A Couple Leans into Retro Vibes in Their Portland Ranch

Pup Arlo soaks up passive-solar warmth on a living-room sectional the couple bought with the house and recovered. Woodworker Matt Hutton, one in every of Mack’s fellow professors at Maine School of Artwork & Design, crafted the shamrock-like walnut espresso desk to enhance the curvaceous seating; the portray is by her former scholar, Brendan Ripken Shea. The room’s orange shag carpeting is lengthy gone, however the Hello-Fi cupboard — full with a turntable and compartments for data, barware, and liquor bottles — stays on the window-facing wall.

By Sarah Stebbins

Photographs by Rachel Sieben

From our October 2023 situation

When real-estate agent David Marsden first noticed the 1951 Portland ranch he shares together with his spouse, artist Honour Mack, he thought, “It is a enjoyable home.” As he took in the lounge’s orange shag carpet, lime-green velvet sectional, and walnut Hello-Fi cupboard with built-in bar, Marsden says, “I might see myself in that period with a martini, hanging out.” Tailored from plans in Higher Properties & Gardens for Dr. Albert and Golde Aaronson (whose Twiggy-esque cocktail clothes nonetheless hung in a bed room closet when Mack and Marsden visited), the low-slung dwelling, with its wall of south-facing home windows, was an outlier in a Rosemont neighborhood of early-Twentieth-century Colonial-style dwellings. “I give the Aaronsons a lot credit score for taking an opportunity on one thing completely avant-garde,” Mack says. Even when the place was a tad groovy for her style: “There’s nearly nothing we haven’t touched.” Their newest mission? A kitchen revamp with modern white cabinetry that nods to their unique steel, juxtaposed with a matte-black workstation. “It’s not a Hello-Fi cupboard,” Mack says, “however Dave bought his bar.”


Working with Portland architect Michael Charek and builder-turned-ceramicist Tim McMahon, Mack and Marsden maximized storage (and distinction) of their compact kitchen with a wall of black and white laminate cabinetry. A leathered-granite backsplash and counter tops from Stone Floor, in Naples, and an clever relief-tile backsplash from Portland’s Distinctive Tile & Design play up the yin-yang palette, whereas a vaulted ceiling provides airiness.

Eating Space Mack, whose architect father studied with famend modernist architect Louis Kahn on the College of Pennsylvania, has lengthy been enamored of boundary-pushing, mid-century design. “I needed one thing that was not a cookie-cutter, regular home,” she says. The Aaronsons’ entry/eating space, with its hovering stone chimney and petrified-wood flooring, was a clue she’d discovered it. A portray of Mack’s grandmother (and namesake) hangs on the masonry, which lends its palette to the furnishings, together with the Aaronsons’ sideboard and desk, a portray by Mack, and a wool rug and cherry armchairs by Portland’s Angela Adams and Sherwood Hamill, respectively.


When the overhang crowning the living-room home windows shades the summer time solar, the couple camps out on this vibrant, three-season, Nineteen Seventies addition, furnished with a mid-century woodstove, a settee bought with the home and slipcovered in IKEA cloth, Mack’s great-grandparents’ loveseats, and lamps from Portland Flea-For-All. The art work, a classic toolbox with an illuminated collaged panel, is by her former scholar Robert Doane.


Mack loves the house’s precipitous birch-plywood paneling, “however there’s solely a lot we are able to take.” When she surveys a room, “I’m taking a look at a portray; if there’s an excessive amount of of 1 shade, the stability is off.” Within the den, initially Dr. Aaronson’s workplace, she coated one plywood wall in high-gloss black — “the sheen makes it not so stark,” Marsden says — and swapped tangerine carpeting for FLOR carpet tiles that conjure an op-art portray.

Bathtub Marsden fondly remembers the unique bathtub, outfitted with a mint-green bathroom, tub, wall tile, and laminate flooring and polka-dot metallic wallpaper. And he remembers the record-scratch second when Mack declared, “That is going!” whereas tearing off a strip of wallpaper. However each events are pleased with Mack’s soothing reimagining of the area with floor-to-ceiling subway tile, a marble countertop, and seaglass-like pebble flooring tile — “my nod to the inexperienced rest room,” she says.


“We’ve run into individuals who grew up round right here and stated they used to name the home ‘the hotdog stand’” on account of its former crimson clapboards and white stucco, says Mack, whose first order of enterprise was repainting the cladding a camouflaging, earthy inexperienced. She’s been choosing away at tasks ever since. “In my studio, the way in which a portray evolves, it’s a sluggish, cumulative expertise. And that’s how I consider the home and gardens. It’s a visible expertise I’m always experimenting with.”