Friday, June 5, 2015

Castine: Our Kitchen, Memorial Day And L'Hermione

Though summer officially starts June 21st, it already feels like it with the long days. There is a sense of ease in the air. Traffic appears gentler, parking seems easier, and the ice cream truck is back in action :) I really look forward to these days, and try to squeeze in as much outside time in the garden as possible.

By the way, my nieces and nephew, Monica, Tiffany and Alex, have just graduated from college - how time flies! I couldn't be more proud!! Congratulations to them.

This is also the time of year when summer folks start returning to their homes in Castine, Maine. Over the Memorial Day weekend, Tom and I went there to open up our home. It felt more like spring with sunny afternoons and chilly nights - think short sleeves during the day and flannel PJs at night. And it was a lovely surprise to find the forsythias still in bloom.

After cleaning and dusting, we attended the garden club's sale, had dinners with friends, joined the Memorial Day procession, and strolled down to the town dock for ice cream.    
Castine has a very deep and picturesque harbor with views of various islands and Brookesville across the bay. Soon many boats will once again be back at their moorings. It looks like the town dock, with new railings and freshly cleaned floats, is all ready for the season ahead. See the end of this post for exciting news!
Each Memorial Day, Castine pays tribute to the fallen with an observance at the town cemetery. Afterwards, the procession, including flag bearer, veterans, residents, guests, officials, band Castine Fife and Drums Corps, and cub scouts, moves down to the town common for a reading, song and dedication. The procession finally ends at the dock with a laying of the wreath in the harbor to honor those lost at sea. See more photos from last year here.
Afterwards, we visited Fort Madison located near the mouth of Castine harbor - it's one of our favorite places to watch the boats come and go. This is a popular place for picnics and, during the summer, weddings, as the view out to the Penobscot Bay is breathtaking.

Since acquiring our home, we've done quite a bit of work. Let's check out the changes in the kitchen starting with a "before" photo taken when the prior owners were moving out.
The kitchen is located in the new part of the house - an addition off the old kitchen, which is now the breakfast room. The addition also consists of a powder room as well as a screened porch connecting to the barn / garage.

All the cabinets needed a thorough scrubbing! Some also needed minor repairs. Though there is a wall of floor-to-ceiling glass windows and doors, the room felt drab due to the olive-green cabinets - not fresh and bright for a summer home. So I had them painted in 75% White Dove (Benjamin Moore). I also had the upper cabinet to the right of the windows removed - this really opened up that corner. Lastly, the dishwasher broke so it had to be replaced :(

Here is the kitchen today:
I learned that the granite for the countertops was quarried locally on Deer Isle - an island about an hour from Castine. Also, the soapstone double sink was found at an architectural salvage warehouse. Notice the extra wide pine floorboards - after a lot of Murphy's Oil Soap, they look pretty good. We wanted to refinish them but didn't have the budget.
From our breakfast room looking into the kitchen. There is a massive brick fireplace, originally used for cooking, to the left of the eating area. 

NOW FOR VERY EXCITING NEWS:

In the 1780s, a majestic frigate (sailing warship) brought the Marquis de Lafayette from France to the aid of General George Washington in the American Revolutionary War. That ship, the Hermione, was part of the naval blockade that prevented British General Charles Cornwallis from escaping Yorktown, which eventually led to the British surrender.

From July 14 - 16, a replica of Lafayette's 145' long Hermione will visit Castine as part of its transatlantic voyage from Rochefort, France, where the 18th century Hermione was built. This symbolic visit on Bastille Day is especially meaningful as the original Hermione had visited Castine in 1780 on a reconnaissance mission.

The Castine Historical Society, as designated host, is honored to welcome the Hermione to Castine. For more information, please visit here.

Credits and links for the following photos, as available, are provided under each image. 
 Siege of Yorktown with the French squadron at sea - via Wikipedia here.
Credit unknown
 Photo by Francis Latreille
 Photo via The Opinion here.
September 2014 - Accompanied by a flotilla, Hermione departing Rochefort for sea trials. Credit unknown.
October 2014 - Hermione moored in the Penfeld River at the Chateau de Brest. Credit unknown.
June 2, 2015 - photo from U.S. Navy
You won't want to miss this highly anticipated historical event.
 Hope to see you in Castine!
Cheers,
Loi
PS - For updates, please remember to visit the websites of the CHC and the Hermione

85 comments:

  1. The kitchen looks great, (unsurprisingly!). Is the powder room behind the the stove/oven "wing"/partition? There's certainly a lot of light, which I'm sure will be important in grey winter days. Was just watching a programme on Swedish residential properties for sale; sadly most of the interiors were furnished with Ikea products. Perhaps you could send "coals to Newcastle" with your beautiful furniture. Or is it that they have Ikea because you've exported all the good stuff to Tone on Tone?!

