Make no mistake. The cliffs are the star attraction here. They are what makes Cliff House special. The magnificent, majestic cliffs. But a funny thing happens when it gets dark outside and the view no longer commands the attention of all who enter. People notice the 30-foot wall of shelves towering above.
They notice the sea foam green bottles of all shapes and sizes. They notice the books. The large hand drawn nautical knots. They see the retired buoys that once bobbed in waters nearby. They see lanterns that undoubtedly lit nights in decades long gone by. Standing before the great wall of knots and buoys one gets the sense that it has been there for decades. It is warm. Inviting. Intimate. And that was the hope of the shelf wall’s designer, Kim Deetjen, who undertook the daunting task of filling the space with something as epic and impactful as the seaside view during the day. “I started scouring Maine for artifacts,” said Deetjen, a principal designer at the Vermont based architecture firm, Truex Cullins. “Maine is full of these sort of nautical salvage and antique places. You drive along Route 1 and it’s just one after another. It’s how we found the big ship’s wheel and some of the lanterns and buoys.”
On a trip to Iceland, Deetjien noticed the work of a local artist who drew large-scale nautical knots by hand. It is likely the most noticed of pieces on the wall, and in keeping with similar knot themes throughout the resort. And there were other parts of the resort that inspired some of the choices of materials used in the lobby’s Maine attraction.