In Coastal Maine, a Writer-Carpenter’s Restored Home Is a Vision in Yellow

After about two years, it was time to move in. The yellow house is now filled with reclaimed beams from Matthew’s grandparents’ barn in Whitefield, Maine. There’s a sturdy, toe-stubbing hearth made from locally collected rocks. There are unexpected color combinations—including but not limited to the Mediterranean teal, Anjou Pear orange, and tomato bisque–like red painted on the trims and used for the kitchen counters. Looking in from the outside, it’s hard to choose a favorite element. “I love the kitchen space, it feels so nice in there,” Matthew muses. “[And] I’m excited about the Wood Mill of Maine floors. I think they look beautiful.”

Matthew’s aunt Cindy made the stained glass for the home. “When the sun is going down, it shines this cool light in,” he says. The cut out where the window was installed hangs on the opposite wall.

The wood floors tell a story as you move through the space. “​​You can feel the cup in the sole of your feet and it reminds you that you’re walking on a former tree,” Matthew describes. But beyond the physicality of the floors, they are part of a story Matthew began to write—a magazine-style essay about the Wood Mill of Maine, and specifically, the owner, Bjarki Gunnarsson. The writing and the home improvement became intertwined. Matthew acquired the mill’s pine for the floors, he installed the floors, he messed up the floors—a cupped floor is not good, as beautiful as it looks to an untrained eye—and more or less (a lot more than less), the journey and the essay morphed into his recently published, debut book, Bjarki, Not Bjarki.

From a five-degree shelf to childhood monster drawings to a stack of Bjarki, Not Bjarki drafts and books, the office is full of thoughtful touches. The Doritos art on the wall was a gift and a nod to one of Matthew’s pieces of writing, “6’3″ Man with Doritos.”

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