a soaking tub, and Porcelenosa provided the perfect piece. Walnut tile in a herringbone pattern behind the tub creates warmth while the rest of the bathroom is light, bright, clean, and modern.
Interiors by Design
The homeowner, Jamie O’Keefe, purchased the 1980s coastal Marlboro home with a full expectation of updating its dark kitchen. The old space was outfitted with outdated appliances and ceramic tile countertops and floors. Previously, the ocean views were not a focus in the kitchen, which was filled with visual clutter. The inspiration for this remodel was a clean and unobstructed view of the ocean. Designer Connie Dedam chose a crisp and sleek modern approach; she highlighted the island as a focal point because conversation and socializing were top priorities for her clients.
Early on in the design process, the decision was made to remove the tile flooring and replace it with oak. A doorway to the dining room was also removed, expanding the amount of space available for the dining area. Cabinetry painted in pearl white and featuring flat recessed-style doors is accented with bar-pull hardware in brushed satin nickel. Katahdin quartz countertops offer a contemporary feel while providing easy maintenance and durability. Gray glass subway tiles create a luminous backsplash to tie it all together. The clients requested a gourmet cooking center with Sub-Zero refrigerator, downdraft cooktop, and double ovens, and Dedam was able to incorporate all these elements.
During the interview process, Dedam explored her clients’ wish list for their renovation, learned about their lifestyle and specific storage needs, and analyzed the traffic pattern of the space. She determined her clients would be happiest with deep, interior pull-out drawers that have full extension and a soft close. Other storage features include tray-base storage, pull-out waste and recycling, and easily viewable and accessible corner cabinet access.
Maine Street Design
The inspiration for this project was twofold: The first is the surrounding elements of the perch where the Captain Lawrence E. Johnson House sits, on the rocky coast of Bailey Island overlooking Harpswell Sound. The second source of design inspiration came from a collection of books about the sea, Maine coast–inspired art, and the visceral need for a cozy, welcoming, and peaceful nook to settle in amidst the exposed location, surrounded by the ocean’s expanse and coast. While the land and home have a long formal history, the feeling of the space is now undeniably welcoming and cozy. It has become a place of comfort from which one can watch the drama of the weather, ocean, and island life. Other design elements that were incorporated include family antiques which root the property in the history of the home, it’s family, and the permanence of this place. These influences informed the design inspiration, process and result for this lovely location.
The challenge for this particular room was to create an intentional sitting space which draws you in, but still transitions seamlessly into a well-fitted and comfortable guest room. The color scheme was inspired by the hues and colors of a simple mussel shell—foggy blues and tobacco browns set off periwinkle and lavender accents typically found on these shells. The abstract artwork is reminiscent of Maine coast topography.
The property is a cohesive reflection of the design philosophy of Brett Johnson and the Maine Street Design, Company team through its reflection of the natural environment, the comfort and welcome conveyed to residents and guests, and the way the house is grounded in history, family, and connection to its setting on the shores of the Atlantic.