Holly Morris never imagined uprooting her young family from their beloved 1923 Colonial in Bronxville, New York, where she and her husband, Spencer, had lived for more than a decade, especially after completing room-by-room renovations. But that was before the pandemic upended the traditional office and Spencer could work remotely.
With the flexibility to work anywhere, it was a no-brainer for the couple and their 61/2-year-old son, Decker, to head north to Maine: Holly grew up in Boothbay Harbor, and her mother still lives there—right across the street from Spencer’s mother. With a young child, the draw to live closer to family was stronger than ever. (Decker has since been joined by Emerson, his 1-year-old sister.)
Also, by her own admission, Holly is like so many native Mainers who take their state for granted when they are young, depart as soon as they can, then return later after realizing how truly special it is.
That’s just what happened, and Spencer also became smitten. After deciding to spend a bit more time in Maine, one month stretched into a few months and then longer, until they heard about a home in Falmouth—a stunning, white, modern farmhouse that was under construction and not yet on the market. Justin Fletcher Homes was the builder, a name associated with superior quality craftsmanship and energy-efficient designs, and Diana Viles from Capozza Floor Covering Center in Portland was making savvy design decisions on flooring and tiling, which infused the spec home’s fresh construction with classic style, warmth, and a touch of whimsy.
The tasteful finishes, the high ceilings, the airy, open, light-filled rooms, all of it new, unblemished, and stylishly modern … it was all so alluring. “It was definitely love at first sight,” recalls Holly.
“When we first saw the house, it wasn’t furnished,” she says. “It was a big, white, open box. But Diana had made great choices. In the bathroom, there were playful yet muted tiles, and in the living spaces, the wide-planked, engineered-hardwood floors were beautiful and at the same time practical for a family with kids and a dog.”
Diana says her long working relationship with Justin Fletcher gave her the confidence to choose flooring and tile that would be compatible with his design. Since the project began before the house had been purchased, she collaborated more closely with Justin rather than with Holly. “He is renowned for his modern farmhouse style, but each of his homes is distinctive and customized. I know his aesthetic, so I kept that in mind while getting creative with color, patterns, and textures.”
Another key player joined the team after the home sale: Holly’s cousin Kristy Gorsuch, an interior designer from New Harbor who now lives just down the street in Falmouth. Her design style and philosophy were just the right fit for the Morrises’ home.
“I am not the type of designer who chooses heavy drapes or formal fabrics,” says Kristy. “I like a timeless, minimalist look with clean, simple lines, neutral colors, and carefully curated pops of color.
“Interiors can be designed in a way that’s affordable and accessible, not stuffy or super high end—although I might mix one high-end piece with others from Pottery Barn or Serena & Lily.” Contrary to what one might think, Kristy adds, “You can have a beautiful, well-layered home that won’t break the bank—and you can have fun in the process!”
She clearly enjoyed decorating her cousin’s home, and Holly trusted her with being her “eyes and ears.” While Holly was often at a distance, packing up her New York house, yet just a phone call away, Kristy chose furniture, decorative accessories, sconces, and more. But not everything was newly purchased. Some pieces were recycled or repurposed from their old home, such as their former dining room table, which is now Spencer’s desk.
Today, Holly, Spencer, Decker, and Emerson are the blissful beneficiaries of a talented team of designers and builders, and now the family of four is busy living in those finely curated spaces, making them their own, and settling in comfortably to their Falmouth farmhouse.
“I think we’ve found our forever home,” Holly says, smiling broadly.