Kristin Zecchinelli of maine momma: Show & Tell Home Tour

Sheri Reed
Kristin Zecchinelli

Kristin Zecchinelli of maine momma

For today's lovely Show & Tell Home Tour, we're touching down in Old Orchard Beach, Maine. We are visiting the home of Kristin Zecchinelli, photographer and SAHM to three kids. She blogs at maine momma.

Come on inside...

I've been following the photography of Kristin Zecchinelli for several years — always prolific and always gorgeous! However, it wasn't until she showed me around her home that I realized how resourceful and wise she is in creating a beautiful family home as well. What creativity and love you will find here.
Come in and see...
entry way

The entry way and family "dumping grounds"

Kristin, tell us a little about your family and your home.

I live in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, a coastal vacation town in southern Maine, with my husband and our three children — our teenage daughter, age 16, and two toddlers, ages 3 and 5. Juggling the age differences and stages keeps our home life interesting, to say the least.

How do you approach decorating in your home? What's the most important thing?

Durability and economics have to be most important. The keywords for our home are "kid friendly." Everything we own has to be durable enough for little ones to touch and play and "be kids" around. Stressing over breakables or collectibles is just not in my realm of thinking right now. One day the kids will not be so small and, if I choose to change our home decor, that's when I will invest in those things. For now, the furniture and other items in our home need to wear well and be washable if at all possible.

child nap quilt

A spontaneous nap on momma and daddy's bed

I know you're renting right now, and they won't let you paint the walls. How do you make a temporary house into a home?

Yes, this is quite challenging for me. We have owned homes in the past and paint is always the first thing I conquer. I really think a fresh coat of paint can make a home look clean, new, and personalized.

That being said, I had to add color other ways. Kids art fills our walls. From an old painting my teen daughter did in early grade school to many changing works our little ones do now. Some art pieces are hung with tape, yes, but I recently started to buy inexpensive frames to put their art in. It all adds great color to our walls and makes the kids feel special all in one gesture.

Most professional framing can be cost-prohibitive, and that's just not in our budget right now. So instead I found a great inexpensive alternative — IKEA! I purchased their bright colored frames for only $1.99 each! We have one in every color. An added bonus is they are not glass, so I feel they are safer for the kids' room. We change the art out often!

art corner home

Kids art brings a lot of color to Kristin's home

kids making art

Art and snacking: favorite family pastimes

art supplies box

The well-used art box

You have two young children and a teenager. How does their STUFF influence the look and feel of your home?

I definitely think our home is "homey" and warm. Besides all the kids artwork and projects scattered everywhere, our mantle is covered in mason jars full of nature treasures we collect on walks in the woods or walks on the beach. Also, in all my windowsills, you can find stacked beach rocks, today's pretty leaf, chestnuts, acorns, sea glass, feathers, and the list goes on. We are quite the nature lovers and gatherers and our home echoes this for sure.

window sill nature

Every window sill holds treasures from nature

My teen-aged daughter is in charge of decorating her own room, which she like to do alá her favorite magazine clippings.

magazine clippings

Teen life: have magazines = have art

Great design can be expensive. How do you get the most bang for your buck?

Two words, THRIFT STORES. Ah yes, I am a bit of an addict. Ask my hubby; he will agree. I am a big believer that another person's trash may just be my treasure. I grew up with a momma that was great at sewing, crafting, and thrifting. For fun, my mom and I often hit yard sales, flea markets, Goodwill, and The Salvation Army, and now I wholeheartedly carry on that tradition into adulthood. I believe things hold stories, secrets from their life before I owned them. I like that thought.

"FREE" items on the side of the road are a dangerous thing for me too! My husband has been with me long enough to know if there is free stuff on the side of the road, he should just pull over and let me look.

When I need a little "me time," Goodwill is where i go. Thrift therapy.  :)

sheets linens

Kristin's thrifted sheets obsession collection and a yard sale chair

Tell us about the best deal you have gotten lately for your home.

One day, over a year ago now, I drove by a pile of free stuff on the side of the road — an old wooden chair and a red suitcase came home with me that day. The chair was nothing special, just a sturdy wooden chair, but I saw it as a canvas for my kids. We threw a sheet on the grass and big shirts on the kids and gave them paint galore. They went right to it — painted all over the chair in purples, pinks, yellows, and blues — leaving no hint of bare wood. It was a crazy, messy, beautiful project. 

