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An estate in Maine has been given a new lease of life—in a truly traditional style—thanks to the sensitive efforts of architects Ferguson & Shamamian

There could not be a more perfect spot for happy family vacations than this 350-acre estate in Maine, set in a deep cove overlooking two miles of ocean shoreline. Three generations relished sailing, swimming, and picnicking under their favorite tree, though the white clapboard house—built for the family in 1910, in the Greek Revival style—became somewhat dilapidated; there were no showers, and work needed doing. So the family’s fourth generation called in award-winning architects Ferguson & Shamamian to set the house to rights and preserve it for future generations.

The practice, founded in 1988, is known for its thoughtful, traditional approach to design, and for its sensitive response to regional architectural character. “We try not to put our ego or personal stamp on a project,” says partner Scott Sottile, who led the team. “We shy away from doing anything that feels discordant.”

The family wanted to be out of the house for just one summer, so work began with the farm buildings on the estate. Local inspections of old barns provided inspiration, and an existing ancient farm wall was taken apart. “We looked at how its stones had been laid and copied that for the farm buildings,” says Sottile. These, while looking suitably bucolic, house a tennis pavilion, a pool house with guest rooms and the Play House: a gym and bowling alley that converts into a nightclub.

As you enter the estate, you drive through an orchard and farmland, weaving through woods that lead to a stream with a stone bridge—its design was inspired by the bridges constructed as new byways through the Acadia National Park by John D Rockefeller Jr as a gift to the inhabitants of Maine.

The faade of the estate
The façade of the estate

“To get the DNA of the house, we salvaged all we could of the old building and stored the pieces in a warehouse so we could exactly replicate its details, including the clapboard exterior, the millwork on the pillared porch and the yellow cedar shingles on the roof—now nicely weathered, which are traditional to this part of Maine,” says Sottile. The old house was torn down, its footprint moved 12ft for a better view of the ocean and enlarged to 20,000 sq ft.

The “picnic tree” was, of course, carefully preserved, and distinguished landscape architect Deborah Nevins gave the estate an air of having developed slowly over time. Elegant interiors by British designer Nina Campbell are celebrated in a new book, A House in Maine. Campbell reprises her role as the designer of London members’ club Annabel’s with the Play House, which, by night, is entered through a traditional British telephone box, painted purple—simply dial 007.

Ferguson & Shamamian undertakes the same intense research for projects in sunnier climates; in Florida, Texas or California, the initial inspiration might be a Tuscan villa or a Provencal Mas. “Our work is rooted in history. It is important to give everything the appropriate level of attention,” says Sottile. “So it feels like a piece of art.”

Collaborations: Architecture, Interiors, Landscapes: Ferguson & Shamamian Architects by David Masello and A House in Maine by Nina Campbell (Rizzoli) are out now

The Garden Fountain


Look out over the High Peaks of Maine from this gorgeous compound in the west of the state, set on 308 acres. Windledge Farm features a 4,500 sq ft main house designed by renowned architect Frank Robinson, in homage to Frank Lloyd Wright,
and is a perfect retreat for those seeking serenity and privacy. Equine enthusiasts are served by a handsome stable, with state of the art facilities and second-floor living quarters with expansive views. Outdoors there are paddocks, large turnout pastures, acres of hay pasture and access to miles of trails.

The living area of 402 Baker Hill Road
The living area of 402 Baker Hill Road

Freeman Twp, Maine
Legacy Properties Sotheby’s International Realty

Photos: Courtesy of Ferguson & Shamamian.

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