WESTBROOK – Tina and Erik Richardson’s new kitchen has all the modern conveniences that most home cooks yearn for — top-of-the-line appliances, stunning granite countertops and lighting fixtures that illuminate the room in just the right way.
But the 700-square-foot room also retains plenty of features that showcase its previous life as a barn.
Yes, you read that right — a barn.
Old post-and-beam framing has been repurposed as table legs for a large new dining room table with a granite top. An old iron animal tie-up that once kept a horse or cow in its place now gets used as a hanger for purses or shopping bags. And the pumpkin pine flooring helps the room retain that rustic feel.
“We had to sand them down like 10 times over, and in between these floorboards, you’d actually find nails and manure,” said Tina Richardson, president of Maine Coast Kitchen Design.
Like a chef who finally gets to create her own restaurant, Richardson’s transformation of this stunning kitchen showed off her talents as a designer and won the project a spread in Cottages & Bungalows magazine. (Erik Richardson managed the contracting work himself.)
The budget was higher than most — the couple spent $150,000 on the renovations, mostly because of structural issues — but the result is a blend of farmhouse style and modern convenience that satisfied even Richardson, who never saw herself living on a farm before but has now “fallen in love with the property.”
“Farmhouse is so not me,” she said. “I’m a modern girl.”
Tina Richardson has owned the property for about three years. The four-bedroom house in front, now a corporate rental property, was built in the 1800s. The barn was built in 1920. Behind the barn are acres of woods and fields; the Richardsons added a fully equipped outdoor kitchen under a trellis just off their large deck.
“We’re big entertainers,” Richardson said. “My mother’s one of 14 children, so when we have a party, we have a party.”
Married a little over a year ago, the couple hosted 200 people for a summer wedding reception in their newly renovated space.
Previously, the barn was used for storage. The changes the Richardsons wanted to make to the space required engineering and steel beams to create a second-floor living space above the kitchen to accommodate their growing family. (Erik brought two sons to the marriage, and the couple now have a 3-month-old daughter as well.)
They kept as many of the original wood beams as they could, and made sure they were kept exposed.
One of the first things Richardson did when she started creating the kitchen was ask her husband, who is the cook in the family, to choose appliances. The kitchen includes a Viking range and double ovens with a warming drawer on the bottom.
Next to the double ovens is a small beverage refrigerator currently filled with wine and other adult beverages that will soon give way to juice boxes.
“I love to bake, but he is the cook, so this was designed around the appliances that he really wanted in here,” Richardson said. “When we work with our clients, we won’t design a kitchen without knowing what their goals are for the space and what appliances they’re planning on putting in the space.”
The Richardsons are coffee drinkers, so they included a built-in Miele coffeemaker and transformed one corner into a little coffee bar where guests can help themselves.
The personalization doesn’t stop there.
The couple usually has their morning coffee at a cozy booth similar to what you’d find in a diner. The tabletop came from Flirts Grille on Forest Avenue in Portland, where the Richardsons had their first date. The back of the booth has been turned into a built-in wine rack.
“In every home I’ve ever contemplated building, any kitchen, I’ve always wanted a booth,” Richardson said. “My mom’s from Canada, and in those Canadian homes, my aunts all seem to have these booths.”
COUNTERS, CABINETS AND MORE
Outside of the structural renovations, Richardson spent most of her budget on stone, cabinetry and lighting.
The cabinetry in most of the kitchen is a buttercream yellow that complements the pumpkin pine flooring. The cabinet doors are covered in stained glass with cooper and rust tones that came from the Phoenix Studio on Forest Avenue. A smaller set of sage-colored cabinets above a computer work station across the room also contains matching stained glass.
The colors in the kitchen blend well across the entire room. An espresso stain picks up darker colors in the room’s stonework and goes well with eggplant paint on a wall. The coppery tones in the stained glass are reflected in decorative candles on the dining room table.
An island bar contains a deep farmhouse sink with a restaurant-grade faucet. There are several seats at the bar to accommodate guests who might want to watch the action in the kitchen.
The contemporary, industrial-style chairs, made of metal and red oak, reflect a similar design found in the chairs around the dining table. They were made by a friend, Nate Deyesso of DSO Creative Fabrications in Scarborough.
The globe lights over the sink area, along with the chandelier over the dining room table and a wine-bottle fixture over the booth, all came from Pottery Barn.
One of the most stunning features of the kitchen is the marinace granite countertop that resembles river rock under water. “It actually comes from the earth looking like this,” Richardson said.
One of Richardson’s stepsons loves to collect rocks, so when she was choosing the countertop, she consulted the family expert.
“I showed him a number of stones, and we all decided that this was going to be the one,” Richardson said. “I like it because it kind of gives it that modern flair, but it’s also very organic. It blends the nature of this backyard and the home, and the old with the new.”
The Richardsons don’t anticipate living in this space forever — they are already at work turning an old church on Ocean Avenue into a home – but they have grown to love this property, which Tina Richardson calls a “rich and elegant, new-age farmhouse.”
Staff Writer Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at: