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Kennebunk’s Wedding Cake House on the market for $2.65 million – Press Herald

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The owners of the Wedding Cake House in Kennebunk have listed the property for sale for $2.65 million. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

Kennebunk’s iconic Wedding Cake House has been listed for sale for $2.65 million, just months after its owners tried unsuccessfully to turn it into an inn and events venue.

Often called the most photographed house in Maine, it is known for its yellow exterior and the intricate white trim that inspired its nickname. The house has been featured in books and magazines and visitors frequently stop by for photos.

Hunt and Katie Edwards, who wanted to use the house as an inn and events venue, put the house on the market last week. The town planning board spent six months last year reviewing their application for a contract zone that would have allowed them to host more guests and events. Ultimately, the Select Board decided not to send it to voters for consideration.

The Edwards did not respond to a message Wednesday asking to talk about their decision to sell.

This is only the third time the house has been for sale in the past 200 years, said Nathan McCabe, the broker who is handling the listing.

“It’s a great opportunity for someone to come in and take on the legacy,” he said.

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Hunt Edwards and his sister inherited the house in 2020 when James Hunt Barker, an art dealer who had fallen in love with the home, died.

Hunt and Katie Edwards spent the last several years doing restoration work and stabilizing the barn and carriage house. They estimated that it would cost more than $1 million to replace the original trim, which they said is crumbling and beyond repair.

Owners Hunt and Katie Edwards in front of the Wedding Cake House in December 2023. Photo courtesy Hunt and Katie Edwards

They proposed using the property as an inn and events venue to create a revenue stream to pay for ongoing maintenance, including the trim.

But their plan drew opposition from neighbors, who said they were concerned that allowing a commercial use in a residential zone would create problems with noise and traffic, change the character of the neighborhood and impact property values. They also argued the contract zone was inconsistent with the town’s comprehensive plan.

McCabe said there has already been strong interest in the house and property.

The Wedding Cake House sits on Summer Street, an area of town known for its stately captain’s homes and other historic houses.

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The 6,ooo-square-foot house has five bedrooms, four full bathrooms and two half bathrooms. There is a two-bedroom apartment above the barn and a carriage house that opens to a large back deck. The house sits on a 2.2-acre lot and has over 300 feet of frontage on the Kennebunk River.

The legend of the Wedding Cake House is almost as well known as the property itself. The story that has circulated for decades says the house and trim were built by a sea captain to atone for leaving his new bride on their wedding night to go to sea.

The federal style house was built in 1825 as a wedding gift for George Washington Bourne, a fourth-generation shipbuilder, and his new wife, Jane. The trim wasn’t added until decades later after the barn and carriage house were destroyed in a fire. By that time, the shipbuilding industry on the Kennebunk River was coming to an end and Bourne hired an apprentice to help him rebuild the barn and carriage house, Hunt Edwards said in an interview last year.

Taking inspiration from a Gothic cathedral Bourne had seen in Milan, he and an apprentice spent several years making and installing six buttresses with pinnacles and joining them together with intricate woodwork, Edwards has said. The style later came to be known as Carpenter Gothic, a designation for Gothic Revival architecture detailing added to wooden houses and churches in North America.

The house was passed down through generations of Bourne’s family until it was sold by the last Bourne descendant in 1983. It was sold again in 1997 to Barker.

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