Transforming a classic seaside cottage

To benefit the Museums of Old York in Maine last summer, designers worked their magic on a Dutch Colonial summer home built in York in 1906 for New Hampshire Governor Frank W. Rollins.

Open Doors of York

This summer, the Museums of Old York host Open Doors of York, a home and garden tour August 12–13, 2015. The tour includes the homes and gardens of eight private homes as well as gardens along Lindsay Road, one of York’s most architecturally diverse neighborhoods. From a ship owner’s circa 1740 home to a former 1960s model home, the tour offers the opportunity to visit a variety of personal living spaces and gardens.
For more information and tickets, call (207) 363-1756 or visit

A Serenely Elegant Sun Porch

Visitors entered Harbor Lights, the 2014 Museums of Old York Decorator Show House, via an airy, gray-and-white summer porch designed by mother/daughter team Michaele Boehm and Kacey Graham of Boehm Graham Interior Design in Bedford. The room overlooks the York River and York Harbor, which inspired the designers. “It has a beautiful water view, and it was a gorgeous Maine day when we first saw it,” Boehm says. “We wanted to evoke the wonderful gray beach sand and ocean foam, and planned the room from there.” The room’s gray and white palette—including the striped, painted floor and custom draperies—enhanced its summery feel. “Our mantra is casual elegance,” Graham says.

Furnishings, a mix of antique and contemporary, included a velvet and linen couch with nailhead details; a marble-topped table; a repurposed, glass-topped coffee table; and white linen-upholstered chairs. Ceramic white ginger jars and oversized pieces of coral added visual interest.

Designers’ Resources

1) White table lamps from Circa Lighting • (877) 762-2323

2) Sofa and pillow fabrics from Kravet Smart •

3) Sofa, coffee table, marble-topped table and mirror from Boehm Graham Interior Design in Bedford 
(603) 472-5830, (617) 692-0400

4) White ginger jars from Boehm Graham Interior Design and Parker-French Antiques in Northwood 
(603) 942-5153

5) Drapery fabric from Pindler and Pindler • (800) 669-6002

A Nontraditional Take on a Traditional Living Room  

Designer Meredith Bohn of Meredith Bohn Interior Design in Hollis had a clear vision for the living room. “I wanted to convey the feeling of the home’s original time period, with visitors relaxing over tea in their summer white linens and lace, but make it accessible to a young family today,” Bohn says.

The original living room had watermelon-pink wall trim and chintz-covered furnishings. Bohn honored the homeowner’s love of color—and chintz—by creating a palette inspired by an unexpected lime green, black, gray and white floral fabric by Allessandra Branca for Schumacher. The custom sofa—covered in the nontraditional floral and soft green stripes—and other classically styled furnishings were anchored by a contemporary leopard-print rug and marble-topped coffee table. Purple and green tones were echoed throughout the room, from the warm, stone-colored walls and large fireplace, to the alcoves papered in eggplant and plum-colored stripes.

To enhance the room’s light, Bohn hung antique, stained-glass panes in front of the windows. She incorporated a clock from the Museums of Old York’s permanent collection and other antiques throughout the room.

Designer’s Resources

1) Pillows, chairs, stained-glass windows, antique table and green velvet settee from Meredith Bohn Interior Design
in Hollis • (603) 465-2108

2) Painting over the mantel is Across the Way by Kate Emlin from  the George Marshall Store Gallery in York, Maine • (207) 351-1083

3) Wall color is Strong White by Farrow & Ball; trim color is Purbeck Stone by Farrow & Ball; wallpaper is Plain Stripe in Colorway Pelt by Farrow & Ball

A Refined Dining Room

Curtain fabric and a personal collection of rustic French ceramics inspired Frank Hodge’s dining room design. Hodge, of F.D. Hodge Interiors in Boston, discovered the blue, cream and pale coral curtain fabric, by Quadrille, and immediately thought of the ceramics. “That was the beginning of the dining room scheme,” he says. “I love the French blue and rusty red combination.”

That refinement was expressed throughout the room, which featured many unique antiques. Hodge selected larger-scale, traditional furnishings and accessories to complement the room’s massive brass chandelier, which was original to Harbor Lights. In front of the fireplace was a magnificent eighteenth-century Italian hall bench with a wonderful carved skirt mimicking fabric folds. Two half-columns—which opened for storage—were repurposed from salvaged nineteenth-century columns. Flanking the modern French reproduction dining table were four circa 1960, painted Baker chairs, upholstered in pale blue linen fabric by Lee Jofa.

“I wanted the room to be elegant, yet comfortable and inviting,” Hodge says. “I love using antiques in interiors because they add history and interest to a room.”

