A Farmhouse Makeover

Sometimes it takes a village to rehab an older home. Every summer the volunteers at the Museums of Old York select a house that becomes the creative outlet for a host of area interior designers. The makeovers are truly stunning – and a testament to the dedication of participating design professionals.

The house chosen for this year’s fundraiser by the volunteers of the Museums of Old York was the McIntire Farmhouse – in fact, this was the first farmhouse to ever be selected as the show house. The event in the coastal town of York, Maine, is now in its 20th year.

The challenge for the designers was to design a contemporary, comfortable living space within the confines of the relatively small rooms of the traditional 1920s-style house. In most cases, they were asked not to paint the woodwork while they created the environs for an imagined, future family.

The history of the property is as interesting as its recent transformation. The land was the homestead of Micum McIntire, a Scottish Highlander captured by Oliver Cromwell’s forces at the Battle of Dunbar in 1650. He served his sentence in the salt marshes of Massachusetts Bay Colony and after serving his time, relocated to York, Maine. McIntire Farm has remained in the family for more than 300 years.

The original farmhouse was built by Micum’s son, but burned to the ground in 1922. At that point, the family hired a Portsmouth firm to build a new house with an emergency fire system. In 1942 it burned again, without the system being put into service. The house standing today was rebuilt in the same style and exemplifies Greek Revival architecture of the 1850s, but there are stylistic touches reminiscent of the ’20s. Parts of the homestead, but not the farmhouse, have been donated to the York Land Trust and the Old York Historical Society for perpetual preservation.


Kitchen Pantry

Designer Frank Hodge gathered antiques and a full set of Wedding Band china to line the shelves of the pantry. He removed the doors from the cabinets for a more open look and painted the shelves with Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee. The classic linoleum flooring was retained and Hodge was even able to purchase a few squares for repairs that closely matched. Fruit and flower arrangement is from Botanica in Portsmouth.

F.D. Hodge Interiors, www.fdhodgeinteriors.com

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Living Room and Reading Room

Above: Living Room

This room overlooks the salt marsh of the York River estuary. In the distance, greens of the field and blues of the sky are reflected in the water and the color palette of this room. Sea-green grass cloth walls and silk draperies with shimmering shades of blue to gray create a calming space where modern style meets transitional design in this room by Sarah Duquette. The non-functioning fireplace was fitted with a mirror to add depth and reflected light to the room.

Duquette & Company Inc., (207) 363-1827

Below: Reading Room

Designer Diane Hughes started this project with wallpaper that never arrived. In the end, the beautiful subtle metallic striped paper, “Threads” by Lee Jofa, tied the room together with a variety of shades of taupe, grays and white. Hughes covered the red brick of the fireplace with tiles from Portico Fine Tile & Design in Greenland.
Diane Hughes Interiors, Rye, (603) 964-9543


Family Room

Valerie Jorgensen created a warm and inviting space filled with antiques and high-tech equipment in the former carriage house for the family’s media room. She retained the casual look with rustic barn board siding and retained the lovely worn flooring, only giving it a light stain to meld the tones from the walls and furniture with the floor. A bold contemporary rug from Company C inspired the color palette of Moroccan Red from Benjamin Moore for the walls and the blue antique corner cabinet from R. Jorgensen Antiques of Wells, Maine. Sofa and side tables came from J. Covington Home in Portsmouth.

V. Jorgensen Design LLC, Wells, Maine
(207) 251-0447


Dining Room

The beautiful murals by Judy Dibble of Contoocook are a direct inspiration from the winding York River marshes behind the farmhouse. Designer Anne Cowenhoven of York used the rich golden hues of orange, red and brown drawn from the mural to set the table. The colors enhance the woodwork and are also reflected about the room in a Tibetan rug and woven linen panels. The antique sideboard and farm table and chairs are from R. Jorgensen Antiques in Wells.

Anne Cowenhoven, York, Maine

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Marjorie’s Room and Charlotte’s Nursery

Above: Marjorie’s Room
A recent trip to the Hillwood Museum and Gardens, the former home of Marjorie Post, was the inspiration for this room designed by Frank Hodge. Using a palette of greens and creams taken from the chintz fabric by Lee Jofa he created a calming space for a guest bedroom/sitting room. The walls are Benjamin Moore Spring Meadow. The daybed is a French antique from the 1920s. Hodge used a touch of the wall color paint to glaze the bed’s frame to add visual unity to the room.

