Inside Look


Foreside Gem

Firm: Susie Smith Coughlin Interior Design
Designer: Susie Coughlin
Photographer: Peter Morneau
Location: Falmouth

The goal for this home was to feel like an adventure. So that, when a person came into the space, they would get to see small glimpses of the owners’ lives through their pictures, books, and artwork. “I loosely used the concept of an old bookstore you may find tucked away down some alleyway in Paris to describe where I wanted to go with the design,” says Susie Coughlin.

Coughlin found herself working with two very different styles: a cozy, L.L. Bean vibe and a modern artists’ loft like you would see in downtown New York City. “It was definitely a challenge, but luckily everyone agreed to compromise and meet in the middle,” Coughlin says. Using richer, moodier colors in unexpected ways gavethe feeling of being unique and artistic but also cozy and comfortable. The design relied on mixing modern lines with more traditional soft layering and art. Keeping the same moody color scheme throughout the house kept the whole look cohesive and using various styles of furniture allowed the space to remain exciting and fresh.

Coughlin’s unofficial tagline is “eclectic and modern design,” and this space hits both notes. There is no one particular theme running throughout the house, so in many ways every room offers something unique. The end result is a home that is warm and inviting, relaxed and unpretentious yet curated and polished, all at the same time.


Firm: Ariana Fischer Interior Design
Designer: Ariana Fischer
Photographer: Erin Little
Location: Brunswick

This nineteenth-century farmhouse is surrounded by actively farmed fields on a long country road. The owners are a couple who went to college together in Maine and have a deep connection to and nostalgia for the region. They live in a modern flat in California during the year and have a ski house in Utah, but for this home they wanted the design to reflect the historical farmstead that it is. Fischer fully embraced classic country New England style with modern touches.

One of the biggest challenges was the sunken living room, which was narrow and long. The clients are a family of four with a revolving door of family, friends, and neighbors, so the main living area had to be able to accommodate a good number of people. Ariana Fischer had a built-in sofa made so that the whole space would be usable for seating. It gives a very loungey vibe with just a hint of modernism.

The clients wanted to use a black and white palette, but since those colors alone have the potential of feeling stark and cold, Fischer brought in natural warm tones in wood and heavily textured fabrics to soften it. The result? Country with a bit of an edge. Almost all the artwork is contemporary photography with the exception of a few Spanish antiquities inherited from a parent. The varied art collection, while initially risking being over the top for a traditional Maine house, is integrated in a way that adds character and depth to spaces. “I love the challenge of pulling seemingly disparate aesthetics together and making it work, creating harmony,” says Fischer.

Modern Beach Reno

Firm: Duquette & Company
Designer: Sarah Duquette
Architectural Designer: Lucy Gorham
Photographer: Rob Karosis
Location: Ogunquit

“Serene and organic with modern minimalistic warmth” is how Sarah Duquette would describe the vibe of this Ogunquit cape, the interiors of which partner effortlessly with the outside views of the woods and pool area. The main color palette was chosen based on the natural materials used in the decor—white oak, marble, rattan, leather, concrete—and contrasted with black and white.

When the designer first saw the home, it was dark and dated and felt claustrophobic. Her vision was to create sweeping sight lines across the spaces, making everything feel weightless. The walls, ceiling, and trim were painted in Benjamin Moore’s Super White, serving as a perfect backdrop to the many varied textures. “Even on the darkest of days it feels light in the house,” Duquette says. The living room upholstery utilizes Crypton fabrics for heavy wear and tear. “The clients have teenage children and wanted to have a big open space that would invite more family time together, even if they were engaged in individual activities,” Duquette explains.

An inlaid clamshell coffee table in the small conversation area is a showstopper, and the floor-to-ceiling Thassos marble fireplace is flanked by floating white oak consoles and shelves. When not in use, the family’s smart TV turns into a work of art on the wall.

Duquette believes that the best interior designers are conduits who take a client’s innermost wishes and create a space they both love and feel at home in. She was thrilled to give this client a beach house inspired by nature and texture but not pigeon-holed into more traditional definitions of New England waterfront homes.

Bridge Road

Firm: Heidi Lachapelle Interiors
Designer: Heidi Lachapelle
Cabinetmakers: Northe Woodworking
Photographer: Erin Little
Location: Biddeford Pool

The inspiration for this kitchen refresh was the serene oceanfront setting and the fun, creative couple Heidi Lachapelle was designing for. “This is a forever home, and we took great care in considering every detail,” Lachapelle says. The space feels both warm and modern, with everything in its place, also making it neat and tidy. Lachapelle didn’t want to detract from the view, so she selected soft and natural colors and textures that wouldn’t overwhelm the space but would still give it lots of personality.

The kitchen is in a relatively small area, creating the task of fitting a lot of function without making it feel cluttered. This was accomplished by maximizing cabinetry space with an addition of a pantry a short walk away from the kitchen, as well as in the smart design of the coffee bar. Appliances were concealed to avoid breaking up the sightlines too much.

The palette is based in neutrals: warm white, walnut, soapstone, and marble. The cabinet profile is a slim Shaker style—modern, yet traditional. Edge pulls add a modern element, as do stools custom-made by local furniture designer Adam Rogers.

The result is a combination of smart design with careful material selections, making a kitchen that feels timeless and classic but still maintains a bit of an edge. “Our projects are always reflective of our clients,” says Lachapelle. “We like to see ourselves as the editors.”

Lakehouse Renovation

Firm: Fiore Home
Designer: Vanessa Helmick, Jackie Andrews
Contractor: Danny Fisher Custom Carpentry
Photographer: Sean Litchfield
Location: Raymond

The clients wanted a classic blue and white color palette for this Sebago Lake house. Fiore Home created a calm and airy space using a water inspired palette grounded by earthy textural elements of white oak, walnut, rope, and grasscloth.

The biggest challenge was that the architecture of the home lacked 90 degree angles. Many of the rooms being renovated were hexagonal or octagonal shaped, but the firm wanted to keep moving walls to a minimum. The fix? The same color palette was used throughout the house to bring cohesiveness and to soften all of the angles. The wood species used in flooring and furniture were all similar in color and texture.

The guest bathroom had seven walls, which the designers wrapped in a wave patterned wallpaper. A custom vanity meant to look like a furniture piece grounds the space and draws the attention away from the many corners. It is accented by matte brass cabinet hardware and nautical inspired sconces.

For the five-walled, four-windowed breakfast nook, a built-in bench was added to the room, creating a focal point and symmetry. The bench is covered in a textured blue Perennials outdoor fabric to hold up to both sunlight and guests who have been swimming in the lake. The abstract blues of the pillows add dimension, and the Ethnicraft white oak pedestal dining table complements the wide plank white oak floors.

All of the materials selected are extremely durable, sustainable, and hold up well to UV rays, entertaining, lake life, and dogs. Fiore Home’s goal is to create beautiful spaces that are livable and acquire patina with time. It’s a place to truly relax and not sweat the small stuff.

Scarborough Refresh

Firm: Huffard House
Photographer: Meredith Purdue
Location: Scarborough

This first floor renovation came from the clients’ love of sports and entertaining, with their main goal being to repurpose their underutilized formal living room into a bar and home entertainment space. Developing the connection between the bar and open-concept kitchen and dining area was probably the biggest design challenge. The team at Huffard House widened the doorway between the bar and kitchen/dining room creating two spaces that easily flow while also maintaining enough separation. A beautiful walnut-wrapped beam was installed to accent the newly widened opening and visually separate these two spaces.

Walnut was also selected for the bar countertop and floating shelves. The hardwood floors throughout the first floor were refinished by Casco Bay Hardwood Flooring in a rich brown. The walls in the three adjoining spaces were painted with Farrow and Ball’s Shadow White, which is quite warm.

With the new open living space, it became a priority to update the kitchen finishes. Being conscious of cost, Huffard achieved a fresh look by painting the existing kitchen cabinetry in a neutral color, Sherwin-Williams’s Egret White, and updating the island color in Farrow and Ball’s Stiffkey Blue to match the bar peninsula. The previously dark granite countertops were replaced with white quartz, cabinetry hardware was changed out for a matte-black finish, pendant lighting was added, and a Clé Tile hexagon backsplash was installed behind a new farmhouse-style sink. The result is a bright, cohesive, and welcoming first-floor living space where the clients can happily entertain friends and family at home.

Vaughn Street

Firm: Honey Collins Interiors
Designer: Honey Collins
Builder: Wright-Ryan
Photographer: Sarah Winchester
Location: Portland

The architecture of this West End home is traditional and detailed. Honey Collins worked with her clients to create designs for each room that honored the past but also incorporated modern elements and colors to give the spaces an updated feel. With the use of a strong color palette and various textures, each room became warm and inviting, which felt like the biggest challenge in this design. Many of the rooms in the home, which were large with beautiful moldings, felt cold, in need of personality and purpose.

