April 15, 2022
I grew up in Scarborough, and I remember we used to have this room over the garage that wasn’t heated. I shared a room with my brother most of the year, but when the weather warmed up, I would escape into that space and use it as my bedroom. I always looked forward to it. I would paint the ceilings and redecorate each year.
While I’m from Maine, I spent most of my adult life living in the Boston area. Over the years, I began to miss the quant, scenic feel of my home state. So in 2002, I bought a little weekend house in Old Orchard Beach and began repainting and repurposing my own furniture because I didn't have the money to afford new things.
I ended up creating so much that my house became too full. But I didn’t want to stop doing what I loved, so I decided to make it into a business. I moved here permanently, and opened this store in 2006.
Over 85 percent of the items we sell were made by me and my partner, Bob. We mainly sell local products for people with beach-style homes or beach homes. I like to tell people that you don’t have to own a cottage to live in one.
We go for a really colorful, fun, relaxing vibe. A lot of this furniture is made of solid wood and is over 100 years old. It’s not by accident that they’ve lasted all these years. They are well made and could last another 100 years if they are well taken care of.
I also try to make my items as affordable as possible. I’m constantly looking at other shops that sell similar items and I’m amazed at how high their price tags are. I just can’t, in good conscience, ask someone to pay for something I wouldn’t buy myself. I want people to enjoy what we sell and not feel like they have to take out a second mortgage.
It’s important to me that I’m able to celebrate local history too. Right by my desk I created an inspiration wall, which features vintage photographs of my family. There is a photo of my grandmother and grandfather at Wells Beach, a photo of my mother as a child and an image of my grandmother in 1915 here in OOB as a teenager.
My dad was very artistic and my mother and grandmother were always sewing and just generally very creative people. I like being crafty, but I also tend to be frugal. I’m not one to go out and buy high-end items when I can instead make something ugly or old look beautiful again. It’s so much more fun to do things that way.
— Michael Roberge, Co-Owner and Operator of Cottage Decor in Old Orchard Beach