Design Diary: Rockledge House by Larson Shores Architects

I have many Design Diary posts for you—looks at homes I’ve written about for Boston print publications, but have yet to feature on StyleCarrot. This home, designed by Carrie Shores of Larson Shores Architects is an eco-friendly project we featured (on the cover) of the Boston Globe Magazine in December 2009.  The article, called  “Living A Vision” was photographed by James R. Salomon.

I flew up to Rockland, Maine to see the house, interview homeowner Rhonda Nordstrom, and isit her spa, which I blogged about here: Beauty Break: Rheal Day Spa. But before you click over, scroll through to see Rhonda Nordstrom’s green home in coastal Maine.


 Photo by James R. Salomon

The two-story house, which replaced a small cottage that had no heat or running water in winter, is 1,400-square-feet, and sited on two-tenths of an acre with a very New England view. They didn’t cut down any trees, but had to do a lot of excavation and grading. The house is sited so passersby can enjoy the view of the harbor.

The exterior is shingled, to blend with the Maine vernacular, though the trim is painted black. The arrangement of windows and the overhang of the back porch lend a modern feel. They left the metal chimney pipe exposed, to echo the sensibility of the working waterfront.


Photo by James R. Salomon

Eco-friendly finishes are mixed with a contemporary and Scandinavian aesthetic. (Rhonda’s husband’s parents are from Sweden.) The kitchen cabinetry is Ikea, which fit the look and budget.

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Photo by James R. Salomon

There’s no basement, just a concrete slab. Instead of covering over it, Shores incorporated it into the design. The first floor is stained, polished concrete, with radiant heat. The countertop is Corian. Beyond the eating area, sliders open into the grassy yard, which leads to the water.


Photo by StyleCarrot

Take a close look—under the artwork, there’s a niche for the dog crate.
Table and chairs from Ikea.

Contemporary Stainless Steel Wood Burning Fireplace

Photo by James R. Salomon

The raised fireplace is easy to access. Rhonda insisted on window seats.


Photo by James R. Salomon

The stairs and second floor are done in bamboo, also with radiant heat.


Photo by James R. Salomon

Built-ins make the most of the space. Rhonda got a window seat here too.


Photo by StyleCarrot

A fan keeps the air moving. Notice the cathedral ceilings.


Photo by James R. Salomon

The bathroom floor is lined with ipe leftover from the deck.
The tiles are recycled glass mosaics.


Photo by James R. Salomon

The bedroom opens onto the back porch.
You can see the boats out the window.

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Photo by James R. Salomon

The railing is industrial steel and wire.

view-James R. Salomon-maine

Photo by James R. Salomon

The harbor, which you can see from every room in the house,
is one of the largest lobster shipping ports in the country.

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Shop Tuckernuck for coastal style decor >


Beauty Break: Rheal Day Spa

When I hear Maine, I think L.L. Bean, clambakes and moose. Foliage if it’s fall, with some outlet shopping thrown in. Or preppy seaside retreats with crisp nautical motifs. Day spas? Not so much. Until I saw photos of Rheal Day Spa in Rockland, Maine, owned by esthetician Rhonda Nordstrom.

I first learned about Rhonda’s Rheal product line, the sunscreen specifically, from Sharon Kitchens at Delicious Musings. (Sharon, a conflicted fashionista dedicated to living the green life, had met Rhonda when she was living up in Maine.) I’m going to be writing an article about Rhonda’s amazing new eco-friendly home later this year. But in the meantime, I wanted to show you pictures of her new spa. Designed by architects Carrie Shores and Josh Larson from the architecture firm Larson + Shores, it’s fresh, clean, airy, and eco-conscious.

Rheal Nail Rm

This is the nail room. Carrie handpainted the design on the wall, after tracing it using a projected image. Rhonda calls the design a sea flower; it’s the spa’s logo. Notice the curtain on the left? It’s an almost perfect match, and from IKEA. The floors are rubber and the textiles from recycled fibers.

RhealexteriorRheal is on Main Street in Rockland, in an old factory building. Rhonda calls Rockland “a pretty urban, hip little town.” (I’ll get back to you on that; I’m visiting next month.) Nevertheless, Rhonda says, “When people walk in, they say it’s like walking into a whole other world. Which is good,” she adds, “since it’s a spa.” Recently, she had a client from Manhattan who said Rheal was like any other spa she would go to. It certainly looks the part. I’m guessing the treatments are heavenly too. After all, Rhonda learned her trade at Grettacole, back in the early days. She says, “Gretta taught me how to shape eyebrows; I will be grateful to her forever.

Rheal front_room

They used a lot of eco-friendly materials. The floor in the reception area (above) and the other rooms without water, are cork.

Rheal ocker_entryThis is the locker room, with the meditation room beyond. The chair is Japanese and rocks gently. Carrie found it in San Francisco. I’ll have to ask her where. The fabrics are made from recycled soda bottles. The sconce shades incorporate grass reeds.

pediDetail of the nail room.

treatment rm1This is one of the very peaceful treatment rooms. You can see her private line of skincare products, which Rhonda describes as “clean, healing, authentic.” The line started as an anti-acne line, but now includes “graceful aging” products. She touts the Lip & Face Serum in particular. The spa also use Dr. Haushka products, which Rhonda loves.

Rheal showerSink and shower in the locker room. The countertops are made from recycled paper, by a company called Paperstone. They’re beautiful and don’t absorb any water.

Rheal dressing roomDetail of sink in locker room.

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