Inside a Maine Guesthouse Designed by Betsy Wentz

March 6, 2024

A multi-structure guesthouse and entertaining space in Maine brings the forest to the foreground.

Text by Jorge S. Arango    Photography by Trevor Parker    Produced by Tori Mellott

While driving through Lubec, Maine, Emily Dwyer, an architectural designer at Nate Holyoke Builders, spied a square gabled smokehouse. It instantly sparked an idea for a guesthouse and entertaining space she was designing in Blue Hill. The clients, who had worked with Dwyer on their main house, were originally contemplating a much more modern design. “But this would fit in with the old Maine cottage vernacular of Blue Hill,” Dwyer says of the complex, which ended up as a cluster of three white-cedar shingle “pods” with standing-seam metal roofs. The main pod contains two bedrooms and a sought-after entertaining space, while the second pod houses an additional bedroom and the third centers around a gym.

Dwyer rejoined forces with the creative team behind the main house: Pittsburgh-based interior designer Betsy Wentz and Maine-based landscape designer Emma Kelly. They determined the interior palette early on. “We wanted green to be the thread throughout,”says Wentz, “because it brings in nature. We’ve got pretty much every shade of green covered in this house.” Known for her vivid eye-popping palettes, Wentz also added what she calls her “color stamp” to barstools (individually upholstered in lavender, pale blue, and green) and toss pillows and in subtle patterns that show up on wallpapers and strategically placed chairs.

The wallpapers, Wentz recalls, were the wife’s request. “She wanted something that was artistic and caught your attention—but not enough to detract from the view,” explains Wentz. Said view was conjured by Kelly, who “brought the woods closer to the house, making them feel dense for a sense of seclusion and privacy.” On one side she planted a birch grove, on another she created viewsheds of the surrounding cove by opening up the tree line.

In the main house, Dwyer’s dramatic fireplace required some tricky engineering. The team hung a steel frame from the living room’s ridge beam, then faced it with plywood and affixed thin slabs of engineered stone from Cambria. The design allows for a view through the flames to a fern-shrouded terrace—and from the terrace into the living room. A thoughtful collection of Maine artists provides the guesthouse’s exclamation point, making it feel like a home away from home and providing plenty of conversation starters for all those soirees.

Project Team
Architectural design and builder: Nate Holyoke Builders
Interior design: Betsy Wentz Interior Design
Landscape design: Emma Kelly Landscape

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