KENNEBUNK – Beneath the staircase in the front hallway of this classic New Englander is a seven-foot, gracefully arched alcove. In its simple elegance, its adroit use of space, and in its cool versatility – what would you place here? – the alcove seems to embody many of the home’s fine qualities.

Built c. 1880, over the past three years the house has been sensitively, thoroughly updated, to a nothing-needs-to-be-done condition guaranteed to please buyers.

For example, the recently tiled kitchen is a joy. Highlights include rosewood-toned cabinetry, a wood-topped island, a lovely blue Elmira Stove Works cast-iron reproduction range, a new French door Kitchen Aid fridge, and an Italian brass faucet over the slate sink. The huge full bath upstairs has been beautifully redone: its clawfoot tub reconditioned, and its step-in, oversized shower enclosure remodeled. And beneath its new ceiling, the spacious, double-closeted master bedroom is nicely private, set off by back, “breakfast stairs” from the other bedrooms.

Original features, such as wide pine flooring in the formal dining room and the double living room, and upstairs; vintage hardware, and all woodwork, are near-perfectly preserved. But thanks to the tall windows; the subtle, well-chosen wall colors; and southern exposure, the rooms are so fresh, and bright with natural light, that they feel more contemporary than “antique.”

The 2,122-square-foot, three-bedroom interior also bestows floor-plan flexibility. The dining room and the double living / family room – front with bay window, inner portion with a Jotul wood stove framed by a handsome period mantel – allow different arrangements. The front bedroom makes a great office/studio (its present use). The walkup attic has wonderful potential for finishing.

So does the big, three-season, vaulted-ceiling shed (entered via the laundry area off the kitchen) which overlooks the back yard of a 0.73-acre lot, behind which preserved land borders the Mousam River and Rogers Pond, and makes the property effectively waterfront. Yes, the location is stellar. It’s an easy-walk quarter-mile from historic downtown – and an easy-bike three miles to gorgeous, limited-access Parsons Beach and the open ocean.

The home at 42 Brown St., Kennebunk, is listed at $379,000 by Becky Bassett and Grainne Archer of The Bassett Team at Kennebunk Beach Realty.

Please contact the team at (207) 967-5481; [email protected]; or [email protected]; and visit