Design 4 Seasons

Friday, August 22, 2014

Harbor Lights Illuminated... The Second Floor

Welcome back… I hope that you enjoyed our tour of the First Floor of Harbor Lights, the 25th Anniversary show house of the Museums Of Old York.  As you were perusing the fabulous interiors done by the featured designers, I suspect that one of the major elements that you noticed was how much more updated the floors look.  That is thanks to the designers, who utilized some lovely artistic techniques or added beautiful area rugs, as well as the family that owns the home who contributed to the process by removing the old carpeting and either refinishing the existing wood floors where possible or added new wood where necessary.  You’ll notice this on the Second Floor as well.

So, now, let’s get going upstairs!

The first room that you arrive at once you reach the top landing is the “Guest Bedroom.”  It originally looked like a typical New England second floor bedroom, with Colonial style furnishings, and a bit feminine in pale pink with floral curtains.  Nicole Yee of NY Interiors wanted to give a nod to “the tradition of the house’s time period without feeling antiquated,” and to create a design that feels both collected and fresh.”  She achieved these goals by brightening up the entire space with creamy white walls and linens, but accentuating them with bold black furnishings and rich jewel red with pumpkin colored exotic print window treatments.  I especially loved the fact that Nicole repeated the use of black on the window frames and mullions… a very sharp ingredient in the design that I think made a big difference in the impact of the space.  The delicate and curvy black desk with curvy cabriole legs looks stunning in front of the window and contrasts nicely with all of the hard lines of the room. 

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Right around the corner is the “Master Bedroom with En Suite Bath.”  The room was previously painted in a light sea green with all of the trim and fireplace done in the same green as used in the Dining Room downstairs, and had floral chintz tie-back curtains at the windows.  The sea green complemented the trees outside but did not lend much of a coastal feel, nor did it create the serene feeling that designer Renee Rucci, of Renee Rucci Interior Design, achieved with her palette of seashell rosy-taupe, gray and white.  The several steps that it takes to arrive in the space adds to the change of your mood to that of tranquility when you settle into this retreat.  The inspiration for the color scheme that Renee used throughout the space comes from her focal fabric, an Italian linen featuring a tree of life design with cranes and birds reminiscent of the seacoast.”  One of the challenges of this room was working around the dormer windows and knee walls, which every designer in New England has been challenged by!  Renee designed a custom linen-covered headboard and angled the bed under the dormered ceiling facing the fireplace for a lovely view.

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Considering that the En Suite Bathroom is a bit small by today’s standards, and the original peachy/blush fixtures were kept, the end result is quite elegant thanks to the hues and finishes that Renee enlisted.

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Leaving the Master Bedroom, one re-enters the real world of the Second Floor.  Right around the corner, and perfectly positioned centrally in the landing, is a “Hall Bath.”  Formerly a simple space, it was full of all things white, from the walls, to the fixtures, to the counters.  It even featured flouncy white ruffled curtains that covered up a great deal of a fabulous sea view.  Although white remains a perfect crisp accent in this updated room, it is now juxtaposed against very soft aqua blue walls, driftwood style tile surrounding the tub, an espresso vanity and display/storage wall unit, and lovely coastal accents such as a genuine sea glass art window, and wispy shell-trimmed valances which allow the beautiful sea view to become a feature in the room.

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Next to the Hall Bath is the “Kid’s Bedroom,” a tiny room, but with one of the best views in the house!  Initially painted in lavenders and lilacs, with floral curtains at the windows, Michael Englehardt, of Ethan Allen, created nautical haven for a lucky little boy.  Bright white walls replaced the lavender, and the ceiling was painted blue to give the feeling of sky above.  A range of blues, from sky to cobalt to navy, compliment the seaworthy theme, as do the sailboats, fish, and rope-patterned pillow.  A student desk under the windows allows a spot for not only home work, but for dreaming of days at the beach or on a boat.

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A right hand, 180 degree turn, takes you down the “Servant’s Hallway,” which is also reachable from downstairs via the back stairs that we saw on our tour of the First Floor.  Sorry to say that I don’t have a ‘before’ photo of this space… after all it was just a hall!  But not any more… Cheryl O’Donnell, of C.O’D. Decorative Painting, turned it into a work of art that makes getting from one end to the other a joy.  There are no windows and very little natural light in the space, so Cheryl kept it light with warm gray walls accented with sparkly platinum gingko leaves.  She draws you down the long, narrow hall by painting the floor in a trompe l’oeil pattern “reminiscent of an M.C. Escher drawing to create a gentle optical illusion.”


Not being able to resist traveling down the hallway, you are rewarded with more fabulous and creative artistry in the “Upstairs Powder Room.”  This bathroom is in the corner of the Second Floor that can be reached from the Hallway or the Kid’s Room, in which it originally shared a paint scheme.  It appears to not have been used for a while, and was being utilized for out-of-the-way storage.

The plumbing fixtures are an unusual and pretty lilac color, although they have a slightly different undertone than the walls did.  Because the designers, Sarah Duquette, of Duquette & Company, Inc., and Colleen Hanlon, of Colleen Hanlon Fine Decorative Painting, were enamored and inspired by the existing fixtures, they worked to highlight rather than remove them.  To complement the lilac fixtures, Sarah and Colleen “chose a combination of reddish-lavender, khaki gold, and light chestnut brown.”  They created an aquatic dream world by applying “a sheer linen finish on the walls (which) overlays a large and graphic custom painted motif of overlapping seaweed” which undulates around the room.  The floor, trim and built-in cabinets were brightened and lightened up with crisp white paint, and white towels and a chair add to the feel of a soothing spa that you never want to leave!

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But leave we must… so back downstairs we go… and out into the final space, the “Open Porch.”  Georgie McGowan, of Georgie’s Home and Garden, who also did the Patio, didn't have the same amazing, sweeping harbor views to play up as she did on the Patio.  The Open Porch is located instead on the shady side of the home, and Georgie wanted to “create a quiet, open-yet-private feel for the space, where one could sit and enjoy the peaceful seclusion.”  To keep the space from feeling dark, Georgie painted the ceiling blue to bring in the sky even though the porch is enclosed, and added furnishings in lots of bright colors to keep it upbeat, as well as included fun nautical and coastal accessories.

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Upon stepping out from the Open Porch, it’s hard for me to believe that the first time I visited this home there was snow all around!  Now, it is a lush Maine paradise!  Although the grounds were already landscaped with trees and plants on both the harbor side and wooded approach side of the home, Linda Zukas, of Churchill’s Gardens, enhanced the exterior “Landscaping” of the home with container plants and flowers to add the finishing touches to the property.

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So, here we are at the end of the road, so to speak, of our tour of the 25th Anniversary of the Museums Of Old York show house… I hope that you enjoyed coming along! Please let me know your thoughts!

Please note: all original photography by David and Katherine Hawkins - not to be used without permission


Accompanying music “Harbor Lights” (Silk Degrees, 1976) courtesy of Boz Scaggs