Colorful and Historic Home Overhaul

A couple remodels a century-old house from top to bottom, creating a bright and custom space for their growing family.
By: Jen Jafarzadeh L'Italien

Historic Charm

When Tim Krovel and Sarah Ketchum purchased an 1887 Queen Anne house in Portland, Maine, they hoped to add livable space and bold color.

Thinking Big

Tim and Sarah planned a two-story addition to include a new kitchen and master bedroom upstairs. "We didn't need the extra space, but we really wanted a kitchen that was more social, hard-working and connected to the backyard," says Tim.

Hidden Character

"The best part of the original house was the antique woodwork," says Tim. The home came with ornate mantels, carved newel posts and wainscoting. “Unfortunately, this character was covered in mauve carpet, vinyl tile and purple-painted antique pine floors.”

Restoring the Floors

Tim restored the pine flooring underneath the purple wall-to-wall carpeting in the entry for a seamless hardwood floor throughout the home's main level.

Making a Bold Statement

The finished entryway was rewired and received new lighting to highlight the paint job. "The strong color really makes the dark woodwork pop," says Tim. "We love the color and think the original Victorian owners would approve."

Illuminating the Space

The couple splurged on an antique chandelier in the living room after choosing basic recessed light cans and track lighting throughout the house.

Master Addition

The kitchen/bedroom addition took two months to complete from framing to painting. Tim and Sarah converted two bedrooms plus the addition into a master suite that includes a laundry room, walk-in closet, bathroom and bedroom.

Starting From Scratch

Finishing the master bedroom addition was a fairly quick process. "Building new, in many ways, is easier," says Tim. "All of the walls are open for planning wiring and insulation. Plus, all of the walls and surfaces are straight and at right angles to each other which makes built-ins and other fixtures and furnishings so much easier to install."

DIY Dream Closet

"I cannot tell a lie — I cheated on the closet," says Tim. "Originally we were going to hire a large closet company to create a design and install shelves and racks, but we did not like their materials or the huge price of $2,800." Tim took their layout plan and built it himself, using high-quality maple plywood and solid fir beadboard for $600.

Clever Storage Solution

Tim built the shelving unit in his daughter Maren's room out of maple plywood nosed in solid maple. Maren's room and a guest bedroom on the third floor feature different shades of vibrant, ocean blue.

Cramped Kitchen Beginnings

The layout and space in the century-old kitchen did not function as the hub of the home.

Salvaged & Sourced Materials

Sarah was the designer of the kitchen remodel. They salvaged the pine floor from upstairs to use in the kitchen, and sourced all the fixtures online.

Comforts in the Kitchen

One of Sarah’s goals for the kitchen remodel was to maximize counter space and provide seating for their family. She chose built-in benches to save on space and to provide additional storage underneath. The couple decided to skip upper cabinets, except in the butler pantry, because the natural light was important to them.

Custom Cabinetry

Instead of using pre-assembled cabinets, Tim built each kitchen cabinet as a single piece on site.