Wood Finishes (and a Wood-Fired Sauna) Warm a Lincolnville Retreat

The interior is inspired by California’s famed Sea Ranch modernist enclave.

Belfast carpenter Dan Greeley’s 2021 conversion of a three-season porch into a year-round sunroom adjoining the living room launched the home’s cozy, streamlined design

Belfast carpenter Dan Greeley’s 2021 conversion of a three-season porch into a year-round sunroom adjoining the living room launched the home’s cozy, streamlined design. After removing a wall, Greeley replaced the porch’s small slatted windows with untrimmed swaths of glass. The walls and ceiling are paneled in hemlock and the floor is engineered white oak. Abigale Avey and Michael Casby store their LPs in crates flanking a West Elm console. An album stand turns covers into visual art.

By Virginia M. Wright
Photos by Dave Waddell
From our February 2024 issue

A year into living above their Belfast catering business, Abigale Avey and Michael Casby longed to get out of town. “Our whole world was on Main Street,” Avey says. “We wanted a place to escape to.” They looked for a nearby retreat for three years before finding a 1960 one-bedroom log home on a wooded acre fronting Lincolnville’s Coleman Pond. They toured it on a Saturday in 2017, had it under contract Monday afternoon, and began decamping there to de-stress. When the pandemic hit, they moved in full-time. “That’s when we really fell in love with this property,” Avey says. “We decided, okay, we’re going to be here until we die.” They’ve since expunged the home’s knotty-pine finishes in favor of a clean wood-and-ivory palette inspired by California’s famed Sea Ranch modernist enclave. Outside, a recently completed, wood-fired sauna mirrors the home’s contemporary lines and serves as another sanctuary.

Paule Thibault’s portrait of actor Jock Mahoney in the living room

Living Room

Avey and Casby positioned Paule Thibault’s portrait of actor Jock Mahoney so it’s visible from every corner of the 1,100-square-foot home’s open floor plan. Mahoney’s career was at its peak in the 1960s, when the house was built, and the painting’s backdrop of red roses complements the couple’s estate-sale Persian rugs.

soapstone countertops and a walnut-topped island by Block Brothers Custom Cabinets in the kitchen

Kitchen

The couple, owners of Trillium Caterers, expanded on a kitchen renovation started by previous owners, who installed IKEA cabinets. Avey and Casby selected the soapstone countertops and hired Northport’s Block Brothers Custom Cabinets to build the walnut-topped island. This summer, they plan to enlarge the space. “We have big groups over a lot, and everyone crams around the island,” Avey says. “We’re planning to have a really big island as a barrier between where people hang out and where the work gets done.”

red cedar paneling and drywall in the den

Den

Belfast carpenter Dan Greeley brightened the entire home by whitewashing bead-board paneling and replacing knotty-pine paneling on the ceiling and walls with red cedar and drywall respectively. In this wood-stove-warmed nook, he also added a hemlock-paneled wall and switched out a small window for a larger one overlooking a new pine deck, hot tub, and sauna. The L-shaped sofa, from Outer, faces a new sliding glass door that opens onto a porch spanning the length of the house. Avey, who sourced most of the materials for the renovation, favors globe lights (such as these from Schoolhouse), a mid-century design trend that also feels timeless.

Black paint and recessed soffit lighting on the house's exterior

Exterior

Black paint and recessed soffit lighting lend sleek sophistication to the log exterior. Greeley built the steps that descend the steeply sloped bank to the pond, where, every winter, the couple hosts skating parties during full moons. Casby clears snow from the ice in a giant circle illuminated with ice lanterns. After they skate, guests warm up by a bonfire or in the hot tub.

Michael Casby and Abigale Avey and their Rhodesian ridgeback next to the wood-fired cabin sauna

Sauna

Casby, pictured with Avey and Greta, their Rhodesian ridgeback, designed the wood-fired cabin sauna and helped Greeley build it next to the deck. “When I say we built it, I mean I held one end of the tape measure,” Casby says, laughing. He stained the pine exterior to match the house and chose moisture-resistant, heat-tolerant cedar for the interior and its wraparound two-tier bench.

Michael Casby takes an icy dip in the outdoor cold-plunge tub

Cold-Plunge Tub

Fresh out of the sauna, Casby takes an icy dip, a Finnish tradition that’s said to improve circulation. The tub is a galvanized horse trough tucked into an alcove created by the sauna, a wood shed, and a row of firewood. “With a place like this, you’d think it was all about summer,” Avey says, “but there’s just as much, if not more, to do in the winter, and it’s every bit as beautiful.”

Down East Magazine, March 2024 cover

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