The house had such a large entryway that Collins decided to create a few different areas within to give the room warmth. The antique center table anchors the space, and Collins then created a small corner sitting area with a beautiful antique chair. The Oushak rug adds color and movement. Collins and the clients visited artist Laurie Fisher’s space in Portland and found the perfect modern piece to place above the antique chest.

The Honey Collins philosphy is to have rooms with touches of old and new—antiques combined with modern pieces. Collins sourced many of these pieces from Atlanta, where she is from. The client, also being from the South, appreciated the use of antiques combined with modern elements. “This project perfectly illustrates what I love best,” Collins says. “Taking a well-loved, family-centered place and incorporating new materials and updated designs, while never losing sight of the history of the treasured antiques.”

House on the Shipping Channel

Firm: Banks Design Associates/Simply Home
Designer: Linda A. Banks
Project Manager: David LeBlanc
Photographer: François Gagné
Location: Cape Elizabeth

Designing this home from the ground up, Linda Banks’ team based the entire palette on the soft gray floors, which were inspired by the faded gray glacial ledge on which the house is perched. The home is drenched in light, with a partially open plan and bold interior architecture. This was intended to be the ultimate couple’s retreat and the ideal weekend getaway for the clients, who also like to host family and friends.

Banks wanted a welcoming but strong “classic American” vibe, somewhere between New England country and semi-formal. The soft, inviting fabrics and furnishings are decidedly uncluttered. The allowable footprint for the new build, due to lot size and its proximity to the shoreline, required a vertical, three-story floor plan. Keeping the spaces open to each other and creating a practical layout without hallways was the biggest challenge.

A few favorite pieces are the limestone fireplace Banks sourced from Jamb in London, a weathered gray custom coffee table from Italy, and the David Witbeck fisherman painting above the fireplace. The kitchen is a combination of symmetry, honest textures, and practicality.

Banks says the home is a perfect representation of her team’s design philosophy: “Include beautifully appointed and exceptionally well-resolved interior architecture, strive for symmetry, incorporate as much natural light as possible, display art, and make sure the furniture is comfortable, tidy, and not too big,” she says. “But most importantly, it should look like I was never there when I am gone.” For Banks, this means no two projects look the same, ever.

Harborside Shingle

Firm: Leandra Fremont-Smith Interiors
Designer: Leandra Fremont-Smith
Builder: Knickerbocker Group
Architect: Sue Mendleson, Knickerbocker Group
Project Manager: Derek Chapman, Knickerbocker Group
Photographer: Jeff Roberts
Location: Boothbay Harbor

The spectacular view of Boothbay Harbor was the biggest design inspiration for this project. The team aimed to create a sophisticated and harmonious interior that would comply with the clients’ needs, from entertaining to relaxing, while emphasizing the home’s stunning view of the harbor. To accomplish this, a cohesive blend of neutral hues with the occasional pop of color were chosen to add excitement and interest.

This harborside retreat is elegant yet projects a sense of comfort and calmness. The designers aimed to make the kitchen sophisticated, using a palette of white and grays combined with the metallic tones of polished nickel found in the cabinet hardware and light fixtures. The bold, dark walnut floors ground the room, while playful splashes of color can be found in the fabric on the back of the bar stools, which coordinate with the lacquered wet bar and playful powder room wallpaper.

The biggest challenge was that the home is situated on a very narrow lot, and the clients wanted an unobstructed view of the water. To do this, an open floor plan was created for a calming flow throughout the home, keeping the view of the water as the main focal point. The kitchen features crisp white cabinetry along a marble backsplash, leading the way to an understated but elegant glass dining table-top with marble pedestals.

History in the Remaking

Firm: Enclave Interiors
Designer: Marianne Lesko
Photographer: François Gagné
Location: Portland

Designer Marianne Lesko wanted to keep the integrity of this historic home on Munjoy Hill but update it for modern living. The living room has 12-foot-high ceilings and full-height windows, along with traditional marble mantels for the original coal stoves as well as ornate plaster ceiling mouldings. Lesko wanted to take advantage of these traditional elements and combine them with a more modern sensibility by using current furniture, objects, and artworks.

This was clearly a space where the mixing of antique and modern would make a spectacular effect. By retaining the traditional elements of the room and keeping an open, uncluttered space with a careful selection of modern and recent vintage pieces, the designer was able to create a warm and comfortable feel even though the space seems very grand, striking a careful balance of the opulent with the casual, and the antique with the modern.

The two biggest challenges Lesko faced were choosing the color of the room and resolving the imbalance of the windows. With such a large space, the color needed to be subtle but also highlight the room mouldings, furniture, and artworks. In addition, the southern wall of the room had beautiful floor-to-ceiling windows, while the northern wall had no windows at all. This created a disturbing lopsidedness to the room. The solution was to design and build custom bookcases that mimic the size, shape, and mouldings of the original windows on the opposite wall. They were created by local furniture maker Gabe Keith Sutton in Biddeford.

Throughout the house traditional paint colors by Farrow and Ball were used. The living room (shown here) was painted in Brassica, a dark lavender with gray tones. This had the effect of bringing out the original plaster mouldings. The centerpiece of the room is a Swedish-designed sofa, the Bob sofa from Blå Station, covered in a jewel-tone green cotton velvet fabric that complements the room’s traditional elements. The artworks are by a mixture of local and European artists, including Rachel Gloria Adams from Portland and Jean-Philippe Pernot from Paris.

Back Cove Dutch Colonial

Firm: Tyler Karu Design and Interiors
Designer: Tyler Karu
Photographer: Erin Little
Location: Portland

The original 1930s architecture, the owner’s collections, and the urban waterfront setting inspired the overall design of this Dutch Colonial. The plan was to create a clean space and allow light and nature to easily flow into the interior plan. It was important to maintain the charm and qualities of the original house while also updating the systems and functions of the home to today’s standards.

The furnishings were eclectic: antiques, custom pieces, and collected items mixed with more sleek modern selections. Just the right balance was struck by creating a clean palette that allows the art and furnishings to speak for themselves. Each room is designed to showcase specific pieces. The majority of the house is a timeless, clean, warm white that acts as a blank canvas. The office and the guest room are dark and moody, which is what the furnishings and art dictated. The homeowner’s mother was a renowned portrait artist, and Tyler Karu made sure that her work was strategically and thoughtfully displayed. The design of the home is personal to the client, reflecting her history and individual style.

This space is a direct reflection of the firm’s design philosophy, using antiques and heirlooms to inform the design direction. This ensures that the project is personal, allowing the client to curate and cultivate collections of art and furnishings over many years.

Neutral Playground

Firm: Morrison Design House
Designer: Jennifer Morrison
Photographer: Erin Little
Location: Falmouth

Jennifer Morrison used Maine’s shoulder seasons as the inspiration for these rooms. “While the weather here is often unpredictable between fall and winter,” Morrison says, “the coloring is particularly beautiful.” The color palette she chose is primarily cream tones with the occasional contrast from art and furnishings. Dark hardwood floors set off ivory rugs, furnishings, and window coverings.

Morrison’s team chose a photography print from Heidi Kirn to hang over the bed and a number of botanical prints to hang in the living room, a dramatic choice when set against the alabaster white of the walls, but one that brings a sense of modernism to the rooms. The drapery in both the living room and the bedroom was custom-made in Belgian linen.

The client has two small children, a dog, and a cat but prefers light-colored materials, meaning everything had to be kid-and pet-friendly. “She wanted everything to be neutral but low maintenance, which can be a challenge,” Morrison says. “Thankfully, performance fabrics have come a very long way.”

Morrison Design House strives for simple, natural, and timeless interiors, and these spaces capture all three of those philosophies. The rooms are cozy but grown up, with nothing feeling overly fussy and comfort being paramount.

Heron Pond Renovation

Firm: Samantha S. Pappas Design
Designer: Samantha Pappas
Photographer: Courtney Elizabeth
Location: Freeport

Designer Samantha Pappas gathered inspiration for both the kitchen and bathroom of this Freeport home from vintage items the homeowners already owned. The midcentury modern table and chairs as well as the vintage radio set the tone for the entire design. This, combined with the beautiful natural surroundings of the property, influenced the colors, textures, and patterns throughout the space.

One of the more challenging aspects of this redesign was opening up the kitchen without changing the layout or footprint. The space needed to be more inviting, with room to easily entertain and a graceful flow and functionality for the client.

All the color and art in the space pulls from nature. Pappas wanted a neutral color palette but with deep hues, like the accent tile in the kitchen, and the dark charcoal floors in the bathroom. Since the homeowners owned some great vintage pieces, Pappas re-covered the dining room chairs with a fun Fayce Textiles linen in a pattern reminiscent of waves and a hue that pairs perfectly with the kitchen’s tile. The countertops are a honed quartzite that provides beautiful color and texture to the kitchen without being overwhelming.