 Designer’s Resources

1) Chaise longue, dining table and chairs, wooden birdcage, mirror and teapot from F.D. Hodge Interiors in Boston
(617) 267-8103

2) Pillows and drapery fabrics from Quadrille, Riviere Enchantee

3) Chair and bench fabrics from Lee Jofa • (617) 428-0370

4) Artwork from One of a Kind Antiques • (860) 767-2150

5) Chandelier is original to Harbor Lights

6) Carpet from J.D. Staron (617) 772-0281

A Study in Contrasts 

Using light paint colors plus a mix of antique and contemporary furnishings, Cynthia Clark of Cynthia Clark Interiors in Hampton created a comfortable, timeless office with a contemporary touch. 

She had to work with several design challenges: four entry points, a dropped (bright red) ceiling and a partial brick wall. She repainted the room and built-in bookcase to establish continuity and created the room’s focal point by centering an oil painting in the bookcase, flanked by a pair of iron lamps. “This transformed a choppy, crowded space into a stunning environment in which to read and write,” Clark says. A custom-finished desk, comfortable upholstered chairs and a mix of antiques helped complete the look.

Designer’s Resources

1) Floor and console lamps, mirror, chandelier, chairs and accessories from Cynthia Clark Interiors in Hampton
(603) 929-2987

2) Custom-finished desk and demi-lune table from Woodbridge Furniture Co. (336) 887-8246

A Tranquil Retreat

With its serene water views, the master bedroom and bathroom were transformed into a tranquil retreat by designer Renée Rucci of Renée Rucci Design in Atkinson. An Italian linen fabric featuring the Tree of Life and majestic sea cranes inspired Rucci’s palette of soft pinks and grays. “The fabric was really the driving force of that room,” Rucci says. “I accented it with pieces made of natural linen in soft tones to bring peace to the space.” She created two panels, hung on either side of the fireplace, and custom bedding out of the Schumacher fabric.  

Numerous elements in the room were inspired by the sea: the original artwork over the fireplace, shell lamps, even wall sconces over the fireplace, made of capiz shells. To accommodate the room’s dormered ceiling, Rucci angled the bed toward the fireplace and created a custom, padded headboard. She reupholstered and painted an antique chair and dresser, adding interesting details using nailheads and linen panels. An array of pillows and airy window treatments were elegant finishing touches.

Designer’s Resources

1) Side table and dresser from Renée Rucci Design in Atkinson  (603) 770-6134 •

2) Bedcovering and wall panels in fabrics from Schumacher; and Kravet •

3) Custom pillows and window treatments from Houlès •; Carole Fabrics •; and The Leading Edge Drapery in Derry • (603) 437-8629

Simplicity and Summer in the Kitchen  

Simplicity and summer came together beautifully in designer Lisa Teague’s kitchen and butler’s pantry. The small, sunny room was positioned to take advantage of scenic views overlooking the back yard and the York River. “I wanted the space to feel like an old summer porch, which is what it was at one time,” Teague says. 

A table set for two, with comfortable rattan chairs hand-painted by Teague, looked out to a small stone patio, “a perfect spot for pancakes,” Teague notes. The walls and trim were a custom color, nontoxic, VOC-free paints from Teague’s own line, Quiet Home Paints. “The room was all about the outside,” Teague says. “It was such a beautiful spot.”

Designers’ Resources for the kitchen

1) Paint by Quiet Home Paints in Portsmouth (603) 493-4516 •

2) Granite countertops from Arens Stoneworks in Greenland • (603) 436-8000

3) Chairs from Abode Home Furnishings in Portsmouth • (603) 431-2117

4) Table from Lisa Teague Studios in Portsmouth • (603) 493-4526

5) Branches on wall from Home Goods

Decorating the Outdoors

Harbor Lights’ lush landscape was enhanced by colorful plantings on the back patio and side porch from Churchill’s Gardens in Exeter. Designer Linda Zukas selected low-maintenance plants with big visual impact: begonias, ivies, Boston ferns and palms. Lush ferns and planter boxes along the railings of the back porch created a sense of
privacy. “I wanted the porch to be a relaxing, private oasis, so I chose plants that would work in a shady location and also with the color scheme of the furniture,” Zukas says.  

Begonias and other plantings added impact to the back patio; Zukas used the home’s original wicker window boxes to complement her designs.

Designer’s Resources for the patio and side porch

1) Sculpture and Adirondack chairs from Georgie’s Home and Garden in York, Maine • (207) 363-6270

2) Plantings from Churchill’s Gardens in Exeter (603) 772-2685 •

Categories: Architecture and Interiors