Projects / Renovations      Portland, Maine

Suite Change

"I recently heard an architect being interviewed where he said that 'good architects create spaces in which people live with greater serenity,' Jesse and Richard definitely did that for me. I love the space more with the passage of time."
Julian Sweet, Owner - Suite Change


Originally designed by famed Maine architect John Calvin Stevens, this venerable brick and slate building on Portland’s historic West End had seen better days. Built in the late 19th century as a single-family home, it suffered a number of alterations over the years, including being divided into apartments. A dark hallway separated living spaces from the kitchen, and the main bedroom could only be reached by a narrow, steep stair. The deck could only be reached through a closet, and the bathroom and laundry areas were tired and inefficient. The top floor had poorly-installed fiberglass batts in the attic, single-glazed windows with ill-fitting storm screens, and brick walls with no insulation.

To restore this grand home to its former glory, we’d need to improve its circulation. The renovation would retain and restore the home’s best original details, including wide pine floors and the historic exterior of masonry structure.


We added a generous staircase between the main floors and designed for improved flow between major spaces, including an upgraded exterior roof deck, made from FSC-certified eastern wood. We added a spacious and elegant bedroom suite on the upper floor, with a high cathedral ceiling that transforms the whole floor into a spacious and airy retreat. Beautifully crafted built-in cabinets and bathroom fixtures, including sinks made from custom cast concrete with recycled glass inlay accents, were built to the client’s specifications for crisp, architectural detailing.

The new ceilings sweep and curve, gently enclosing rooms while opening to soaring views of the city. Extensive lighting changes quiet and unify the spaces, highlighting the family’s art collection. A continuous thermal envelope was installed to the upper floor, including double-glazed windows that feel historically appropriate and increase the home’s energy efficiency. Careful use of spray foam and dense cellulose insulation sealed leaky walls and ceilings, adding unobtrusive sound isolation in the middle of the busy city.


  • Year Completed

  • Cost

  • Beds

  • Baths

  • Partners

    Casco Bay Engineering
    Greg Day Lighting
    Joshua Bergey, Interior Designer

Sustainability Achievements


  • Walkable location
  • Near public transportation
  • Renovation required minimal site disturbance


  • Low-VOC finishes
  • Formaldehyde-free building