By Design > Vacationing in Style

This summer, two New Hampshire int erior designers helped interpret the way a Maine vacation should be when they participated in the Cottages at Hidden Pond Decorator’s Showcase at Goose Rocks in Kennebunkport, Maine.

The showcase—a benefit for the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust, the Child Abuse Prevention Council and River Tree Center for the Arts—gave each of fourteen Seacoast designers the opportunity to transform a new, 1,200-square-foot cottage into a cozy but elegant getaway. The fourteen cottages, set on sixty acres of woodland near Goose Rocks Beach, form the first phase of the Cottages at Hidden Pond, a new resort that includes a pond, a farm, nature trails, a health center and a swimming pool.

Designers Diane Hughes of Diane Hughes Interiors in Rye and Joyce Jordan of Joyce Jordan Interiors in Hampton Falls brought a wealth of experience to the project. Hughes designed two hotels, and Jordan designed a similar, although smaller, resort space. For this project, the designers were given two guidelines: 1,200 square feet to work with and an instruction to integrate the natural environment into their designs. Hughes and Jordan are passionate about fabric, and each began with patterns that incorporate natural elements, such as birds, branches, shells and flowers that pay homage to the resort’s surroundings.

Diane Hughes’s Cottage

Hughes sums up her aesthetic as “elegant designs for relaxed living,” which proved a perfect match for this project. “Having designed resorts before, I know that it’s important to not over-embellish,” she says. “And I think the best way to communicate both elegance and simplicity is to use quality fabric.”

Hughes chose to keep the bead board walls off-white but brought in a lot of color with her fabric choices. For example, in one of her bedrooms, she designed custom-fabric headboards using a Lee Jofa coral reef fabric in blue and white; her window treatments are made with a soft, gathered valance and a mid-length jabot (a piece of fabric, long or short, which drapes down on either side of a swag or valance, and is often pleated and tapered). “I wanted this bedroom to be crisp and summery, and I added seahorse and fish lamps for a whimsical touch,” Hughes says.

She designed her master bedroom on a more sophisticated scale, taking her cues from a Brunschwig & Fils shell and pearl fabric in mocha and chocolate with a touch of lime green. To complement the fabric’s sophistication, she chose a cherry bed and, for her window treatments, used a boxed valance with a loose jabot, adding a decorative seashell trim.

The living room is both elegant and cottage-like—thanks to the yellow, persimmon and pale lime palette. The sofa is upholstered in a yellow and cream houndstooth, and two accompanying chairs are in persimmon embroidered with yellow flowers. The window treatments are lime linen with a cream vertical stripe by Robert Allen, hanging from a decorative wood rod. Hughes chose a yellow wool sisal area rug, which contrasts beautifully with the dark floors.

Hughes asked muralist Judy Dibble of Brookwood Designs in Hopkinton to paint something appropriate for her cottage, called Fawns Pass. Dibble created a six-foot-by-six-foot canvas mural of a woodland scene, which includes fawns and a pond. “What’s great about murals is that you can both build on a design theme, as well as psychologically expand a narrow space, which is often characteristic of cottages,” Dibble says.

Joyce Jordan’s Cottage

“The developer of this project modeled it after the New England summer colonies of a simpler, slower-paced time, so I wanted the overall effect of my cottage to be simple and fresh without compromising on comfort,” Jordan says.

The first element in Jordan’s concept was a Brunschwig & Fils bird and thistle fabric in taupe, beige and offwhite, which she used for the upholstery and the window treatments in the open-concept living room.

“The fabric, which I think is very soothing and restful, gave me a palette to work with and play off of,” Jordan explains. “It also has a lovely robin’s-egg blue as an accent color, and I picked up on that throughout the cottage.”

She created a pleasing mix in the room by using the elegant fabric on simple, white-painted cottage furniture, and adding checked and plaid fabric in her trim.

In one of the cottage’s two bedrooms, Jordan continued the taupe, beige and off-white palette in the bedding and window treatments; she designed the second bedroom in the robin’s-egg blue. “I wanted the bedrooms to feel simple, cottage-like and friendly, and so I did relatively casual window treatments—a French valance in one bedroom and a Battenburg lace swag in the other.”

Like Hughes, Jordan kept the bead board walls throughout the cottage offwhite. She also used jute area rugs on the dark-stained hardwood floors and sisal carpeting on the staircase, all in keeping with her clean, fresh, natural aesthetic. Overall, her cottage is a lovely, relaxed space that whispers “summer vacation.”

Whether employing a simple or a sophisticated approach, Hughes and Jordan brought their own unique and elegant touches to these woodland cottages, which will delight Maine vacationers for years to come.