Flashing the Brights

Flashing the Brights

Bold accents and gallons of white paint transform a dark (and fumy) Rockport cottage. 

ABOVE Furnishings from Burnham’s Houston-Brooks Auctioneers, Woolwich’s Montsweag Flea Market, and Ikea, and sheepskins from Lincolnville’s Red Barn Marketplace cozy up the living room.


When Lorraine and Philip Streat bought their 1950s-era two bedroom in Rockport Village, Lorraine knew first thing, “it had to be opened up.” The 850-square-foot shingled cottage languished under ancient drop ceilings, chunky mahogany trim, and walls saturated with decades of cigarette smoke. But the Streats, already Rockport residents, loved the prime location of the house, which they plan to rent or live in someday. And Lorraine, a former Realtor who does interior design consults for friends, had a vision: “I wanted it to be more Scandi style — more clean lines, more cozy,” she says.

before and after: breakfast nook

ABOVE A vintage tulip table, pair of Serena & Lily rattan chairs, Turkish kilim rug, and Marimekko-fabric pillows and shades enliven the breakfast nook.


They started by removing dozens of cedars on the half-acre property to drench the living and dining rooms in sunlight. Inside, they ripped out the drop ceilings and kitchen cabinets, replaced all the walls and trim, save the baseboards, and painted almost everything White Dove by Benjamin Moore. The living room’s red-oak floors (still sporting their cigarette-burn “character”) also received a milky finish, as well as a vivid-blue vintage Peking rug. A gas fireplace-as-focal-point supplanted a basement stairwell in the room, which Lorraine warmed with sheepskin throws, electric-pink and coral pillows, and a vibrant, patterned cushion and patchwork quilt layered over sleek, neutral furnishings.

ABOVE In the kitchen, the owners did most of the work themselves, including designing and installing the cabinets; they found the stools at TJ Maxx and the pendants at Shades of Light.

In pursuit of a bright, modern kitchen, the Streats annexed a bedroom and part of the hallway, lofted the ceiling, installed porcelain-tile flooring, and added nickel-gap paneling to the gable walls to look like the exterior structure peeking through. An island painted Polo Blue by Benjamin Moore, paired with a white-oak butcher-block top and wicker pendants, continues the living room’s dialogue of cold and warm, while hints of orange in Marimekko-fabric Roman shades and a Turkish kilim rug in the breakfast nook add sparkle, like “a touch of jewelry,” Lorraine says.

Drywall & Tile Contractor: Curtis Stone and Steel

Tile: Distinctive Tile & Design

Square Feet: 160 (living room), 215 (kitchen)

Project Time: 9 months

Cost: $60,000