With an expanded team and a new studio in Yarmouth, Centerline Design & Build can handle every room in the house
“All the pieces just fell into place,” is how interior designer Jeanne Rapone describes the series of fortunate events that landed her and her business, Centerline Design & Build, in a renovated barn in downtown Yarmouth. Rapone launched her design career nearly 30 years ago in New York, and after moving to Maine worked from home while her now-teenage boys were young. The idea of a one-stop shop, where clients could peruse cabinet and countertop samples, hardware and fabrics, was always in the back of her mind, and when she learned that an old barn set back from Main Street was available, she took the leap of faith.
Centerline Design & Build’s full-service mission is on full display at the firm’s new headquarters, which opened in September. Completely transformed from its rough and raw previous state, the two-story barn is a now a light-filled, stylishly appointed hive of creativity for Rapone and her team: interior designer Lisa Morris; project manager Kate Kyle; and assistant designer Laura Klepinger. Clients can flip through fabric samples from a chic seating area on the first floor and go over design plans at a spacious conference table on the second level. The ability to both see and feel materials is a plus for clients who may feel overwhelmed by all the choices they find on the web. “A big part of our job is helping people to narrow down their options,” says Rapone. “It’s like drinking from a fire hose,” continues Morris. “You could spend all day online just researching white kitchens. We’re taking that flood of information and helping clients focus.”
Morris brings expertise in textiles and furniture to the group, having worked as a designer for Baker, Knoll, L.L. Bean’s home goods division, Angela Adams, and Maine Street Design Company, as well as running her own design business before joining Centerline Design & Build. Kyle is the logistics guru, making sure materials get to job sites, coordinating schedules, and managing finances. Their combined skills give clients access to a full range of design expertise—a significant benefit whether the project is a new build or a renovation of an older home.
“We can help people through the entire process,” says Rapone, citing a recent new build by Russ Doucette Custom Home Builders—one of Centerline’s regular trade partners. “The clients came in to meet with us, and it was only going to be a kitchen (which happens to us a lot), but quickly they saw the importance of planning the bathrooms properly, and the home office and the mudroom; then they wanted our help with colors and fabrics.” Being involved early in the process “allows so much more cohesiveness,” says Morris.
In an older home, the scope of renovations can be overwhelming, and is where having a comprehensive plan is important, says Rapone. “If we’re all working together we can make a plan even if some things have to be pushed off down the road. I have clients who call me back years later and say, ‘OK, Jeanne, we’re ready to do that bathroom now.’”
Rapone, Morris, and Kyle all cite education as one of the key aspects of their work. When clients request high-end kitchen appliances, for example, Rapone sends them to a showroom for a test drive. “You have to know what you’re spending your money on,” she says. Education also extends to trends. “I find my ‘Yankee-ness’ often comes to the forefront because I’m always about choosing something that is timeless,” says Morris. “Even if you’re going to do contemporary you do classic contemporary because it never goes out of style.”
Centerline Design & Build’s portfolio offers proof of the firm’s versatility—now enhanced by the expanded team and their dovetailed talents. “We’re good at getting to know the clients and what is important to them,” says Kyle. “I love a challenge,” Rapone chimes in. “And we’re having so much fun.”
343 Main Street Box 4b | Yarmouth, ME 04096 | centerlinedesign.me