The overall design is calming and creates an atmosphere where the owners can relax and rejuvenate. It is a modern and clean space that has become a peaceful oasis to gather and make memories.

Downtown Portland Escape

Firm: Robin Davis Interiors
Designer: Robin Davis
Photographer: Matt Congdon
Location: Portland

The inspiration for this condo update came from the clients’ fantastic collection of art from Maine’s William Manning, along with their previously stored midcentury modern furniture. They own a traditional year-round home in Cape Elizabeth and had been renting out their downtown Portland property for about ten years. Since heading to Florida for the winter wasn’t an option during the early months of the pandemic, they thought they’d escape to the downtown condo for the winter in order to be less isolated. But its very dated interior needed some cosmetic changes.

A blank canvas was created to allow the furniture and artwork to take center stage. Walls that were once a dingy yellow were painted Decorator’s White by Benjamin Moore. Wallpaper in modern patterns punched up the powder room and dining room. Davis also added walnut slated panels in the entryway, leaving the finish natural, and updated the fireplace panels in a painted charcoal to add some dimension to these once overlooked spaces. Fun and modern ceiling fixtures and table lamps were also added throughout.

A big challenge was to hide a television in the living room. Davis was able to source a modern slat custom cabinet with power-up lifts from an Amish company in Ohio. Finished in a beautiful walnut, one would never know it holds a TV, allowing the clients to keep their art on full display while making it possible to catch a movie on Netflix.


The Spruce Point Inn

Firm: Knickerbocker Group
Interior Design: Knickerbocker Group
Design Team: Bob Francisco, Scout Hartz, Chloe Kregling
Photographer: Darren Setlow
Styling: Patty Boone
Location: Boothbay Harbor

Families have been coming to Boothbay Harbor’s Spruce Point Inn, year after year, for decades. Knickerbocker Group wanted to embrace the inn’s authentic, enduring appeal while giving it a face-lift for today. The firm was inspired by the 1892 inn’s coastal charm and sense of history—it was once a private fishing and hunting lodge, and notable summer guests have included a U.S. vice president and senator—as well as the inn’s incredible location: it’s poised among 57 acres of pine forest and on the Boothbay Harbor coastline.

The inn has classic coastal New England summertime style balanced with charm, elegance, and a sense of whimsy. It was important to honor the past while refreshing the spaces for today. Furniture and other pieces of decorative art original to the inn were given a second life with either a fresh coat of paint, new upholstery, or updated elements, like changing the shades on table lamps. These objects were paired with vintage pieces discovered at local antique shops and flea markets, and new pieces were sourced that would still feel intrinsic to the inn’s history. Taking inspiration from the inn’s name and its wooded location, touches of deep spruce green were added throughout, from the custom decorative latticework in an entryway to the contrast welting on the cushioned wicker chairs in the lobby.

Jewel box moments were incorporated in areas like the ladies’ room, updated with a Carrara marble countertop, a custom silk taffeta vanity skirt, and lobster wallpaper. The men’s room, which features toile foxhound wallpaper—a nod to the inn’s past as a hunting lodge. Vintage nautical flags were framed and hung above guest beds, and newer pieces, such as navy blue leather swivel bar chairs, feel as though they’ve always been there. Rounding out the eclectic mix are leather director’s chairs, brass travel trunks that serve as side tables, and a custom brass picture rail that showcases a mix of art pieces, from a print by local artist Brad Betts to a vintage painting of a sea captain.


Firm: Bowerbird Design Collective
Designer: Melanie Scamman, Laura Zoulamis
Photographer: Lauren Hottenger
Location: Scarborough

Bowerbird was initially inspired by the architecture as well as the raw structural elements that architect Kevin Browne used for the exterior of the building, and the designers wanted to bring that feeling through to the interior. Keeping the ceilings exposed seemed like the natural choice from the beginning, and the designers also chose polished concrete floors and black metal architectural glass wall systems by DIRTT.

The interior is modern, creating a more refined industrial office space. Pulling from modern Scandinavian influences, Bowerbird paired light woods, such as exposed Baltic birch plywood, with details like modern industrial and contemporary lighting fixtures. The space is minimalistic with clean lines, yet warm and inviting. Special consideration was given to sight lines so that, no matter where one is situated in the space, one’s eyes are met with visual interest. Since the space was open and all on one floor, the designers used several elements to divide it up; examples include an open bookcase, felted panels, carpets, and a partially suspended ceiling.

The color palette was largely inspired by the Interface carpet product called Video Spectrum. It has layers of color on color, creating depth and texture. It was exactly what was needed to offset the industrial neutral palette of blacks, grays, and off-whites. The accent color, Bermuda Blue (a deeply saturated jewel tone), creates a stunning backdrop to the main workstation layouts and conference room.

A custom-made 7- by 7-foot steel base table became the center of the resource library, a place to gather, restore, and study. For this special piece, the designers worked with Huston and Company of Kennebunkport. The graphics in the library include a series of interworking cogwheels, referencing Scorebuilders’ own ingenuity; Scorebuilders was the first commercial building at the Downs development, so the client was excited to include the Downs logo next to their own within the cog mural.

The Claremont

Firm: Keeler and Company and Krista Stokes
Designer: Laura Pierce and Krista Stokes
Photographer: Douglas Merriam
Location: Southwest Harbor

The Claremont is one of Maine’s most historic hotels. The six-acre shorefront property has provided a classic summer refuge to visitors seeking a quiet coastal respite since 1884. “The property has seen generations of guests and celebrations, so much of the inspiration for the design is in sustaining that nostalgic, bygone era that guests have enjoyed for years on the property,” says Laura Keeler Pierce, founder and principal designer of Keeler and Company.

“Old iconic images were referenced of people dressed for any and all occasions, enjoying the mundane in style,” reveals Krista Stokes, lead designer and art director at the Claremont. It was all about taking the moments and elevating them with small details. “The gardens, the woods, the harbor, the smells, the mountains, the local people, all of it is magic,” says Stokes. The goal of the designers was to make the guests feel inspired, lighthearted, transported, sentimental, and nostalgic.

The biggest challenge in designing the Claremont was also its greatest opportunity. The Claremont is an iconic Mount Desert Island hotel and has been home to moments of significance for so many. Ensuring that the hotel remained true to its roots—a grand dame on the edge of Somes Sound—while being enhanced with the amenities that today’s travelers require took a special balance. Consideration was taken to retain and enhance architectural details in the public spaces, such as coffered ceilings, custom millwork, and sophisticated paneling, the kind of consideration given to the summer cottages found throughout the island. And the designers leaned on decorative elements to pull out that nostalgia and charm, whether with iconic wallcoverings from Sister Parish or mixtures of textiles by William Morris and Pierre Frey, creating a layered, collected experience. The majority of the new artwork is by David Allen and Claire Cushman. All of this is enhanced with furnishings, art, books, and ornaments that were original to the hotel.

The color palette was inspired by the hotel’s surroundings: the edge of the ocean and Acadia’s iconic mountains. Guests can find greens, blues, and pops of cherry throughout the main building, while the oceanside spaces have a more nautical flair, and the wooded cabins are mossy and intimate in their color palettes.

After an extensive transformation guided by a strong commitment to excellence, attention to detail, and passion for creating unforgettable hospitality experiences, this coastal Maine classic has been reborn with a modernized twist.

Design Wire January/February 2022

In an effort to make air travel more accessible, the industrial design studio PRIESTMANGOODE has unveiled the AIR 4 ALL, an airplane seating system that enables powered wheelchair users to remain in their own wheelchair during their flight. Designed in a consortium with aircraft safety company SWS CERTIFICATION and campaign group FLYING DISABLED, the Air 4 All works similarly to the Isofix/LATCH systems for child safety seats in passenger cars, allowing commercial airlines to better accommodate the disabled community without reducing seat count—the airplane seat either folds up to make space for a wheelchair or it functions as a regular seat. Designed to be compatible with a wide range of airline seats and powered wheelchair types, both the airline seats and wheelchairs will still need to be equipped with the patented installation and attachment system. Wheelchair manufacturer SUNRISE MEDICAL is at work creating new, fit-to-fly powered wheelchairs as well as retrofitting old models.

With a nod to the beauty of the natural world, sustainable lighting brand GRAYPANTS is continuing its legacy of incorporating biomimicry into design with the PEBBLES COLLECTION, a series of asymmetrical lamps and pendants that emulate ocean-smoothed rocks found along the Seattle seashore. An extension of the SCRAPLIGHTS line, the Pebbles collection is sustainably produced from laser-cut, postconsumer corrugated cardboard. Each lamp is inscribed with the name of the beach and the geographic coordinates of the stone it was modeled after, and all models are available in natural, white, and blonde finishes.

