M.R. Brewer: Not Just Another White Kitchen

From coffee station to spice pantry, no detail was forgotten
Words By Jennifer Wolcott
Photos By Michael D. Wilson

Lead Designer

Tavia Douglass

After purchasing this Falmouth home, which sits on the fairway of the Woodlands Country Club golf course and was custom-built in 1996, the new owners, Val and Bob, didn’t waste time before reaching out to professionals who could tackle a kitchen renovation. They yearned to make some needed updates, and they enlisted the team at M.R. Brewer in Portland. “Everything was done well for 1996,” says designer Tavia Douglass who led the project, “high gloss, laminates, white and gray… but that was 25 years ago.”

One of the first pieces to go was a tall, two-tiered island that chopped up the space. “You couldn’t see past that island,” says Tavia. “It owned the room.” The new, single-level island, by contrast, opens up the kitchen and doesn’t vie for attention with its more deserving focal point: a stunning, two-sided stone fireplace that is a precise replica of the one the home’s previous owner had admired at the Jordan Pond House in Acadia National Park. There was never a question that the fireplace would be kept. In fact, it is the key feature around which other details were decided—the rustic five-inch-wide-plank maple floors, for example, and the painstakingly chosen lavender-tinged gray of the new island. Throughout the project, Val had a strong vision about what she wanted—traditional cabinetry, architectural details (crown moldings, under-cabinet lighting, arched toe kicks), a spacious and specialized pantry, and a coffee station beside the refrigerator. “This project was so much more exciting than just another white kitchen,” Tavia adds. “It makes all the difference to work for a client who knows what she wants and is willing to put in time on all the little extra details.”