Decorating like a Maine Airbnb

photo by Lynn Miller

Every summer we take our kids to Maine to visit my parents who spend their summers there.  They live in the quintessential Maine town with a general store, a post office, a library, and not a single traffic light.  Within 10 minutes you can see a Civil War era coastal defense fort, at least one lighthouse, and a Maine State Park beach.  My parents live on one of the small dirt driveways off the main road that are marked “Private Drive” in a house designed by my step-brother.  It is just the right size for two so we always spend our nights somewhere else.  There are cabins nearby, in the forest or on the beachfront, a great campground on a private island, and even a few well-known chain hotels in the larger town of Bath about 15 minutes north.  We have gone the way of cabins and campgrounds in prior years but this time wanted a little more home-comfort.


Emily, a co-worker at ReHouse, suggested Airbnb, a website and app that allows homeowners to rent out space to travelers.  This can range from a room with a bed to an entire home, and she has found their prices to be very reasonable.  I gave it a try and found just the right place for our family, Historic Greek Revival with a Kick, at the south end of Bath.  I knew the space would be great by the number of fantastic reviews and Alice’s Superhost status, but I was unprepared for the actual decor and atmosphere of the place.  It reminded me of all the projects that ReHouse customers dream of.  That is why I am telling you about it.  I know you will love it as much as I do.

Visitors stay in the front half of the house, and Alice’s family lives in the back half.  You enter into a long narrow room with stone floors, unique hooks to hang your hats and coats, a bench covered in animal hide, and the first signs of architectural salvage.  A small antique crystal and silver chandelier hangs from the bead-board ceiling, and I wonder if it is original, a reproduction, or whether Alice has made it from a silver candy dish and loose crystals found at a flea market.  A salvaged door header painted white tops a frameless mirror which hangs over a small table that could be made from a single kitchen cabinet with a marble counter and found furniture legs.  On this sits a simple display of glass bottles in a short wooden crate, perhaps once used for local blueberries.


An antique secretary’s desk is a perfect hiding place for outdoor essentials or to set your keys on as you walk in the door.  The interior door still has its original bell which the visitor would “Turn and Release” as instructed on the front.


The small kitchen has everything you need tucked behind a narrow island built of weathered natural barn wood.  This is reflected in the grey washed wood accent wall nearby.  This wall sports a few wood shelves held by cast iron brackets.  Below is a sturdy wood crate painted cream attached to the wall by its base.  This creates 2 more shelves to hold your coffee maker and all your coffee making essentials.  It feels beachy and transitions perfectly from the browns of the entryway to the greys of the dining room beyond.


The dining room is bright and light.  The table seats 4-5 with 2 chairs painted cream and built in benches with storage underneath.  The tops of the benches are dark stained wood which is simple but effective.  On the left wall storage is created with 4 base cabinets that match the bench bases and topped with grey washed wood.  This antique half-circle window is the feature accent with an elegant arrangement of candle holders and glass balls with the look of antique silvered mirrors sitting in a cream ceramic bowl.


How clever is this little display at the bottom of the stairs?  It is a narrow piece of weathered wood on some simple brackets.  On the shelf is an antique dresser mirror in its original harp.  I never thought of putting one of these on anything but a dresser!


At the top of the stairs there is an inviting little space with a leather loveseat and crystal table lamp.  The bead board on the walls mirrors the planks on the “barn doors” at the other end of the hall.  I started thinking about making over my own ugly sliding closet doors like this.  That shouldn’t be too hard.  Should it?  Alice also incorporated two divided lite windows, one to hide a pipe and the other as a display case for some old area newspaper clippings.  The unexpected piece that I just love here is the baby or doll cradle with a cozy blanket and small throw pillow.


Here is an example of the simple yet sophisticated lighting found throughout the house.  This ceiling is small and not overpowering.  When turned on it sparkles and sends light dancing around the room just like the one in the above photo.


One of the best parts about Alice’s house for us was that is has 3 bedrooms.  That means my kids didn’t have to share a room let alone a bed.  You can’t go anywhere and get 3 bedrooms for such a great price.  You can see photos of the whole rooms on the Airbnb site, but I want to feature some of the vignettes that we could easily make using items in the store.  One little side table has an arrangement of bottles and candles on it but check out the dresser scarf; it’s a vintage money bag from a bank.  I bet you could use one of these flour sacks for the same type of eclectic feel.