Designed with the intention of making the average airplane passenger’s experience more streamlined and enjoyable, PITTSBURGH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT broke ground on the $1.4 billion TERMINAL MODERNIZATION PROJECT in October, the first new airport terminal to be built in America since the start of the pandemic. With completion set for 2025, the 700,000-square-foot terminal will showcase next-generation technology and sustainability efforts such as rainwater harvesting, power from the airport’s microgrid of 10,000 solar panels and five natural gas generators, and AI-enabled technologies from CARNEGIE MELLON. Other features will include shorter walking distances from curb to plane, more efficient baggage delivery, clean air technology, outdoor terraces, art displays, and an abundance of greenery throughout.

Two iconic brands are collaborating on a somewhat unexpected but no less hype-worthy product: the REEBOK X EAMES OFFICE CLUB C shoe collection celebrates the life and work of groundbreaking twentieth-century designers Charles and Ray Eames. The initial drop reimagines Reebok’s popular 1985 tennis shoe in all-white and all-black with “Eames” where the sports-wear’s logo usually appears; an insole featuring a geometric print referencing the colors on the famous Eames House, also known as Case Study House No. 8, in Los Angeles; and a shoebox modeled after the same. The second collection—the RAY EAMES SIGNATURE PACK—will feature a reproduction of Ray’s 1939 painting Composition, along with the iconic Eames dot-pattern textile print from 1947.

Named a national winner at the 2021 JAMES DYSON AWARDS, the OTO CHAIR was designed to give individuals with autism more autonomy while alleviating potential overload experienced from light, noise, and physical contact. Created by graduate designer ALEXIA AUDRAIN, who studied at L’ÉCOLE DE DESIGN NANTES ATLANTIQUE, the chair has cushioned walls and a footrest that inflate to emulate the cocooning sensation of a hug. While this type of deep-pressure therapy typically requires another person’s help, a remote control enables the user of the chair to fine-tune pressure levels. Envisioned to look like a design piece rather than a medical device, the Oto chair is housed in an attractive beechwood shell and is meant to make public and private spaces more inclusive of people with autism.

Construction on a new outdoor recreation center in Orono is tentatively set to begin in summer of 2022, providing access to a network of trails and conservation lands from Bangor to Old Town. Located on the property of former fishing bait business Taylor Bait Farm, which was purchased in 2018 by the ORONO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, the CARIBOU BOG TRAIL CENTER will renovate structures used by the bait operation to create a main building with cubbies and bathrooms as well as a smaller gear shed for tuning bikes and skis. Jointly run by the Orono Economic Development Corporation, the ORONO LAND TRUST, and the PENOBSCOT VALLEY SKI CLUB, the center will be open for hiking and biking in the summer and cross-country skiing in the winter.

PRINCE CHARLES’s private estate has unveiled plans for a new “landscape-led” town in Faversham, Kent, some 48 miles from London. Created in collaboration with architect BEN PENTREATH and located on land owned by the DUCHY OF CORNWALL, a private estate founded in 1337 to fund projects associated with the Prince of Wales, SOUTH EAST FAVERSHAM aims to be a mixed-income community with 2,500 homes, tree-lined streets, a central green, and a local primary school as well as shops and other amenities located within walkable distances to encourage sustainable living. This is not the first time Prince Charles has built an experimental town. The Prince of Wales has long been a believer in New Urbanism, a movement that focuses on human-scale urban design. Work is scheduled to begin on the town’s cricket ground and football pitches in 2023, with the rest of the development beginning in 2024 or 2025, subject to planning approval.

A 25-year-old restoration project may finally receive the necessary piece of funding to push it over the finish line. THE ABYSSINIAN MEETING HOUSE, a church built in 1828 in Portland’s East End solely by the city’s Black community, could receive $1.7 million in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to finish restoration. The finished building will include interior spaces for community events, exhibitions, and educational programming. The nation’s third-oldest meetinghouse constructed by a Black congregation, the Abyssinian is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and recognized as a northern hub of the Underground Railroad and the anti-slavery movement. City officials sold the property to the restoration committee in 1998 for $250. For the first 20 years, JOHN JAMES was the chief architect on the restoration, and his plans, reports, surveys and drawings are now being used by project manager ERIC DUBE and architect JOHN TURKS.

A Camp for All Seasons

In order for a vacation home to qualify as a camp, it needs a few key components: water access, a fireplace, and sleeping space for the entire family. A camp can be rustic and bare-bones, or it can be sophisticated and ornate—the thing that links the buildings isn’t the aesthetic but the purpose. Camps are for getting out of town, leaving the world behind, escaping into the wilderness. They tend to be very personal; they reflect the owners’ ingenuity, their hobbies, and their habits.

The Battles’ house on Long Lake in Naples doesn’t look, on first glance, like a traditional camp. It’s lofty and spacious, with cathedral ceilings and big glass windows. But that makes sense once you meet its makers. John and Janice Battle worked hard to bring their Maine getaway into existence—he as the architect, she as the designer. These were the roles they played in their nine-to-five existence, so it wasn’t a stretch to apply their professional skills to their personal life. But the Battles had one thing that many of their clients did not: a budget.

John and Janice have a knack for landing high-end jobs. “We’ve done a lot of houses that are very extravagant; some are even over-the-top luxurious,” John says. “Our house is a little different. I wouldn’t say it’s humble, but in comparison to some, it’s modest.” The size of the structure was restricted by zoning, and its position on the lot was, too. There was a little shelter by the shore that was grandfathered in, “just steps from the water,” Janice says. They gutted and renovated this space, transforming the old bunkhouse into a little one-bedroom cabin with a living room and bathroom. But while the “love shack” (as they playfully call it) could easily house a couple, it wouldn’t have worked for the Battles and their three grown children, plus their social circle and extended family. John and Janice wanted to serve friends dinner al fresco, host family members for long summer weekends, and spend a few cold winter nights cozied up above the frozen lake. And so, during 2019 they came to Maine and lived in the love shack while working on their cottage-inspired, camp-adjacent, timber-heavy home.

The final space is all of those things, and though the two-tone, gabled exterior is reminiscent of the quaint style, it’s not quite a cottage. Still, it’s a bit more than a camp (with five bedrooms and several dining spaces, it’s a bit bigger than most), and it’s definitely not a timber frame (despite what the big beams might tell you). Pulling traits from all those sources, John and Janice created a winterized vacation house that satisfies John’s desire for architectural authenticity and speaks to Janice’s admiration for all things beautiful. “Because of timing and cost, to do a true post-and-beam, that would not have worked for us,” explains John. “So we made a hybrid.” The shell of the primary house was built using conventional construction methods, but John designed a “wood-enriched center component” that could be inserted into the heart of the home. Using large planks treated with clear finishes in a canopy formation over the main living area, John mimicked some of the spacious-but-weighty qualities of a timberframe lodge at a fraction of the cost.

“It was really cool how it worked out,” says Eugene Jordan of Jordan Custom Carpentry in Lovell. In addition to serving as the general contractor, Jordan also cut all the interior posts personally “right in the living room,” he says. “It was after the roof went on, so we were able to do true timber-frame joinery and work on the detailing from below rather than from above.” This gave them time to get the aesthetics right, and since the main purpose of adding these beams was to showcase the craftsmanship typical of Maine, it made sense to introduce multiple tones and grains. “I love working with mahogany to add contrast,” says Jordan. “Next to the Douglas fir, the mahogany pegs and splines really pop. With the roofline the way it is, and the detailing inside, I think it looks really authentic even though it’s a new build.” John adds, “The carpenters did a great job of using authentic detail conditions to give it a very articulate feel.”

According to John, a well-designed building is one that expresses its purpose. It tells you what to expect. The purpose of a camp is to be in the woods; this central room embraces guests with the raw, warm shades of maple, mahogany, pine, and fir. The purpose of the Battles’ camp is to be with family; this house invites everyone to gather together in one area, to sit by the fire and the windows, to be by the water.

In contrast to the central great room, the bedrooms are “relatively simple with standard proportions,” says John. The upstairs bedrooms have vaulted ceilings, since John saw no need for attic space. But none of the five bedrooms—not even the owners’ suite—is particularly grand. “You really only go back to bedrooms to sleep,” he says. “When we’re up here, we’re often outdoors or on the water or celebrating with fun activities.” If they get a rainy day, the family tends to migrate out of their separate spaces and into the living room. To further unite the occupants, John designed an alcove in the glass wall overlooking the lake, for their stove. “Frequently, in many jobs, we have the view one way, and the fireplace is the other way. Here, there is a singular focus,” he says. For purposes of “cleanliness and convenience,” the Battles opted for a gas stove rather than a woodstove. “But we had to have a hearth,” John says. “This works better for us.”