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    1. Good guess! The powder room is indeed behind the oven wall. And yes: all the good stuff is here :) Watch out, Ikea!

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  2. What a wonderful holiday home to visit, and your homes are amazing. I have always wanted to live in Maine, I have a couple of girlfriend who lived there for years and they too would love to move back.
    I love your casual decor, that dinning table pic-nick style is wonderful.

    The history lesson was well read, amazing history and awwww the sea life.

    Xx
    Dore

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  3. castine just seems like such an idyllic place to live- beautiful, sweet, and full of history and charm!
    and your kitchen is looking SOOOOO amazing! i love those nautical paintings!

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    1. Thanks, Cassie. Castine is very special, and we fell in love with it at first sight.

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  4. Loi, reading this post, it occurred to me that you and Tom might enjoy reading poet May Sarton's memoir, "Plant Dreaming Deep," about her move to a small New England town, repairing a house, making a garden, and becoming part of the community.

    (Your kitchen is beautiful.) Take care, Cindy

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    1. Thanks for sharing, Cindy. I'll have to add that book to my summer reading.

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    2. I'd like to thank you, too! Just ordered it.

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  5. Loi, how very exciting to have the Hermione in the harbor!! Such history and honor!
    Your kitchen is beautiful, I love your design and the lovely serenity of it!

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena
    Jackson Pollock Mural

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  6. Your kitchen looks great — isn't it amazing what a can of paint and elbow grease can do for a room? I really like the arrangement of the anchor and ship's clock. I wonder if it's an 8-bell clock?

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    1. Mark: you have a good eye! I found the ship's clock at an antiques shop in England. It doesn't work....needs restoration. One day....

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  7. Just removing that upper cabinet made such a difference -bravo!! It's an old house -it doesn't have to be perfect -the floors are gorgeous as they are - patina and character -not dings and scratches!!! Hope you both are well. xo

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  8. The magic of BM White Dove never ceases to amaze! Love the kitchen transformation and thanks for sharing the ship's history; enlightening and interesting. I also love Maine's Memorial Day tradition. Big congrats to your nieces and nephew on their graduations! xx

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  9. Loi what a transformation paint can make and you new kitchen is a bright shining example of that. The floors were one of the first things I noticed. Oh My!! they are gorgeous, they just glow with a beautiful patina, only older wood can glow like that. Love following along with you and your adventures. We saw the documentary about the ship visiting Castine, amazing efforts by so many people, what a beauty, and what a fun experience to see it in person. Enjoy!!! PS, I just chose white cabinets for our new kitchen and wrote about our choices on my blog. Having fun and getting excited for our new build.

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  10. Wow. I would love to see this most historic ship!! Hmm...maybe a trip needs to be planned!!! Love that gorgeous kitchen. What an amazing transformation!

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    1. Please come up and see the Hermione when she's in Castine! We'd love to show you our town!!

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  11. HC!! I love the floors, they look incredible! But then everything you do is beautiful.

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  12. Loi, the kitchen is wonderful and the floors are gorgeous! Would you please explain how you use 75% BM White Dove? This ole brain just isn't figuring that out. Thanks, Isla

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    1. Thanks for asking about the 75% formula. I had it cut.....25% lighter / whiter than the original. The 75% makes it less creamy than the 100% original formula. Hope this helps.

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  13. Just dreamy, Loi. How exciting that your kitchen didn't need much updating. I love the wide plank floors. What a great visit, and thanks for sharing. Can't wait to hear about the ship coming to port, I know you'll be there for that! xo Nancy

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  14. OMG...she is a wondrous thing of beauty!! ALL of the above!! franki

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  15. Hi Loi, The house looks so crisp. Love the kitchen. Now for L"Hermione---what fun that would be to spend a week while she was there. Have a great week-end. Mary

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  16. Love your kitchen - "before and after"...;-)
    Love the history part of your post, love the whole post, dear Loi!
    Brilliant as usual.
    Sunny greetings from the Périgord,
    Karin

    p.s. sorry for long absence and not commenting for months, but had a bit of a break from the blogworld, due to some different work here.
    Hope to be back soon!

