M.R. Brewer: Built for the Chef-Baker

Words By Heather Chapman
Photos By Michael D. Wilson

Inside a newly built vacation home on Sebago Lake reigns a kitchen that pleasingly compliments the exterior landscape, consisting of a wooded lot and lakefront views. “The owners wanted the great room and kitchen to be a timber-frame build, and they also desired the incorporation of natural elements indoors,” explains Tavia Douglass, lead designer at the Portland-based full-service custom home builder and millwork company M.R. Brewer. Exposed pine beams and walls and a commanding 10-by-3½-foot dining table milled from trees felled on the property seamlessly bring the outside in. To provide respite from all the wood, a luscious coat of Benjamin Moore’s Secret Path green was selected to grace the cabinets. 

Working alongside the homeowner, Tavia drafted three iterations of the kitchen layout before finally settling on the existing plan. The deciding factor? Resoundingly, the pantry—a coveted 4-by-8-foot walk-in space carved out behind a built-in breakfast bar. A bright-teal antique barn door on sliders, a find by the owner, marks its entry. “The pantry door helped drive the decision for the darker-teal built-in china hutch accent piece at the end of the kitchen,” Tavia explains. 

Benjamin Moore’s Secret Path green and deep teal add playful punches to this lake house kitchen.
Quartz countertops from Surface Creations provide a stylish prep surface for the homeowner, an avid home chef and baker.
Tavia worked with Tia Green of Capozza Floor Covering Center to source tile for the backsplash.

“The homeowner is an avid baker and chef, so many of the custom elements were informed by her functional needs,” Tavia says. A pop-up lift for the KitchenAid mixer and a prep sink were both built into the oversized island, and large storage drawers house numerous kitchen tools. Perhaps the most custom portion of the kitchen huddles under the range top: four exposed walnut roll-out trays, designed based on inspiration photos provided by the owner. “This was a rather unorthodox request, but the owner told us that while cooking, she likes to be able to grab pots and pans quickly and easily,” Tavia says. With M.R. Brewer’s reputation for quality hinging on custom Maine-made cabinetry, this element proved an enjoyable design and install. The result? “A kitchen that accommodates guests and really works for the client. Now, all of her cooking and baking accessories have an accessible home of their own,” Tavia says.