The south coast of Maine has an infinite number of scenic spots along its varied coast. But it takes the locals to know where the secret gems are hiding. Such is the location of the Museums of Old York’s 23d Annual Decorator Show House.
Harmon House is at the core of a most charming picture postcard lane off Route 1A near York Harbor. Shaded by tall trees, the little colony of summer houses nestle into the tranquil site, their shingled walls wrapped with wide porches and their lawns yawning between games of croquet.
But the piece de resistance is the immediate view of the York River. From the vantage of open living room/great hall/kitchen, which overlooks the river where yachts bob and swing on their moorings as the tide rolls in and out, Boston interior designer Gerald Pomeroy drew his inspiration. The three spaces become one with the application of Farrow & Ball’s jauntily named Luluworth Blue paint on walls and trim. Rich and saturated, the color hits you like a cool breeze off the water. To this, Pomeroy adds white stone: honed marble from Cumar of Everett, Massachusetts, for the kitchen countertops (replacing a ubiquitous granite) and sparkling quartz chiseled Ledge Stone tile from Tile Showcase at the Boston Design Center for the fireplace wall. Icy but inviting, the rock lends an elegant modern sensibility to the room.
Both Pomeroy and his show house colleague Meredith Bohn say it was purely coincidental that the color scheme of the adjacent master suite is totally simpatico with the living room/kitchen’s. Bohn, a Hollis, New Hampshire, designer, also turned to Farrow & Ball for her soft gray blue wall paint, but she takes the palette to a new level with the installation of wall panels lined with F&B’s Silvergate patterned wallpaper. It is a masterstroke that adds compelling visual interest to what had been an ordinary room.
The show house, a major fundraiser for the museums, opens July 14 and runs through August 11. Admission is $20. Hours, directions, and a schedule of special events are at oldyork.org.
We were a tad disappointed that though the guidebook lists 19 decorated spaces, the house seemed smaller than many of those in years past. Still, there were plenty of design tips and ideas to take away. Note the painted wall treatments in the study by York’s own Anne Cowenhaven (a room she had designed for a previous owner of the house, but lightened and brightened for this Show House), as well as the tone-on-tone green stripes in the Teen Girl Bedroom, the whiteboard wall in the Teen Hangout, and the delicate vines applied to the walls of the sales office.
And if you can, linger in the gardens or on the terrace and drink in the fabulous view.
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Gail Ravgiala is editor of Design New England and a fan of both the region's historic architecture and its growing inventory of modern houses and public buildings.
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