F.D. Hodge Interiors

Below: Charlotte Rose’s Nursery
Fit for a princess, this pretty-in-pink theme is played out with a hand-painted antique crib that recalls a bygone era appropriate to the estate’s history. Wallcoverings are by Ralph Lauren and a variety of trims have been added for a feminine touch.

Andrea Mahler, Interior Designer
and Michael Jones, design associate, Wells, Maine
(207) 216-0287


Master Bedroom

Nicole LaBranche Yee from California, and now serving the New England seacoast, envisioned a classic black-and-white design for the master bedroom. Benjamin Moore Linen White walls became an envelope for the room, while monochromatic raw silk draperies soften the lines and pool naturally to the floor.

Yee put the bed in the middle of the room, so the beautiful view of the marsh could be seen from the bed. By keeping the colors to a minimum the view becomes the focus of the room. Through the sliding glass door is a small balcony to enjoy a leisurely breakfast.

NY Interiors

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Meet the Designers

Top left
Linda Hentschel of Renaissance Interiors in North Reading, Mass., created a secret hideaway for the family’s young son. Soft curtains create a private nook and a built-in bench provides storage for his toys. (978) 664-0064

Top right
The wonderful wraparound porch was made inviting with durable resin-weave wicker-style furniture and filled with pots of annuals, all from Eldredge Lumber and Hardware in York. Their Atlantic Design Center provided a few of the accents, too. Margareta Claesson, above, created the space to show people that one does not have to spend a lot of money for outdoor living spaces. www.eldredgelumber.com

Janet Swanson (pictured) and Georgie McGowan of Fiona’s Porch in York chose an all-American theme with nautical accents for the family’s young son. Roland LeBree painted the chest to match a quilt covering the bed. All accessories are from Fiona’s Porch. www.fionasporch.com

The sitting room was developed by mother/daughter team Michaele Boehm and Kacey Graham of Bedford. They envisioned a space to display the family’s collection of insects and bones, inspired by a recent visit to the Southwest and the curiosity cabinets first seen in the homes of the aristocracy in the 16th century. Two large mirrors reflect light and white walls and furniture give the illusion of space. (603) 472-5830

Meet the Designers Group 2

Top left
The Mud Room was created by Amanda Colosi for Diane Hughes Interiors. She took inspiration from the nearby York River and created a space to store the family’s fly-fishing equipment. She painted the walls Benjamin Moore Tangerine, Shaker Beige and Van Buren Brown.

Top right
The dooryard garden was created by Charles Hugo with inspiration from the Greek Revival style of the home. Many gardens of the period were a mix of traditional and more formal European styles, softened by a new approach to garden design that relied on the sumptuousness of flowering perennials and annuals. The hardscape, in the form of a cross, is created with brick and bluestone. Low parterres of boxwood and hydrangea define the walkways. The arbor entrance is from Arbor Platinum Fences in Seabrook.

Middle left
The tiny powder room under the stairs was a space challenge for designer Annie Kiladjian of York and Nichole Donovan of Distinctive Tile and Design in Cape Neddick. Donovan created a classic pattern with honed limestone tiles from Galleria Stone and topped it with a mosaic border to create a chair rail, an effect to make the tiny space look larger. Kiladjian selected a small vanity that tied in with the dark woodwork to maximize space and chose soothing neutral colors that complimented the tile work and opened up the walls.

Annie K. Designs, (207) 351-3300, and Distinctive Tile and Design, www.distinctivetileanddesign.com.

Middle right
Savannah’s Room was developed by Joyce Jordan, of Hampton Falls, into a future ballerina’s dream with furniture by Cottage Chic and sweet murals by artist Eric K. Andersen. The bedding from Feather Your Nest featured a pattern of ballerinas, while slipcovers by Sarah Horton added a touch of beauty and practicality for a small chair. www.joycejordaninteriors.com

Bottom left
The challenge here was a blue tub that had to be worked into a fresh new design. Julie Brady, of Standard of New England in Portsmouth, chose to paint the walls a happy blue and use fresh white curtains and shower curtain for contrast.www.standardne.com

Bottom right
Frank Hodge designed the kitchen and Marjorie’s Room in addition to the pantry. The checkered dark green and yellow linoleum was the inspiration. Irish limestone countertops help update the space. www.fdhodgeinteriors.com

Categories: Home & Garden