A Remodeled 1940s Maine Cottage Is a Cheery Mix of Color and Nautical Elements

updated Feb 13, 2020
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Name: Emily Gallant
Location: Southern Coast of Maine, (Wells, Maine)
Type of home: 1940s cottage/ house
Size: 1200 square feet
Years owned: 1.5 years

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: We purchased the home to be our first rental property in July 2019. We did a complete renovation November to December 2019, with a short time frame and a minimal budget ($50,000). I have dreamed of owning a short term rental and finally the stars aligned! We own a busy seasonal ice cream business in the same town and it is a hot spot for short term rentals. I bit off a lot, but I was sick of talking about my dream and not acting on it!

My goal was to make a beautiful space that still felt like a “Maine cottage” should. It was built in an era of vintage appeal (1949), but lacked a lot of just that! In late 2019 the cottage underwent a major remodel and update. We created a better layout/flow to the house, including a brand new kitchen and bath, the creation of a third bedroom, and much more.

Our cottage, A Shore Thing, is tucked in a quiet neighborhood located one mile above Wells Harbor. The house now offers all the modern conveniences, with the charm of a Maine cottage. Too many homes in our area are redone (or torn down) and become huge homes with fancy appliances and finishes.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Vintage, eclectic, nautical, cottage, colorful

What is your favorite room and why? The kitchen! Part of me loved the old kitchen, but it was in a terrible location. It was a long galley with a window at one end, a tiny bathroom at the other, four doorways, and an “interior” window! The cabinets were built in place out of plywood so we could not relocate even if we had wanted. I pictured the kitchen being in the front of the house, where you’d be greeted by morning light as the eastern sky woke up each day. I think SO many homes are designed with little thought of the sun’s orientation. I love a bright, cheery sun-drenched room! So I took inspiration from the kitchen’s vintage appeal and we recreated a new kitchen! We used materials you would see in a summer cottage, including painted pine beadboard cabinets, a maple countertop (both made by a talented friend/artist/woodworker), a vintage sink that we’d been storing for a lifetime, wall-mounted faucet, and great previously loved chrome pulls, plus old stock knobs from an architectural salvage shop, Old House Parts in nearby Kennebunk. The kitchen is the heart of any home, and it sure is true of this cottage!

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? One of the final pieces I bought was a “ship’s wheel”! I was finishing work on the house but there was a local estate sale calling my name! They had advertised “nautical decor,” and since that was our theme, I knew I had to make the time! Sure enough I found a few treasures, one being a vintage ship’s wheel. I had no idea where it was going to go in the house, but like all good treasures, if you find one, you buy it and find a place later! It ended up being the perfect piece for above the bed in our “window room” (the new bedroom we created in renovation)!

Any advice for creating a home you love? With our primary residence and this new rental cottage, I spent months collecting items. I wasn’t always sure how they would all work together, or where they would all go, and sure enough in the end there were a few extras that didn’t go! I think the only way to create a cozy, lived-in space is to mix vintage and new items and collect them over the course of time. Mix layers of new and old for the win!

This submission’s responses were edited for length and clarity.