While they made several budget-conscious choices during construction, John and Janice had worked on enough homes to know the importance of having a great “stair guy.” In a multilevel home, stairs matter. And if the grand “wood-forward” canopy room was to be the heart of the house, they’d need a suitably stately artery. That’s where Bob King came in. John first worked with the master stair builder and owner of King and Company on a project over 20 years ago. Recently, a stair John designed and King built won an award from the Stairbuilders and Manufacturers Association. For John’s house, King constructed a slightly less ornate stair, but thanks to the mixture of woods (mahogany and maples), it still has “plenty of character,” says King. “A home like that, which had a lot of timbers and a lot of weight in the thickness of the floor, it made sense to keep the designs and shapes on the simpler side.” But instead of having straight lines, the stairway “flairs out and invites you in,” says King. John reveals that his favorite part of this feature is the newel. “I liked the idea of having a strong anchor,” he says. “I tend to be very animated in the way I move about a place. I use the newel post almost as a pivot—you grab on to it and swing yourself up the stairs as you’re zipping about.” Janice adds, “Everyone who walks up those stairs comments. They put their hand on the railing and feel it—it’s special.”

But not every element of the design needed to speak with such gravitas. Janice was in charge of choosing the color schemes, all the furnishings, and the finishes. “I go with my gut,” says the designer. “I do like things to be pretty.” In their Naples house, this translates to earth-tone floral drapes and duvets, subtly shimmering kitchen tiles, and a considered collection of antiques scattered throughout the rooms. “While I was working for other clients, I would set aside certain fabric samples that I liked,” she explains. “The design happened slowly and organically.” Early on, she pulled out a flatweave Swedish rug in a cheerful shade of blue. “I tripped over it when I was looking for rugs for a client. I knew right away, that’s what I want at the lake,” she says. This durable textile became the jumping-off point for the color scheme of the entire central space, which encompasses the sitting area, dining area, kitchen, and entryway. The kitchen got the brightest tones, with punchy blue cabinets and tiles from Discover Tile, but Janice toned down the hues a bit in the sitting area by bringing in a lot of neutrals. “I kept the sofa very simple,” she says. “But for the rattan chairs, I used a fabric that I really love—in our old house, I had a wallpaper made that was this fabric, the same thing. It’s really interesting without being too formal. It felt like the right fit here.”

Over the course of several years, Janice found the rest of the furniture for their lake house at various antique markets. On a trip down to Atlanta for a client, she picked up a set of dining room chairs (“they wouldn’t have worked for the client,” she says) that went nicely with a table she found at Cornish Trading Company in New Hampshire. She was able to hire some of her favorite woodworkers from other jobs to create custom pieces for their new place, like the rustic live-edge coffee table that sits in the living room. “I’m really blessed to work with amazing craftspeople and artisans,” she says.

The couple also consider themselves quite fortunate that they managed to finish their lake house when they did. They were just winding up construction when the pandemic hit in March 2020. “Right about the time when everybody was starting to panic, we were just about done,” John remembers. With the five bedrooms and big living area, their three children were able to come stay, telecommuting to their jobs from the Maine woods (although John does admit that the Wi-Fi isn’t as strong as these urban-dwelling millennials had hoped). In truth, the Naples cabin wasn’t designed for long-term occupation by that many adults, but the Battles were grateful anyway. “It’s such a comfortable house,” says John. “It’s warm and well made. We didn’t plan to live here during the winter, but we can. The fundamentals of it are terrific. It’s been an outstanding place to be. We’ve been so lucky.”

Family Retreat

Scarborough Beach has played a large role in the Black family’s history. Their relationship with the sandy stretch of land dates back decades; Andrew Black’s grandparents stayed at the historic Atlantic House hotel for their honey-moon in 1930. Andrew spent 23 summers at the beach and returned with his wife, Sheila, the last night of their honeymoon. After a number of years renting in the area, the Toronto-based couple returned to Scarborough Beach and the coastal community of Prouts Neck and bought a house on one of the “lanes.” Then, in 2019, a beachfront property came up for sale, and after considering sea-level impacts, minimum foundation elevations, and winterization, the Blacks decided to build a new house for their family. Their goal was to craft a generational property where grandparents, parents, and kids could be together.

“We wanted to add to the shoreline and have our house fit in—not just with Prouts Neck’s history, but the history of Maine architecture,” Sheila says. “When we got married and brought up a family, we always dreamed of our kids and grandkids being able to enjoy the beautiful Maine coastline that we loved so much,” adds Andrew. The couple have four daughters who are based in different cities across the eastern seaboard. “Maine is our primary meeting spot for our family and extended family,” explains Sheila. “We built this home with that in mind.”

They chose to work with Eider Investments, a Scarborough-based design build firm that specializes in shorefront properties. “All our work is word-of-mouth,” says architectural designer Trevor Watson, who has been adhering to Prouts Neck’s limited building schedule (construction is allowed only during the off-season) for over 20 years. The design Watson did for the Blacks was inspired by classic New England architecture. “It’s understated, with high-quality design—not flamboyant or flashy,” says Watson. The exterior of the home is covered with cedar shingles, which will weather to a soft silver hue, and is defined by a series of gables. The chimneys have stone veneer to give them an appropriately classic look. The house has many interesting architectural features. “I’m particularly proud of how the elliptical staircase turned out,” said Watson. “It was a very tricky design challenge.”

Being so close to the ocean, there were design factors that the Blacks needed to consider, but they were excited to work with Watson on this challenging project. “I’m probably partial, but I think these are some of the nicest pieces of coastal property on the eastern seaboard,” Watson says. What was unique about this project was that it was built during COVID. “We spent many hours on the phone with the Blacks, given the travel restrictions that prevented them from seeing the ongoing progress of the build,” adds Watson. “Trevor and I shared a clear vision for the project, and Sheila and I really enjoyed working with him and the entire team at Eider. They take great pride in their work and always conduct themselves with the highest integrity,” says Andrew.

“From the beginning, the Blacks had a very clear direction they wanted to go,” Watson reflects. “I think their level of involvement is the reason why the project turned out as successfully as it did.” In addition to frequent check-ins with the homeowners, Watson was also able to confer and collaborate frequently with interior designer Louise Hurlbutt, who weighed in on some of the finer points of the construction. She suggested adding nickel-gap paneling to walls and worked with Watson to design the coffered ceiling of the great room, and she was instrumental in creating the dramatic curved staircase with its custom blue and white patterned carpet. “These things help give it the appearance of an old home,” says Hurlbutt, who had worked with the Blacks on their previous Maine home and knew their taste quite well. She also knew white walls would look lovely next to the imported antique wood floors, and she recognized how effectively the gambrel roofline would work in their favor when it came to the second-story bedrooms. “It would have made no sense to have a flat ceiling in the bedrooms,” she says. “The architectural details, the mouldings, the ceiling line, the nickel gap—these things really add so much to a room.” She notes that, although there’s not a lot of space to hang art in this house, you don’t need it. The house speaks for itself.

“When we got married and brought up a family, we always dreamed of our kids and grandkids being able to enjoy the beautiful Maine coastline that we loved so much.”

Plus, there are the views. “People are like moths,” says Watson, “but instead of going toward lamps, they flock to the ocean views.” To take full advantage of the lot’s best feature, they oriented the house toward the water, shrunk the size of the bathrooms, eschewed hallways, and squeezed the front entryway underneath the stairwell. “We managed to bury the front door under the staircase, which gives a real ‘wow’ moment when people walk through it the first time, look over their shoulders, and see this incredible view,” Watson explains. “The front door, when it opens, has about a quarter inch of clearance. It’s incredibly tight.” While the small bathrooms may have “pushed the limits” (in Watson’s words) in terms of size, they did manage to squeeze in en-suite bathrooms for all the bedrooms upstairs. “Louise Hurlbutt’s spatial conceptualization and sense of proportion are brilliant,” says Sheila. “She mapped out the spaces to within an inch in every room, maximizing flow and multifunctional space.”

While Hurlbutt installed budget-conscious Dash and Albert rugs upstairs in the bedrooms, she went with a higher quality for the downstairs living room. This contemporary space is open-concept, flowing seamlessly from kitchen to dining area to living room to porch, separated only by hidden pocket doors. To add warmth and color to the living room, Hurlbutt brought in a leather ottoman, raffia side tables, and, underfoot, authentic Belgian-woven sisal. “The royal cobalt and cornflower color palettes are a reflection of the New England coast,” says Hurlbutt.

