At Coastal Design, you’ll get the best in home interior design and garden ideas, while joining us in building community, promoting sustainable practices and supporting charitable organizations.
Established in 2018, Oak Tree Media LLC publishes Coastal Design, a quarterly luxury shelter and lifestyle publication with informative articles by nationally known writers and photographers. Coastal Design features content for readers who are passionate about home design, gardening, travel, dining, arts, entertainment and more. With a commitment to community, each issue features inspiring stories of the people and places that make seaside living special.
Our magazine is distributed to consumers and businesses along the Southern Maine Coast, the New Hampshire Seacoast, and North Shore of Massachusetts via subscriptions, demographic mailings, and newsstand sales. A vibrant online presence, including our website and social media channels, offers our readers fresh, current content.
Publisher and Owner
Following her dream of a career in arts and education, Margie earned her degree in early education from Springfield College. After six years of teaching, she moved into the business world to help her husband start Adaptive Communications. Over time her role grew from bookkeeping tasks to serving as vice president of finance. She was named Financial Executive of the Year by New Hampshire Business Review in 2014. In 2018 she launched Oak Tree Media and is the publisher of Coastal Design. Margie and her husband Steve have three children and one grandson. Both native New Englanders, they have lived on the seacoast since 1986. “There is no better place to live.”
“In the world of design, every day is filled with new possibilities,” says Gail Ravgiala, who signed on as editor of Coastal Design after a brief hiatus from publishing. The former editor of Design New England, a shelter magazine published by the Boston Globe until late 2018, sees joining our team as an opportunity to feed her passion for bringing inspiration to readers. “The New England coast is ripe with iconic architecture, design, and landscapes,” she says. “I love celebrating the work of the many talented designers, architects, builders, and craftspeople in the region.” When not covering other people’s homes, she is making improvements to her own 1886 Boston Victorian. “I waited 16 years to renovate that house and now it truly feels like home.”
Marsha’s calling as a designer emerged early—she began her career at 16 as an intern at Frank Thompson Associates, an advertising firm in Billerica, MA. After attending college at the New England School of Art and Design in Boston, she worked at agencies and Seacoast publications as a graphic designer, art director, and creative director. From the start, she’s been key to giving Coastal Design its fresh modern look. Marsha is passionate about interior and landscape design and enjoys meeting homeowners and producing photo shoots of their condos, houses, and gardens. She lives on the coast of Maine with her husband Brian. They have two daughters and one grandson.
With a community-focused culture, Coastal Design is committed to collaborating with non-profit organizations in a meaningful way. In each issue, our staff will share a personal story with our audience, delivering insightful, firsthand experience about their chosen charity. Perhaps you will find inspiration and connection to these featured causes.
The First R Foundation
By Maureen Ryan, Contributing Writer for Coastal Design
First R Foundation cultivates Cape Ann’s young readers with volumes and volunteers
Discovering new books at the library has always been a pleasurable experience for me. As a young girl, I would often visit my Aunt Alice at the public library in Medford, Massachusetts, where she was a librarian. She would put me to work sorting and filing books to the proper shelves—most likely assigning me the jobs she didn’t want to do herself. Early on, her fellow librarians began asking me about what I was currently reading, and I soon felt the need to prepare for and impress these well-versed men and women.
Through their guidance, I began reading more frequently and realizing I was really enjoying it. They introduced me to the Judy Blume series and to one of my all-time favorites, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, as well as many more fun reads. Books are still a source of pleasure for me, and I am grateful for that. Every child should be given the opportunity to cultivate a love of reading, and for many, school librarians are the first influencers who show them how.
That is why I was thrilled to learn that my husband, Patrick Thorpe, was involved with the First R Foundation. Twenty years ago, he was asked for a small donation by Patricia Earle, who wanted to launch a reading program on Massachusetts’ Cape Ann. Earle recalls appearing in his office at Bank Gloucester, conveying the news that librarians’ positions were being cut from Gloucester elementary schools, and asking for his help. Without hesitation, he replied, “How much do you need?”
Since then, First R Foundation has been the sole provider of new books to readers in Gloucester’s kindergarten and first grade classes plus one Rockport school. Earle funds it all through private donations and is able to purchase 30 books per month for classrooms. “Studies are proving that reading on tablets and phones is not the same as reading a hard copy book,” Earle says. “When children are introduced to books early on, they can comprehend better, develop better executive functioning skills, and manage their time better.”
Earle seeks out volunteers who each month read and present a book to the children. The group has grown to 50 participants and includes politicians, businesspeople (including Thorpe), doctors, and artists. These adults champion the value and importance of reading as a necessary and lifelong skill. “Aside from the importance of it, it’s fun for everyone,” says Earle. “It’s good for the grownups who read, the children listening, and the parents emulating their example. Everyone has fun.”
What inspires Earle to keep this endeavor going after 20 years?
“If I see one kid with a lightbulb going off over his head,” Earle says with a sparkle in her eye, “I can say, ‘Gotcha!’”
For more information, to volunteer as a reader, or to make a donation to help fund the purchase of a book, visit firstrfoundation.org.