“My design aesthetic was forged in the world of fashion,” writes Alexa Stark. I’ve been a champion of up-cycling and re-purposing from the day I graduated.”
Alexa is writing to us from Waldoboro, Maine, where she quietly opened an eclectic, lovingly hand-done inn and wine bar this summer. “Though I’m ‘from away'”—she went to the Parsons School of Design, then lived in Portland, Oregon for a long stretch—”I had been an active member of the Waldoboro community for 33 years, taking part in local theater summer productions at the Waldo Theater, teaching workshops, and volunteering at the annual bean suppers,” Alexa writes. “During the height of the pandemic I moved to Maine full time and turned most of my attention to the Midcoast community, taking a job with Oyster River Winegrowers while keeping a toe in my fashion line” (have a peek at that here).
So Alexa was familiar with the 1880 Italianate mansion in Waldoboro’s small downtown—she’d driven by many times—and when she saw it posted for sale, she knew she’d, somehow, be opening an inn. “When I first walked through the doors I felt ease. It just felt right.” She brought in friends Nathan Reimer and Danielle Lombari, who she’d met in the Pacific Northwest. “We talked about it nonstop for a week, and after bringing my father Eric Stark, into the conversation, we put in our offer.”
The next eight months (“and counting,” Alexa adds) was a whirlwind of renovations both massive and tiny. “It needed a new roof, two new bathrooms, heat pumps, wallpaper removal in the main stairwell, and ten fresh painted rooms,” according to Alexa. “High Seas Builders and artist Santa Wolanczyk were a great help, and luckily between us owners we could do a lot of the build out ourselves.”
Not to mention all of the hand-done details: hand-painted wallpaper, window coverings infused with family history, and re-done furniture inspired Alexa’s work in fashion, just to name a few.
Join us for a look around.
Photography by Nola Logan, courtesy of The Waldoboro Inn.
Above L: A passageway on the first floor sports jaunty stripes freehanded by Alexa herself. “It took me two days,” she says. “I plan on adding more hand-painted wallpaper in future rooms.” Above R: The windows are hung with handkerchiefs-turned-curtains. “Every piece of fabric in the inn, whether it’s used for upholstery or for curtains, has come from deadstock or from my grandmothers’ repurposed clothing or from household goods such as table linens, scarfs, and old denim. The result is something nostalgic while at the same time both contemporary and aesthetically pleasing.”
“When I told him I was opening an inn with my friends and father he asked ifw e could collaborate on furniture. I think I said YES before he even finished his sentence. He proposed this project to his students from his Parsons chair design course, hoping someone would be interested in interning, and so many applied within the day. We ended up with three incredible interns to help bust out the whole collection within a week.”
For more, including upcoming events and pop-ups, head to The Waldoboro Inn.
And for more places in Maine we love, see:
- The Lost Kitchen: A Glimpse Inside Maine’s Most Wildly In-Demand Restaurant
- Seven Lakes Inn in Maine: Summer-Ready Lodgings by a Mother-Daughter Duo
- Shopper’s Diary: The Post Supply in Portland, Maine