When designing this Cape Elizabeth kitchen, Conrad Arseneau of Portland-based Kitchen Cove Design Studio was mindful of three primary considerations: the home’s coastal location, its distinguished history as a 1912 Craftsman-style masterpiece by local legend John Calvin Stevens, and the need to honor both when modernizing the space to better suit its new inhabitants.
Working closely with the homeowners, a professional couple with four teenagers, who recently moved from Massachusetts to live closer to family, he made much-needed updates on the 110-year-old home, creating a more livable, functional space for the young family while at the same time respecting the home’s roots and proximity to the seaside. Handcrafted cabinets in “Evening Sky,” nautically inspired lamps over the island, and blue-and-white mosaic backsplash tile all nod to the nature that surrounds; oak-paneled cabinets in the media section recall the Arts and Crafts style, as does the clean, uncluttered aesthetic of the overall design. What results is a kitchen that Conrad says “almost gives me the chills” the way it pays homage to its treasured past, brings the outside in, and more than meets the needs of its new owners. “Back then, kitchens were not conducive to family gatherings. This kitchen allows the family so many options for where to gather.” This, he adds, is one of the most exciting trends in kitchens these days, as the galley workstation lets hosts interact with their guests while preparing a meal, consolidates cooking tools in one handy area, and creates more space for food prep, allowing for an all-hands-on-deck approach to putting dinner on the table, key for this big family.
But even when they’re not all chopping or dicing alongside one another, everyone wants to hang out in the new kitchen. “Sometimes we’re all cooking together, but other times some are doing homework and others are doing art projects, but we’re all sharing the space together,” they say. “This kitchen works incredibly well for a family with lots of kids.”