Slopeside Retreat

Slopeside Retreat

A Sugarloaf condo is given a playful makeover.

Ali Malone and Ben Ray’s 1970s condo in Sugarloaf’s Birchwood development

ABOVE: The condo is in a ski-in/ski-out neighborhood, located just off the Snubber Trail.


From the March 2020 issue of Down East magazine

Ali Malone and Ben Ray’s 1970s condo in Sugarloaf’s Birchwood development came with a 30-year rental history and the worn, dated furnishings to prove it. “All of Sugarloaf has probably stayed in this condo at some point,” says Ali, who spent childhood weekends at her family’s home nearby. Soon after she and Ben bought the place, they unloaded a trailer full of flea-market finds in the parking lot. “Our oldest was riding his bike around the dining room set,” Ben recalls. He and Ali set about redecorating, trying out one piece of furniture at a time until they’d made the cozy getaway their own. “We tried to take the décor here a little less seriously than at our house in Portland,” Ali says. “It’s a good place to put fun, eclectic things — just 30 steps to the slopes.”

Dining nook in Ali Malone and Ben Ray’s 1970s condo in Sugarloaf’s Birchwood development


The downstairs open floor plan is just 450 square feet, so the couple selected furnishings that can do double duty. The Danish mid-century dining table easily extends to accommodate friends, while the pink HD Buttercup upholstered chairs, purchased at Marden’s, are comfortable enough to serve as extra seating in the living area. The feathery pendant lamp is similar to one they loved in a previous home. “It’s a lot of dark wood in here,” Ali says. “We wanted something that looked organic and gave a nice, soft light.”

Master bedroom Ali Malone and Ben Ray’s 1970s condo in Sugarloaf’s Birchwood development


Originally, the only place to fit a bed was beneath a steeply sloped ceiling. Tired of bumped heads, Ben carved out a new space by removing a closet. Now, he and Ali wake to views of freshly groomed trails. They found their matte-black Maine Cottage headboard at a thrift store. The matching wall color is chalkboard paint (“Don’t tell my kids!” Ali says).

kitchen in 1970s condo in Sugarloaf’s Birchwood development


With three children, ages 8 months to 6 years, Ben says, “We have an assembly line of ski gear and hand warmers in the morning. And about seven cups of coffee each.” Season passes dating back to the family’s first winter in the condo decorate the pine post. Ben and Ali installed the glass door to bring in more natural light, and they replaced the kitchen’s worn-out linoleum floor with cork. Above the microwave, an antique grocer’s box from A&P, where Ben’s grandfather once worked, holds pasta and grains.

climbing up to the sleeping loft


Never mind the mountain! The house itself is an adventure for Atticus, 6, and Harlow, 3, seen here climbing to the sleeping loft. The rug is from Angela Adams, one of several design companies where Ben worked before he started Evangeline Linens, in Portland.

sleeping loft in the 1970s condo in Sugarloaf’s Birchwood development


“We tried to keep the sleeping loft very playful,” Ben says, with vintage globes and record covers, a 1925 tennis racquet, and a Snurfer — a precursor to the snowboard. Two of the three twin beds have Jenny Lind headboards, which are fastened to the wall for safety and to save space. The plaid wool blankets are from Evangeline Linens.

living area in the open floor plan 1970s condo in Sugarloaf’s Birchwood development


Ali and Ben repapered the living room with Cole & Son’s Woods, a nod to their Birchwood neighborhood. The Gus Modern sofa, found on Craigslist, is topped with Evangeline Linens’s plaid merino throw and Skull Figures down pillow. Flatware is stored in the HD Buttercup bar — another Marden’s score — because there are no drawers in the kitchen. The lamp, from Target, was chosen for its mid-century modern style.