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Charming rustic cottage perched on the rocky coast of Maine

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Knickerbocker Group is responsible for the design and construction of this charming rustic cottage by the sea, located on the quintessential summer community of Capitol Island, Maine. The owner of this quaint red cottage was drawn to purchasing the home by nostalgia, after spending childhood summers on the island.

This seaside abode was in need of some renovations, this included a proper entry, increased natural light and a more spacious kitchen that would be connected to the living area. A modest addition created a sunlit kitchen, while natural woodwork was selected to maintain the original style and offer a striking contrast with the white custom cabinetry.

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What We Love: This charming rustic cottage offers a beautiful renovation to meet the lifestyle needs of its new inhabitants. We are especially loving the new addition to this home, transforming an under-utilized crawl space into a light and airy bunk room. This space looks amazing for kids to enjoy, their own private getaway – away from parents!

Tell Us: What do you think, would this seaside retreat meet your list of needs for the ultimate vacation getaway? Please let us know your thoughts in the Comments!

Note: Have a look at a couple of other inspiring home tours that we have featured here on One Kindesign from the portfolio of Knickerbocker Group:

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A kitchen island, just off the new entry to the living room, is carefully married to the custom stone fireplace. A large monolithic piece of granite acts as a cornerstone between these two spaces. A stone pops out to create a shelf; another is set in as a display niche.

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The fireplace becomes a second focal point in the living area, competing only with the water views. Two stones were hand-carved for the owners, who have special ties to both Maine and Georgia.

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In addition to a new foundation, wiring, plumbing, new roof and siding, the entire house received fresh coats of paint or varnish. The owners decorating style perfectly complements the old Maine cottage: a rustic bureau with crystal knobs (recovered from an original built-in), a rattan and metal basket turned light shade.

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Several years after the renovation of the cottage was complete, the homeowner decided to take on a new project: converting the empty crawl-space below the structure into a bunkroom. With an expanding family and a need for more beds, the ledge and dirt-covered quarters below was the perfect spot. Nonetheless, the undertaking was fraught with challenges. The room would need to be built onto the grading ledge, which dictated both the depth and headroom, as well as the layout and configuration of the beds.

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The high moisture environment had to be addressed and the rock completely sealed to prevent stormwater runoff. The beds required being built around the irregular post layout, and the existing electrical panel and exposed wiring to the cottage above needed to stay in its current locations, yet be concealed while remaining accessible.  After several iterations back and forth, the resulting design was able to rectify all of these issues. In turn, the bunkroom is characterized by a large open gathering space with a pair of bunk beds, a twin and queen “berth”, and a full bathroom at one end.

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The goal for the interior of the bunkroom was to incorporate design elements that were reflective of the cottage above, while also bringing in a distinctive and casual nautical flair with bright pops of color. The existing ceiling with exposed joists was cleaned and treated with a dark stain to mimic the deep tones upstairs. Random-width nickel gap covers the walls; painted a creamy white to lighten up the narrow space.

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Each bunk sleeping area is equipped with open shelving and charging outlets, as well as task lighting that can be controlled from within each bed. A double-caged industrial sconce illuminates the queen quarters, and an antique bronze oversized boat cleat is used as a grab bar to facilitate entering both the queen and twin berths. Salvaged glass insulators act as the newel caps on the bunk ladder and add a whimsical vintage feel.

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The bunk beds run perpendicular to the entry while the two berths were built lengthwise onto the ledge with steps up to access them. The twin-berth resides behind the custom porthole window with the queen stacked behind it. The sleeping quarters were designed to imitate that on a ship, with each space feeling enclosed and intimate. Whimsical buoys were found at a local antique shop and flank the porthole. The dark wood accents were carried onto the steps, ladder rungs, and the frame of the porthole to provide contrast and draw attention to those features.

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Open caged surface mounts bring an industrial feel, while the floral area rug serves to soften the room. LVT flooring, in a rustic-looking wood finish, was incorporated for its durability and performance in high moisture environments. The existing electrical panel was concealed behind a shaker style cabinet door to the right of the custom porthole window. Additionally, dark brown woven wood shades were specified to create blackout sleeping conditions at night, and sleek baseboard heaters were integrated to help keep the space toasty during Maine’s cooler summer months.

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The previous space was dark and tight-quartered, with only two small windows. Therefore, an imperative objective at the beginning of the design process was to bring openness and light in, as well as embrace more of the ocean views. The addition of four large casement windows, the same style as those in the cottage, did just that.

Because the exterior walls beneath the cottage were canted, it made creating plumb interior surfaces and window detailing difficult. It did, however, allow for creative and quirky solutions in the form of built-in storage and nooks. The asymmetry adds to the endearing campy feel of the room, and while it may appear unintentional, it was carefully planned as such.

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The porthole element was incorporated for many reasons. Not only does it heighten the seaside aesthetic, but it also serves to open the thick twin-berth wall allowing for views to the water from that area. A 1920’s style nautical sconce and pop of blue can be seen through the porthole on the accent wall of the berth. Built-in drawers were designed to provide added storage within the tight layout. They are deep, extending 20” until the ledge begins, taking full advantage of all available space. A large closet also sits adjacent to the queen berth.

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The full bathroom sits at the opposite end of the bunkroom from the entry and is split into two spaces for flexibility and maximum usability. A sink room is separated from the shower and water closet by pocket doors to conserve space.

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The custom vanity was built specifically for the large washroom sink the homeowner found on Etsy and is painted in Newburyport Blue HC-155 | Benjamin Moore. The random-width nickel gap continues on the walls, as do the nautical accents throughout.

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Photos: Darren Setlow / Gridley + Graves Photographers

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