Featuring salty finds, no-frills furnishings, and one heckuva view, this formerly drab fixer-upper on Maine's Boothbay Harbor is now a beacon for game nights, lobster bakes, and the requisite vacation puzzles. Here's how the pieces fell into place.
Mary Barrett was 16 years old when her parents bought a vacation home in Maine's Boothbay Harbor. And while the Georgia resident loved summers spent by the shore, she never imagined she'd one day own her own piece of the Pine Tree State, much less a historic place just a mile from where it all began. But in 2009, when an early 1900s home in need of a little love hit the market in an area of Boothbay Harbor known as Juniper Point, Mary and her husband, Xavier Duralde, took the leap and set sail on a seven-month renovation.
In this photo: The flag "pole" is a single tree trunk.
"We'd been visiting the area with our four children since they were born, but never planned on buying," Mary says. "But when I stood on the porch of the little red cottage and spotted my parents' house just across the water, I got goose bumps. It just felt right."
In this photo: Mary filled all the "funky little nooks and shelves" with an assortment of nautical knickknacks.
Wet swimsuits? Bring 'em on! Mary scoured secondhand shops for weather-resistant wovens—rattan, wicker, and bamboo—that can take a beating indoors or out. "We live a lot of life in this house," she says. "No one wants to spend time worrying about the upholstery." Similarly, indoor/outdoor rugs (seen throughout the home) stand up to flip-flop traffic—and errant ice cream scoops. "Our rugs have passed the family reunion test," Mary says. "Once they've withstood 16 sets of feet, knocked-over wineglasses, and a whole spilled platter of pesto-covered appetizers, you know they can hold up to pretty much anything."
A vacation home shouldn't take itself too seriously. With that anything-goes spirit, Mary peppers her more curated collectibles with unapologetically playful finds, like souvenir plates and state-themed barware. And if there's a ship wheel on sale, you can bet Mary will steer her way toward it. "I always have my eye out for all things nautical—sea captain bookends, seagull pencil sharpeners, you name it," she says.
In addition to adding a graphic decorative punch (and allowing guests to warm up to their liking), antique quilts make for an easy grab-and-go for picnics and lawn parties, as well as charming table cloths. "They come in particularly handy in the early morning and late evening on the porch," says Mary. "When Prince William and Kate Middleton got married, it was a chilly April morning, so my mom and I wrapped up in quilts, drinking tea and wearing big hats in honor of the occasion."
In this photo: A stack of vintage suitcases doubles as storage and a bedside table; the floors are painted by Benjamin Moore.
Spare rooms are often, well, spare. To create a truly layered, lived-in sleepaway space, Mary crowded and cozied up the guest rooms with a host of vintage seascapes. "I've been scooping up seascapes for so long I didn't even realize how many I had until I decided to hang them in here!" says Mary, whose favorite local sources for such include Wiscasset Village Antiques () and the Nobleboro Antique Exchange (). No-frills bamboo shades add warmth and texture without detracting from the coastal elements in the bedrooms—porthole mirrors, buoys, map lampshades—that further the collected, been-around-forever feel.
A vintage Maine print and nautical accessories adorn the bedroom.
Mary treats the outdoor areas as an extension of the home, padding the floor with cozy rugs from and outfitting a table with casters so that it can be easily moved to accommodate a larger crowd—or to simply chase the setting sun. Because so many meals are enjoyed al fresco, the interior dining room has morphed into a game room with a simple card table and cane chairs.
In the far corner of the porch, battered windows portion off a seating area and provide respite from the wind.
Architecture, construction, and cabinetry by ; Kitchen design by Elaine Murdoch; Knickerbocker Group.