Castine, Maine, is a picturesque coastal community that is home to Maine Maritime Academy and a jealously guarded historic district distinguished by towering elm trees and well-main- tained Federal, Greek Revival, and Italianate houses, most starch white with proper black shutters. The Moses
Perkins House (circa 1849) is one such
venerable structure, an Italianate
farmhouse overlooking terraced gardens and the harbor beyond. But
inside the 19th-century house beats a 21st-century minimalist heart.
The Perkins House, designed by New Haven, Connecticut, architect Henry Austin, had undergone several 20th-century alterations,
including the addition of a sitting room and sun porch on the back of
the house. The new owners wanted a makeover that would create both
a modern kitchen and a coherent whole.
The owners, a nonpracticing architect who oversees large development projects for a major investment firm and his wife, scoured the