A Home Designed With Fun and Family in Mind

In Freeport, a builder’s castle-inspired place accommodates bold colors, eclectic décor — and indoor scootering.

the “Moroccan Room” in Heather Jackson and Colin Lindley’s Freeport new build

In the “Moroccan Room” in Heather Jackson and Colin Lindley’s Freeport new build, Albany Park velvet furniture, and a Berber rug and brass lanterns from Morocco, fairly glow against the cement floor and walls in Iron Ore by Sherwin-Williams.

By Sara Anne Donnelly
Photos by Jeff Roberts
From the Winter 2022 issue of Maine Homes by Down East

“We’re trying to take a really beautiful space and use it as our family needs it, versus being so careful about it,” Heather Jackson says, referring to the “indestructible” charcoal-clapboard-and-limestone home she and her husband, Colin Lindley, erected in Freeport last year. “Our kids ride their bikes, their scooters, do whatever the hell they want in this house. We don’t have many rules. There was a big hockey arena in here a couple of days ago.”

Conceived by Jackson, owner of the Freeport design-build firm Jackson Built, with two wings connected by a soaring entryway to form an “H” (for Heather), the home was inspired by European hunting lodges and castles, with exposed hemlock and spruce beams, limestone walls, and dark, moody corners juxtaposed with gilded accents. The entry sets the tone with its weathered concrete-slab floor, hulking granite fireplace, ornately carved antique chairs draped with fox pelts, and requisite mounted antelope head. Above, a round iron chandelier, of the kind useful for dropping on marauders, dangles from the 20-foot-tall ceiling. “In the beginning, we were like, let’s just build a box, but then we kept adding little bump-outs and more character and that’s how it evolved,” Jackson says.

The house is a far cry from where Jackson and Lindley grew up, she on a farm in Oxford, he in a working-class home in Auburn. After high school, Jackson got a job as a farmhand at Freeport’s Wolfe’s Neck Center. She and Lindley lived there in a 400-square-foot cabin while she built up her contracting business, pinching pennies to afford food and heating oil; in 2004, they married at the farm. A decade later, Jackson, then a successful builder, and Lindley jumped at the chance to buy a 13-acre lot abutting Wolfe’s Neck. “You know when you look back, those places that felt the most like home?” she says. “This area has always felt like that.” When the pandemic hit, the couple decided to sell part of the parcel, donate part to a land trust, and build a home for their family of six on the remainder. It would be the first house Jackson had designed without input from clients or with immediate resale in mind. The latitude that gave her turned out to be head-spinning.

Jackson and Lindley spent evenings brainstorming more than 20 versions of their house, eventually landing on a three-story, 5,000-square-foot design that would be comfortable even in perpetual lockdown, with separate adult and kid wings, plenty of space to play inside, and sumptuous rooms that evoke their pre- pandemic travels. There’s a rustic Italian-inspired kitchen with a soapstone double sink, limestone accent wall, and coffee station with reclaimed barn-board shelving; a whitewashed French country-style living room with a stucco fireplace, an 18th-century French hand-painted screen, and a circa 1920s statue of the Virgin Mary; and a Moroccan-themed den with a handmade crimson-and-gold rug, geometric- patterned pillows, and trinkets from Morocco. Limestone on the home’s central exterior section references Irish cottages, Ireland being such a favorite of the couple’s that they gave three of their children Gaelic names: Finnegan, Maeve, and Lochlan. Son Thatcher’s English name hearkens back to thatched-roof cottages.

It’s been a little over a year since Jackson’s bespoke hideaway was finished, and she hasn’t managed to settle in yet. Sometimes she’ll ask the kids, “Do you feel like you belong here?” They don’t know what she’s talking about. Of course they do — the place was designed for them. But Jackson’s feelings are more complex. “I don’t like to use a phrase like ‘rags to riches,’” she says. “But when you go from living where you couldn’t afford heat to this, it’s like, ‘Is this really our life?’”

May 2024, Down East Magazine

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