New England Home Magazine: Texas Family Makes the Move to Maine
The move from Texas might seem quite a leap, but one young family finds its heart’s desire on the coast of Maine.
January/February, 2019. Written by Fred Albert. Photos by Erin Little.
Three years ago, Jared Martin visited Maine on a business trip and was instantly smitten. Returning home to Houston, the IT specialist persuaded his wife, Heather, to join him for a visit. The couple and their two children spent the summer in Maine and began flying up from Texas every chance they got.
Although Heather, a marketing executive, was eager to move to the Pine Tree State, Jared was reluctant to make a commitment. Then, in November 2016, he suffered a heart attack. He was only thirty-eight years old. “I took it as a wake-up call that maybe I needed to change my priorities in life,” he says.
Four months later, with the remains of a nor’easter still blanketing the ground, the Martin family waded through three feet of snow to check out an 1875 sea captain’s house in Bath. Despite its jaundiced color palette and some unfortunate renovations, “the house just kind of spoke to us,” Jared says. The deal was cinched when six-year-old Leighton turned to her parents and said, “Mommy and Daddy, this is the one.”
Jared had collected antiques for years, but they never looked right in his suburban Houston home. Now, with a historic house to furnish, he pursued his passion with renewed vigor, snapping up vintage lighting fixtures and plucking French antiques and 200-year-old paintings out of the grass at Texas’s legendary Round Top Antiques Fair. There was only one problem. “I like the hunt,” Jared confesses. “What I don’t like to do is put it all together.”
With Heather’s blessing, he approached Falmouth, Maine, interior designer Tyler Karu with a proposition: she could decorate the home as long as he could acquire the furnishings. Although the designer was wary of the arrangement at first, Jared won her over with his savvy shopping and discerning eye. Karu drew up a list of items he should look for, and insisted on seeing images of every piece before he purchased it (in one instance, nixing nearly a hundred choices before giving her approval). “I was very honest if I felt something wasn’t going to work,” acknowledges the designer, who now counts the Martins among her closest friends.