English Accent

Where: Orono — Architect: Albertsson Hansen

  • Photo by Adam Torres
    ART WALL The family requested a magnet board in the kitchen, something they’d seen in another Albertsson Hansen home.
  • Photo by Adam Torres
    CLOSED DOORS Two side doors close off the office and secondary stairway to make the kitchen more cozy—very Downton Abbey.
  • Photo by Adam Torres
    LOW OVERHEAD Dropped beams and crisp white pendants give a good British nod.
  • Photo by Adam Torres
    DURABLE FLOORS Italian porcelain tile looks like limestone but holds up to heavy projects.
  • Photo by Adam Torres
    OPEN SPACE Off the kitchen is a new living room, mudroom, office, and boys’ bathroom.

Last year, a couple from England bought a 1950s manor in Orono. Armed with pictures from Great Britain and four young boys in tow, they looked to Albertsson Hansen to remodel their kitchen and living room to be conducive to American life yet steeped in English style.

The team used a classic pale-gray palette and an elegant but not too modern aesthetic, emphasizing cabinetry detail and maximizing storage down to an appliance garage. Darker hues and pops of yellow let the limestone island, which architect Christine Albertsson calls “the jewelry” of the room, shine. “We like to make islands look like found objects, while the perimeter of the room should be more about the architecture,” Albertsson says.

The original dumbwaiter, brick walls, and window openings were left intact, while new sturdy ceiling beams open up the space and lend a European look. The team also created a bright living room from an old screened porch, plus a new mudroom, office, and bath.

On the wish list was a big range with a mantel-style surround to create a fireplace hearth look. So in went an eight-burner, dual-oven Wolf range graced by cubby shelving and an antiqued mirror backsplash—an item architect Albertsson initially was skeptical of but now admits is stunning. “In the end, it’s a great example of how much fun it is to collaborate.”