Fox’s Lobster House

BackgroundFOX Lobster House

Located in idyllic York Beach, Maine, Fox’s Lobster House had a lot going for it: a perfect oceanfront location, classic New England charm, and history galore. But it had its downsides as well. The interior was old and outdated. The bathrooms felt dingy. The windows leaked, the fireplace looked as if it could fall apart at any moment, and the layout no longer fit the needs of the growing business. The entranceway was cramped and lacked a place for patrons to sit and relax while awaiting a table. For this restaurant to reach its full potential, a significant overhaul was necessary.

The original building dated back to the 1930’s and had the character of an old, Maine cottage with lots of windows and cape roof gables. After touring some other properties in the area, the owners decided that an arts and craft style would be a perfect choice for the design, highlighting the historic charm of the property, while remaining true to the personality of the business. The interior would boast lots of mahogany and pine, creating a warm, inviting, casual elegance perfect for a casual-upscale lobster house. Finding the right rug sounded a good idea, too.


With their vision in hand, the Fox’s called SOMMA to help them put their ideas into motion.  The process began with a site meeting at the restaurant to tour the property and discuss objectives. The specific goals of the project were laid out as follows:

  • To redesign the existing entrance/gift shop into a more functional entry incorporating an elegant 12 seat bar and waiting area.
  • Significant bathroom remodels that introduced modern fixtures, better lighting, roomier layouts, and a cleaner, fresher feel.
  • Improvements to the building’s basic infrastructure – new windows, removal of fireplace to make way for a new 12-seat bar, new carpeting, and reworking a dramatic wood beamed ceiling treatment.

With clear objectives in mind, SOMMA went to work crafting a design that met all of the building’s structural needs while creating the look and personality that the Fox’s wanted to showcase in their business.

“Having actually worked in this restaurant during summer breaks since I was 15, I was in a unique position to understand the functional needs of the space, while being able to personally share the clients’ affection for the property’s personality and charm. My goal was to create a design that would optimize workflow, increase capacity, and solve structural issues, all the while remaining true to the building’s roots. There are often times when it’s appropriate to create something to appear as if it’s always been there. This project was a prime example of this,” said designer Jen Ramsey.

When presented with the design plans, owner Phyllis Fox was very pleased. “Jen was thrilled to take on our project, and was very familiar with the necessary infrastructure improvements that needed to be built into the new design. She was instrumental in guiding us through the process of refining a design that would take our limited space and high volume needs into consideration, and at the same time creating a design that was in-line with our budget.”

Entering the construction phase, SOMMA worked collaboratively with the Fox’s to ensure the process went along without a hitch. “On time, and on budget. Those are the things that every property owner wants out of a successful project, said Jen Ramsey. “My role is to produce the best, most accurate design plans in the beginning, then to offer follow-up and support to bolster success in the end.”

“We were so pleased with how smoothly the construction went,” remarked Phyllis. “With Jen’s plans, our carpenters always knew exactly what needed to be done and it was easy for them to stay on task.”


The Fox’s now have exactly what they were looking for: a restaurant that has been modernized and streamlined but that retains its cozy, New England charm.

“SOMMA’s services are awesome! We are thrilled with Fox’s Lobster House’s new look! We are delighted that our capital investment has made our business beautiful, functional, efficient, and safe.”