In another bedroom there is another one of Alice’s signature narrow shelves.  This one has a doll tricycle and an antique certificate from the Board of Examiners in Optometry.  Again, so simple but intriguing.  If you can’t find a certificate like this one we have one from Calvin Coolidge confirming a man to the position of Postmaster in Pittsford.


Another lovely arrangement with bead board behind it mixes the new with the old.  Tall candle holders, an accent lamp and a small cabinet create an appealing trio.  On closer inspection the cabinet it is a lot like the vintage wood medicine cabinets that we often have in the store.


How about this for wall art?  This is a piece of antique tin ceiling with its original chipping paint and rough edges.  Mounted in front is a small wrought iron display shelf holding dirty old terracotta pots.  Can you believe I just used the words chipping, rough, dirty, and old to describe such fantastic decor?


These pieces really made me think about how difficult it must be to fill space when you aren’t using personal photographs or mementos which most of us do in our own homes.  The decor we love in magazines and on vacation doesn’t usually have these things.  I wonder if it is harder to decorate with those things or without them.  What do you think?

Whatever your thoughts, you can decorate like Alice too.  Here is your shopping list for you next trip to ReHouse if you want to try her style.  These specific items are in stock as of 8.15.18, but we may have similar items at any time.  See you soon, and don’t be afraid of old and chipping for your next decorating project.



Shop Small. Shop Local.


I cannot be the only person that dreads a shopping trip between Thanksgiving and the New Year.  Many shoppers have turned to the internet where purchases can be completed at home, alone, and wearing pajamas.  But online shopping is so impersonal you may as well just email a gift card to everyone and be done with it.


Is there a middle ground?  Can there be a type of shopping that sits neatly between crazy busy big box stores and easy but impersonal online shopping?  Yes!  There is an option that is more unique than either, and you may, actually, enjoy it. What is it?  Small business shopping.  Locally owned, specialty shops are all around us and offer guests not just a shopping trip but a shopping experience.  They are well know for their unique selections, knowledgeable and involved employees, and inviting and inspiring atmospheres.


As a small business, ReHouse, its staff, and its customers know the benefits and enjoyment of shopping small.  Together we have put together a list of our 10 favorite local small businesses to share with you.  We have tried to cover as many genres and geographical areas as possible in our list.  We hope you will enjoy many of them during your holiday shopping and year round.



Abode – Emily, fairly new to ReHouse and to Rochester, has already found her favorite small business here.  Abode offers hand selected, affordable mid-century modern furniture, home decor, gifts and other goodies, “piecing them together in modern, fresh and inspiring ways.”  Located at 289 Gregory St., Rochester, NY 14620 or call 585-471-8357



The Bird House  – I recently ventured into The Bird House for the first time.  I took a step in the door and stopped in my tracks. The variety and selection of bird houses in particular is unmatched.  Although their best seller is Black Oil Sunflower Seed blends, they also carry suet blends, bird feeders, bird houses, wind chimes, binoculars, and most anything else you might relate to birds or gardens.  “Many of our products come with a lifetime guarantee and are made in the US,” the website told me.  On Small Business Saturday they are hosting an open house including a visit from Nikon Representative Bill Stopinski who will answer all your questions about binoculars and scopes from 10am-3pm.  Located at 3035 Monroe Ave, Rochester, NY 14618 or call 585-264-1550.



Black’s Hardware  – Todd, who co-owns Black’s Hardware with his brother, was very honest with me, “we aren’t the kind of place people think of when they go gift shopping.  We are the place they go when they need something.”  My brother-in-law is an avid furniture refinisher and usually receives gift cards to one of the big box hardware stores in town for holidays.  This year he will be doing his after holiday shopping at Black’s instead.  Todd, I’m on my way in for a gift card.  At ReHouse we send customers over to Todd everyday for unusual hardware pieces that we do not regularly stock.  Maybe he will help me pick a small go-with item to add interest to the desired gift card. As their website says, “don’t say you couldn’t find it until you check with us.”  Located at 310 E Ridge Rd, Rochester, NY 14621 or call 585-544-9896.



