Home at Last

front of home

After several itinerant decades, a couple puts down roots in historic Paris Hill.

Photographed by Rachel Sieben

[dropcap letter=”F”]or John and Deb Gillis, settling down was a long time coming. John’s job with a Montreal-based engineering and construction firm meant decades of transfers: every few years, a new state, new neighborhood, new house. “We always knew that work was going to make us pick up and move,” John says, “so we never focused on having a home that was ours.”

But now, retirement. Now, Hillcrest. Built in 1899, the four-square house at the top of Paris Hill is a notable home in a neighborhood of notable homes. The Paris Hill Historic District is a close-knit community of people like the Gillises who have carefully restored some of Maine’s most storied Victorians, including the former home of Hannibal Hamlin, Abraham Lincoln’s vice president. But the Gillises went beyond a by-the-book restoration. Instead, Hillcrest is a little bit Edith Wharton, a little bit Data the Star Trek android…

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