Photo by Sean Litchfield
Layers of paint on the original cabinets in this 1928 Fryeburg kitchen suggested they’d always been yellow, a shade the owners liked. So when the couple, who asked that their names be withheld, contemplated white cabinetry for their renovated space, designer Hannah Guilford, co-owner with her husband, Cody, of Fryeburg’s Heart and Hammer Homes, had some advice: “I said, ‘Your house isn’t a White House. The colors here are working; let’s just make them better.’” She specced Sherwin-Williams’s Butter Up — a softer take on the previous mustard — for their new cabinets, new built-in dining bench, and original woodwork and china cabinets. Period-appropriate, Art-Deco–inspired ceramic floor tile where black-and-white vinyl tile had been “made the kitchen not just nicer, but funkier,” says the husband, who, like his wife, had been Guilford’s high-school teacher. Black-granite countertops, handmade Zellige tile backsplashes, and copper accents — including vessels inherited from the wife’s grandmother — pick up the floor’s ebony, cream, and rust tones. Before the project wrapped last year, Guilford surprised the owners with a mural of a Victorian charcoal drawing and a gallery wall centered on a portrait of the wife Guilford tracked down from the wife’s aunt, who painted it. Hearing how much they loved the personal touches “brought my HGTV dreams to life,” Guilford says.
Photos by Michael D. Wilson
Old Is New
While renovating the kitchen in their 1902 Colonial Revival last year, Portlanders Lauren and Jared Hale felt the ghost of a legendary local architect looking over their shoulders. “It was like, is John Calvin Stevens going to roll over in his grave because we changed the layout?” Lauren jokes. Alas, Stevens had designed their small kitchen and butler’s pantry, equipped with a door to a grand dining room, for servants, not a modern family, and a ’90s remodel had wiped out the historic character of the rooms. In reimagining them, the couple aimed to put some of the old charm back in. Working with designer Tavia Douglass, of Portland’s M.R. Brewer, they expanded the kitchen by moving a wall four feet into the dining room, and added an opening with an elaborate arch that matches one Stevens designed over a door to a porch. Cabinets in Portola’s Seal — the uppers fitted with custom leaded glass that mimics that on bookcases in the library — set off ceramic tile Lauren screen printed, then hand painted, “like a crazy person,” with a floral pattern inspired by 1900s English designs. A counter-height mahogany table references the new pantry cabinetry, which juxtaposes with brick-red-and-white checkerboard floor tile that picks up the ruddiness in the wood. The result? “A beautiful, functional kitchen,” Douglass says, “that doesn’t scream, ‘We did this yesterday.’”
Photos by Meredith Brockington
For seven years, Kristen Camp has been crafting modern ceramics in rich neutral finishes for her Portland- and Westbrook-based Campfire Pottery business. But she didn’t have a kitchen worthy of her work. “Everything I took home was seconds or a mix of this and that.” When she and her husband/Campfire co-founder, Joe, decided to overhaul the dated cookspace in their 2007 Gray home last year, “I was like, I’m going to fill my kitchen with full sets of my stuff.” Handmade terra-cotta floor tile references her charcoal dinnerware, while quartz countertops match mushroom-colored serving pieces and mottled ceramic-and-maple pendants from a line she and Joe make. A cherry island and cabinets, crafted by Tate Knowles, of Oakland’s Red Line Woodworking, will stay the tawny shade of her Fawn pottery thanks to a custom stain that neutralizes the wood’s pink undertones. On the walls, gypsum plaster — applied by Joe after taking an online class offered by New York design firm Jersey Ice Cream Co. — conjures raw clay. They display cherry shelves and a plate/spice rack he built for the ceramics, along with narrow rods for mugs and hand-forged brass utensils Kristen designed with Tanja Cesh, of Portland’s Mulxiply. “It’s fun to finally have it all here,” she says.
Photos by Heidi Kirn
Cameron Zinman calls the kitchen in the 1970s Yarmouth Cape she renovated last year “a love letter to my kids.” After falling for Maine on vacations, she moved from New York with her now-teenage son and daughter in 2020. “Everything I did had to fit with this vision of them waking up here and feeling cozy, settled, and home.” Working with Jeanne Rapone and Erica Pearl, of Yarmouth’s Centerline Design & Build, she set about creating a cookspace, housed in a new rear addition, with a warm living-room feel. Against the advice of “everyone in my ear,” she eschewed recessed lights and hung brass sconces, a mod Serge Mouille–style fixture above a Saarinen dining table, brass bell-jar pendants over a quartz-topped island, and a brass picture light atop painted-wood and quartz shelves instead. “Best decision I made,” Zinman says. “I detest recessed lights.” Shaker paneling integrates the fridge with snowy cabinets, a plaster wrap feathers a sculptural vent hood into a wall rendered in Farrow & Ball’s Cornforth White, and mixed bronze hardware imparts a collected quality. In the evenings, rather than heading to the living room, Zinman has taken to curling up by the dining area’s Jøtul gas stove. “I dim the lights and I’m in this pretty room I never want to leave.”
Photos by Liz Daly
Now They’re Cooking
Most evenings, Denise and Nick Coll prepare meals together. But in their circa 2005 Kennebunkport kitchen, they found themselves maneuvering awkwardly around a bulky island and jockeying for use of the sink. Cumberland kitchen designer Sarah Steinberg heard their plight. “I’m extremely passionate about kitchens being very functional,” says Steinberg, who used a slimmer quartzite-topped island to divide the space. On one side is a cooking/cleanup area with an induction cooktop and a large apron-front sink; on the other is a baking/pantry zone with a pair of ovens, a small sink, storage for appliances and supplies behind stainless-steel pull-down doors, and pull-out walnut produce drawers. Situated at the end of the island, the refrigerator is easily accessible to cooks on both sides, “but they don’t have to pass each other,” Steinberg says. To update the room’s “kind of country, kind of chunky” look, Steinberg worked with the couple to choose a custom greenish-gray for the cabinets and a dramatic wall of greenish-charcoal glass tile, punctuated with walnut shelves. “I’m not sure the tile was my vision until I saw it,” Denise says. “When I did, I said, ‘This will be spectacular.’”