By Design > Inspiration for Renovation

For artists, inspiration can strike at any time, anywhere. When painter Teresa Spinner and her husband Richard decided to reconfigure the floor plan of their Sanbornton home, Teresa remembered a book about color combinations throughout history that she found years earlier.

“I saw a photograph of a whole wall of cabinets painted a light cerulean blue with gold in the indentation around the edges,” she said. “I thought it was so perfect for my Colonial-style home.”

And so began Teresa’s “blue period.”

Inspiration Results in Action

Before the renovations began, Richard’s office was in a separate building that was connected to their 1700s Colonial via a hallway and laundry room. In addition, Teresa was using a small, galley-style kitchen space to prepare meals. As time passed, the couple realized the office area was underutilized. Richard offered to move his office to a smaller space so the larger room could be made into the kitchen/dining/living area.

To help with the transformation, Teresa brought the inspirational photograph to designer Maria Perron of Village House Interiors in Bristol. “I call it Teresa’s ‘blue period’ kitchen,” says Perron. “It helps when a client knows what they want. What was difficult was finding a blue that exactly matched the color in the book.”

The dusty blue color with the gold accent became the focus of the new kitchen/dining/living area, a space dominated by a cathedral ceiling that is spanned by thirty-plus-foot wooden beams. Teresa and Perron found the color in the Benjamin Moore palette— Saratoga Springs—which Crystal Cabinetry used for the Shaker-style kitchen cabinets.

The main house—which was the home of Josiah Sanborn, a member of the town’s founding family—is anchored by a central fireplace with openings in each room.

To bring more warmth to the rooms, Perron worked in some wood accents in addition to the pine ceiling, beams and window casings. Her primary inspiration came from an antique bookcase Teresa already owned. For the stovetop hood, Perron had master carpenter Iain MacKenzie build a small, two-shelf open-cabinet in the bookcase’s style. She also added a similarly stained end piece to the island, which is bigger than normal and provides additional seating.

“It doesn’t make sense from a design standpoint to have only one thing in a room [echoing the theme of the design],” Perron explains. “You want that element throughout the design of the kitchen.”

The primary challenge was separating the dining room from the rest of the large room. To do so, Perron located the dining room in a smaller space around a corner from the kitchen. To tie it in with the kitchen, she added cabinets in the Saratoga Springs blue color, with one cabinet that can be opened from either the kitchen or dining room. Then she used Teresa’s Shaker-style furniture to give the space a clean, early-American, farmstead feel. “[The home] has a lot of my parents’ favorite antiques, including fireplace items and wine jugs,” Teresa says.

Teresa wanted soapstone sinks, which were purchased from Vermont Soapstone in Perkinsville, Vermont. The countertops are Cambria quartz stone. They have the look and feel of granite, but are made from quartz stones that were compressed to create a solid surface. The kitchen and dining room counters are Cambria Parkgate, with colors in black, green and rust. The island counter is Cambria Windsor with black, gray, green and gold colors. Baron’s Major Brands in Laconia supplied some of the appliances. The Frigidaire ® counter-depth refrigerator was customized with panels to match the style and color of the cabinets. There is also a GE Profile® convection oven and Bosch® dishwasher. The stove top was in the previous kitchen.

Showcasing the Homeowner’s Artistic Side

Designer and client met several years ago when Perron was working on a show house in Moultonborough. “I fell in love with a portrait Teresa painted
[titled Pearls],” Perron says. “I based the entire master bedroom on her painting, and she loaned me others to display as well.”

Teresa is known around the world for her artistic talents. Her paintings hang in galleries and private collections throughout the United States, Latin America and Europe. She studied at Bennington College in Vermont, the National Academy of Art and the Art Student’s League in New York City, as well as the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia.

Many pieces also grace the walls of her newly remodeled space. “Teresa Spinner is the only person on the planet who would hang an oil painting above her cook top,” says Perron. “Most other people use tile or some other type of backsplash to protect against grease splatter.”

The Finished Work

Now, after owning the home for sixteen years, Teresa has seen it through several changes: First, re-doing the house— adding insulation as well as new floorboards and clapboards—to bring back its former Colonial spirit. Then, building the separate but connected addition. And now, bringing the two structures tastefully and usefully together.

“The [kitchen/living area] space has been used in a way that helps you enjoy the architectural elements of the house—the floor-to-ceiling windows, the fireplace, the ceiling beams,” says Perron. “The rest of the house is darker. Everyone is drawn to this big open area that is lighter, brighter and welcoming.”

“Everybody loves a kitchen, and this is a comfortable room,” says Teresa. “It is an inviting room that fits a lot of people. We spend more time in this room than we do in the main house.”