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Modern But Timeless: A Country Lake House's Amazing Kitchen Renovation

This Sebago Lake, Maine kitchen already had the functional layout, but the overall style needed an update. By painting the existing cabinets and focusing the kitchen renovation on the quality of materials, this space was transformed into a family-friendly kitchen with timeless elements that won't date themselves as the homeowners continue to make the space their own.

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As a designer, there are very few jobs more satisfying than a kitchen renovation. The opportunity to transform the space where homeowners spend the most time is always an exciting prospect. I work with the homeowner to answer a number of questions to help begin the process when I am embarking on this type of renovation. How can we make this space more functional? How can we make it more aesthetically pleasing and tailored to the client's style? How can we make it seamless with the existing rooms in the home? How can we make this a space that is both social and productive?


For this particular kitchen renovation, my clients Jason and Leigh Gagnon had a sizable kitchen that worked for them functionally from a layout perspective, but had quirks that hindered it's usage. It was also not aesthetically up to par with the rest of the home. The house is situated right on the shore of Sebago Lake, with unparalleled views of the water. I wanted to offer the Gagnons a transformed space that felt refined, airy, and complimentary with the breathtaking elements just outside their doors. I also wanted the kitchen to stand the test of time stylistically, so I kept the major elements and materials classic and clean, while adding accessories that were more modern in style, pieces that the homeowners could switch out or move around over time.

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Prior to the kitchen renovation, the space was suitably functional for the Gagnons, but needed to be updated from the appliances to the finishes.

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The existing cabinets were high-quality and in great shape. We painted them and eliminated the space above by extending the top of the cabinet boxes to the ceiling and trimming them out appropriately. This gives the room more height and makes the space feel more finished.

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Before the kitchen felt quite orange given the tone of the wood in the flooring and the cabinetry. Changing the color palette of the kitchen makes the space feel twice the size.

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The peninsula allows for Leigh and Jason's children to have a place to land, functioning as both a meal spot, as well as a homework/play area. The pendant lights, sourced through Fogg Lighting in Portland, Maine, are modern in style and add the right amount of contrast with the traditional bead board cabinetry.

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The Gagnons purchased their new appliances prior to the renovation and realized that they didn't like the look of the microwave above the range. With an abundance of cabinetry to work with, we returned the range microwave and purchased a smaller one that lives in a cabinet that was not being used.

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The stainless chimney hood is more functional, has better ventilation capabilities, and more visually in-line with the overall kitchen renovation. Tiling not just the backsplash, but the entire wall, makes the space feel more finished. The marble is stately and timeless.

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I tried to implement elements that were unexpected. The Aelfie rug is both graphic and modern, yet the black and white pattern coordinate with the cabinets and countertops. I sourced the black and white plaid fabric for the stool cushions to compliment the rug.

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The Delta faucet is clean-lined and simple and works well with the nickel Restoration Hardware cabinet hardware. The honed Jet Mist granite countertops have a similar look to soapstone, but are much more durable and kid-proof. The Carrara marble tile was installed by local craftsman, Eric Irish.


Leigh and Jason wanted a kitchen with a new design scheme and enhanced functionality. The post-renovation space is an area that allows for family interaction, social gatherings and the ability to enjoy the best aspects of lake life.


After photography by Justin Levesque.