For The Kids

Back in June of last year, we received an email from Youth and Family Outreach (YFO), a nonprofit daycare and education facility located on Cumberland Avenue in Portland.  They had discovered that they were in need of a kitchen update and were having trouble finding a contractor to execute the project.  We immediately set up a meeting to see what we could do to help them out.

We met with their executive director and board president to get the low down on what they needed, their timeline; budget; all the nitty-gritty info that is gathered at the start of a project.  During this initial meeting, we were very impressed with what we saw.  Not the kitchen, which was in desperate need of an update, but the services that they were providing in this historic church setting and the work that a new kitchen would help them accomplish.  

YFO was readying to launch their Families Matter program, which focuses on creating building blocks that families can use to create habits of eating healthy meals together.  YFO’s Families Matter program was created to educate families how to prepare meals, shop and cook on a budget.  Their goal is to carry over what the children are eating at YFO, to the home.  Reducing food insecurity through education to ensure that their children are better prepared for school.  All they needed was a larger, updated kitchen.  We were honored to help.

We collaborated with the YFO team to come up with a plan of attack and get a schedule put in place, with a turn around time of about two weeks.  A tall order but with a few nights and weekends and if everything goes just right....  we actually did it.  We surprised the YFO crew and given the few issues that popped up (there are always issues) we even surprised ourselves.

Barrett Made also made a donation to the project and, as a result,  YFO graciously allowed us to name the kitchen. Rob immediately knew he wanted to name the kitchen after his mom. The Polly Wilson Family Teaching Kitchen will continue to inspire and educate young people in portland just as Rob's mom instilled a passion for healthful cooking in him.

A job well done for an organization that is doing incredible work in our community every day.  It was our pleasure.

Working It Out

In the past year, Barrett Made has had the opportunity to work on not just one, but two, fitness facilities.  The first project was SHIFT, a personal training gym on Preble Street in Portland.  The second, currently under construction, is Jibe, a cycling studio on Free Street.

The SHIFT project began in May of 2017.  The owners had rented the entire second floor of a building that was built in 1900.  It had been used as an office space for years but they knew that there was some early turn of the century magic under all of that 80's blah.  They also knew that we shared their vision and could completely transform the space.  We started by gutting the entire floor, ultimately uncovering the original, gorgeous tin ceiling. Tin ceilings in a gym?  Yes, please.  Demo also revealed some amazing steel I-beams that were begging to be exposed.  A couple of locker rooms, a yoga studio, some custom furniture and lots of rubber flooring – and voila - a real gem of a gym was created.  If you are looking for the classiest workout in Portland, SHIFT has got you covered.  Get over there and #makeshifthappen!

While wrapping up at SHIFT, we received a call from someone who had seen what we were doing there and thought that we might be a good fit for her upcoming project.  Jibe Cycling Studio was seeking a space in Portland and thought we may be able to help her project become a reality.  Once the lease was signed for 22 Free Street, we got to work.  This building was also built in 1900 (a great year to build in Portland apparently) had access to two floors of space offering the owner an opportunity to create two distinctly different vibes within one space. Upstairs will feature a retail space, sitting area, and 2 spacious locker rooms.  Downstairs will be the spin studio.  Figuring out how to comfortably fit a bunch of stationary bikes on the lower floor was quite a task for our design team, but they live for a challenge.  When completed, Jibe Cycling Studio will be two floors of butt-kicking, transformational awesomeness. They should be open and ready for you by April.  Check it out and join the  #jibetribe.

With spring around the corner, we should probably be taking these jobs as a message from the universe.  It's time to hit the gym!

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Building A Home For Realtors

One of our favorite projects from 2017 was a complete renovation of an office building in Falmouth for Portside Real Estate Group.  Designing and building a space for realtors, as you can imagine, was quite a challenge.  Realtors spend all day looking at spaces and its their job to stay up on building trends, so we knew the bar would be set high.

The building itself was fine but lacked any distinctive exterior or interior elements.  It was, more or less a ranch style layout with a basement.  Once our design team had an existing model drawn up, they dug in and started moving things around.  The first step was integrating the basement as usable space.  This was done by both reconfiguring a staircase and adding glass walls to add visual flow between the two floors.  The next step was vaulting a once flat ceiling to add drama.  And nothing accents a vaulted ceiling like a cozy fireplace, a rustic beam and lots of new widows for light.   As for the exterior, town codes limited us to a certain extent but we were able to update the siding, roof and add a post and beam entry for a touch of personality.

Five months and a million decisions later, we think we helped to create one of the best looking real estate offices around.  I have loaded some before and after shots above.  You be the judge.

Feeling Hostel

In the middle of 2017, we were approached to work on a very exciting project.  Portland's first hostel.  In a town full of hotels, it is odd that we didn't already have one but here it was.

What is a hostel, you ask?  A hostel is a budget-friendly type of accommodation that focuses on a shared social experience.  Hostelling offers many benefits.  Not only can you save money, but you get to meet many different kinds of people from all over the world. You never know who you’ll meet while staying in a hostel, which adds an element of excitement that’s hard to get if you’re holed up on your own in a hotel room.

This particular project involves a turn of the century, four story building in Portland's booming east end.  As a matter of fact, the fourth floor offers views of the beautiful Casco Bay.  It is located at the bottom of Munjoy Hill making the dining, shopping and adventuring opportunities, endless.

