“The outdated floor plan was not conducive to contemporary family life,” says Andrew Brewin, founding partner of Modern Heritage, of this 1844 colonial revival. The family had lived in the house for more than a decade before diving into the redesign.
While the owner wanted better fluidity and up-to-date conveniences, she also aimed for an aesthetic that would read as a tribute to the house’s roots. “The client is an avid collector of art and antiques with a curatorial eye and loves the architecture and history of the house,” says Brewin. “She wanted a dark, cozy kitchen in keeping with the era of the house.”
In addition to reconfiguring the layout to consolidate utility areas and expanding the kitchen and breakfast room, the owners wanted a greenhouse-like place to grow plants. “What was initially a three-season room evolved into a four-season space with a pyramid-shaped glass skylight,” says architectural designer Christopher Legere of LightWell Design, who collaborated with Brewin. “I’m proud that we were able to shine a light on his vision,” he jokes.
The team reused locally sourced barn panels to conceal the structural beam they needed to incorporate in order to open up the floor plan. Although more rustic in nature, the color of the beams complements the dark hue of the custom quarter-sawn white oak cabinetry that Modern Heritage designed and manufactured in its Scarborough, Maine workshop.
The team created a bay window with an integrated threshold in the same American Mist granite as the countertops. Not only does it provide a deep ledge for plants and let in tons of light, but the sink and farmhouse window are the focal point of the pocket doors to the veranda, which it lines up with.
It is also a beautiful and admired feature of the backyard. “The box bay has a copper roof that stands out beautifully from the exterior elevation,” says Brewin.
Backsplash slab: Walker Zanger. Hood: Copperhoods.com. Interval: Wolf. Pendant: John Pompe. Island color: Soldier blue, old-fashioned milk paint. Sink: Kohler. Faucet: Perrin and Rowe.
Custom built-in hutches flank the pocket doors to the lanai on the other side of the island, just in front of the sink, making clever use of the shallow space. “They’re painted white to blend in with the existing walls,” says Kelly Bushey, project manager at Modern Heritage.
Seeded leaded glass panels, inspired by some of the client’s antique fixtures, give an aged feel. To the right, the mudroom leads to the courtyard, as well as a new pantry and laundry room.
Material: Whitechapel Ltd and Armac Martin.
A wet bar anchors the breakfast room which doubles as an after school family room. “The bar is meant to look like a freestanding piece of furniture,” says Brewin.
The custom milled V-groove backsplash runs the entire back of the room and is visible through the seeded leaded glass panels.
The room’s existing antiques, including the 19th-century American oak table and the 18th-century French sideboard, inspired the species and stain color of the millwork.
The customer found the Swedish copper pendant, which attaches to the copper kitchen hood.
The team designed a built-in desk and shelf with a sliding door that hides the television for the wall adjacent to the bar.
“The cabinet to the left of the desk wraps around the back of the fireplace in the formal dining room,” says Brewin.
The idea of installing an all-glass greenhouse in a backyard turned into a design for an insulated room with a 14-by-8-foot skylight that automatically opens and closes using weather sensors.
“We used custom-machined nickel space on the walls,” Bushey notes. “The bottom pieces are etched on the rolled edge porcelain floor tiles so we can eliminate the baseboards.”
Rough-edged granite slabs lead from the driveway to a new terrace outside the veranda. French doors opposite the outer door open into the formal dining area, while pocket glass doors to the left open into the kitchen.
Planters: Nunan Florist and Greenhouse. Floor tile: Settecento. Plants: Sung Port Farm.
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