While commonly associated with the 1960's, ranch houses offer numerous attributes conducive to modern day living. The concept of a single floor living is warm, inviting, and above all, convenient. When my friends, Jesse and Jackie Cyr, purchased a one-story house in a waterfront neighborhood just outside of Portland, Maine, they enlisted my help for a full home renovation. No room, wall or fixture would be left untouched!
While I was excited by the idea of renovating a 1960's ranch, the house presented a few challenges. The existing layout was fairly open, thus design continuity become my number one priority in the schematic phase. The next challenge was working with a space that lacked significant architectural detail. The final design dilemma was making this home as functional and comfortable as possible for my friends. With those challenges in mind, I, along with my contractor, Pat Schwartz, embarked on a warp speed 29-day renovation to rescue this house from prior updates that left it aesthetically challenged and functionally lacking. The end result is a bright and open abode that reflects the energetic, social lifestyle that the Cyrs enjoy on the Maine coast. The post is a peak into the before and after of the kitchen and bathroom areas -- continue on to see how it turned out!
The bright blue walls with the outdated floral banner did not vibe with my friends. Additionally, the bathroom lacked counter space and the vanity didn't serve to create useful storage. We knew we had to start from scratch in this bathroom.
During the course of the remodel, this space became known as the "beach bathroom." Located off the kitchen, the tight space fits a small standing shower, perfect for rinsing off after a day at the beach. Shiplap walls were added to reflect the coastal location of the house. I avoided literal nautical references throughout the house, instead focusing on implementing natural materials and elements, such as the round wood mirror. A custom vanity provides storage in a small space.
Before the renovation, the master bathroom presented a storage challenge. A flimsy stand was being used for towels and toiletries, and there was limited counter space.
A custom vanity with notched out pulls allows for ample storage. Still fairly small in square footage, and functionality being the paramount consideration, we set the sink off-center, allowing for more usable counter space.
The former kitchen offered an ideal layout for ranch living. It was large and open, had new cabinetry, and a few architectural details worth maintaining and highlighting during the renovation.
The opposing orange and green color scheme made the space feel choppy and busy, which is why we settled on this neutral, but dynamic, combination of blue and white. The light, natural wood top on the kitchen island helped warm these colors up so the kitchen wouldn't feel too cold. Jesse and Jackie opted to keep the existing cabinetry, but we painted them to brighten the overall feeling of the space. The tone of wood cabinets as they were competed with the floor tile, which was the only element we retained during the renovation. The perimeter cabinets were painted Benjamin Moore's White Dove, while the island was painted Benjamin Moore's Nocturnal Gray.
The existing transom windows provide a skylight effect, and to make the space feel ever more airy the crossbeams were painted the same color as the cabinets; this really emphasized the height of the ceiling. We added a modern metal hanging chandelier to provide additional lighting (and a hint of style). The proportions of the iron fixture suit the size of the space and while the finish is dark, the open quality of the fixture doesn't make it feel oppressive.
One of my favorite details is the custom wine cabinet next to the window -- it helps the microwave blend into the background a little bit.
This white door leads to the pantry -- although the style of door says otherwise! People were always mistaking this as a door to the outside, and were very surprised when they found boxes of pasta instead.
To fix the problem of the misleading pantry door, we added some architectural details. Sourced through Portland Architectural Salvage, we installed a chicken wire glass panel in an antique door. Having a slightly transparent panel allows guests to see just enough to know that it's a pantry, but not so much that it looks cluttered.
The backsplash is a reference to the beach down the street. The marble material maintains its sophistication without being overtly nautical. Some stones in the mosaic look polished, while some look tumbled. The edge where the tile meets the sheetrock was grouted to look like sand on a shoreline.
Jesse and Jackie spent many months searching for a home they could enjoy for years to come. After finding this house, the location provided them with a sense of longevity and the opportunity to essentially start from scratch make this space their own. While the window of work was brief, we were able to translate their aesthetic and lifestyle into a stylistically cohesive, fully updated space perfect for enjoying the natural, coastal elements that inspired the overall design.
Photography by Justin Levesque.