Warm Welcome

Formal meets functional in a Kennebunkport home designed for graciously entertaining family and friends.

Rust Hills, the late fiction editor of Esquire, used to say that the first line of a short story should introduce the themes of the work to come. The same might be said of a home’s front door: it should invite you in, while establishing the nature of what is inside. Perhaps this is more ideal than realistic, but it is an ideal achieved in a couple’s 2013 Kennebunkport home. Continue reading

Moody Hues

A couple balances their sunny Miami Beach life with a swanky, stylish colonial in Cape Porpoise.

One day, a developer friend called Steve Oraham and Jim Samson at their Miami Beach home to say he’d found a “great house in Cape Porpoise and you’re really dumb if you don’t buy it”—a bit of exhortation that was a joke (in its putdown) but earnest enough. “He was probably sick of us staying in his house,” Samson opines. More joking. But the truth was he and Oraham had been coming to the Kennebunks for 20 years, so owning there made a certain sense. Continue reading

Family Heirloom in Kennebunk

A new home anchors Kennebunk’s Gooch’s Beach while referencing the past and anticipating the future.

Since 1660, there has been an inn on one end of Gooch’s Beach in Kennebunk. Since 1756, that establishment has been the Seaside Inn, run by the Gooch family and their descendants. In fact, the current owners are ninth-generation innkeepers, which makes the Seaside Inn the oldest continuously operating family business in the country. In 1959, a ranch house called The Dunes was built next to the inn and by 2001—when a Wisconsin bond manager, his wife, and two children were visiting the Kennebunks—the house was available for rental. The family rented each August till 2009, when the Seaside Inn’s 20 acres were subdivided, and the house came up for sale. “We love that beach. We love that community,” the husband says. “We had to buy it or say goodbye.” Continue reading

Cosmopolitan Cottage

A private home for a hotel person.

Real estate developer and hotelier Tim Harrington is responsible, with his business partners, for nine upscale hotels and inns in the Kennebunk area. Their properties include luxury bungalows in the woods; bright, chic rooms at Goose Rocks Beach; a New England inn; and elegant, European-style accommodations: Hidden Pond, the Tides Beach Club, the Kennebunkport Inn, and the Grand Hotel respectively. So where does the Miami-based Harrington rest his weary head when he is in town? The answer has changed in the 29 years that Harrington has been coming to the Kennebunks. Continue reading

Streamlined Spaces

A 1950s ranch renovated for art and stress-free living.

What movies do actors watch, what books do writers read, what clothes do fashion designers wear? I always want the inside scoop. So when I was offered a chance to visit Kevin Thomas’s house, I jumped at it. Thomas is the publisher of Maine Home+Design (as well as Maine magazine), and from 2003 to 2010 he built high-end custom houses under the auspices of what is now Thomas and Lord in Kennebunkport. Since Thomas has built many beautiful houses and seen even more, I wondered what he might want for his own home, given his clear sense of the possibilities. Continue reading

Boom Town

Something is happening in the Kennebunks. People are moving here. Building here. Opening businesses here. Tim Harrington is not surprised. These small towns have always had big heart.

At some point during the planning of my wedding, about the time when dresses and hairstyles and such were being discussed, I balked. All this to-do. It wasn’t my thing. I said to my mother, “I don’t really want to be the focus of attention.”

“But you’re the bride,” she observed.

Well, true enough. Continue reading

In-Town Bound

Two city dwellers build their dream home in Lower Village.

City dwellers are an adaptable bunch. Fueled by the hustle and bustle, they aren’t deterred by a little background noise, and somewhere along the way have made peace with the fact that their personal space is, well, shared. And while most of Maine offers quite a different experience, there are places here where city lovers feel more at home. Continue reading

Building a Reputation

How does a young builder from away break into the well-established, tight-knit local building community? Kevin Lord will tell you.

Growing up in Chicopee, Massachusetts, Kevin Lord was always lucky. In fact, he earned a reputation for it.

On every high school snow day, he and his friends met up to play nickel poker—with predictable results. “Whenever there was money involved, I always won,” Lord says today, as if he still can’t believe it himself. “My friends would razz me. But I won every card game we had and every raffle I entered.” Continue reading

Building a Dream

It was a storm of epic proportions. For three tidal cycles, the waves pounded Gooch’s Beach in Kennebunk, breaching and eventually destroying the seawall, lifting boulders onto the road and into the yards of the houses along Beach Avenue. Homes were flooded, roads were impassible, seaweed and beach detritus littered lawns and porches. Now known as the Patriot’s Day storm, it was a Nor’easter that drove up the eastern seaboard in April 2007 and hit the Maine coast with a terrifying ferocity not seen since 1991. In the aftermath, residents struggled to deal with extensive damage from waves, wind, and rain. Continue reading