A First Apartment Together in Portland, Maine

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Photographer and designer Megan Boltz met her now-boyfriend Aaron Bisig through her brother, Tyler. At the time, Megan was living in Michigan and she felt that she really needed a change of pace, so she went out to San Francisco to crash on her brother’s couch and try to find a job. Tyler introduced her to Aaron just after she moved to San Francisco and the rest was history. And when Aaron got into a program for Marine Science Technology in Portland, Maine, the couple decided to move in together across the country. This house in South Portland is their first home together, and Aaron found it himself while Megan was handling the move. Even though it wasn’t in the neighborhood that they originally thought would be a good fit, it was the perfect space – beautiful wood floors, plenty of natural light, parking and a backyard. They’ve each had to compromise on their decorating styles – Aaron is a minimalist and Megan is definitely more of a collector, but they’ve found a balance by adding simple things that are meaningful to them both. -Amy

Photography by Megan Boltz

Image above: “We love having a mud room, especially in the winter when we come into the house with snowy boots,” Megan says. “Luckily, it’s big enough to hold both of our bikes and this red bench from IKEA.”

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Image above: “The dining room is where we spend a lot of time, Aaron is a student as well so in the evenings he’s usually sitting here doing homework. We also make it a point to have dinner at the table together every night. We wanted a table for this room that would fill the space and have a good amount of seating for friends and family. It took us a long time to find a table that we both loved, but we picked this out at West Elm in Boston and we still love it – the simplicity of the table pairs nicely with the bold design of the IKEA chairs. I also LOVE the brick in this room, I wish there was more of it throughout the house!”

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See more of this Portland, Maine home after the jump!

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Image above: “When Aaron and I moved in together, we literally had no furniture. We received some hand-me-downs from some of Aaron’s very generous family members (like the stool seen here that I repainted) and had to make some quick furniture decisions so that we could eat dinner at a table instead of the kitchen counter and sit on a couch instead of on the floor. The bookshelf is just two wooden boxes stacked on top of each other. I’m kind of a compulsive reorganizer, so I like the flexibility the boxes give me to move and rearrange things as I please. It’s also easier than committing to large pieces of furniture, which is difficult to do in a rental. The vintage cameras are part of my small camera collection.”

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Image above: “This is the living room, I love this room in the morning because it gets the brightest, most lovely sunlight. It took us a long time to hang anything on the walls. Though we love the wainscoting, it makes it a little difficult to hang artwork. We chose to go with small pieces and unframed pieces that can just be set on top of the ledge. Since it is a rental we didn’t get to choose the wall colors, but I like that they’re neutral, it makes it easy to decorate. The couch and lamp are from West Elm, and coffee table is IKEA.”

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Image above: “The vase is by Astier de Villatte from k colette – they make some of the most beautiful pottery I have ever seen. I love their really simple pieces, some of them you can actually see the fingerprints of the person who made it imprinted into the piece.”

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Image above: “This is the kitchen, the door leads out to the backyard where we have a raised bed garden. We love spending time out there in evenings and on the weekends. It’s so nice to actually have a yard after living in San Francisco! The calendar is Rifle Paper Co. and the photograph on the wall is of radishes that we grew in our garden. Green thumbs we are not, so any time we successfully grow something is a time for celebration. I thought the radishes were really beautiful so I scanned them and blew them up.”

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Image above: “More boxes! We’re quite limited on storage space in the kitchen, so stacking these boxes gives us some attractive, makeshift storage that can be changed and moved easily. They hold my small collection of cookbooks, coffee making essentials, and my little orange bull statue that I got in Peru a couple of years ago.”

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Image above: “The kitchen gets great light in the afternoon. The windowsills are lined with rocks and driftwood that we picked up during walks on the beach, a vase that Aaron made for me as a birthday gift, and a basil plant. The kitchen cart is from IKEA, I love that it has a little wine rack in the middle. The pitcher vase is Astier de Villatte from k colette, and the cutting board is by a fantastic wood-working couple here in Maine called Salt Furniture Co. They make their pieces from reclaimed Birch wood that has been salvaged from the bottom of Moosehead Lake. I had the opportunity to photograph them about a year ago, they are such great people and their work is really beautiful.”

