Martha Stewart, American lifestyle expert and businesswoman, has thrown the doors of her Maine Estate open. The most famous homemaker has invited Architectural Digest into Skylands, her summer holiday home. Located on remote Mount Desert Island of the northeasternmost state in the U.S., the 12-bedroom home is nestled in 63 acres estate.
Designed by architect Duncan Candler and completed in 1925, the large home was originally built for Edsel Ford of the Ford automotive family. Sitting high on a hill that looks over Seal Harbor, the three-story residence has been erected out of pink-granite, the local stone. Situated deep into a forest just outside Acadia National Park, Skylands emerges from the surrounding granite outcrops and is engulfed by maples, kiwi vines, and ferns. Though it is a stolid, imposing structure, it is embraced by ledges and terraces.Martha has not changed much at Skylands since Candler and Danish-born landscape designer Jens Jensen created the retreat for Ford and his wife, Eleanor. The 73 year old workaholic, who spends part of July and August here as well as long weekends throughout the year, bought over the estate in 1997 and states “I look at myself as the caretaker of an American treasure.”
She bought the house with nearly everything included, right down to cabinets and shelves filled with the Fords’ silver, glassware, china, and linens. Calling it as “my favorite place” Martha also added, “I didn’t have to buy a plate, although I’ve certainly added my fair share.” The house also plays the role of a catalyst for her imagination and a sparker of ideas for her design empire.She revels in the Fords’ cutwork tablecloths, in the baths outfitted with softly colored Pewabic tiles and hefty nickel fittings, and in the kitchen’s vintage Frigidaire refrigerators, perfectly maintained coolers that allow her to host events for a hundred or more people. The sunny living hall is a hub of activity during the summer months.The home also boasts of statement pieces like the benches from a grange hall in Massachusetts, ornamental Victorian papier-mâché chairs glistening with mother-of-pearl and gilded tables with tassel shaped feet. In the the entrance hall, a vintage bench and a Martha Stewart–designed console rest on granite pavers.The sofas were custom made, while the vintage tassel-footed metal table by Carole Stupell is paired with a wing chair. The oak-paneled flower room features a display of mercury-glass vases. In the master bedroom, a Rogers & Goffigon–fabric canopy surmounts the antique bed, and an antique Chinese embroidered screen hangs on the wall.The house is dotted with artworks in form of Prewar chromolithographs of regional birds by Carroll S. Tyson Jr., the Audubon of Maine on a living room wall and venerable Mount Desert Island maps in a cypress-wainscoted room.Also Martha has highlighted Skylands’ first-day book, a large hybrid guest book and scrap album by putting it on display.