Strategic Upgrades Transform a York Harbor Cape

Strategic Upgrades Transform a York Harbor Cape

Fresh paint and fabrics, and a dash of wallpaper made a world of difference.

ABOVE On this York Harbor sunporch, a Lee Industries sofa and a Maine Cottage ottoman and chairs received new fabric, and pillows from Etsy. The rug is by Dash & Albert and the shades were custom made with cotton-linen fabric from wholesaler Stout.



From our Summer 2022 issue 

Sara Simpson and Ann-Marie Waterhouse didn’t set out to overhaul their clients’ 1990s York Harbor Cape. Originally contracted in 2017 to redo a bedroom, the pair has since worked their way through the home, updating an office, rebuilding the porch, and even constructing a custom bed for the homeowners’ (who asked that their names be withheld) two spaniels. Most recently, Simpson and Waterhouse — co-owners of the Kittery design-build business, Alice + Bird — wrapped a makeover of the sunporch and dining room, bringing chic, beachy vibes to the light-filled spaces.


Though the sunporch is blessed with wraparound casement windows juxtaposed with beadboard walls, a tired sofa and hodgepodge of accents weren’t living up to the room’s potential. Simpson, Alice + Bird’s creative director, who tackles both interior-design and building projects, had the sofa’s frame reconstructed, its springs and worn slipcover replaced, and its cushions restuffed. “We try to minimize waste when and where we can,” notes Waterhouse, who oversees business operations. The owners’ ottoman, reupholstered in pink, taupe, and ivory stripes, distills the room’s palette, picked up in a wool-and-jute rug, polka-dotted cotton-linen Roman shades, and pillows in floral and geometric patterns.


In the dining room, the owners decided to keep an inherited limestone-topped table, and Simpson based her design on its floral inlay. A corner cabinet received leafy-green paint, while slate-gray cushions on rattan chairs reiterate the botanical theme and pop against a jute-blend rug. Behind frosted-glass doors, Simpson and Waterhouse reimagined a small bar with a soapstone countertop and white-oak shelves layered over Serena & Lily herringbone wallpaper — an unexpected delight the owners love.

The paint had barely dried on the cabinet when Simpson and Waterhouse were tapped for their next task: renovating the kitchen. “Doing one room at a time can be more challenging,” Simpson says. “But it works here because everything’s not matchy — it’s an eclectic, modern cottage.”

Interior Designer: Alice + Bird
Countertop Supplier: Seacoast Soapstone
Custom Shades: Judy Percy Clark Interiors
Square Feet: 120 (sunporch); 100 (dining room)
Project Time: 6 months