Although Alan and Debra Becker have spent their adult lives living, working and raising their family in Florida, Maine captured a piece of their hearts.
“In 1992, Debra and I vacationed together near Boothbay and fantasized how wonderful it would be to have a summer place in Maine,” Alan recalls. “Several years later, we were still considering this possibility, but we couldn’t decide what part of the state would suit us best. We decided to spend a week on the coast and a week in the inland mountains. That was one of the hottest summers Maine had ever experienced. The temperature was 10 degrees warmer inland than on the coast. After living in the Florida heat, we opted for the cooler coastal area.”
Debra spent the next two years shopping on the Internet for houses for sale. The couple periodically returned to Maine to visit these properties but never found a place that was ideal. Then, on one of their trips, their Realtor showed them a 2-acre parcel on the Damariscotta River. “I sat down on the ground and looked out at the river and knew this was where we were meant to be,” Debra says. “I closed my eyes, and all I could envision was a log home. Both Alan and I knew a log home would blend into the environment and not look as if it had been dropped there.”
The Realtor gave them brochures for several different log-home companies. They met with Jim and Sandy Smyth, owners of Round Maine Inc. and sales representatives for Ward Cedar Log Homes, and toured several homes the Smyths had sold and built. Impressed, Alan and Debra ordered their log package from Round Tree and hired Jim and Sandy to build their new log home.
As the former owner of Möbelform, an importer of modern and contemporary furniture designs, Debra drew upon her experience designing interiors to plan the rooms in the new house to accommodate the European furniture and closets she intended buying. “Debra took one of the stock floor plans and virtually cut it in half and swung the back rooms to the side,” Alan relates. “This fit with her goal that every room would have a view of the Damariscotta River.”
The two levels in the 5,200-square-foot home have identical floor plans and the same square footage. On the main level are the great room with dining area and kitchen, the master bedroom suite, and an additional bath for the two bedrooms, one of which is used as an office-guest room and the other for their three champion vizslas.
The walk-out lower level is reserved for guests, including daughters Ilana Becker, an actor in New York City, and Marni Becker-Avin, an attorney in Alan’s Florida law firm, and her husband, Roie, and son, Adam. This level features a second living room with eating area and galley kitchen, a guest master bedroom suite, two bedrooms and a bath. The boiler and laundry room are directly below the first-floor mudroom-pantry-storage room.
“When we built our home in Florida over 20 years ago, we enlisted the assistance of an architect,” Debra says. “I looked over his shoulder and learned the importance of pre-designing the placement of all of the switches and plugs in the home. Based upon this experience, I drew out the plan for our electrician of where I wanted the electrical connections.”
In addition, Debra planned the kitchen. She studied the cabinet sizes and drew out the design for the supplier so that all of the corners were usable. She selected cherry-wood cabinets and stained the Northern white cedar D-profile wall logs in cherry.
Alan and Debra visited the construction site often, and when they couldn’t come, Jim and Sandy sent photos to keep them updated. “One of the few major problems we encountered was the installation of the range hood, which was designed to vent through the ceiling,” Debra says. “Unfortunately, a purlin prevented this option. Jim and Sandy consulted with General Electric and found they could vent the hood to the side. They encased the ductwork in pine tongue-and-groove. No one would guess this wasn’t part of the original design.”