sneak peek susan williams of swans island

i’m a huge fan of swans island handwoven blankets and i spend a lot of time drooling over the gorgeous images on their website. the company’s commitment to local artisans and craftspeople extends to a section on their retail site that they’ve devoted to highlighting like-minded designers and artists. through that list, i discovered photographer sarah szwajkos of damn rabbit studios and was blown away by her project “personal space ~ photographic portraits of private places,” in which she creates commissioned “portraits” of interior spaces. for this set of portraits, sarah drove up to rockport, maine to the home of swans island creative director susan williams and her husband rufus, also an artist and swans island partner. additional images here! {thanks susan, rufus and sarah!}     –amy a

[Susan and Rufus built their home several years ago on a large plot of land that borders the Beech Hill Preserve in Rockport, Maine. Set well back from the road, the house and studio buildings  emerge at the end of a long, winding drive, amid stone-walled fields with glimpses of the ocean in the distance. Here is a sneak peek at some of my images of their Personal Space.  –Sarah]

Inside the mudroom: a quintessential feature of Maine farmhouses. The mat is from Art Matters and the boots are made by the French company, Le Chameau.


In a corner of the kitchen, opposite the counters and stove, the big farm table entices guests to sit and relax among many pillows, which mix antique French tapestry patterns with bold, modern block prints. We found the wooden bench at the Union antique fair in Union, Maine. The block print pillows were bought locally at 412 in Rockland, Maine. The grey pillows are made from recycled Brunschwig et Fils drapes.

CLICK HERE for the rest of the peek after the jump!

Rufus’ watercolor is of a bald eagle he spied on sitting on Long Ledge, Mt. Desert, Maine. An odd assortment of boxes, including a Japanese lacquered wedding present, sit on a small dresser.



In keeping with the rest of my house, the kitchen is an assortment of things. The counter tops are black granite, the handmade subway titles are from Urban Archaeology, the maple shelves are from Ikea, there is a viking stove, and other than 3 shelves, there are no upper cabinets. Rufus and I designed the lower ones.

I moved here 7 years ago with 10+ years worth of self curated shopping bags- I had to something with them! They’re so beautiful- being a native New Yorker, I recreated a tiny urban experience for myself.

  1. Thanks for the sneak peak! I love the rustic look of the kitchen.

  2. Paper bags on the wall? What a fantastic way of recycling and creating wall art!

  3. sunescd says:

    gorgeous home…the bag idea on the basement stairs is wonderful!

  4. Katy Elliott says:

    Great house. I love swans island. Check out their studio if your in Maine!

  5. Love the shopping bag wall. In high school I made a big collage on one of my bedroom wall of bags from my favorite places to shop or stores that had cool shopping bags. This looks like they did it on the wall going down to the basement? Great design idea for a place like that.

  6. Jenna says:

    That’s a very clever idea for old shopping bags. What a great way to store them/get some visual use out of them.

  7. Beautiful! Love the mix of antiques.

  8. Jane says:

    Beautiful wood floors

  9. Kelly says:

    love that fresh green in the hallway/entry!

  10. CrowNology says:

    I love the shot, and the mat, of the mudroom. I have been acquiring crows and this one would be perfect. The wellies, a classic too.

  11. Lisa says:

    I love that raven doormat. Any idea where to buy one?

  12. Cissy says:

    I absolutely have to have that bird rug in the mudroom!

  13. Maria says:

    The shopping bags on the wall are so cool!!

  14. amya says:

    Hi everyone! Susan sent in some additional details about her home and I added them in above. She said the mat is from Art Matters.
    Thanks! Amy A

  15. Ali says:

    I also love the green walls in the entry. Any idea what brand and name of paint?

  16. JC says:

    Oh wow. I love this “new old” home look. Absolutely beautiful and something I aspire to building

  17. Rhonda says:


  18. Lauren Liess says:

    just beautiful! so warm & fresh & homey. gorgeous gorgeous! i love how much care has been taken in the transitionsal spaces like hallways & stairways where a lot of us forget to make pretty. so simple & pretty!!

  19. Erena says:

    the mat in the hallway, what bird is that based on? It looks a lot like NZ’s native Tui, but without the tufts on the neck…

  20. Lillakins says:

    Love the entire house! Makes me want to curl up on the couch with a warm cup of teas!
    I love Maine in the fall and winter even more than the summer!

    Thanks for sharing :)

  21. mnm says:

    so cozy and lovely – what a wonderful house!

  22. Love the entire aesthetic of the home but I die for that living room rug!

  23. Anyone know the URL for Art Matters or where I can purchase the crow mat?

  24. Salty fish says:

    I like the shopping bags on the wall so much !!! This idea is so fantastic!!

  25. They are lovely people. We designed the Swans Island Blankets website. Fantastic to work with and have beautiful products. have 2 throws that we love.

  26. Sonia says:

    i think the wall with the bags is sssooooo cute!!!! i love it! (currently i only have one bag on my wall, i’ll definatly collect them and put it on my wall!!! :3)

  27. Here’s a link for a crow rug; similar, not exact in size. Please let me know if you find a larger one!

  28. Queen Bee Leigh says:

    Here is a link for a crow rug. I put the link in the wrong place above.

    Where is Art Matters??

  29. Tamara says:

    I’m also in love with the crow rug, but could not find “Art Matters”. Any help appreciated.

    Love all the light in the house and would love to sit on the kitchen bench with a cup of coffee and the morning paper- fantastic

  30. Leslyn says:

    I am shopping for the perfect black countertop and love yours. Is that a honed black granite?

  31. Really its cool designed and nice feature . Thank you

  32. Love that kitchen corner! Really nice.

  33. Barbara Shepherd says:

    I love the green color in the hall area with the window. Would you mind sharing the color and brand? Everything looks so beautiful and well done.


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