We found design inspiration in so many of the places we were lucky enough to visit in 2017, we decided to add a category dedicated to just that for our annual ‘Best of’ year in review posts. The list below is comprised of shops, restaurants, and stand-out rooms in hotels that left us feeling blown away and inspired.
The Idle Rocks Restaurant and Lounge
I saved an image of the restaurant at The Idle Rocks to a Pinterest design board long before a trip to England was ever on our radar, so having a chance to stay at this impeccably designed Relais & Chateaux property was certainly a highlight of the year for me. Throughout our stay, I found that I couldn’t stop myself from photographing the bright, chic interiors, all designed by owner Karen Richards. It seemed as though everywhere I looked there was a perfectly styled vignette – often anchored by a David Pearce painting – waiting to be captured. Staying in a hotel that is as thoughtful in its design execution as The Idle Rocks was, is one of the most enjoyable aspects of travel for me. Our all too short stay sent me home full of seaside inspiration and an even greater appreciation for pops of punchy colors.
A recommendation from Ben Pentreath’s blog that I’ll admit to initially selecting almost entirely because of the thoughtful, brightly colored interior, Brassica, located in the adorable town of Beaminster, turned out to be both beautiful and delicious. The charming space, which sources some of its textiles from the restaurant’s sister shop next door, blends color, pattern, and texture perfectly.
The Pig on the Beach Conservatory/Restaurant
It wasn’t until after we returned home from our trip to England that I discovered my favorite British architect and designer, Ben Pentreath, led the renovation of the conservatory at the first hotel we visited during our trip, The Pig on the Beach. Meals at The Pig, which fashions itself as “a restaurant with rooms,” are taken inside the plant-filled conservatory, where the tables look out upon Studland Bay and the famous Old Harry Rocks.
The Drawing Room at the Covent Garden Hotel
Our favorite experience during our stay at the Covent Garden Hotel was an afternoon tea in the Drawing Room. Enjoying our first (and only) afternoon tea of the trip, privately, in such a beautifully appointed room, was one of the best memories from our entire trip. The maple-lined wood panels of the Drawing Room give the entire space an especially inviting and comforting feeling, while the mix of bold patterns serve as a fun complement to the overall traditional sense of the room.
Manoir Hovey’s Teepee
The teepee at Manoir Hovey, just off the kitchen cutting garden, might be one of the more unique items on this year’s list. A focal point of the Canadian lakeside retreat, we weren’t sure what to expect upon entering, but with large, cozy cushioned seats, covered in vinting kilim pillows, fur rugs, and even a small chess table, all surrounding a small central fireplace, we found that inspiration can truly strike in the most unexpected of places.
Playroom at Babington House
During our quick overnight at Babington House we received a surprise upgrade to the incredible Playroom. To say that the room left us speechless is somewhat of an understatement. This beautifully-appointed 700 square foot suite included an oversized soaking tub, an impressively stocked in-room bar, and floor-to-ceiling windows filled arguably the best views of the Babington lawn. As far as unexpected upgrades go, this was without a doubt, one of our very best yet!
250 Main’s Spectacular Room
Expectations are naturally high when booking a room labeled ‘spectacular’, but with panoramic views of Rockland harbor from a comfy king sized bed, colorful artwork, and a clean, contemporary aesthetic, this room at 250 Main easily lived up to its name. Although the views through the wrap-around windows are stunning, the wallpaper, by UK-based artist Abigail Edwards, might be our favorite detail.
Lincolnville Motel Common Areas
Pictures of the minimalist motel rooms and cottages at the Lincolnville Motel have been popping up on our Instagram feeds each summer since it opened in 2015, and after a quick summer overnight with Orvis, we were finally able to see what all the fuss was about. The motel’s common areas, with its dramatic landscape art, shelves full of color-coded books, reading nooks, and well-worn vintage furniture, are full of effortlessly styled vignettes that beg to be photographed.
Located in Portland’s East End, Belleville Bakery‘s recipes might be classically French, but its design is wonderfully modern. With bold geometric tile, large brass pendant lighting, and a beautiful counter, piled high with the most delectable looking croissants, we’d happily spend any morning here.
The Ivy Bar
In addition to partaking in some truly fantastic people watching from our table at The Ivy, we also had a prime view of the coral-colored onyx bar during our dinner at this famed London institution. The red leather and pink mohair barstools are the perfect accent to the row of hand-hammered brass tiles above the stone topped bar.
More & Co.
Browsing the unique selection of goods in this cheerful shop on High Street always puts me in the best of moods. It could be their fantastic line of Maine-inspired tees and sweatshirts, their whimsical collection of blue & white ceramics by Chloe May Brown, or simply a chat with the delightful people who work there, but I am always happy to see that open sign as I make my way across Portland.
It’s difficult for me to walk by the perfectly styled windows of k colette on Commercial Street and not stop. Their selection of handmade goods sourced from all over the world (and especially Maine) is constantly updated, both online and in the shop. It’s a favorite stop for thoughtful greeting cards and gifts for our nieces and nephews, and is the best source in Maine to view pieces by brands and artisans such as John Robshaw, John Derian, Astier de Villatte, and lots more.
Fitz & Bennett
Lauren Maker Siviski’s beautifully-lit corner shop, Fitz & Bennett, features a multitude of high quality, yet very affordable, goods for the home. Colorful pillows from Parisian lifestyle brand Jamini dot the store, perfectly complementing the wall art of local artists Sarah Madeira Day and Megan Boltz.
Periscope is a pleasant mixture of Scandinavian design and the work of local artists and other design-driven small businesses. The meticulously laid-out, well-lit shop in downtown Rockland is filled with products and brands we enjoy in our own home – Menu spice grinders, cozy Glerup slippers, Caroline Z Hurley textiles, Fog Linen trays, and a whole host of Ferm Living accessories – but there is so much more that I’ve discovered during my two different trips up the coast to visit Periscope. Quilts by Louise Gray hang alongside minimal wall clocks, while Hay dining tables are set with modern accessories and are lit by a variety of stunning pendant lights. My favorite new find was the Pilar Lounge Chair by Asa Pingree, who works out of his Brooklyn studio, but grew up in Maine. During our second visit to the shop, we even had the chance to meet one of their featured local designers, Mark Moskovitz, who constructed a fun chest of drawers disguised as a stack of firewood.
Photos by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.