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  17. love the floors (I agree with ArchitectDesign)-it does not perfection + what exciting news.xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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  18. Hello Loi,
    Your home in Maine looks stunning! I am totally in love with that wide plank pine floor. And how cool that you will able to see the historic visit of the Hermione. That is going to be a great event! The photos of the ship, especially compared to a modern Navy ship, are impressive. As always, great post!
    Susan

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    1. I'm counting the days until Hermione's visit! It's going to be so fun and festive. Thank you, Susan!

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  19. Loi,
    What a huge change a little paint and cleaning can do! Your kitchen is wonderful. I love the fact that the granite was locally mined...it makes it so much more interesting. Congrats to your nieces and nephew.
    I had seen something on TV about the Hermione...how cool to get to see it up close and personal.
    xo,
    Karen

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  20. I may just POP in as the SON will be in THE CAPE......................I am way over due for a visit to the EASTERN COAST!

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  21. After a fine morning of deep cleaning and gardening, I am finally in for the day, sitting here enjoying YOU.

    Loi, that kitchen is TDF. The before photo shows good bones and lots of possibilities, and in your hands and in Tom's hands, this kitchen is divinely transformed into a bright and happy PLACE! !!!!!!! AHH! What light does to me...it makes me HAPPY! Every detail, that gorgeous sink, the cabinets, and the floor - what joy. I would say keep the floor as is? It has a vintage look!

    I wish you both a fabulous summer enjoying the gentle days breezing by. I remember when my husband and I lived in the North Shore of Boston. We had such a great apartment right across from Beverly Cove that overlooked Salem across the water. But every weekend in the summer we'd head out to Marblehead. The joy of being near the water is indescribable. AND what a fun festival to occur! That ship is magnificent, and Castine will be brimming with much color and cheer. Happy day to you my friend! Anita

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  22. Wow! What a lovely little slice of heaven that looks like. Your kitchen looks completely different now. Must be nice to have a place to retreat to and be near the water.

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    1. Thank you! We are so grateful for our summer home in beautiful Castine. Look forward to it all year :)

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  23. Your home seems like the quintessential place to spend a summer... How exciting that a great ship will visit! We remember the parade of great ships in the New York harbor during the Bicentennial - they are so elegant and majestic! Have a great weekend, Loi.
    xxoo
    C + C

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  24. Hello Loi,
    You transformed an ordinary kitchen into a spectacular one. I wish you a very enjoyable summer.
    Helenx

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  25. Those floors sure don't look like they need refinishing from the pictures. They're just beautiful and lend such a wonderful warmth to the space.

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    1. Thanks so much, Jeannine. We love the floors, too. Lots of character, warmth and patina.

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  26. Loi a big hello,
    Castine looks like a painting of charming bucolic life. A picturesque setting in quaint New England. We must schedule a weekend this summer to shake off our renovation dust and leisurely soak up the beauty of New England. Loving your kitchen, local granite, an endearing choice for your kitchen. Now the soapstone sink I remember seeing that in your original photos of your home... I so would rejoice in having that sink. Murphy's soap oil is a constant staple in our home, it is all I use on our hardwood floors. I think your kitchen floor adds richness and beauty!
    Photos of the replica ... You and Tom on Bastille day enjoying festivities and John and I will be participating in Bastille Day with our Citroën DS in NYC.
    I want to say congrats to your nieces and nephew, a wonderful achievement, you must be so proud.
    xo,
    Vera

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  27. Kitchen looks great! Have you read the book, 'Colony', by Anne Rivers Siddons? It takes place in the area of Maine where your house is located. It's one of my favorite books...I read it every summer. Enjoy your summer!

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    1. Dear Jeff - I'll have to hunt down a copy of Colony. Hope I can find a used copy online. Thank you!! Adding it to my summer reading list. Happy summer - cheers

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  28. Kitchen looks great. One question-were the cabinets spray painted? Thank you for having such exquisite taste and sharing it with us.

