Best of Maine: Home & Garden

Building Supplies on the Cheap

Maine Building Materials Exchange

Sure, you can count on finding screaming deals on things like doors, windows, fixtures, roofing materials, plumbing, furniture, and more in the 14,400-square-foot warehouse that is the Maine Building Materials Exchange. But what’s more is that the nonprofit makes sure these items are available to everyone, regardless of income, with a unique, sliding-scale pricing and a membership scheme that’s helped keep home upkeep affordable in Maine for 25 years. Intrepid redecorators will find treasures among the vast inventory — mostly new and mostly donated from companies and contractors — and the reuse ethic keeps building materials out of landfills. A true homegrown alternative to the big box stores. 102 Lisbon St., Lisbon. 207-636-7670.


Year-round Flea Market

Portland Flea-For-All

With three jam-packed floors of vintage clothing, furniture, handmade wares, art, and so much more, “the flea” is organized chaos, as all proper flea markets should be. The difference here is a space filled with carefully curated pieces and consignors, handpicked by owners Nathaniel Baldwin and Erin Kiley. It’s everything you love about flea markets, without having to do the digging yourself. The selection runs the gamut, from midcentury desks and fainting couches to kitschy kitchenwares, bikes, records, and the best selection of vintage clothing in the city. The space also hosts popular events like Flea Bites, where people can eat from their favorite food trucks while shelf-surfing. 125 Kennebec St., Portland. 207-370-7570.



Belfast Bay Shade Company

Printmaker Dina Petrillo’s gardens are the source of the botanical motifs that elevate her lampshades to works of art. The shades are made with kozo papers, whose durable bark fibers interact with etching ink to gorgeously hued results. Each printed shade is one of a kind. “We feel they make an important connection to our friends who are farmers,” Petrillo says. “We’re celebrating place and land and plants.” 1 Franklin St., Belfast. 207-735-8237.


Hand Tool Revival

Snow & Nealley Hudson Bay Axe

There are beefier axes out there for full-on lumberjacks, and there are sexier ones with cherry handles and higher price tags, but for a light-duty, all-purpose axe that can split small logs for the woodstove, come along camping, and keep its edge, Snow & Nealley’s entry is solid. What’s more, it’s a classic Maine brand enjoying a renaissance since the company’s 40-employee facility in Bangor closed in 2003. The brand limped along for a few years with a skeleton staff in Brewer until Chris Hilty’s family bought it in 2012. The Amish family moved the business to Smyrna, where they’ve been tempering and heat-treating axe heads forged overseas. This summer, Snow & Nealley begins the transition to 100% American-made materials. 800-933-6642.