The blue rugs, throw pillows, armchairs, and artwork all pay tribute to the shifting waters of the Atlantic, which can be spotted from almost anywhere in the house. In addition to the large windows (oriented with six muntins on top and one on the bottom to allow uninterrupted views and for nifty historical nod), Eider installed a series of NanaWall doors facing the ocean. These movable glass walls and folding doors allow the Blacks to open their home to the breeze. “I had never heard of NanaWall before,” says Andrew. “But I was very interested in them, and in figuring out how they could work for a New England home, with the nor’easters.” Andrew talked it over with the team at Eider, and they decided to move ahead with the NanaWall doors, despite the fact that they didn’t come with screens. “We had worked with NanaWall before, but this time we decided to buy the parts and make our own accordion screen doors to match them,” says Watson. Now, the family is able to experience their first-floor great room as though it’s all one big indoor–outdoor space.

Since completing the build in 2020, the family has been able to gather regularly in their new beach house. The Blacks are very grateful to the entire team that came together to build the house in nine short months. The success of the project is easy for them to see. Andrew puts his praise quite simply: “When our family comes to Prouts, we never want to leave. The house is filled with happiness.”

West by Northeast

The Entoffs* always wanted a post-and-beam home. So when they discovered mold growing inside the 1960s prefab on the Maine property they acquired from a cousin, they decided to go for it. Never mind that the lot was in Ogunquit, just a block from the ocean: neither in the woods nor on a mountain. “We love big mountain house hotels,” Jane says of her outdoorsy family, who spends vacations hiking and fishing at national parks. “Sitting by the fire and doing puzzles at the end of the day is our happy place.” It made sense, then, to build a post-and-beam house on the ocean.

Jane, husband Drew, and daughters Amelia (13) and Siena (10) live in Concord, Massachusetts, just an hour and 20 minutes from their new mountain-style beach house, where they drive up for weekends year-round. “I used to visit [the original cottage] during February break as a kid, so I never thought of it as just a summer place,” Jane explains. “We actually prefer it in the off-season.” Jane’s parents are frequent visitors, and the couple hosts friends often. Everyone reads, plays cards, and participates in lawn games, from badminton to kickball. “It’s where we disconnect from work and electronics,” Drew says.

Riverbend Timber Framing, a Michigan-based company that Drew learned about from a timber-frame home magazine, supplied the plans and erected the Douglas fir structure. Chase Construction took it from there. It was the company’s first post-and-beam endeavor, but project manager Colby Chase says they would definitely do another. Of course, these houses are not without challenges. For instance, attentiveness is key. “Wherever the post lands, it stays,” Chase says.

Annsley McAleer of Annsley Interiors, who worked with the family on their Concord home, collaborated with the team from the start, and she brought in designer Sara Deane. For McAleer, the challenge was how to deal with all the wood. The solution? To create a whitewashed nickel-gap backdrop against which the Douglas fir elements could shine. “We wanted to showcase the timber without letting it take over,” McAleer says. The treatment softens and lightens the interiors and lends a sense of place. “The wood frame has such a mountain feel; it’s what you picture on the side of Sugarloaf,” Chase explains. “We put a coastal spin on it to mesh with the Maine beach location.”

The decor helps marry the mountain architecture to the seaside site. The fresh color palette and the blend of geometric, organic, and bohemian patterns combined with well-made comfy furniture in traditional silhouettes, as well as vintage finds and a smattering of seagrass, produce a lived-in look that feels perfectly at home on the Maine coast. It’s just what the family wanted. “We love the happy, energetic colors and relaxed, homey feel,” Jane says.

A charming arch-top door crafted by Barry Chase, Colby’s father and the company head, leads into the whitewashed, wood-planked entry. Here, the wood structure and a stair rail with painted steel balusters provide architectural interest. The neutral space allows visitors a peaceful moment before looking beyond to the colorful, open living space. “We used greens and blues, which work in winter and summer,” McAleer says.

Beneath the hand-forged iron chandelier that hangs from the Douglas fir–lined, rotunda-like ceiling, the designers pulled together pieces that epitomize fine, rustic living with a breath of fresh air. A vintage faux-bamboo armchair with a caned panel back, a sturdy wingback chair, and a pair of bobbin lounge chairs with generous cushions join a Verellen sofa in front of the fireplace. The small-scale geometric rug is indoor/outdoor because, in an oft-frequented second home, a designer can never be too careful. “Sometimes the kids aren’t the messy ones,” McAleer laughs.

A curated mix of patterned pillows made from textiles by Christopher Farr, Peter Dunham, and Lisa Fine adorn the window seat that is tucked into an enormous bay. “The global vibe correlates to this well-traveled family’s love for a good adventure,” McAleer says. Unsurprisingly, it’s the most popular spot in the house. “The girls read or play board games there for hours while the sun pours in,” Jane says. Sconces with emerald green glass shades stand out like jewels on the Douglas fir posts and tie into the row of green O and G Studio fan-back stools at the kitchen island across the room.

The team reconfigured the kitchen layout, replacing a peninsula that hemmed in the cooking space with a simple island with timber posts on either end. The cobalt blue range—a must-have for Jane and the starting point for the color scheme—pops against the clean white cabinetry and the highly textured subway tiles set with charcoal-colored grout.

An O and G dining table, stained a rich blue that lets its ash grain peek through, anchors the adjacent dining area. “We visited the O and G Studio in Rhode Island; my husband was fascinated by their wood-working processes and attention to detail,” Jane says. “When Annsley suggested a blue dining table, we were like, ‘Yes!’” To break up the large expanse of blue, the designers surrounded the table with natural wood side chairs with hand-woven rush seats. Then they stationed curvy armchairs with sky blue bouclé and Moroccan-inspired, hand-printed linen upholstery at the ends. “The room is so large, it’s a blessing,” Jane says. “We can fit 14 at the table and another 5 at the island.”

Similar furniture and accessory styles in the bedrooms maintain continuity, though each room has a flavor of its own. In the first-floor guest room, where Jane’s parents sleep, pale lavender grasscloth-covered walls imbue a mellow dreaminess that is countered by a faux-bamboo bed. Navy blue nightstands and a pendant light with a woven abaca shade tie it to the coast. The second-floor guest room, which is outfitted with navy blue beds, hand-blocked fabrics, and sconces with wicker shades, has a similar sensibility.

The primary bedroom sits behind a double pocket door hidden in the 35-foot-long stretch of built-in bookshelves on the second-floor landing/library. The room’s grasscloth wallcovering is neutral and slightly striated, and the bobbin bed boasts an upholstered headboard and footboard. Drapes with leafy vines soften the Douglas fir window frames, and a sitting area looks to the ocean. “You can listen to the waves,” Jane says. The en-suite bath, with its white-washed nickel-gap walls, chunky soaking tub, and marble basket-weave tile floor, mixes elegance with country casual.

The girls’ bedroom is all sorts of fun. To bring down the scale of the sky-high space and make it feel more intimate, McAleer commissioned Pauline Curtiss of Patina Designs to hand stencil the ceiling. The boho pattern plays off the John Robshaw fabrics sprinkled throughout the room. “We had no concept of what 19 feet high felt like!” Jane says. Once she did, she suggested building a loft. It’s only three feet wide, but twin mattresses and big pillowsmake it the ultimate hideaway. “You’ll always find somebody up there,” Jane says.

The room Jane might like best, however, is the girls’ bath. The board-and-batten walls differentiate it from the rest of the house, as does the patterned floor tile and sky blue clawfoot tub. “Everyone is obsessed with those Peter Dunham concrete tiles,” McAleer confirms. Jane points to the powder room’s starburst ceiling paper as another high point. “Annsley is so very good; we love it all,” she says. “Why would we even try to do anything ourselves?”

*The names in this story have been changed at the request of the homeowners.

Maine-Made Presents for Last Minute Gifters

Are you still looking for that perfect Maine present but you’re running out of time and inspiration? We’ve all been there. It’s come down to the wire for gift giving season, but don’t panic! Whether you need a special something for your sweetheart or a little host/hostess gift for a New Year’s Eve party, these products designed and made in the Pine Tree State will take you over the finish line. 

         Photo: The Clay Creative

SMITH’S GENERAL | Winslow Quilt
Inspired by the Maine coastline (in particular, the logs and timber of the wooden piers that dot the shoreline), this handmade quilt designed and sewn in Yarmouth is a gorgeous addition to any bed, or can serve as a piece of art to give a space a Scandinavian feel.

Shop It: Smith’s General 

SARAH MADEIRA DAY | Marsh Print on Canvas
A beautiful and affordable addition to any room, Sarah Madeira Day’s prints, inspired by Maine’s natural splendor, are the perfect gift for the decor-minded friend in your life. 

Shop It: Sarah Madeira Day

SPECKLED AX | Monthly Coffee Subscription
The caffeine lover in your life will be thrilled when they receive a monthly subscription of wood-roasted coffee from Speckled Ax! With the option of receiving two 12 ounce bags or one two-pound bag each month, this subscription provides the opportunity to try a wide variety of brews, from old standbys to seasonal specials.