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    1. No, not spray painted. The cabinets were hand painted with a brush (not a roller). Thanks for asking.

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  29. Amazing transformation of your kitchen Loi. I like the colour, the grey granite and your sink. I can't wait to see the rest of your house. The Hermione is an amazing ship. It must be exciting to see it when it arrives in July.

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  30. I will never cease to be amazed by the power of a coat of white paint. The kitchen looks fab. I love that table. Enjoy your summer!!!

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  31. So nice, Loi! The transformation from olive to white really made such a difference. I always love your taste. Castine looks so lovely. Very exciting about the Hermione!

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  32. Loi, the kitchen was totally transformed. I don't think you can top a white kitchen. Love that interesting sink!
    Thanks for sharing all the photos of Castine. Have a great summer!

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  33. It will be great to see the Hermione in Castine - I have seen the Tall Ships when they were in Norway, and it is a very exciting and spectacular scene to see these old ships with their billowing masts.
    You have made a great job of refurbishing your kitchen.

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  34. p.s what are the pink flowers growing around the tombs?

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    1. I was wondering about those, too. I'm not sure :( Will ask the locals!

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  35. Hello Loi, Looking at the before picture, I was admiring the light fixture over the sink--I'm glad you didn't get rid of it, but overall what a positive set of improvements you made, without turning it into one of those stereotypical, flashy kitchens. Your drinks tray looks like a giant mason-jar lid designed perhaps by Andy Warhol!
    --Jim

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  36. Loi, if we weren't packing for England we'd definitely be coming to Castine right now! Also, we have to be in DC for a burial at Arlington Natl. Cemetery mid-July so unfortunately can't make it to Maine then either. . . . . . . and I so want to see it all, and you and Tom in that fabulous house! Love what you've done in the kitchen - taking down that cabinet was the best idea. The floors are truly gorgeous - I know you put an awful lit of elbow grease into getting them that way - Murphy's OS always works wonders.

    Lovely here, sitting in the gazebo now after a couple of hours pruning, trimming, and cleaning up in the garden so we can leave it looking almost good! We've had a lot of rain so Bob will mow on Thurs. - we leave for London Fri. night. Long range forecast for Devon is sunshine and warm whilst we're there - I hope they're right! Jasmin hopes to swim in the sea - I'll paddle!

    Hope you read my recent posts about our visit with the Hattatt's in Budapest. What an awesome time they showed us! They are so much fun.
    Enjoy each wonderful day -
    Love Mary

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  37. terribly exciting news loi. i was just reading about the building of the ship and it's difficulties as some of the arts had to be re-learned, fascinating! wish i could be there and pop in to say hello, your kitchen is pure you, a clean and simple palette that is oh so soothing. dying to see more!
    xo
    debra

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  38. Loi the kitchen changes look fabulous!!! It is amazing what some paint, elbow grease and hard work will do!

    Everything is really coming along beautifully. I love the photos of yoyr town Memorial Day celebration. I firmly believe that so many forget what it is really all about. This brought tears to my eyes.

    The Hermoine arrived in Yorktown yesterday, it is stunning.

    Have a great weekend!

    Elizabeth

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  39. I love the kitchen updates! Just perfect, Loi. And Castine is so charming. Wishing you both a wonderful summer - I know it will be spectacular to see that magnificent ship in the harbor.
    xoxo

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  40. Oh that ship...Castine will be filled with much excitement, Loi!

    Thank you so much dear friend for coming to visit my post and also for following me on Instagram. What a fun place! OH! We are going to Carmel by the Sea this week! I can't wait. I love where we live now, for every day especially in the summer, is like a vacation for us. But we are going back to our honeymoon spot from 33 years ago! IMAGINE THAT?

    I hope to take photos of the sea that I love. Sailboats, people, the sharp edges of the cliffs...and the darling cottages. Then, this summer will be focused on poetry and my blog as a book project. I am busy!

    Cheers to you dearest Loi, and enjoy Castine! LOVE, Anita

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  41. Loi, your kitchen transformation is looking so good..love the little changes you made..it made a world of a difference.

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  42. Loi I adore your kitchen and so clever that you removed the top cabinet. I love the two paintings you have hung there. I must say, for me, the winner is those floors! How magnificent they are! I don't think they really need re-finishing? You would lose that lovely patina. Enjoy this lovely house this summer as well as all the Castine excitement!!

