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May 24, 2017

Sponsor Spotlight: Dovetailed Kitchens

Sponsor Spotlight Dovetailed Kitchens

Flip through a stack of past Kitchen Tour guide books and one name will start to look very familiar: Dovetailed Kitchens.  In addition to sponsoring the event since 2003, Scott Purswell, President of Dovetailed Kitchens, donates his time as well; for the past six years he has served as a member of the Tour organizing committee.

This kind of commitment is not a surprise from Dovetailed Kitchens, as they are focused on the long-term, working with clients to create spaces to enjoy for now and years to come. We thank Scott for his generosity and encourage you to visit our blog to read more about his thoughts on the Kitchen Tour, custom kitchen design, and what he learned designing kitchen showrooms for Sears!

Allison Crosscup: First, can you tell me a bit about how you started Dovetailed Kitchens? What inspired the name?
Scott Purswell: My family and I moved to New Hampshire from Atlanta in 1993.  My wife had always had a retail store with gifts, woman’s clothing, or antiques. I found a design position when we moved so she started a women’s clothing store in Exeter. After we established the store, it was just natural to for me to start my own design studio. It was life changing and was the best business decision I ever made.
Concerning the name, I started in the kitchen business in the early ‘80’s when dovetailed drawer joinery was only available on the most expensive and high end cabinetry. “Dovetailed Drawers” always stuck in my mind as an iconic expression of quality and timelessness.  I thought the alternative definition of ‘dovetail’, “to fit together harmoniously” was just about perfect. I love that concept and that’s what I try to do in my designs, dovetail the client’s tastes with their kitchen or bath.

AC: I read in your bio that you’ve designed showrooms for Sears. I’ve secretly always wanted to design window and shop displays so tell me: was it as glamorous and exciting as it seems?
SP: In the 70’s and ‘80’s, many Sears stores provided installed sales and designs of cabinetry. They contracted me to design their cabinet displays in stores all over the southeast. It might sound more romantic than it was. It was a challenge and professionally satisfying, but what I found, however, was that the job was missing an important piece of the process. I much prefer designing a kitchen and space for a particular person, or a particular family. Trying to meet their needs and tastes and goals, is much more satisfying than the design of space in a store without the personal element.

AC: Your showroom is located in the old City Hall (126 Daniel Street). Why did you choose that location?
SP: I’ve been here 17 years. It sounds trite when I say it out loud, but I just fell in love with the space. 12’ ceilings, 10’ windows, fantastic light, historic brick building in downtown Portsmouth…Wow. It was done with a certain fear in trembling because there is no street exposure.  If you don’t know we’re here, you won’t know we’re here! My sign on Daniel Street is tiny!  In hindsight, it looks like a no brainer to me. But at the time, I was afraid my emotional response to the space would be my downfall!

AC: How did you come to support The Music Hall’s annual Kitchen Tour, and why have you continued to play such a significant role in this fundraising event for so many years?
SP: I looked around at my options for ways to give back to the community and to be involved. The Music Hall Kitchen Tour and in turn, the theater, was a clear choice. It proved to be a extremely timely choice. The Kitchen Tour itself was directly tied to my business and gave me a great way to support The Music Hall. It was kind of a ‘2 birds, 1 stone so to speak.  I love the theater and all it does for Portsmouth and the community.  And, I’m thrilled to have been a small part of it’s growth over the years.

AC: In your opinion, what’s the key to a great kitchen?
SP: Yikes, a question about the holy grail… I don’t want to be evasive, but… the key to a great kitchen is directly and solely related to the client’s tastes and aims. As a designer, you have to listen carefully, hopefully with an experienced and skilled ear, to hear what they want their kitchen to be and feel like when it’s all said and done. Functional purposes such as adequate storage, adequate work space and work surfaces, all have to be accomplished on the way to a beautiful kitchen that the client is going love working and living in for years to come. It’s a humbling task really, the clients have to trust you and the process. I love the fact that when I show my portfolio, I often hear something like, “You’ve done such a variety of styles!”. How could I not when each of my client’s kitchens are as unique as they are?


About the Author Allison Crosscup

ACrosscupAllison joined The Music Hall from the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. She has been in the development field for more than 13 years and during this time has worked with a range of corporate partners, foundations, and government agencies. At The Music Hall, Allison is directly involved in cultivating corporate support and helping to advance the organization's development operations.
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