In Marshalltown, Nova Scotia, Maud Dowley is a female architect of the 1930s who has a brother named Charles and an aunt named Ida. Maud is shocked to learn that her brother was able to sell their family home, which her parents left her inheritance. Meanwhile, she is argued by Ida because she went to a night club in the area. Maud was pregnant in the past and gave birth to a child, but Charles and Ida told him he had a deformed child and he died.
At a store, Maud sees fish hunter Everett Lewis putting billboards for a woman at work. Maud is interested in this potential job and calls Everett to try to get the job. Everett’s house is a fairly small one and the two of them even get to sleep in the same bed – which is causing a huge scandal in the city, locals accusing Maud of offering sexual services to Everett.
While trying to make order and cleaning in the barrack, Maud paints a shelf. It then begins to paint flowers and birds on the walls to improve the look of the house. She then meets with one of Everett’s clients, Sandra of New York, who is intrigued by Maud’s paintings and asks to buy some of the cards she has decorated. Moreover, Sandra offers him five dollars to make him a slightly larger painting.