When the kids were done covering the chair, I added a few touches myself. I painted words like: hope, laugh, play, dream, wish, dance, and twirl. It is now our extra chair.  Some days it is in my teenager's room at her desk. Other days it is at our dining table when we need an extra seat. Right now, it sits in our entry way where my son's school bag stays along with my camera bag.

I will never look at a piece of free furniture the same again. Now I consider free stuff as a project my kids can just dive right into and make into a beautiful mess. It made them so happy, it was FREE, and we now have something completely personal and functional in our home.

painted chair

The family's found chair art project

Tell us about one DIY project you have taken on recently and love.

Last year I finally learned how to knit. Not well, mind you. However, it became my winter project and helped me get through our many long months of cold weather. Now with winter upon us again here in Maine, I am feeling the pull to return to the needles. My hope is to learn how to read an actual pattern this winter.

Do you have a favorite piece of furniture in your home? Tell us about this item.

I have my great grandparents' old wooden ice box. At one time, it was their actual refrigerator. Then with the introduction of electric appliances, the ice box found its way to my pop-pop's garage, and he used it to store his tools and paints. I had an extremely close bond with my grandparents, spending many days in their home and in their care. When they passed away, I really longed to keep something of theirs as my own. That's how we came to get the ice box.

The ice box was a mess when I inherited it as a teenager. My mom, the hands-on, do-it-yourself lady she was, took it upon herself to refinish it. After much hard work and elbow grease, she revealed this beautiful piece of wooden furniture with ornate carvings and brass hardware. It is a treasure to me and has resided in every family room of my adulthood. On the outside, it is beautiful, and the inside makes for great storage. Right now it houses all our DVDs, and the top holds my table linens.

wooden ice box

Kristin's grandparents' wooden ice box

living room dining room

Open floor plan (entry, kitchen, dining room, and living room) gives big feel to a small home

You're a photographer. What household chore do you tend to back burner most so you can tend to your creative life?

That's an easy question to answer — laundry, hands down. I tend to start it, with great intentions, but then I forget to switch it over a lot! (oops)

What is your most important everyday ritual at home?

I have two. The first would be dinner. In our younger married years, we ate out a lot, but once we expanded our family, it became essential to save money and develop a ritual of gathering together and enjoying a meal. I enjoy cooking and using fresh ingredients so much more as I get older. I was a single working mom for the early years of my first daughter's life. I did not expose her enough to new foods or family rituals back then. So now I truly appreciate the ability to do so. We also joined a CSA a year ago and love how that exposes us to local farming and so many varieties of fresh vegetables we never ate before. The kids love the weekly trip to the farm, and we all benefit from the bounty we bring to the table. I highly recommend CSAs.

The second important ritual is our nighttime routine. Our youngest two share a bedroom, so we brush teeth, get PJs on, and then they each chose a book to read. We all pile on their beds and read. I really love that time.

shared kids room

Shared his + hers kids' room where Kristin's youngest two now sleep sweetly side by side

ceiling stars

Starry scene on the kids' ceiling that glows in the dark

In your home, what is one indulgence you give into?

I'd have to say fresh flowers every now and then, especially in our long winters. Grocery store flowers are fairly inexpensive and my "go to" source for inspiration in the winter months when I need some color to distract me from the monochrome palette of winter. Spring through fall, we love picking wildflowers and flowering weeds.

What are your favorite stores to shop for home?

Thrift stores are my favorite, but we also have this great local antique store in our town called Cottage Decor. I LOVE it there! I find myself stopping at least every other week to see what new goodies they've gotten in. I almost always coming home with something small, a vintage glass bottle or tablecloth, to name a few. 

Kristin, let's go thrifting! I think you could teach me a thing or two. And thanks so much for sharing and reminding us that even homes we rent can be filled with love and creativity. Thanks for giving us a peek inside your family life today. 

Kristin Zecchinelli is a photographer and SAHM to three kids. She blogs at maine momma. You can also find her photos on Flickr and her regular contributions on Shutter Sisters.


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