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Image above: “The bowl is made by artisans in Peru and is from k colette, the wood is called Higuerilla, and I love the unusual look of it. The utensil holder and wooden spoons are also from k colette. The wooden spoons and whisk are made by another really talented woodworker here in Maine called Maggie’s Farm. I recently had a chance to watch the artist, David, make some of these spoons and it was a pretty amazing process, based very much on instinct and feeling. Knowing how they were made makes me love them even more.”

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Image above: “The bedroom is tiny but cozy. The bed frame is West Elm, and the throw blanket at the end of the bed is made by Maine-based textile company, Brahms Mount. Their blankets and throws are really amazing, they are all woven on hand-powered looms right here in Maine. The rug is from k colette.”

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Image above: “The mountain pillow is from Society 6 and the poster on the wall is something that I made for Aaron. Living in Maine, he misses the mountains of the west, so one weekend while he was backpacking I found this photo that he took in Montana and had an engineer print made of it. It’s simple, but makes a bold statement in the small space.”

  1. Ellen Anderman says:

    An imaginative, lovely home. Well done!

  2. Anna says:

    Love the spotlight on astier de villatte. I got to visit their shop in Paris and as a ceramicist, it was one of my favorite places in the city.

  3. Sheri Boltz says:

    Fantastic pictures, looks a lot different from the last time we were there. You are quite the designer and photographer. So very proud of you Megan!

  4. amanda says:

    awww, you guys done did good! what a lovely home. really like a lot of it but specifically would like to mention the white washed crates. nice idea!

  5. Audra says:

    Born in Maine, but living overseas now, I have literally never seen a house space in Maine that has style and I commend you Megan on the lack of Fisherman themed or LL Bean decor!

  6. Nadine says:

    So so lovely! A great inspiration for my current home. We move in a few weeks ago and there is still so much to do. I’m about to steal one idea or two… :)
    Thanks for sharing!

  7. Emmy says:

    Love the tape frame around the mountain photograph. The green packs such a great punch!

  8. Robyn says:

    So cute! Where did you get the spice jars in the kitchen from? I’ve been on the hunt for cute spice jars and having no luck!

  9. LaVonne Voigt says:

    I also love the mountain photgraph. Everything flows so well, simple and yet classy. Great photographs!!

  10. Megan, your house looks beautiful! I love your creativity! Thank you for the kind words about salt furniture co.

  11. Kelly says:

    These photos are stunning, what a beautiful place you have!

    xx Kelly

  12. Debbie says:

    Love this, especially the washi tape frame…will definitely be stealing that idea! I had not heard of the astier de villatte store, but am happy to have a new haunt when next in Paris…the pieces you have are stunning! Congrats on a beautiful home!

  13. Tim heller says:

    WOW! Outstanding article and photos of your lovely home!
    Congratulations Megan, & Aaron you deserve the beauty and happiness you’re sharing.
    It’s a beautiful world inside and out, when crafted as carefully as you have, to make it so.
    Stay happy and be safe.

  14. Paula says:

    I love the exposed brick in your home!

  15. Ashley says:

    It was so funny to read this post! I have a similar story! After a retched break up I was hanging out with my brother a lot.. I met one of his best friends and we hit it off immediately! He ended up moving from Seattle to the East Coast and we moved together to a small city in Upstate NY; Ithaca. I’m also a photographer here. It was great stumbling upon your page. :) Thanks for the post!

  16. Brahms Mount says:

    Thank you for the link! If you’re looking for the exact throw — it can be found here: http://www.brahmsmount.com/cotton-herringbone-throw.html?swatch=32

  17. Tracee Altman says:

    Well done! Love, Love, Love it!

  18. Megan Boltz says:

    Thanks so much for the kind words everyone! It’s an honor to be included on one of my favorite blogs of all time, and so nice to read such lovely comments from you all. Thanks again!

  19. Alexis says:

    Looks very simple, less is more vibe — very smart. I like it. Easy breezy.

  20. Anna says:

    This is fantastic, Megan!! What a nice space.

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