Shop It: Speckled Ax

BRANT & COCHRAN | Dirigo Belt Axe
It looks like we could be in for a proper New England winter this year, which means wood stores need to be fully stocked! Give your favorite wood splitting enthusiast this steel axe made in South Portland, ideal for chopping firewood for the woodstove. 

Shop It: Brant & Cochran

OLD TOWN CANOE | Discovery 133
If you have a lifelong outdoors lover on your list this year, you can’t go wrong with a boat from Old Town Canoe! With nylon web seats, a three-layer hull construction, and a wide beam for stability, the Discovery 133 is great for solo expeditions or journeys across the lake with the whole family. 

Shop It: Old Town Canoe

WARY MEYERS | Irie Spring 100mg CBD Glycerin Soap
If you’re familiar with and (like us) love the groovy designs of Wary Meyers’ handmade soaps and candles, this colorful soap—inspired by the color palette of Air Jamaica in the 1980s and infused with CBD oil—is the perfect way to spread joy! 

Shop It: Wary Meyers

NELL BALLARD DESIGNS | Aqua Sister Dangles
Who wouldn’t love to find something sparkly in their stocking this year? These aquamarine dangle earrings, handmade by Maine jewelry designer Nell Ballard, are inset in recycled yellow gold. Each aquamarine has a unique, freeform shape giving the wearer a cool, organic vibe. 

Shop It: Nell Ballard Designs

L.L. BEAN | Wicked Good Camp Moccasins
Give the gift of cozy feet! A classic present for Mainers and Maine-lovers alike, these shearling-lined slippers from L.L. Bean will keep toes toasty on frigid nights. 

Shop It: L.L. Bean

For the person in your life who’s always on the go (whether traveling around the world or heading out into the wilderness), these gear organizers are both space-saving and weather proof and will organize even the messiest adventurer’s pack. 

Shop It: Hyperlite Mountain Gear

Photo: Melissa Gabes

NEAR AND NATIVE | Fraser Fir 13 oz Wooden Wick Candle
What better present for a Maine lover than the smell of the Pine Tree State? Hand poured in Portland, this candle carries notes of citrus and cedar with a 70 hour burn time, making cozy evenings by the fire even cozier. 

Shop It: Near and Native

FLOWFOLD | Recycled Sailcloth Minimalist Card Holder Wallet
Do you know someone who is ready to move on from their bulky leather wallet? Made in Maine out of recycled racing sailcloth, this cardholder is durable, small, and ideal for traveling light! 

Shop It: Flowfold

Handmade from reclaimed wood, this longboard is the perfect present for thrill seekers! Stamped with Sad Lumberjack’s custom woodsman graphic and featuring a unique wood grain, these boards are one-of-a-kind. 

Shop It: Sad Lumberjack 

TACHEE | Adult Geo Crewneck Sweatshirt
Featuring the work of Maine artist and textile designer Rachel Gloria Adams, this cozy sweatshirt comes in two colors (ruby and forest) and will keep your friends warm and stylish all winter long. 

Shop It: Tachee

MODERN MAINE | Pear Pendant Lamp
Made on Deer Isle by lighting designer Julie Moringello, this pendant lamp adds a contemporary edge to any room! Featuring strips of maple wood that diffuse a warm glow, this fixture would be a welcome present for any design-minded friend or family member.

Shop It: Modern Maine

Map Maker Molly Brown on Community and Creating a Sense of Belonging

“I returned home to Maine after being out west for a decade, knowing very clearly that if I wanted to pursue expressing myself [for a living], this was the place I had to be to do it,” says artist and map maker Molly Brown, founder of MollyMaps. “Not only because Maine is the watery, blue/green landscape that I need, but also because I had a hunch I’d find an encouraging and supportive community here.” Brown grew up in Orono, studied geography at Middlebury College in Vermont, and went on to earn a Ph.D. in Human Geography from the University of Colorado Boulder. In her interview with MH+D Inside Out, she talks about her process and the support system she found in her home state. 

Q. What sparked your interest in maps, and do you have a favorite map that you’ve created?

A. While I was always a kid who loved to explore outside and also to draw, the actual map focus didn’t manifest until I took a geography class in college. My favorite map is the one that creates the most sense of belonging for the most people. Right now it is between Living in Portland, A View of Where We Live, or the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust painting.

Q. Tell us about your print-making process.

A. Most commonly I make monoprints with relief block printing, and then add watercolor and additional print layers. Having never been formally trained in print-making, my approach has always felt very experimental—seeing what happens when various methods are combined and different materials used. I’m open to using anything to solve the design problems in my head.

Q. You’ve spent a large chunk of your career working in art and environmental education in schools. What advice do you have to get children interested in geography and maps?

A. Let them draw/paint/act out/build their own special places, real or imagined. Then, truly listen to them, and go there with them. 

Q. Do you have any large-form projects that you are working on right now?

A. My hallway-long mural at the Stevens Square Community Center in Portland is definitely the largest form I’ve ever done!

Q. What’s your favorite place in Maine? 

A. Impossible to tell you. Old spots like Bald Mountain in Dedham bring back my childhood, new spots like Mount Abrams in Greenwood feel invigorating, and the ones I’m in day-to-day, like the trail along Great Pond in Cape Elizabeth, keep me sane.

Q. Who has helped you along the way? 

A. I’m grateful to several people who noticed my work and helped create opportunities for me to grow at a pace that would work for me as a nearly full-time mom. Kate Anker got me going with a studio at Running With Scissors, Karen Burke at k colette (a high-end home goods store that closed in 2018) walked me through starting my first wholesale account, and Beth Van Mierlo at SidexSide offered me a teaching artist path. The way these women—and so many other people around the state—noticed my unique path and encouraged me to continue is the reason I needed to be back in Maine. We can lift each other up. With new projects and an expanding business, I now hope to do the same. 

Q. What is your favorite thing to do in Maine that involves the state’s natural resources?

A. Being in the cool, clear water—whether surfing it, swimming it, snorkeling it, paddling it, or just floating in it!

The Best Children’s Room Decor

Style Files, a curated collection of editors’ picks.

Just because you have a kid doesn’t mean your style has to suddenly give way to mounds of plastic. Your child’s bedroom also doesn’t have to look like a busy preschool classroom. Here are my favorite picks, taken straight from my own home, of items that have blended seamlessly into my decor, will grow with my girl, and best of all, are things I actually enjoy looking at.

LALO | The Play Kit
It’s no wonder this table and chairs set by dad-founded, NYC and Scandi-designed Lalo is a Good Housekeeping award-winner. Made to fit right in with the sleekest of homes, the kid-sized combo is the perfect spot for crafts, games, independent play, and even Montessori-style dining. Unlike many children’s chairs on the market, the curvature of Lalo’s chairs makes them super comfortable—and they’re built to support a 200 pound adult. The table is just as sturdily constructed and easy to clean, with (washable) paint, crayons, and markers wiping right out. The limited-edition sage color was so popular that it’s now here to stay.

Shop It: Lalo

WANDER & ROAM | Foam Play Mat 
When you have a kid, they—and their stuff—tend to take over. These eco-friendly, non-toxic mats are not only soft, durable, easy to clean, and non-sticky, they also happen to look more like modern rugs than play mats. Ours sits under our daughter’s jungle gym (see below), making it perfect for softening tumbles, and lives directly in our living room. Surprisingly, the combo adds to the space instead of being an eyesore, fully incorporating her life and play into ours. The mats also roll up like a regular rug for easy storage. 

Shop It: Wander & Roam

Yes, you read right. We have a jungle gym
inside of our house. This was a moving-to-Maine-inspired purchase as much as it was a COVID-inspired one. Little did I know baby Mainers continue to play outside (and in my daughter’s preschool’s case, eat lunch) in freezing temps, but I still don’t regret our purchase. Handmade of high quality, flexible Aspen wood, and waxed with nontoxic, eco-friendly beeswax, the gym gives our daughter a physical outlet no matter the weather, and it’s also made our house quite the popular play date destination. 


HINGI | Ori Regular Shelf
I jumped on the Montessori bandwagon pretty early on. One of the aspects of the education method I agree with most is the idea of not overwhelming your child with toy options. Every single toy or teaching tool isn’t out at once, but rather meaningfully displayed on a low-lying shelf that your kid can walk (or crawl) up to and start playing with on their own. Do I like that this teaches independence? Yes. Do I further like that it makes my house tidier? Hell yes. This piece of furniture by Poland-based HINGI, is not only the most beautiful Montessori shelf I have found, but it’s also incredibly well made, eco-friendly, and will still look as great in her room at 3 as it will at 13. For now, I put a few choice toys out, leave the rest in the closet, and rotate them as my daughter’s interest wanes. The best part? Toys pulled from the dark depths that she hasn’t seen in a few months feel like new.

