by Debra Spark
The transformation of unworkable kitchens into beautiful spaces
Being the winner of the “Ugly Kitchen” contest seems like an unfortunate honor. Right up there with starring in the Shag Carpet Follies or landing in the Lawn Ornament Hall of Fame. But the biannual contest—which is run by the Maine Chapter of the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA)—is actually about transformation, the remodeling of an unworkable space into something beautiful. This year, the prize for best overall design went to Elaine Murdoch, CKD, CBD* of Boothbay Harbor’s Knickerbocker Group, who converted a dark, cramped kitchen in a 1980s Southport home into an elegant, light-filled space. With its unattractive oak cabinets and vinyl flooring, the original kitchen was outdated, boxed off from the home’s adjoining living room, and created a traffic pattern that was, according to Murdoch, “totally bizarre.” The first step was to take down the kitchen’s two interior walls and visually open up the space—a complicated task given that a post hidden in one of the interior walls provided structural support for the home. The solution was a room divider that, in addition to holding up the second floor, sections off the kitchen from the rest of the first. Consisting of a counter topped by two glassed-in cabinets, the room divider allows one to look out of (and into) the kitchen without the appearance, as Murdoch says, “of a mess hall.” The room divider has the additional virtue of offering more storage space. Shelves, a microwave, and a cabinet with wine rack are tucked underneath the counter, while drawers for keys and mail hide the otherwise ubiquitous kitchen clutter pile.
by Candace Karu
Photography Trent Bell
Stay home in style with movies, music, television, and more
Technology is changing the way we live in dramatic ways, and nowhere is this transformation more evident than in our homes. From a simple speaker dock for MP3 players to an integrated, multipurpose home-theater and entertainment system, there is an audio and video technology solution for every family and every budget.
We talked to Maine’s leading audio/video experts about some of their most interesting projects and products. We also asked them to tell us about their favorite solutions for making sophisticated new technologies both user-friendly and affordable.