Teri Maher’s clients, a family of four who live in a Boston Queen Anne Victorian, craved something completely different for their split-level town house near Vermont’s Sugarbush Resort. “They wanted light, bright, and modern, with nods to Scandinavian design,” Maher says. Equally important was their shared desire to incorporate sustainably made products and materials, preferably from local sources. “I really care about the environment, energy efficiency, and social justice, and so do these clients,” Maher explains.
That the design would embrace a medley of warm woods — more than eight different species are featured — was established at the start. Bold swaths of earthy hues rounded out the palette after the client fell for an abstract-patterned fabric with burnt orange, mustard, dusty rose, and moody blue. They’re the colors of the Vermont landscape,” Maher says.
The Scandi-meets-New England sensibility is apparent from the first step onto the local slate floor. Thanks to Maher, the Green Mountains are visible straight ahead, through a pine screen with an offset geometric design that replaced a coat closet. “[The clients] said, ‘We bought a place in the mountains, let’s see the mountains!’” Maher says. “The natural light we gained was a bonus.”
Capturing those views, however, took more effort than opening up the coat closet. Four steps down, in the open concept living space, Maher raised the roof to add a dormer. The move allowed for another row of windows above the existing openings, increasing the overall height. “Before, you could only see the mountaintop if you were seated near the window,” the designer says.
The comfy 13-foot sectional, which comes to just below the sill so as not to block the picture windows, provides ample seating for friends who head north with the family. A new fireplace with a locally made cast-concrete surround — flanked by niches lined with maple built-ins — is a low and quiet arrangement that doesn’t divert attention from the views or compete with the kitchen.
In the kitchen, the native rustic-grade maple upper cabinets and hand-painted terra-cotta tile backsplash are the stars. “The raw wood nods to Scandinavia, but with a Vermont material,” Maher says. Simple slab fronts highlight the material’s rustic look, but in a way that still feels modern.
Charcoal cabinets anchor the space and offer another Nordic nod. The airy maple peninsula is where the family sets out ingredients on taco and ramen nights. Meals happen at the live edge walnut dining table, a collaboration between local craftsman Peter Pomerantz, who also made the kitchen cabinets, and Flywheel Industrial Arts, the local metal shop responsible for the rolled steel hood over the stove.
A hand-knotted wool rug defines the dining area and infuses texture and color into the living space, which has two other rugs. “I didn’t want three neutral rugs, so this one’s a bit daring,” Maher says. The zippy rust color plays off the undertones of the red birch floor planks. “I love that they appreciate red birch,” Maher says, noting that clients usually want white oak. “We only used white oak to make the barn door for the new coat closet.”
Terra-cotta tones make their way into the primary bedroom. A quilt made from the lining of vintage men’s suits decorates the bed, which is upholstered in linen with a stonewashed finish. The real attraction is the sauna in the light-filled en suite bath. “It was one of the first things the client said she wanted,” Maher recalls. Her desire stemmed from childhood memories of enjoying the traditional backyard sauna built by her Estonian neighbors. Hemlock nickel-gap planks on the sauna’s exterior emphasize it as a destination. The interior is clad in cedar, with a ceiling-mounted showerhead for cooling off. It’s a much-used feature after a day hiking up or skiing down the mountain. Red birch floors rather than tile and the vertical v-groove, yellow birch vanity add a touch of a woodsy effect.
The clients love the mix of woods that Maher integrated throughout the home and attribute the modern look to its pairing with the crisp white walls and ceiling. The combination makes for a living experience that feels warm and light at the same time.
Interior designer: Teri Maher Interiors, terimaherinteriors.com
Builder: Newschool Builders, newschoolbuilders.com
Cabinetry and millwork: Pomerantz Cabinetry, pomerantzcabinetry.com
Steelwork: Flywheel Industrial Arts, flywheelindustrialarts.com
Correction: Because of a designer error, an earlier version of this story had the incorrect spelling of photographer Liz Daly’s name. The Globe regrets the error.
Marni Elyse Katz is a regular contributor to the Globe Magazine. Send comments to [email protected]