There’s not one secret to having a house that is stylish while staying true to the homeowners’ taste; lived in, but not messy. Warm and welcoming, yet visually compelling, layered, and intriguing. I offer a fact: This home I just described does not happen in a day, or even a year. Situated just100 feet from the water’s edge in Rockport, Lorraine Streat’s home is an example of what it looks like when a space is truly lived in, changed through the seasons, and graced with a decades-old, craft-made collection of furniture.
When I was talking with Lorraine, she spoke of her home as something that is ever evolving. “I study my own home,” she laughs. “I sit there and examine it. I ask, what feels balanced?” She invited me to visually walk through her space as we looked through photos. The chair in the reading room, she says, is a Wassily chair from the ’50swhose leather was replaced by a cobbler in Auburn. Downstairs in the kitchen, a trapeze lighting from 1790 Lighting in Rockporthangs above the area in a gospel-like atrium. An art piece by William A. Chevistitled Jonah and the Whalehangs on a one-story fireplace. People have warned her that the damp location isn’t a great place to hang the wood block print, to which Lorraine replies, “I’m not here to preserve everything. I’m here to enjoy it.” Most of her decor is over 20 years old, classics that have become popular againand are copied. She prefers to collectcraft-made, timeless piecesto last her lifetime. Her inquisitive eye can reach satisfaction without perfection, and she is adaptable and smart when decorating her home.
But what is her style, exactly? Both she and her husband grew up in midcentury modern homes and felt drawn to those roots, and she found it helpful they had a shared background. Lorraine appreciates the simplicity and modernity of the Scandi look and wanted to emulate it, but without being quite so austere. “It’s important that style carries throughout the house,” she says. “You can admire a look that is popular but dissect that style and ask yourself why you like it. There must be something about the feel that you like.” When she pulls 300 different patterns for her clients and asks them to pick 25 that speak to them, their selections always have a consistent pattern. Look down at your clothes: What colors do you tend to wear? That’s also an indicator of what is soothing to your eye—people usually wear colors they enjoy. She gravitates toward rust and deep blue colors, which she adds to her home through layers of textiles and art. As far as style goes, there isn’t an exact label that can be placed on Lorraine’s home. Rather, she works to create a cohesive feeling of warmth, brightness, and simplicity throughout her house.
Maine’s seasons are dramatic, ranging from deep snow to hot summers, and Lorraine’s house changes with nature. The outdoor shower is one of her favorite spaces in the summer, facing a view of the ocean and Mount Battie’s summit through the woods ringing her property. There’s a mossy path leading to the water’s edge that feels otherworldly at golden hour that time of year. Fewer textiles, glass decor, and cooler colors appear in her home while it’s hot outside. In the fall, when things are cooler, she spends more time in her sunroom because of its warm light, planning out next year’s garden with one of the many books in that room. As winter approaches, she replaces the glass with pottery and adds more layered textiles to contrast the snow. Her house looks different in each season—everything is fluid. Even day to day, Lorraine pays attention to how light patterns change the effect of a room. “My bedroom has pink walls,” she says, “and when the pink light of sunrise, the blue ocean, and my walls come together, it’s gorgeous. The different rooms in my house all give me a distinct feeling.”
More than ever, people are spending more time at home, and the importance of creating a sanctuary has never been so relevant. Those feelings of safety, beauty, and intrigue are so deeply integrated into her house. Even the memory of her 15-year-old dog, Indy, who used to follow her into every room, filling them up with presence, lives on in the house. Homes are subject to change, but we hold onto those memories of loved ones, of our travels, and of ourselves from another time in our spaces. Lorraine’s is no exception, and it is only stronger where the past meets the present.