Natural Materials Lend Rugged Texture and Style to This Alabama Kitchen
The perfect melding of ingredients yields the most tantalizing creations in the kitchen, whether it be from the oven, the cooktop, or the room itself.
"This kitchen is the hub of a Birmingham couple's home, open to the living and dining areas," designer Sean Anderson says. "A lot of gatherings happen here. I wanted it to be something special."
To find the perfect recipe, Anderson looked to the people who live here. "The husband is very outdoorsy while the wife likes a light and bright look," he says. "I wanted to marry those two styles and visions into a kitchen and living area where they both feel at home."
Step one was to usher inside the same Alabama stone and wood used on the home's exterior. "It's true to the clients and who they are," Anderson says. "It provides a textural backdrop that helps the kitchen sing."
Anderson ran rugged wood beams across the ceiling and had the native stone set into the range wall to form a rustic canvas for sleek modern elements including generous slabs of lustrous Calacatta Borghini marble.
A waterfall treatment cascades the stone over the white glazed center island, which Anderson scaled up to ground the expansive kitchen. The dramatically veined marble also puts a luxe spin on the apron-front sink, set beneath muntined windows that welcome sunlight and reveal front yard views. Finally, in perhaps its most striking moment, the stone doubles as artwork, framed by the lines of a deep range niche.
To reinforce the contemporary mood of the marble, Anderson outfitted the island with modern barstools that speak to furnishings in the adjacent living and dining area. Antique French copper lanterns juxtapose the stools from Thomas Hayes Studio.
White oak panels cloak the refrigerator and freezer, adding another element to the textural amalgam. Coated in a custom stain, the wood visually connects with the earthy colors seen in the room's stonework. Bronze hardware, meanwhile, unites wood and white-glazed cabinets as it repeats the finish of the vintage pendants Anderson hung above the island.
"It's a new home, but we were thoughtful about bringing in elements that make it feel old," he says. "That was important to the homeowners. The house is in an old neighborhood where there are a lot of stone homes, so they wanted character, not a brand-new shiny home."
A contemporary custom concrete table contrasts the rustic Alabama fieldstone on the living area's fireplace wall. A custom whitewash finish on cedar beams and stone walls adds to the room's rich character.
A framed collection of old cans in which railroad workers kept their scrip serves as a conversation starter at dinner.
A generous run of countertop gives the homeowners plenty of space for preparing meals and cleaning up afterward. The area connects to a sunroom that, like the kitchen, takes advantage of abundant Alabama light.
Rolled backs on barstools repeat the shape of an Indonesian artisan-made stool from Blaxsand. A polished-nickel faucet from Newport Brass crowns the marble farmhouse sink.
Exemplifying the character of this home, the kitchen is much more than just a pretty space. "Yes, it's beautiful, but it was as important to me that it function flawlessly for the way the homeowners live," Anderson says. "They tell me that they love how it works and also how it tells their story. To me, that's the ultimate compliment."