A Black and White Kitchen with Flair

A 100-year old kitchen makes the most of the present and its past with a daring color choice, salvaged materials and antiques, and modern fixtures and surfaces.

Design Tip: Find nooks and crannies during demolition. A family command center, hidden behind cabinets adjacent to the brick wall, includes a desk area that allows space for a computer, files, and paperwork. Photos by Holland Williams Photography

I wanted a ‘tuxedo kitchen’—a dressed-up space to match the formality of our 100-year-old Greek Revival home in Forest Park,” says homeowner and artist Sarah Soule Webb. But before she could tackle the decorative aspects of a remodel, Sarah knew her family needed one important thing—more space. She and husband Andy enlisted Paul Irwin of Irwin Brothers Remodeling Company to knock down walls and open up their existing kitchen to the butler’s pantry so they could incorporate an outside mudroom, allowing more square footage for the family of five to gather, cook, and enjoy meals. “Paul and his team have a lot of experience with older homes,” says Sarah. “They reused as much of the original mouldings, windows, and details as they could.” When it came to space planning, Sarah called friend and designer Kate Hartman of Chickadee Interiors. “As an artist with my own sense of style, I had an idea of what I wanted but didn’t know exactly how to go about it,” she says. “I trusted her to help bring my vision to life.”

Sarah painted a light-hearted depiction of a man eating spaghetti with gusto. “I needed something silly to keep the space from being too serious,” she says. IG @sarahsoulewebbstudios

Things We Love

Color Contrast: “I wanted a black-and-white kitchen that would also emit warmth,” says Sarah. “The cabinet color is a soft black (Iron Ore, Sherwin-Williams) with an almost glossy finish.” Kate says, “To contrast the cabinets, we needed a light countertop. Sarah wanted something that could handle wear and tear, so we chose a quartzite that gives the look of marble but with better durability.”

Brick Accents: “The brick wall is an old chimney chute, so it was not going anywhere,” Sarah says. “We exposed the old brick seven years ago when we bought the home and pointed a spotlight on it to create a gallery for my artwork.”

Mudroom with Extra Storage: The mudroom connects to the kitchen through a doorway topped with a transom window. “We kept the old exterior transom windows that surrounded the original outside mudroom and then had the interior one custom-made to marry the old and new,” says Sarah. The space offers locker storage and shoe drawers to keep clutter in check. “It was an easy transformation that has proven to be life-changing for our busy days with the kids,” says Sarah.

- Sponsors -

Pendants with Personality: An eBay find, antique brass light fixtures from a 1920’s hotel in Mumbai add antique flair—and a new layer of history to the 100-year-old home.


Kitchens with Flair

Countertops? We love using white marble, but some clients worry about its practicality. We often show homeowners an aged marble from one of our past projects. This allows them to see how stains, water marks, and scratches can add to its character over time. For this project, we used quartzite, which is very durable (and always looks new).

Butler’s pantry or bar? Bar. Everyone loves a party, and it’s also one of the most fun spaces to design.

Tile or hardwoods? Tile in a kitchen can be beautiful, but it really depends on how the space will be used. If a client loves to cook a lot, food will inevitably make its way onto the floor. In that case, we would suggest hardwoods since tile grout will stain and doesn’t clean as well.

Interior designer: Kate Hartman and Kelly Neely, Chickadee Interiors, chickadeeinteriors.com, 205.969.3138 Architect: Dean Robinson, 205.229.0377 Builder: Paul Irwin, Irwin Brothers Remodeling Company, irwinbrothersremodeling.com, 205.254.1820 Artwork: Sarah Soule Webb, sswstudios.com Countertops: Triton Stone, tritonstone.com, 205.592.0202 Countertop fabrication: Premier Surfaces, premiersurfaces.com, 205.664.1440 Hardware: Mike Chiarito, Creation Metal, 205.587.3029 Tile/backsplash: Fixtures & Finishes, fixturesandfinishes.com, 205.323.5616 Barstools: Restoration Hardware, restorationhardware.com

Get the best of Birmingham delivered to your inbox

Stunning local homes, inspiring before & after projects, southern-style recipes, entertaining ideas and more!