Jodi & Michael's Sunny Hideaway in the Wilderness

Jodi & Michael's Sunny Hideaway in the Wilderness

Fabienne Ayina
Sep 4, 2015
(Image credit: Fabienne Ayina)

Name: Jodi Capobianco & Michael Bell and their daughters
Location: Parsonsfield, Maine
Size: 1,200 square feet
Years lived in: 4 years; Owned

After three years of looking for the perfect nest, Jodi (Martha Stewart's former personal head gardener) and Michael (a busy landscaper) found their dream home: a sun-flooded wooden house on top of a mountain. Living in touch with nature gives them an intoxicating feeling of freedom and well-being, especially since their hidden retreat is guarded by a sculpture of a meditating frog in the Padmasana pose.
(Image credit: Fabienne Ayina)

Jodi and Michael's habitat blends perfectly into the wilderness. From the earthy color balance to the choice of natural materials, the couple describe their home as being "rawfully organic."

The solar-powered home looks surprisingly roomy and airy, perhaps because they adopted a "keep it simple" approach to living. "We have to agree on anything we brought into the house," Jodi shares with me. As a result, every piece is functional, well thought-out, and essential. The clutter-free and functional storage philosophy is very much an echo of Japanese interior design philosophy. Additionally, by thinking in terms of volume rather than just floor space, they were able to make the space feel very large. When it comes to green style and the pursuit of simplicity, this home reminds us that less is definitely more.

(Image credit: Fabienne Ayina)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Clean, uncluttered, zen-like, organic, wood! Lots of wood! Because our home is small with four people living in it, we wanted everything to be functional. Michael and I had an agreement that when we bought our home, we had to agree on anything that was brought into the house — such as furniture, art, decorations — and we had to absolutely love it. And most of all, it had to be useful. So far, we have stuck to our agreement and have done so gracefully.

Inspiration: We both love the idea of living in a treehouse and traveling to Asia. We feel that our home is a good representation of both. "There will always be room in your home, as long as there is room in your heart" is a quote in our daughters' book Room in Your Heart: Folktales from Bhutan that most definitely resonates within us. Our home might small, but our door will always be open.

Favorite Element: Our favorite element would be the knotty pine wood throughout the house. The wood reminds us of the earth and how beautiful nature truly is.

Biggest Challenge: We don't feel as though we have had any challenges. We are truly living our dream and we have created exactly what we wanted in a home

What Friends Say: Michael and I love entertaining. I enjoy cooking and feeding our guests with a healthy meal and Michael enjoys entertaining through his music. We have created a home not just for us but for our friends and family as well. Friends and family absolutely love our home and we are constantly asked if they can build a home for themselves on our land.

Proudest DIY: Our proudest DIY would be sanding all of the knotty pine wood (ceiling, walls, and floors) and coating with Vermont Coatings. The process took about two months which was much longer than we thought. Michael was thinking it would take only a few days. In the end, we were so proud of the outcome.

Biggest Indulgence: Food! Organically grown food from our garden which is then turned into the most scrumptiously delicious meals that feed our family and friends.

Best Advice: Our best advice would be to buy your dream home! You only get one shot at life so live it to its fullest. It took us three years to find our home. The day we first drove up our driveway to view the property, Michael and I both cried and knew within our hearts that this was going to be "Our" home. The feeling we have every day being in our home is the same feeling as the first day we saw it.


(Image credit: Fabienne Ayina)


  • All walls: knotty pine sealed with Vermont Natural Coatings
(Image credit: Fabienne Ayina)


  • Buddha mask: purchased in Western Massachusetts at an Asian antiques store
  • Wood bench: India

(Image credit: Fabienne Ayina)


  • Couch: Jordan's Furniture in Massachusetts
  • Coffee table: China
  • Table next to couch: China
  • Fish bowls: gifted to us
  • Red velvet chair: was my stepmother's mother's
  • (Image credit: Fabienne Ayina)


  • Table: antique
  • Wood bench with black statues: antique
  • Countertops: soapstone
  • Baskets above sink: salvage store for $5 each
  • (Image credit: Fabienne Ayina)


  • Bed: my grandmother's when she was in her 20s — I painted it pink to make it princess-like for the girls.
  • Bookcase: Rockland India
  • Toy box: made by our dear friend Ethan Verner
  • (Image credit: Fabienne Ayina)


    • Red statues: flea market
    • Sycamore branch above the shower with Pothos vines: branch salvaged from a dead tree that was cut down

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    Thanks, Jodi & Michael!

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