When a retiree living in Upstate New York started to realize that she needed to be closer to her children and grandchildren in Maine, she decided to relocate. After a long search, she found a charming 1700s cottage in Cape Elizabeth. As one of the most historic homes in the neighborhood, she hired designer Tyler Karu who helped her restore it to its original grace.

“We wanted to respect the cottage’s history and not make it something it wasn’t,” Tyler said. “The homeowner didn’t want a modern, contemporary aesthetic, but rather a space inspired by old Maine cottages, that wasn’t cluttered or overly accessorized.” With wonky floors and an impractical layout, some significant changes had to be made. “We chose wide plank floors to mimic the original wide plank pine that was unfortunately not salvageable (except in the mudroom where you can see them),” Tyler shared. “We designed built-in elements that were functional, but were appropriate to the style of the home. The mudroom built-ins, for example were constructed from reclaimed wood as was the fireplace surround in the kitchen.”

Some of the original historical features, however, were maintained, such as the wooden beams and wrought iron fireplace details. As a nod to Maine’s maritime history, Tyler selected magnifying glass sconces the dining nook. She opened up the floor plan while making sure that it still felt natural to the style of the home. The kitchen, for example, is separate from the living area while maintaining its proximity. The context and location of the home also came into play in its design. Tyler said, “we love using local resources as often as we can. Maine is a small, yet flourishing community of craftsmen and if we can work with them, we will.”