Boothbay Harbor Log Cabin Tour


James R. Solomon

When Houston-based interior designer Lisa Dalton and her husband, Bill, first visited MidCoast Maine nine years ago, the couple fell fast and hard. So of course they wanted to go back next year. This visit, however, ended up being a life-changing experience. “We took a little drive to look at the leaves and in doing so, we bought a house!” said Lisa laughing.

Although she explains they were just “tires” when they asked a real estate agent to show them some properties, they found themselves falling in love with a 1920s log cabin perched on a cliff of granite above Boothbay Harbor. Part of an original rustic community known as Sprucewold (a quaint Adirondack cabin village and lodge developed in the early 20th century for vacationing city dwellers), the cozy 1,300 square foot home was constructed from logs cut on the property. “It’s a bit campy,” Lisa says. “Much of Maine is very nautical and coastal, and this has the best of both.”

What started as a summer getaway turned into something of a business for the Daltons. In addition to their cabin, the couple now own a series of vacation rentals as well as the boutique Squire Tarbox Inn. But what hasn’t changed is their love for the low-key allure of MidCoast Maine, a romance that’s only blossomed since that visit scheduled nearly a decade ago.

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Owner Lisa Dalton was inspired by the nautical vibe of Boothbay Harbor for her 1920s log cabin.

Many naps have been taken on the comfy English daybed that anchors the screened porch, which sits high in the trees and overlooks the water. Among the many returning maritime touches is the original Dutch door porthole, which is aided by an old wooden buoy used as a door stop.

Have the look:
Floor paint:
Benjamin Moore’s Pomegranate
Nautical Flags:

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The original fireplace in the living room is made of local stone. The Captain’s Wheel Chandelier also came with the house. Although the gas lanterns have been electrified, the original cords are still in place; the first owners of the house had to lower the wheel to light the lanterns, then raise it.

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Original details abound throughout the home, including the dining room. The sturdy table (notorious for hosting many late-night spades), the pair of benches with always room for one more, and the corner cabinets were all constructed from the estate’s logs, the same wood used to build the cabin itself. Lisa kept the window coverings simple, opting for apron-length off-white curtains that don’t detract from the roughly cut log walls.

Although most of the cabin was fine as is, the kitchen was a bit awful, with dated yellow formica. It also wasn’t functional for Lisa’s family of five, as small appliances were better suited to a boat, and “there was maybe six feet of storage space in total,” says- she. His solution? Tear it all out and start over. She upgraded appliances to full size and her grandmother’s 1948 gas stove, which had been hidden in a barn for 10 years, finally found its new home in their Maine cabin.

Lisa covered the kitchen’s log walls in a serene shade of light blue. Today it is one of the most magnetic rooms in the house. “When our children are here or when we have friends over, we are all in this little kitchen,” says Lisa.

Have the look:
Brewster Gray by Benjamin Moore

For more storage in the kitchen, Lisa has installed open shelving for crockery, while a skirted section keeps un-display-worthy pieces out of sight. Here, wooden shelves on custom iron brackets feature vintage stoneware, including a collection of 1940s yellow splatterware.

Work with what you have

The striking hanging lantern in the loft bedroom came with the cabin, so Lisa embraced it and all the beauty of its bent metal shade, pairing it with a few other quaint old light fixtures found at barn sales local. Below, one of the two original built-in log beds is topped with a cozy blanket and offers camp-like sleeping quarters alongside a trio of colorized architectural drawings of ships that Lisa pulled from a book .

Have the look:
Striped cover:
Evangeline Linen

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