On a hill overlooking Boothbay Harbor sits the historic Mt Pisgah Lodge dating back to the early-1900’s. It was once home to students of the Asa G. Randall’s Commonwealth Art Colony, a summer art school for teachers and aspiring artists. While the school no longer exists, in its place lives a family of creatives in a renovated home designed to honor the colony’s history.
The homeowners purchased the property from family and hired Knickerbocker Group to modernize and renovate it. Knickerbocker Group worked with the homeowners to build a new kitchen and primary suite and renovate two second-floor bathrooms.
Metal roofing panels make up the kitchen ceiling—a temporary fix assembled by the previous owners to cover damage caused by a fire. The clients wanted to keep the metal ceiling as a nod to the resourcefulness of the last owners and as a way to save the home’s history. Knickerbocker Group worked closely with electricians to find unique ways to integrate new light fixtures with the corrugated metal.
Knickerbocker Group designed a custom cabinet on wheels. The cabinet’s height was inspired by an original window, built lower than the standard countertop height. The duo pair harmoniously together, also the perfect height for the homeowners’ son, who uses the space for baking.
The homeowners have honored the essence of the artists’ colony over the years, hiring local artists and craftspeople to create unique pieces throughout the home and their neighboring cottage. Within the open-concept dining and living room, the heart of the home, is a custom dining table and crescent-shaped benches commissioned by the family. This space serves as a hub during the summer months—where neighborhood families gather for lobster dinners and games by the fire.
Original to the home and the centerpiece of the living room is a large stone fireplace. Knickerbocker Group installed cabinetry on the kitchen side of the fireplace to give the homeowners more storage space.
Nestled in the downstairs hallway sits an old wooden door covered in handwritten notes and sketches. It acts as a permanent guestbook filled with the names of friends and family that have stayed in the historic lodge over the years, creating art and making summer memories.
Knickerbocker Group built and modernized the bathrooms on the second and third floors of the home, although kept timely pieces such as the claw-foot tubs. Knickerbocker Group found new faucets that fit the period of the house and used them in the third-floor primary bath where the homeowners have a private suite and office space.
The Spiral Staircase & “Judy”
About five years after the initial renovations, the clients asked Knickerbocker Group to build a private staircase leading to their third-floor suite. The clients’ appreciation for art and their ability to think outside of the box allowed Knickerbocker Group to design and build a one-of-a-kind spiral staircase. The staircase and stone patio incorporate “The Golden Ratio” and “Fibonacci Sequence,” a mathematical design where the proportions are most pleasing to the human eye.
To achieve the curves of the staircase, Knickerbocker Group used tube steel rolled in two directions. Two inch thick red cedar was used for the steps, anchored on either side by the steel stringers and Jakob stainless steel web-net for the guardrail—materials that would follow and complement the spiral lines of the stairs. Under the staircase is a wooden storage space where the homeowners keep outdoor garden supplies. Knickerbocker Group wanted this staircase to be as eclectic as possible since the homeowners encouraged them to push creative boundaries.
Knickerbocker Group worked alongside a local sculpture artist and landscapers to complete the hand-made stonework in the outdoor patio.
Near the base of the staircase is an old Garland range which the family rescued from the basement and had restored. Once complete, with ruby red slipper handles, they named the antique range ”Judy.”
Knickerbocker Group designed and built a sheltered structure around “Judy” that focused on functionality and keeping the stove protected from the weather. The structure is made from red cedar to match the spiral staircase. The boards are gapped to allow for airflow. The structure has three sides, each side with an awning window for additional ventilation. The windows incorporate vintage hardware as seen throughout the cottage. The open side, underneath a cantilevered roof, is an access point for cooking and baking. When not in use, the range is protected on the fourth side by a custom canvas tarp which clips into place.