A Day-and-Night Makeover For a Damariscotta Cabin

A Day-and-Night Makeover For a Damariscotta Cabin

Rehabbed and sporting a fresh palette, it makes a compelling yin-yang statement.


From our Fall 2022 issue

When Theresa and Pierre Sasson bought their 1930s camp on the Damariscotta River in 2019, it was an 800-square-foot box with a rotting deck, a wagon-wheel chandelier presiding over the knotty-pine living room, and an army of resident spiders. The first night, their college-age daughter was so afraid of the critters that she crawled into bed with her parents and their dog, and they all laid awake listening to a “growling” septic system they thought was a bear. “We spent the entire night with our eyes wide open, clutching each other in terror,” Pierre says.

But the next morning, the Massachusetts couple, longtime Maine visitors who’d recently fallen for the Damariscotta food scene, remembered what made them want the place. “We woke up, we saw the view, and we were like, ‘We can work with this,’” Theresa says.

ABOVE To expand their Damariscotta cabin, Theresa and Pierre Sasson absorbed a side deck into the kitchen and turned a ground-level storage area into a bedroom suite. 

They eked out an additional 200 square feet of living space by annexing a side deck and lifting the cabin, which perches on a granite ledge, three feet to convert a cramped ground-level storage area into a primary bedroom suite with a deck. Failing piers were replaced with a cement foundation, and the house was replumbed, rewired, and resealed to keep out pests.

Inspired by the crisp elegance of a Scandi cabin, Theresa specified new pine siding, trim, and a standing-seam metal roof in Iron Ore, by Sherwin-Williams, for a “monolithic look” that blends with the surrounding hemlocks and pines. Inside, meantime, a floor-to-ceiling backdrop of Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace feels as airy as a cloud. Pine cabinetry, assembled from a kit, a vintage curio cabinet bought locally on Facebook Marketplace, a left-behind bookcase now painted white, and a marble-topped island with a nested birch leaf that can be pulled out for dinner parties supplanted the kitchen’s knotty-pine cupboards and linoleum surfaces. In the adjoining living area, a Morsø woodstove creates coziness and a steel spiral staircase leads to the bedroom below. New grille-less sliding glass doors dominate both spaces, maximizing the riverscape. “Now when we walk in, it’s a wall of glass,” Pierre says. “This was the view I’d always wanted.”

ABOVE Inky interior hardware and trim reference the exterior palette.

Square Feet: 1,000
Project Cost: $300,000
Time It Took: Two years
Designer and Builder: Frederic Lilly Design-Build
Carpenter: Elliott Cabot
Countertops: Midcoast Marble & Granite
Plumbing, Heating, and Electrical Contractor: All Seasons Plumbing, Heating & Electrical
Roofing Contractor: Fowler’s Roofing and Construction