Whether it’s something colorful on the wall or underfoot, or a repurposed antique that gives your space a unique flair, these neat finds at Maine shops are fun ways to make a room yours.
Price: $44.50 (small), $115 (large)
Found at: Folly 101, 101 Exchange St., Portland
Baskets are like portable closets! These double thickness woven beauties are made in Mexico and are available in a variety of colors and sizes. There’s a handy 6-inch catchall, a 16-inch high hamper and several options in between. A roomy basket or two is ideal when storage is tight. Stash extra pillows and blankets inside, fill it with all those roaming stuffed animals, or use it as a collection depot by the door for hats, mittens, and scarves. Subtle styling and neutral colors make these baskets from Folly 101 easy to tuck away, either under an end table in the living room or on a shelf in the hall. And unlike a real closet, they can move around the house as your storage needs change.
Price: $28 each, unframed watercolor
Found at: GroppeShoppe, etsy.com/shop/GroppeShoppe
Maine artist Ashley Fletcher-Groppe captures the excitement of finding a lucky white-striped rock in these sweet, original paintings. Minimalist pieces like these work great in groups; create visual impact by lining up a three on a wall, staggering them up the stairs or layering them on a mantle with found objects like stones and driftwood. A stand alone painting would be perfect for a small space, like a powder room nook or one of those odd narrow walls that tend to show up in old houses. Wherever you hang these petite whimsical gems, they’re sure to bring you luck! And, psst…these stones are available hand painted on pencil, wine and tote bags, too.
Found at: Hatch, 96 Maine St., Brunswick or seaglassofmaine.com
These one-of-a-kind decorative pieces take beachcombing to a whole new level! While most of us are limited to the small bits of glass and pottery that wash up on the beach, Rick Carney knows where to hunt for much larger fragments, including whole, unbroken artifacts. Carney is a diver and an artist, scouring old aquatic bottle dumps to uncover the treasures he uses in his glasswork. He incorporates his finds, which commonly date from the 1790s to the 1890s, into stained glass windows, lampshades and wall art. This whale features an assortment of antique blue and white ceramic shards, each beautiful segment carefully selected for its part in the whole. It’s fascinating to think about the story behind each remnant and how it came to sit at the bottom of the sea… before becoming part of a new story centuries later!
Price $20–$50 each
Found at: Portland Architectural Salvage, 131 Preble St., Portland or portlandsalvage.com
Vintage metal letters salvaged from old signs have been popular with decorators for years, infusing retro spunk into modern messaging. The challenge is finding all the letters you need in the style you want. Portland Salvage has made it easy to spell any expression by offering an alphabet of newly made, perfectly distressed characters. A wide base allows this funky alphabet to sit on a shelf or add depth when mounted on a wall. Set the tone of a room by displaying a meaningful word, phrase, or monogram, or use letters to personalize a special occasion. And for the uber-DIYers among us, with a drill bit, some light bulbs and a wiring kit, you can make your word into a blazing marquee.
Price $135 (doormat), $50 (wreath)
Found at: Maine Craft Portland, 521 Congress St., Portland or wharfwarp.com
Want your home to show Maine coast pride but can’t stomach lobster unless it’s on a plate? Yup, me too. A recent visit to the Maine Craft Portland shop introduced me to a new company called Wharf Warp, a husband and wife creative team that collects discarded warp—aka rope—from working waterfronts along the coast. The rope is cleaned and hand-woven into rugs, wreaths, and pet products. Color combos vary from monotone and muted to bright and boisterous, while ocean-worthy durability allows for outdoor or indoor use. These upcycled pieces are a unique way to pay homage to the sea and add pizzazz to your doorstep. Added bonus: your purchase helps to reduce marine waste.
Rainbow Fish Pillows
Price $32 (small), $38 (large)
Found at: Sweet Bay, 9 Townsend Ave., Boothbay Harbor or katenelligandesign.com
You only need one of these bold, cheerful pillows to jazz up a room. Inspired by block prints and cut paper collages, Maine artist Kate Nelligan marries coastal flare and modern design. The bright, blocky fish are printed on canvas, making the pillows sturdy and durable. Whether you’re into nautical navy or eye-popping pink, Nelligan’s diverse color palette makes it easy to incorporate these flashy swimmers into just about any space. Can’t get enough of this pattern? Rugs and melamine dishes are also available in the same design.
Vintage Railway Lanterns
Price: $394 each
Found at: Simply Home, 172 US-1, Falmouth or simplyhomepage.com
Metal box-style lanterns were once common on railway platforms throughout the US and Europe, where the red and clear glass lenses played an important role in signaling trains at busy yards. With romantic railway travel in the rearview, these once-bright beacons have earned their retirement to decorative status! Vintage items like these can be incorporated into any decor style, from classic traditional to minimalist modern. Whether you want to light them up with candles (I’d recommend flameless) or simply use them as statement pieces, these lanterns are a rare find and a guaranteed conversation starter. Check out etsy.com for similar antique lanterns and reproductions.
Vintage Shaved Turkish Rugs
Price: Around $1000 each
Found at: Simply Home, 172 US-1, Falmouth or simplyhomepage.com
Traditionally high-pile Turkish rugs are given new life when shaved down to a lower profile, revealing cleaner patterns and vibrant bursts of pigment. These distinctive pieces come in a variety of colors, motifs and sizes, and they work beautifully when layered on top of a more neutral, solid area rug. Define a space, add a pop of color or bring in texture without breaking the bank on a huge rug that you may be sick of in six months. Rug layering is the latest way to add dimension to decorating!
Linen Printed Lampshade
Price: $152, 10”x 14” drum
Found at: Belfast Bay Shade Company, 1 Franklin St., Belfast or belfastbayshadecompany.com
Maine artist Dina Petrillo pulls colors and patterns from the nature of Waldo County into her stunning fabric designs. Influenced by botanicals both wild and cultivated, her palates range from earthy, mellow neutrals to boldly vibrant jewel tones, providing something wonderful for every taste! Original designs are created on an etching press, then reproduced for printing on linen and applied to a wide range of home décor items. This lampshade, called Swirl in Amber Sky, is a new design inspired by oceanic scenery found in cave diving. Petrillo sees seaweed in the churning ocean here, but her organic style invites viewers to make individual aesthetic connections. With smaller models starting at just $40, these lampshades are an affordable way to bring functional art into your home!
Sarah Holman is a writer living in Portland. She is enthusiastic about cheese plates, thrift shop treasures and old houses in need of saving. Find her online at storiesandsidebars.com.