Blogging the York, ME Show House – Best Laid Plans!

The nature of interior design in general, and Designer Show houses especially…is that the designer has to be able to ADJUST!!  Items are late or unavailable, plans have to be modified due to circumstances or hidden details that pop up, and sometimes something that looked good on paper, just didn’t work as well as the designer hoped.  Things happen and we have to solve the problem and roll with the punches…..

One of the plans I made was to write more often about my experiences during the course of the prep for the 2013 York Historical Society show house this year, and best laid plans, as they say….often go astray!!  So, here we are less than 2 weeks until the opening and I haven’t written as much as I planned, but let me bring you up to speed…

I am working on two spaces in this year’s house on Kittery Point, ME- we are calling it “Secret Cove”- the first floor Sitting Room, Kitchen and Dining room, one very large open space with a somewhat unusual layout and relationship to the adjoining rooms.  I am also designing a very special little space at the top of the main stair and the skylight-lit open staircase leading to it.

"Before" shot of kitchen showing dark green walls and white cabinets
“Before” shot of kitchen showing dark green walls and white cabinets
2006-01-18 15.10.48
Top floor sitting area- I’m calling it the Lady’s Retreat”
upper staircase leading to the "Lady's Retreat"
upper staircase leading to the “Lady’s Retreat”

Though I start out with a very clear vision of what I plan for the spaces, it is always exciting to hunt for the components and details that really bring that vision to life.  This year I was again fortunate to have the paint and wallpaper donated by Farrow&Ball.  Farrow & Ball paints are very high in pigment and create a wonderful depth of color and the wallpapers are all hand-blocked. This gives them a much richer dimension than a digitally printed, flat design.  We were very fortunate this year as F&B has made their paint and papers available to all the designers in the Show house, and they will even be giving color consultancies during the weekend of July 2o-21.  I used over 16 gallons of paint in my spaces as I was painting the walls, ceiling and trim throughout!

Progress in the Kitchen/Dining/Sitting area! That's a LOT of Paint!!
Progress in the Kitchen/Dining/Sitting area!
That’s a LOT of Paint!!

Many thanks to my great painting contractor- Bob Gagnon with Architectural Coatings Company as my spaces presented special challenges!  we have also been challenged with the wet and humid weather…everything feels sticky as we move closer to the finish.  We had a long day today as we had lots of items that are getting to the finishing stages.  The wallpaper is up and looking great, the lighting fixtures from Lighting by the Sea are really exciting and make a special impact in the Kitchen/Dining space….many, many thanks to Alan and Brienne for all their help and their great eye!  I am very pleased with the items already put in place, and I am really exited about the rest of the choices that I have made.  I think that it is maybe a little harder to admit that some of my original plans have not worked out, but the reality is that it has forced me to be even more creative and think outside the box…I have had to stretch myself and I think it has resulted in an even better pair of rooms.

Breakfast nook and bookcase in progress
Breakfast nook and bookcase in progress


My main idea with this blog post is to check in with the progress of the house, show a few sneak peaks, and hopefully create a little curiosity as to what I am creating!!  As with all “works in progress” the ACTUAL end product is not always clear in the middle of the process.  The best way to describe it is that when you have a very clear idea of the end point, and always keep it in front of you….great things happen!!


upstairs bookcases
upstairs progress with bookcases

I am really happy with the way things are shaping up in the upstairs room, and the color is just how I imagined it would be….a soft green that offers a bit of a surprise to the eye and I am unbelievably pleased at how it looks with the focal point coral fabric…I think it is striking the exact note of surprise and beauty I hoped.  The Kitchen/Dining/Sitting rooms on the ground floor are an interesting contrast – using black, gray, and other neutrals,  I think they are an unexpected combination, and the rooms are another visual surprise!  I am also quite happy with how the antiques mix with the modern pieces in a completely comfortable, and yet completely fresh combination….

progress kitchen sitting room
Sitting area of kitchen-sneak peak of some items

The outside views are amazing from every vantage point and I will finish this post with the outside focus-  stay tuned for some more updates after the holiday!

window view kittery 2013
the view from the top window-with gorgeous coastal views of Piscataqua River….


Happy 4th of July!!  And we would LOVE you to make plans to visit Secret Cove from July 12-Aug 17!

secret cove

Hope to see you there!

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