For us, this project presented lots of unique challenges.  First and foremost, creating a space that is both private and shared.  Typically projects are residential (private) or commercial (public).  The hostel needs to be commercial but feel residential. We achieved this by manipulating the layout to offer an open concept in shared areas and variety of sleeping chambers from en suites, to rooms that sleep up to 10 people.

Also, we wanted to make sure that the space has a welcoming vibe and a unique personality.  Fortunately for us, the owner of the hostel has a great grasp on hospitality and brings plenty of personality to the table.  Wallpaper on the ceilings, custom built beds, themed rooms, colorful flooring on the walls....these are a few of her favorite things.

The name of the hostel will be The Black Elephant and we are shooting for a June 1 opening.  If this place turns out 1/10th as cool as our plans, you will have to swing by and check it out.  Or stay a night.  You never know who you might meet.

On The Waterfront

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One of the perks of working in the office at Barrett Made is the location.  We are lucky enough to currently find ourselves at the end of Union Wharf.  If you walk further than 6 feet beyond our front door, you will be going for a swim.  

Being on the water is not only inspiring, it also has some very unique "benefits".  For instance, we have a mink.  I don't think I had ever seen a mink before being down here but there is one that lives under the building right next to our office.  I have yet to see a Wharf Rat but maybe the mink scares them off.  I'm not sure a mink is a benefit, but it is super cool.

You get to experience the fishing industry, up close.  Right across from our office is where they offload fish from trawlers.  Have you ever seen fish being sucked through a giant hose?  We do.  All the time.  And it is awesome.  Sure sometimes the smell gets a bit....ripe, but thats the smell of Maine history, and hopefully, the future as well.

One of the greatest pleasures of being here is the view.  It never gets old.  The sunsets down here are second to none.  We like to think that being surrounded by this constant beauty, inspires us to create even more beautiful spaces.  And it gives our clients a great location to come a create their own beautiful spaces.

Finally, being right on the waterfront really makes it hard to not love Maine.  Even when it is 0 degrees for weeks at a time.  And the boats are surrounded by ice.  I mean, how lucky are we? Being on the working waterfront really connects us to the people, the businesses and the natural beauty of Maine.  So, while we may move off of the water as we grow, the waterfront will always be part of our foundation at Barrett Made, and for that we are incredibly thankful.

New Year, New Kitchen

We all ring in the new year in our own way.  For many of us, this includes resolutions galore!  Eat healthier, exercise more, read more, make more time for friends and if you are one of our upcoming clients, you may have a new kitchen on that list.  This got us thinking that maybe the new kitchen is the secret to resolution success.

Think about it, who doesn't want to cook more (healthier) in a shiny new kitchen?  Show it off to your friends by having a dinner party.  Reading cookbooks counts doesn't it?  Not to mention all of the online research to help find your perfect kitchen.  And exercise?  Well, I'm not sure about that one but a new kitchen can't hurt.

Our clients always get excited for renovations regardless of the area but kitchens are probably the most exciting.  I mean a bedroom can get new flooring and a coat of paint but a kitchen can be completely transformed into a barely recognizable space.  Flooring, paint, cabinets, countertops, lighting, appliances, plumbing fixtures, even moving or removing walls.

Honestly, the process can be a bit overwhelming.  There are so many moving parts.  Fortunately, we love moving parts.  Each of the kitchens we have coming up offer a unique set of challenges and, thankfully, unique home owners.  This keeps us on our toes and pushes us to learn something new with every kitchen.  I know some companies prefer the "one size fits all" approach and it certainly makes it easier.  We prefer to get to know each of our clients tastes and work with them to achieve a truly personal, custom space.  And if it also happens to help them with their new year's resolutions....

Here's to all of our dream kitchens of the future.  Happy New Year!

"Home" For The Holidays

This time of year, we are always reminded why we love doing the work that we do.  Nothing gives us more pleasure than the thought of our clients enjoying their new spaces, that we helped create, during the holiday season.  

Seeing our residential clients stringing stockings up a brand new staircase. Cozying up by the fireplace, in a room that existed only in their minds the previous year.    Cooking dinner for friends and family in a shiny new kitchen. Working with them to create these very personal spaces is truly an honor.

Our commercial clients bring us a different, but equally satisfying, type of joy.  In the past year, we got to work with some incredible local businesses.  Either helping them grow into a bigger space, refreshing an existing space or establishing their first space for their new business.  We love the challenge of having to integrate a brand into a physical location.  Helping that brand come to life, and bringing that to our Portland community gives us an enormous sense of pride.

Thanks to all of our amazing clients for making this work we do so satisfying.

Season's Greetings and Happy New Year!

Foreman / Project Manager Wanted

The Barrett Made Team is growing and we are currently looking for a  Foreman/ Project Manager.

Foreman/Project Manager responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Managing the financial aspect of the project including cost reporting, forecasting, owner requisitions, payables, and subcontractor requisitions and changes
  • Managing client and architect relations and communications
  • Managing subcontractors and suppliers
  • Managing, pricing and negotiating change orders
  • Representing the company in project meetings
  • Preparing and maintaining project schedules
  • Supervising construction efforts to ensure project is constructed in accordance with design

Minimum of 5 years construction experience required.  For more information, or to apply, email deedee.germain@barrettmade.com.