Text by Bethany Adams
This coastal charmer in Kennebunkport, Maine, turned out to be more of a project than Amy and Jason Molten originally anticipated. “It started out with just moving some things around and opening up the kitchen,” says designer Emily Mattei of e4 Interior Design. But when the contractor opened the ceiling to discover dangerously disintegrated supports, the homeowners found themselves stripping the interior of the historical home down to the foundation.
With the renovation suddenly much larger than before, the Moltens knew they would need help to get the job done. Emily, contractor Eben Brook, designer Shee Shee Van Inwegen, and family and friends from around Kennebunkport came together with the Moltens to make the vision for the home a reality. “It was truly a collaborative process,” says Emily, noting that Amy and Jason were involved in every decision.
The result of their efforts is a home where old meets new in a stunning blend of aged finishes and fresh seaside style that Amy has dubbed “coastal calm.” And while they wanted to keep the design relevant to the history of the home—which originally belonged to a ship captain—they sought to avoid the heavy-handed nautical theme seen in many beach homes. “I think what we wanted was comfortable and coastal but not kitschy,” Amy says.
Because many of the major living spaces are connected, choosing a paint color that would flow throughout the space was a challenge. But the homeowners eventually settled on a custom shade that created an airy backdrop for the rest of the design. Accented with subtle coastal motifs, classic furniture pieces were paired with antiques carefully chosen to produce a timeless, effortless vibe. “We wanted it to be as peaceful and as calm as possible,” Amy says.
Amy also notes that a main goal of the design was to create space for gathering, adding that she and Jason bought the house “for the sole purpose of bringing families together to rest and escape and play together and reconnect.” To that end, Jason built an additional island in the kitchen to provide extra seating for kids not far from the adults in the main dining area.
It’s one of many details that Emily says was “thought through in terms of making sure it was friendly for families.” Other decisions include a downstairs guest room for elderly guests, a bunkroom featuring a pop of nautical style for kids, and a renovated barn perfectly suited for large gatherings.
“I think the barn is where people love to be together,” Amy says. Transformed into a comfortable space with plenty of room for relaxing and having fun, the area features all of the stylish functionality and history seen in every room of the main home. And although the project required more work and more hands than Amy and Jason had originally planned, the outcome was well worth the effort.