A Renovated Ranch Becomes a Dream Home

Partner Post: Houzz

A family with dreams of living on the coast found a dreamy piece of land, but the house that sat on it wasn’t exactly a dream home. The 1960s ranch house hadn’t been touched in more than 30 years. It had no master suite, there wasn’t ample bedroom space for the kids, and the small rooms were closed off, hindering ocean views. The family wanted an open-plan living-dining space with enough room to accommodate larger groups of family and friends. After adding a second floor, taking over a screened-in porch and breaking down interior walls, they ended up with a renovated Shingle style filled with sophisticated coastal charm.

Houzz at a Glance
Who lives here: A couple and their three children
Location: Outside Portland, Maine
Size: About 2,000 square feet; four bedrooms, 3½ bathrooms

The bright blue door that leads from the driveway to the mud room of this home gives visitors a hint at what’s inside. “The paint palette for the whole home was mostly subtle shades of gray infused with bright pops such as this turquoise,” says interior designer Brady-Anne Cushing of Knickerbocker Group. This particular turquoise was inspired by the kitchen backsplash tile and is repeated in small ways throughout the house.

The architecture is an updated take on Shingle style. A porch wraps around two sides of the house, extending the living space outdoors. Bay windows bow out to the views. The second-story balcony is off the master bedroom. The architectural and structural changes were designed by Whitten Architects, while Knickerbocker Group designed the interior and exterior finishes. The redesign expanded the existing porch.

Pretty Porches to Inspire Your Own

The homeowners wanted the interior to be open and flowing, Cushing says, and it “became a challenge to fit all of their needs into a small corner of the house.” The solution was to install a banquette as the dining area within the open space that includes the kitchen and living room. The bar has seating for the whole family. “They wanted a large eating space that could also double as a space to spread out for homework,” Cushing says. “Also important to them was a well-laid-out cooking space and lots of storage.”

Feed the Whole Family With More Counter Stools

The interior design is a balance between traditional and contemporary, with subtle nautical touches. The bar top is warm cherry wood and the kitchen counters are granite. Nickel-gap horizontal cladding wraps the bar, and glass globe pendant lights, turquoise glass backsplash tiles and sleek bar stools add contemporary style. The adjacent side of the island incorporates lower cabinets and creates a half wall that helps the flow to the doors out to the deck and the door to the family room, at right.

Lighting design: Fogg Lighting

The banquette takes the place of a formal dining room, sharing the same open space as the kitchen and tying into it via the glass globe pendants, arranged in a different style here. “The Ultrasuede chairs and tapestry-covered banquette reflect the palette of the nearby living space,” Cushing says. The table has a farmhouse feel and brings in a more traditional touch.

Previously, the living room’s chimney was hidden inside the walls. The architects were able to salvage it and tweak it to fit the home’s new style. “With the architects’ plans of opening up the house and removing the interior walls, the chimney became exposed,” Cushing says. The original brickwork was not in great shape, so the designers removed and added some brick to re-form the chimney’s shape, parged it and added the cantilevered mantel and a picture ledge that runs from the living room side all the way around to the dining area. The thick cherry wood on these pieces ties them to the kitchen bar top.

Now the once-hidden chimney provides a focal point in the great room and serves as a divider that helps define the different spaces within the open plan. The homeowners’ art collection and antique rug personalize the space, which has a warm modern Arts and Crafts feel.

This is the family room, which is separate from the living-dining-kitchen area. The team at Whitten Architects added these windows to frame the sweeping views of Casco Bay. Cushing outfitted the curved window seat with soft cushions and pillows in a variety of fabric patterns selected by the homeowners. The colors are drawn from the antique Oriental rug’s palette of cool blues and warm reds. In a nod to coastal style, the ceiling design has a distinctive crosshatch board pattern.

Style the Window Seat With Decorative Pillows

The second-floor addition houses the master suite. Pendant fixtures provide reading light and draw the eye up. The metal panels on the bed are a warm hammered copper.

In the master bathroom, “the clients wanted something calm and serene,” Cushing says. Soft greens on the walls and the beautiful recycled-glass tiles complement the views out the window. The couple opted for a Japanese soaking tub. Not visible in this photo is a custom set of cedar steps with a curved edge that rests against the tub. To maintain the serene feeling, the designers kept the materials palette in the bathroom simple. The green recycled-glass tile we saw around the tub and shower continues on the backsplash.

Glass tile, Old Port Specialty Tile

Perhaps the biggest payoff from the remodel is here on the balcony off the master suite. “It’s a great place to enjoy their mornings and look out to the water,” Cushing says.


  1. Great project. Nicely done Knickerbocker and Whitten Architects! Love the master bath glass tile from Old Port Specialty Tile too!

  2. Sarah Stebbins

    Hi Theresa,

    Thank you for the kind words and sorry the tile info was not reported! I will add it. Talk to you soon.

  3. Margo Huff

    Where are the ‘before’ pics?

    • Sarah Stebbins

      Ah, I wish we had them! When we do, we label the story “before and after.” Like you, I was hankering for a before picture on this one. Sorry!

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