February 26, 2012

Well Done: Cooking class

Tina and Erik Richardson's gorgeously renovated barn kitchen oozes elegance.

By Meredith Goad mgoad@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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An overview of the Westbrook kitchen of Tina and Erik Richardson shows a space full of stunning, attractively coordinated details. But the kitchen is also highly functional, boasting features such as a Viking range, double ovens and a beverage cooler.

Cottages & Bungalows photo courtesy of Tina Richardson

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The original pumpkin pine floors of the old barn were refinished to their natural beauty. The kitchen blends farmhouse style with modern convenience.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

Additional Photos Below


HERE ARE Tina Richardson's tips for starting a kitchen renovation project:

Choose your partners wisely, whether they be architects, contractors or kitchen designers. Ask them about their backgrounds, and ask to see their portfolios. Interview several people, and get contact information for references.

Have a budget.

Know what appliances you want. Don't worry about laying out the space -- that's the designer's job.

Look through home and design magazines and save articles about kitchens that you love. This will help your designer get to know your personal tastes.


"WELL DONE" IS A NEW occasional series in Home & Garden that will profile Maine kitchens that would make any home cook drool.

TO SUBMIT a kitchen for this series, contact Meredith Goad at 791-6332 or mgoad@pressherald.com

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.

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

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Colors in the countertops and backsplash coordinate with the buttercream-yellow cabinetry.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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Stunning marinace granite tops the kitchen island and counters, and resembles river rock under water.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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A kitchen booth is lit by a chandelier made from old wine bottles.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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Tina and Erik Richardson’s property in Westbrook. Before they added the kitchen to the barn at right, it was used for storage.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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An original barn tie-up can now hold items such as shopping bags. The Richardsons kept as many of the original wood beams as possible.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer


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