Shop It: Hingi

GRANPAPENN | Large Wooden Pastel Grimm’s Style Rainbow Stacker
If you are reading this then you surely are aware of the popularity of colorful wooden rainbow stackers. Despite actually being quite fun and versatile, I believe they’re more popular with adults than children, solely for their beauty. There are several versions on the market, but when on the hunt for this essential baby toy, I stumbled upon Granpa Penn based in Jacksonville, Alabama. Half the price of other versions, but just as thoughtfully made (the box arrived with a handwritten thank you note), I pull this down from the shelf to help my daughter make anything from trainset tunnels to see-saws for her stuffies to gigantic leaning towers. And when not in use, it’s the best looking piece of art in her room.

Shop It: GranpaPenn

IKEA | Sniglar Crib
In 2012, IKEA set a goal that by 2020 their wood would come from more sustainable sources. Today, more than 98% of the wood used for their products is either FSC-certified or recycled. That includes this crib, which, priced at just $79 is one of the best children’s furniture deals you will ever find. Take it from me—we bought ours on Craigslist for $30, from a young family who had used it as a crib and then as a toddler bed. Three-plus years later the Sniglar is not only still going strong, but I am consistently asked by friends and visitors where I got it. There’s nothing better than a quality hand-me-down, especially one at such an unbelievable price point.

Shop It: IKEA

WEST ELM | Ultimate Art Easel
Our gal is quite the artiste. Her favorite activity by far (sometimes to her parents’ chagrin, let’s be honest) is painting. We finally got tired of clearing off the dining room table and spreading out a splat mat, and splurged on this multipurpose easel. I love that the boards can be moved around—she can stand up and paint and then sit down and use chalk at the same time. The extra shelves make great storage: I took old mason jars and filled one with crayons, one with colored pencils, one with chalk, and one with dry-erase markers for her to use at her whim, and I can still fit all of her extra paper, paint, and other art materials. I love having these items in one easy-to-access place.

Shop It: West Elm

PETIT COLLAGE | Day + Night Four in a Row
I have been (playfully) made fun of by my fellow parent friends that I do not allow a single piece of plastic to enter my house. This couldn’t be further from the truth—shout out to transfer station castoffs!—but I will say that one benefit of being the first of my local friends to have kids and the sole bearer of grandchildren in my immediate family, is that we’ve gotten to start from scratch. I love finding wooden versions of traditionally (garish) plastic toys, like this “Four in a Row” game by sustainable toymaker Petit Collage. When I saw this on Chronicle Books’ Spring 2022 catalog, I immediately put it on the to-get list for my color-coordinating, sorting-loving kid. 

Shop It: Petit Collage


Holiday Hosting Essentials

Style Files, a curated collection of editors’ picks.

Snow flurries are right around the corner, which means it’s time to prepare for hosting holiday get-togethers! From kitchen implements to entertaining must-haves, check out this roundup of seasonal products to get you ready to carve the turkey and tuck in. 

Fern Impression Cheese Boards
A staple for entertaining and a piece of decor in one, these cheese boards serve double duty in your kitchen as a tableau for appetizers or a botanical decoration hung on the wall. 

Shop It: Fiore Home

Cheese Knife and Cleaver Set
Curate your cheese and charcuterie boards with this artisanal French knife set, ideal for quiet nights with your family or large gatherings of friends. 

Shop It: Blanche and Mimi

Mid-Century Bar Cart
Made from rich walnut wood with brass detailing, this bar cart displays cocktail implements in a visually appealing way that will impress your guests—and keep you sane—during the holiday season. 

Shop It: West Elm

FOOD52 |
Russel Wright American Modern Gravy Boat and Saucer
A modern twist on a classic, these gravy boats will serve as the design centerpiece for your table that everyone will covet.

Shop It: Food52

Worn Black Twigs Oatmeal Linen Napkins
Made in Maine by local textile designer Erin Flett, these elegant linen napkins will give your table a sophisticated, simple vibe that translates to gatherings any time of the year.

Shop It: Erin Flett

2-Piece Carving Set
Cut into your turkey with confidence with this sleek carving set made from 100% German stainless steel! Featuring a scorched steel handle and polished blade, these implements are both stylish and useful. 

Shop It: Schmidt Brothers

Hedley and Bennett X Skordo Apron
Prove your prowess in the kitchen and keep your holiday outfit pristine with this simple yet chic apron. Made from a cotton-poly blend and featuring three large pockets, this piece makes multi-tasking while you cook and entertain is a breeze. 

Shop It: Skordo

Tovolo Bulb Baster
Year after year it’s always the same: you go to baste your turkey and wind up dripping marinade all over the bottom of your oven. This modified baster features an angled tip and non-drip valve that keeps your oven clean and your peace of mind intact.

Shop It: Crate and Barrel

Hoop Ash Pepper Mill
Made from ash wood and featuring an appealing hoop design, this mill grinds pepper from fine to coarse with ease and serves as a design statement next to your stove! 

Shop It: Blanche and Mimi

OXO Flavor Injector
Never suffer through dry turkey again! Use this implement to take your roast’s moisture and flavor to the next level by injecting it with various marinades, and then sit back to enjoy the juicy results. 

Shop It: LeRoux Kitchen

Wool Dot Trivet
Often overlooked but always needed, be sure to grab these colorful wool trivets to protect your table in style. 

Shop It: Fitz and Bennett Home

Poultry Brine
Are you cooking a turkey for the first time this year? Roast with confidence with this custom blend of herbs and spices that will ensure your bird is both juicy and flavorful. 

Shop It: Skordo

FOOD52 |
Cedar and Eucalyptus Garland
Half the battle of entertaining is creating an aesthetically appealing tablescape; use this modern garland to give your table a fresh botanical vibe to admire while you pass the potatoes.

Shop It: Food52

7-Piece Campfire Set
Handmade in Maine, this dish set will fill every position on your holiday table and then some, so if last minute guests show up, you’ll definitely be prepared. 

Shop It: Campfire Pottery

1095 Carbon Chef Knife
Whether you work in a professional kitchen or only cook at home, a chef’s knife is a must-have. Handmade in Auburn, this carbon knife is both functional and fashionable, with a red maple handle and brass bolster. 

Shop It: Strata

2021 Holiday Gift Guide


This one won’t fit under the tree (or in any realistic gift budget), but I covet SMEG’s retro-style fridge. The unique color options, quirky shape, and overall timeless aesthetic make it look good in whatever kitchen it’s in, and I know it would look good in mine. But I’ll keep dreaming, and maybe settle for one of their retro toasters in the meantime.

—Olivia Ryder, production manager

I live close to several coastal parks and lakes and would love to be able to get out on the water with ease! However, I don’t have the storage capacity for a traditional kayak or canoe. An Oru Kayak is the perfect solution. Made from flexible, custom-extruded polypropylene, in a series of origami-like moves these boats fold down to the size of a couch cushion. Plus, with the help of a carrying case with backpack straps and a collapsible paddle, you can hike to alpine lakes for a quieter paddling experience.

—Hadley Gibson, editorial assistant


I’m coveting one of the deliciously cozy and functional ChappyWraps. Run by mother-and-daughter team Beth LaSala and Christina Livada in Cape Elizabeth, I love supporting local, family-run, and women-run businesses. Plus, blankets that can be thrown in the washing machine? Sign me up.

—Karen Middleton, publisher of Maine

A Solo Stove is at the top of my list this year! Not only are these stainless-steel fire pits portable, but their unique design produces minimal smoke, so you can get close to the heat without smelling like a campfire. I love that you can use it in the mountains after a long day of hiking or skiing, for nights on the beach, and even in your backyard without having to commit to a permanent pit.

—Anna McDonough, sales and circulation manager


For years I have contemplated buying the Componibili Storage Unit designed by Anna Castelli Ferrieri in 1969, to use as a nightstand in my bedroom. Ferrieri was a pioneer for women’s rights and one of the first women to graduate with an architecture degree from the Polytechnic Institute of Milan in 1943. It’s not only a sleek storage piece but also a reminder of a great female designer.

—Danielle Devine, editor

I take a lot of fishing day trips and often find myself hiking deep into the woods to find fishing spots off the beaten path. Carrying a traditional tackle box can be cumbersome, especially on top of whatever other gear I’ll need for the day. The Flowfold Center Zip Pack is a collaboration between Flowfold and L.L. Bean. It’s waterproof, lightweight, and durable and has plenty of space for fishing gear, snacks, and spare clothes.

—Joel Kuschke, creative director

Parachute is one of my favorite brands, from their textured waffle towels to their super soft, chunky rugs. But the original product that got them off the ground and into my Instagram feed is the sheets. I’m a fan of light and airy linen year-round, and these get softer with every wash while maintaining their shape and quality. Thinking about adding the clay hue to my collection has got me swooning—and ready for bed.

—Rachel Hurn, associate editor

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