Interior Designer Anthony Catalfano combines
the allure of textures, patterns and bold colors
with classic details to give this residence its
“It looks like it’s been here forever” is a favorite compliment of Interior Designer Anthony Catalfano. It means he has done his job well. A shingle-style Gambrel-roofed home, completed in 2016 but looking like it has been part of the landscape for much longer, earns this kind of praise. Its exterior by Winkelman Architecture in Portland has a traditional look, which Catalfano carries over to the stylish, timeless interior.
“My clients and I have very similar taste and aesthetics,” he says. When the couple visited Catalfano at his Kennebunk home, they liked what they saw. They admired the layered architectural details that give the home an Old World feeling. They appreciated the way the classic style makes the house feel timeless, as if it has stood on the edge of the ocean for many decades. When they expressed a desire for a home with a comparable look and feel, the designer presented them with samples and schemes that fit their wishes. “Families trust my abilities,” says Catalfano. “I’ve been in this business for over 30 years, and I can get a good read on people.”
The designer resides in Boston’s Back Bay, but spends as much time in Maine as possible. He is the recent recipient of the first Boston Design Guide Legend Award, for his contribution to the design community as a “tastemaker.” While known for his traditional style, Catalfano says, “I am like a chameleon and can adapt to any architect or client’s desires, including contemporary.”
This project is a classic Maine cottage located at Pine Point, a long stretch of sandy beach on Saco Bay, and a highly desirable place to spend the summer. Every room, except the dining room, opens onto a granite patio overlooking the beach. Catalfano was brought onto the job right from the start. “The collaboration with the architect is important. We create a relationship, working together to make it happen. Every decision that had to be made went through me. I became the client’s liaison to the architect as well as the designer,” he explains.
“When you have the opportunity to build from scratch, it’s really important to pay attention to all the details. We wanted everything to flow seamlessly,” he says.
From the beginning, the objective was to make the house seem as if it had always been there. “Adding layers of architectural detail makes the house look timeless. It’s a style that suits the Maine coast well,” the designer says. His influence is felt even before stepping inside the front door. The homeowners and their guests approach the home through an oval garden, also designed by Catalfano. The formality and layering of perennials hint at what’s to come inside.
The sun room perfectly demonstrates Catalfano’s vision. Its shingled walls, painted the same color as the home’s exterior, make the room appear to be an addition. “It looks like it was an open porch at one time, that was then glassed,” he says. The granite floor extends right out to the patio, adding to the illusion. A striped rug, for comfort and warmth over the stone, picks up the color scheme of various shades of blue and green combined with neutral hues. Each color echoes one that lies beyond the windows, of golden beach grass, the blue horizon and the ever-changing tones of the Atlantic. The scheme continues throughout the home, in furnishings, wall color and flooring. Artwork from the owners’ collection and antiques were brought into the mix, adding to the storyline.
The layering of textures in every room also contributes to the warm, welcoming aesthetic. In the spacious kitchen, a stone backsplash and hammered copper ventilation hood bring in details from the exterior. A butcher block at the end of the honed granite countertop creates another layer of texture. The wider planks of stained white oak on the floors adds to the Old-World feeling, as does the tongue-and-groove ceiling punctuated with dark chestnut beams. Each detail fits smoothly in with the rest, building upon each other, establishing the look that Catalfano and his clients desired. “There’s not one forgotten space in this house. There are details through and through, even on the lower levels,” he says.
One extraordinary detail that carries through each room, helping to form a seamless composition, is the windows. Winkelman Architecture designed the decorative transoms, while Catalfano suggested tinting the circles a sea-glass-like blue-green, picking up on the home’s color scheme. “It acts as a jewel piece for each doorway,” he says, “and echoes the color scheme of the interior.” The same pattern shows up in the dining room’s built-in cabinets. “Every area should have something special to look at,” he says. “In the dining room, it’s the built-ins. But they’re also highly functional. This is where the homeowner keeps all her dishes, glassware and linens. It makes everything convenient for the way they entertain.”
The house is a reflection of the chemistry Catalfano has with his clients. “We’re all on the same page. To this day, we have a lasting friendship and I’ve been entertained many times in this home. It really is one of the most wonderful homes. I believe the older it gets, the better it looks.”
Will Winkelman, AIA