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  43. omg, loi, i read about this voyage and could hardly believe it was real! that is going to be quite an event and a photo op. i may have to skip over to castine to take it all in so keep an eye out for blush pointe shoes. your kitchen updates look amazing, and you are giving that sweet house such love. i'm inspired at a time i'll need lots of inspiration. peace to you, and happy happy summer, friend.

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  44. Loi,
    We were fortunate to visit Castine many summers ago and had always hoped that we might one day settle in this gorgeous town. Until then, I will vicariously live my Castine life through your blog. Your vision and hard work have resulted in s beautiful transformation.
    Cannot thank you enough for the Hermione photos. Read in our paper of the East Coast tour of the Hermione and was excited to know that Philadelphia was included as one of its ports. After viewing your pictures, I am now planning to bring the grandkiddos to visit this amazing replica. Tomorrow I will share these same photos with them to whet their appetites for this trip.
    Your blog is such an integral part of my life; the creative vision and execution you possess is truly inspiring. Never ceases to amaze me. Must also tell you how thrilled I am when your name or photos appear on other blogs I visit. In particular, I was deeply moved by comments you posted on La Pouyette about the effects of war. Your words had a profound effect and will remain with me always. Please continue to bless us with your ideas and thoughts...

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    1. Hello! First of all, thanks so much for your kind words - made my day :) And, yes, I agree: Castine is a gorgeous town. There is a very strong sense of community, as well. Hope you can return soon. Enjoy the Hermione in Philly. We're following its voyage. Thank you for reading - cheers!

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  45. What an amazing sight the Hermione is, Loi. Wow. So interesting. Glad you had a lovely weekend in Maine - our visit was so short, but it was beautiful. Your kitchen looks fantastic and I know you have a wonderful summer waiting for you! Enjoy every moment! XO

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  46. Dear Loi, I have not checked in for some time due to super-busy work commitments and little head-space! But so glad I did today, and I hope to have time to in the future, because your blog is always an inspiration. Of course there is no inspiration without perspiration as they say - hard work yields results. I hope you enjoy your new summer home and all that it brings. I have enjoyed everyones' comments also, and will take their recommendations for my reading list. I wanted to add, if I may, a suggestion of my own. Perhaps you know it already - a sweet book from 1932 by English writer Beverley Nichols. 'Down the Garden Path' is his account of finding his own little patch of paradise in a cottage and garden in England in the 1930s. It's a delight, and very funny and charming. But at the heart of it is something so many of us are looking for, that idea of a home which soothes and restores us, so that we may delight in all that life has to offer. Sweet illustrations by Rex Whistler. Do read if you ever get a chance. In the meantime, enjoy your home, I'm sure you will. Best wishes to you from UK, where summer is about to unfurl, albeit in rather cooler temperatures than one would wish. Come to visit us in Blighty some time! Sheena

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    1. Welcome back, Sheena! Missed you!! I luvvvvv garden reads....thanks for suggesting Down the Garden Path. Hope I can find a copy because I'll have lots of reading time in Maine. I intend on doing very little :) Cheers

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  47. WOW Loi-
    There is a lot of excitement in this post!
    First, congratulations to the graduates! Secondly, it is great to get back to your home in Maine. I still cannot believe the difference in the kitchen. You are a miracle worker!
    I know you are excited to have the replica of the ship there. This reminds me that I need to study up on my history when looking for something to read.
    Happy Monday.
    Teresa
    xoxo

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  48. What a lovely difference your changes made in the kitchen! Unifying your space with white paint and removing the upper cabinet really did make a major change, and I LOVE the windows! Happy Summer, Loi and Tom.
    -Revi

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  49. Hi Loi,

    Your new kitchen looks fabulous! Stylish, modern and very practical. That must be a lovely place to work in. Wishing you and Tom a wonderful summer. Have fun!