Canacadea Country Store  – Kathy, co-owner of ReHouse, loves shopping at her close-to-home Canacadea Country Store for “something special, something different.”  I spoke to Don, half of the husband/wife team of owners, who is obviously very dedicated to his small business located in an historic building that was originally an 1858 general store.  They are well known in the area for representing local artists and crafts people.  Their best-selling items include many styles of “earrings followed closely by coffee and candy.”  I asked Don what his personal specialty was as a small business owner.  “Local pottery,” he said proudly.  “We currently represent the work of 5 local ceramicists.” In addition to the one-of-a-kind work by locals they also carry a line of jewelry that cannot be purchased elsewhere in the area, Lizzy James, which includes a versatile wrap bracelet that doubles as a necklace.  Are they participating in Small Business Saturday? Yes they are, they hope many regular and new guests will stop in to see what they have to offer.  Located at 599 Rt. 244, Alfred Station, NY 14803 or call 607-587-8634.



Dan’s Crafts and Things  – When it comes to hobby and craft supplies, the employees at Dan‘s are known for their expertise and ability to offer guidance for nearly everything they carry.  They each have specialties and work in designated areas in order to provide the best possible customer service to each guest.  “I trust Dan’s to understand my teenager’s hobby related wish list,” Julie confides.  “I have no idea how to choose a 1/43 scale metal diecast unassembled car model.”  In fact, model kits, model trains, and radio controlled vehicles are some of their top sellers.  They also have a fabulous jewelry findings selection that Lisa will be using to make several holiday gifts.  They have “big plans for November 26th.”  No hints as to the specifics, but I’ll be there!  Located at 352 Empire Blvd, Rochester, NY 14609 or call 585-482-7850.




One World Goods – Travel the world without leaving town.  Julie says she can “shop for anyone” at One World Goods which carries fair trade items from over 50 countries.  The selection includes clothing, jewelry, home decor, kitchen and dining, toys, instruments, ethnic foods, and more.  At this time of year in particular you can find a most unique collection of Christmas ornaments and nativity scenes.  If you have to join the bustle of this plaza, please take the time to step into One World Goods and enjoy your trip around the world.  Located at 3349 Monroe Ave. (Pittsford Plaza), Pittsford, NY 14534 or call 585-387-0070.



Orien’s Café  – Sally, co-owner of ReHouse, highly recommends the mozzarella panini for lunch.  If you are only looking for something sweet look no farther than Orien’s selection of “authentic Italian pastries and gelato made on site using recipes designed by Italian pastry chef Salvatore Garofalo.”  Located at 1100 Long Pond Rd, Rochester, NY or call 585-663-3291.




Patti’s Pantry – Another favorite of Sally’s, Patti’s Pantry offers a unique selections of pancakes and pies among other pleasing provisions.  “I have always wanted to make the Pantry feel more like you were coming to someone’s home rather than a restaurant,” Patti says.  Take a trip over and you will see how true it is.  Located at 2485 Dewey Ave., Rochester, NY or call 585-621-2010.



The Purple Painted Lady – Most people have heard about their top seller, Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® or their  Annual Barn Sale in Palmyra, but The Purple Painted Lady is so much more.  Owner, Tricia, has made each of her four locations unique enough that you will want to visit them all before long.  The main store is located at 77 W Main St., Macedon, NY 14502 and is a magically delightful place with gifts for every beautiful soul.  For those of you on the far east side, visit The Savvy Chic (also awesome in its own right) at 1 West Genesee St., Baldwinsville, NY 13027 where Tricia stocks the Annie Sloan line and some other goodies. On the west side, the same goes for the double booth right as you enter the building at The Shops on West Ridge (number 11 on our list).  The newest location in Village Gate, Rochester also includes a space for Tricia’s second passion, helping fellow artists.  Here you will find not only a shopping experience but an offering of workshops and gallery type shows. Check out the event listings HERE.  Gift certificates are also available in any denomination.  Call 585-750-6056.




Record Archive  – “Record Archive has been a music & entertainment destination in Rochester since 1975. Specializing in vintage vinyl our expansive store also includes all of the latest music releases as well as unique gifts & toys, vintage clothing & furniture, t-shirts, souvenirs, 1000’s of movies, audio equipment, two live music stages, event space, and much more!”  Located at 33 1/3 Rockwood St., Rochester, NY 14610 or call 585- 244-1210.