Photography: Paul Costello1 of 14
Fish Plate Collection
The owner of this shingled house in Seal Harbor, Maine, is not a decorator, has never hired a decorator, and is not one to insist that everything in her home come from some rarefied source. She happily mixes sea grass mats from Pottery Barn, a poster from a photography show, and collections of rocks and shells with antique gilt-framed mirrors and a ship carpenter's trunk. "As long as it looks good," she says, "it doesn't matter where it comes from." By trusting her eye and rolling up her sleeves, she has created a summer home for herself and her husband that is extraordinarily beautiful and utterly original.
In the octagonal dining room, still covered with the wallpaper that was in the house when the owner arrived, part of her collection of fish plates is stored in an old pantry.
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The owner painted the top of the pine table in a bark tone used throughout the house.
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A plush lichen-colored sofa and a large fern are a nod to the woodland right outside the door, while a gilt-framed mirror adds a formal note along with lots of light.
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When they entertain, the couple often set up a help-yourself table of Champagne in front of the foyer's fireplace
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Clay Figure Collection
A clay ark sculpted by the homeowner, with creatures made by her guests over the years.
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A collection of shells and rocks, displayed on an antique ship carpenter's trunk.
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The owner designed the porch's copper-lined wood box, left, so it could be filled from the outside, leaving floors clean; a butler's tray functions as a makeshift bar.
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In the colder months, the couple switch out the window screens on their porch for Plexiglas; 1920s wicker furniture is arranged around a table that the owner cut down to coffee-table height.
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The home's color scheme was inspired by the woods outside. These paints are similar to the ones the owner used. Ivory White is a fail-safe trim color. Eiderdown, in the guesthouse common room, reflects the surrounding trees. Sandy Hook Gray, on the porch wall, bridges the interior and exterior. Churlish Green gives the living room a spring feel. Laurel Woods, on the porch furniture, is a softer alternative to black.
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The guesthouse's common room features a poster from a photography exhibit and a settee that was repainted.
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Guest House Stairs
Stairs lead to the guest quarters over the garage.
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Handpainted stones cleverly convey the house rules.
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After years of sharing their bathroom with guests, the couple built their dream master bath on the second floor of the main house; the fixtures are from Restoration Hardware.
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In addition to being an inveterate fixer-upper, the owner is also a sculptor. She made the ceramic dogs on a table, opposite, in the kitchen area; the one modeled on her shih tzu, Barney (in the foreground), has hair she created with a fettucine maker (she used a garlic press for the dog on the right). Her collection of photos by celebrity portraitist George Daniell is also on display.