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Deborah Gordon’s Cape Porpoise cottage is radiant. The golden ocher wall color emanates like warmth from summer sand. The cool sea green tiles on the kitchen counter with accents of teal blue on the backsplash offer calm like the lulling ocean. This is a space she designed “to make art, create, live and breathe in.”

Deborah Gordon’s Cape Porpoise cottage is place to make art, welcome friends and family, and breathe, she says. Her décor is made up of “reams of collected fabrics, buttons, beads, work frames, books, shells, rocks and oddities of many years of gathering while traveling and living abroad.” Photo by Heidi Kirn

Gordon, 66, splits her time between this cottage tucked away on a saltmarsh and a second home in Newfoundland, Canada, nestled on the northernmost tip of the province’s northern peninsula. Her style stems from her time as a young, traveling art student embracing the Scandinavian concept of hygge—comfort, coziness and conviviality.

“Wherever I live, my sense of history, my observations of lifelong personal and multi-cultural events, the collections of rocks, tactile objects fiber and color…surround and soak up my space,” says Gordon. “Friends, family and students collect here, sink into the sofas, remark on the California pine cones, eat soup, smell bread, and remind me that whatever home is, this is it.” Her décor is made up of “reams of collected fabrics, buttons, beads, work frames, books, shells, rocks and oddities of many years of gathering while traveling and living abroad. Any time and place that holds storytelling and conversation is a  home,” she says.

Upon moving in, Gordon cast her long-owned pieces throughout the space, finding the right configuration. In terms of decoration, she says, “I don’t buy new furniture, but I always paint. I’m extremely fussy about the nuances of color.”

“This house, this art studio, like most places I’ve called my own, is perfect.”

Photo by Heidi Kirn

However, she admits, “I think it’s my home that actually designs me.” Her key interest in the cottage was the depth of light brightening the space, a natural setting, the nearby waterways and a workable kitchen—her favorite room. “Everything emanates from there, then oozes into the rest of the house.” The open space with few doors allows music, conversation, fragrances and laughter to fill her home.

If you visit, you may find her fluffy Norwegian Forest cat Wolfie nestled among skeins of yarn, admire her artwork or take interest in her California pine cone collection. Gordon proudly says, “This house, this art studio, like most places I’ve called my own, is perfect.”

Emma Bouthillette authored “A Brief History of Biddeford,” about her hometown. She is a yoga instructor and a corgi mom. (emmabouthillette.com)

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