    Madelief x

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  50. Hi Loi - Hermione sails into Old Town Alexandria tonight after midnight as that is when they will raise the Woodrow Wilson bridge. I'm hoping to stay up to see it. Would love to see you again, as well!! xoxo
    Linda

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  51. Have I ever mentioned how jealous I am of your Maine residence?!!! I know I have :) so I have a homework assignment for you and Tom. I am thinking about renting a house on Islesboro this September for a week. The ferry leaves from Lincolnville and is very close to Camden. It's also very close to Castine; but apparently there isn't a quick way to get from Islesboro to Castine (about a 2 hour drive). Try and make mental notes for me about good restaurants (for lunch! Since the last ferry back to the island leaves at 5PM!) and markets around that area. I presume it's on your drive to Castine. Not sure I'm going to do it but I'd really like to take a week and look at the water and gorge myself on seafood. Hopefully I'll overlap with time you and Tom will be in Castine! I'd love to visit!

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    1. You can come visit us :) I've never been to Islesboro......think it might be very quiet in September, and most homes / rentals might be closed up already. Also not sure there are restaurants in Islesboro. Why not a place in Camden or Castine?

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    2. Yeah I don't think there are any! But there's a gorgeous house there I really want to rent! Haha but almost everyone has given me the same advice-go to Islesboro for a night or two but keep the majority of the trip on the mainland. I've found a few nice places in Tenants Harbor.

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  52. You have certainly worked your magic Loi, on your beautiful house in Castine! Congratulations and enjoy the summer.

    Sophia x

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  53. Loi you really are a genius! I cannot believe what you have done with that kitchen on a budget. Those floors are positively dreamy! I would die for those! Removing that cupboard...spot on!! Enjoy your summer there! I will be spending mine recouping from hip surgery...

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  54. Loi, first things first. The very first photo in this post is amazing. It looks like a painting; the composition is just perfect! Next, your kitchen is beautiful. Such a transformation!! Lastly, I wish I could be in Castine to see that magnificent ship. Enjoy it.

    Claudia

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  55. Wow, the Hermione is simply breathtaking. I wish we coud be part of the welcoming flotilla. What a treat to have this ship visit your town.
    Your kitchen update is so lovely. Isn't it amazing what a color change can do for a space? Your kitchen now has an entirely different mood - it does say welcome summer! Best wishes for a warm and fair July!

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  56. Castine is truly breathtaking and what a transformation of your kitchen. It will be a treat to see Hermione sailing down to the harbor, we are sure you will share Hermione's visit with your blog friends. Have a wonderful summer!

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  57. I am always excited to see you work your magic - the kitchen looks amazing and one of my favorite parts is the removal of the cupboards and the addition of the art…stunning!

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  58. Beautiful remodel! Wow, Loi you kept a lot of the original structure, but with some added paint and sprucing up the floors it looks fabulous! Your town in Maine looks so picturesque! I remember having to memorize an Early American painting that was on the Penobscot Bay! So cool to see a photo of the actual bay.

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  59. I knew it! I knew it would be dreamy and lovely and charming and bright! How could it not be? You and Tom have already warmed up your beautiful home way from home in the very pretty Castine, with woods and wainscoting, and rich, creamy whites. It must be hard to leave this mystic place of sun and sea, legends, and stories!

    Happy weekend, my friend!

    xoxo
    Poppy

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  60. Such a lovely area...and charming kitchen...the power of paint and good taste! Happy weekend.

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  61. Beautifully done as always Loi I love all of your vignettes and topiaries!!
    I wish I could be there for the experience of the Hermione ship!! So historically significant!

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena

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  62. Wow - what a difference a bit of a change in paint colour makes! Such a charming area you have your second home in, and such interesting history… of course Australia would be a vastly different country now if the English had not been thrown out of the USA - it's likely they would never have colonised it but for the push losing other territory gave them.

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  63. That ship is gorgeous, Loi....this will be such an exciting event! Coming up in just a few days!

    You are so blessed to call this town your second home, and what joy you and Tom must feel living in your labor of love. So beautiful!
    Fresh and open...I love those two seascapes in the kitchen...
    xoxo,
    - Irina

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  64. I am so glad your enjoying your summer home Loi! Your kitchen, as I expected, look pristine and perfect, like it has always looked that way! I'm also so happy you and Tom are enjoying all the sights and happening around your lovely town. Hermione's visit couldn't have happened at a better time! Congrats too to you nieces and nephew!

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  65. Amazing blog and very interesting stuff you got here! I definitely learned a lot from reading through some of your earlier posts as well and decided to drop a comment on this one!

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Many thanks for your visit! If you have a question, please leave a comment and I will do my best to answer. Loi