Inspiration > A Colorful Kitchen

On a midwinter day shortly after a couple moved into their Lyme home, a flock of birds landed in the yard. They were very small, with primarily brown and white feathers. Their most notable feature was stark white breasts, speckled with pink and red, matching the patch of red on the birds’ foreheads.

Although seen rarely and then only during the winter months, the birds were quickly identified as redpolls. The flock stayed at the Lyme home for just two days before migrating, but their visit was a memorable one. When it came time to choose a mural design to go over the stovetop in the homeowners’ newly renovated kitchen, their winter visitors were an obvious subject.

“Working for this couple was very exciting because of their love of creating a warm atmosphere through the use of color,” says muralist Melinda Ashley of Melinda Ashley Studios in Lyme.

Ashley not only chose the glaze colors for the ceramic mural featuring the redpolls but also helped with color consultation for the rest of the house. The mural is based on one of her “flowering tree designs,” into which the birds were incorporated. The homeowners, already familiar with Ashley’s ceramic murals and other artwork, knew that her color suggestions were going to bold and vibrant—which is one way to describe the kitchen. The area’s color scheme is like that of the redpoll’s underbelly: the expansive cabinets that border the kitchen are a bright, custom-colored white and the walls— similar to the speckled portions of the bird—are a deep shade of reddish-pink (Benjamin Moore’s Rosy Apple). The color combination provides a perfect balance, giving kitchen the essence of New England farmhouse, the exact look the couple wanted.

Personal Touches

“The homeowners were especially enjoyable to work with because they had a clear image of how they wanted to use their kitchen,” says Christine Dunleavy, a kitchen designer for Crown Point Cabinetry. The Claremont familyowned and -operated business is known nationwide for quality custom work, and tailors each design to the homeowner’s lifestyle, space and appliance choices.

In this couple’s kitchen, the cabinet space is impressive. Dunleavy designed a beaded inset in maple with a bakedon, painted fi nish in a custom color selected by the homeowners. The brass hinges, left uncoated, were made with six-way adjustable Advantage hinges— exclusively patented by Crown Point Cabinetry.

Additionally, the couple had a few special requests. The kitchen has a “cleanup area” with the dishwasher, main sink, trash pull-out cabinet and a place to hang towels. By the cooktop, there is a spice cabinet and tray cabinet. Because recycling is important to these homeowners, they also requested three recycling bins.

A sunken planter, with assorted plants and herbs, thrives off the sunlight that floods the entire kitchen. The planter lies between the sink and a large window. There, it’s easy to watch the birds gather at their feeders, and admire the beautiful view of open pasture and Vermont mountains in the distance. A south-facing window overlooks the home’s curved brick entrance and big perennial garden.

Capturing the Home’s Heart

Ashley’s husband is award-winning architect Don Metz, and he is credited for designing a home that showcases the views. When Metz first started the project, the current kitchen was a screened-in porch. The old kitchen was located in what is currently office space and was hidden by the laundry room.

The homeowners agree that the kitchen should be the heart of the house—they have a large family and often host family celebrations. Now the relocated kitchen and living room are open, making it the perfect space for children and grandchildren to spend time together.

When everyone is gathered on a midwinter day, one may be lucky enough to spot a few redpolls, looking for a bite to eat, because even the birds know they are in good company.