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.