The Fergusons’ collection of handmade black cherry Thos. Moser furniture includes classics such as the “Continuous Arm Bench” that graces their entry hall and the discontinued (though available as a custom order) “Bates” caned chair that Paula adores. “We like the simple lines and beautiful wood and craftsmanship,” Paula said. “Everything has weathered over the years and developed a nice patina.”
In May 2020, the Fergusons moved to a new home in Yarmouth, Maine, bringing their 20-piece collection with them. Other than a few key items — an antique hutch they inherited from Bruce’s family and Paula’s father’s drafting table, which she uses as her desk (paired with a Thos. Moser chair), for example — these are the only significant pieces of furniture they retained. “Nikki came to our house, recognized the Thos. Moser, and said we could use them as the core of the design; that we would build around them,” Paula explained.
“Nikki” is Nicola Manganello, principal of Nicola’s Home in Yarmouth. The Fergusons commissioned her to design, build, and decorate a custom home that would allow them to age in place. The shingled farmhouse with a wraparound porch is perched on a hill with a wooded view replete with wildlife. Inside, there’s an open living space, his-and-hers offices, and a first-floor primary bedroom suite. The second floor is for guests, especially their two adult sons.
The Thos. Moser furniture was integral to the design process. “We worked the room sizes, window placement, and even the location of the front door around them,” Manganello said. The pieces’ versatility and flexibility made the task of incorporating them a breeze. “There’s a practicality and simplicity to them,” the designer said. “Placing the pieces wasn’t problematic; it made the project more interesting.”
Their timeless, almost chameleon-like style also helped. “Depending on the context, it can show as traditional or modern,” Manganello said. “The Fergusons wanted casual elegance instead of overly traditional this time.”
The entry establishes the casually elegant feel upfront. Custom wainscotting gives the interior some heft and provides a backdrop for the Thos. Moser “Huntboard” console (discontinued) the couple purchased for the dining room of their prior home. Here, it anchors a seascape by a friend of Bruce’s parents, who painted it when he visited the family’s cottage on Great Diamond Island in Casco Bay.
While the wainscoting is a touch more formal than the paneling elsewhere in the home, the subdued blue Stark rug feels relaxed and inviting. “They want people to be able to leave their shoes on,” Manganello said. “This is beautiful and high quality, but not precious. The pattern and darker color are forgiving.”
Fir ceiling beams similar in tone to the Thos. Moser furniture lead the eye from the front door straight through the main living space to the sunroom-like dining area at the back of the house. A Thos. Moser “Georgetown” double pedestal table with splayed feet sits at its center surrounded by seating with an eclectic mix of silhouettes — Thos. Moser “Harpswell” chairs with blue velvet seats, a Thos. Moser “Eastward” bench, and Hickory Chair armchairs with plump cushions.
“Their previous dining room was straight-up traditional, with an oriental rug and the chairs with the blue velvet seats all the way around the table,” Manganello said. “The bench is more casual and makes the room feel open and airy.” The contemporary Patterson Flynn Martin rug also lightens things up. “It was outside the box for them, but they were ready for a change, and Paula really trusted me to guide her,” Manganello said.
The fir beams and white V-match plank ceiling make the main living space feel homey. At one end, the seating arrangement invites conversation and is ideal for watching TV. A kitchen with a glazed terra-cotta tile backsplash and rich walnut accents feels fresh on the other end of the room, and the pantry behind it keeps clutter to a minimum. “They’re big cooks and wanted the kitchen to be a showplace,” Manganello said.
Beyond the pantry and a gracious stair, a vintage barn-style door leads into the home’s most utilitarian space: a mudroom/laundry with a snazzy dog shower where the Fergusons’ German shorthaired pointer gets a rinse following a muddy morning on the trail. “He loves to swim but doesn’t love a shower, though he hops right in,” Paula said.
To highlight the Thos. Moser pieces in the primary suite, Manganello kept the other furniture to a minimum. A neutral wallcovering with foliage on three walls — the headboard wall is lined with white V-match planks to show off the Thos. Moser sleigh bed — references the fern garden in the backyard. In the bath, a freestanding tub looks out to the trees. Paula’s Thos. Moser five-drawer dresser, no longer needed for clothing thanks to built-ins, glows in the sunlight.
Manganello, a proponent of the adage “less is more,” feels like she nailed it. “This home has just enough,” she said. In regards to integrating their collection of Thos. Moser furniture, Paula declared, “Nikki immediately got it.”
Marni Elyse Katz captures good design @StyleCarrot on Instagram. Send comments to [email protected]. Subscribe to our newsletter at pages.email.bostonglobe.com/AddressSignUp and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @globehomes.