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What does a builder’s home look like? We caught up with Deborah Paine to find out

With a history of building and remodeling homes around the region, many of historic significance, Paine’s keen eye has been able to spot items for salvage that others might have passed over. Many of those treasures have found a newly interpreted function in Paine’s new home. “I am a collector of old barn board,” she says as she points out a rustic paneled section of wall in her living room. “One of my guys is very talented and he was able to pull it all together like a puzzle.” The cabinet doors from Norman Mailer’s estate in Provincetown are now the backboard of an oversized coat rack that serves as a charming mudroom in the otherwise mostly unpartitioned space.

“Everything I have around me speaks to me,” says Paine. “Whether it is a photograph or a painting or a found object. It triggers some sort of emotional connection that then gets repeated again whenever I look at it in my surroundings… Where I used to fish, or a building on Peaks Island that burned down.” 

It is easy to see how her eye lands on her own personal history, feeds her senses, and as she reminisces the memories are easily attainable as though no time had passed at all.  Paine points out a photo of her beloved Maine lobster boat, Shirley, that she acquired, restored and repowered. A photo of Halsey Herreshoff’s 40-footer hangs proudly a bit farther down the wall. And a picture of Brooklin, Maine, the famed harbor and home of WoodenBoat magazine is also right at home. 

Perhaps most comfortable and at home is Paine’s precious pup, Trixie.  Described as both cute and a clown, Trixie has not only found her forever home with Paine but also seems to be the perfect companion as Paine splits her time on a regular basis between the Cape and the coast of Maine.

It seems as though every item has a story as well as a purpose. The base of the dining table was found in a pile at a friend’s building yard in Maine. The new wooden top for the unique base has begun to crack, not an activity that alarms Paine, but rather creates an interesting history for the piece. 

“The fun thing about wood is that it continues to move. There didn’t use to be any cracks in this tabletop, but then every crack that starts gets encouragement from me, ‘Keep going!’ I whisper,” she confesses. The leathered granite countertop on the island in the kitchen was fashioned by Cape Cod Marble and Granite, who Paine instructed the fabricators, “Make it feel like a beach pebble.”

Paine, who has been building other people’s dreams for almost 50 years, says: “I became first a carpenter and then a general contractor and business owner. I love taking things apart and putting them back together again.” Now, in a non-descript 1,092-square-foot box, located behind her offices and showroom on Route 6A in the sleepy enclave of North Truro, Deborah Paine has taken the pieces of her life and built herself a very nice home.

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