An Eye for Art

Laura Vogtle stands in the foyer of her home with its white walls, black stained floors, and outstanding collection of contemporary art, including this large piece from her sister Meredith Keith at Gallery 1930, which Laura owns with her mother Kathryn Keith.


The columned façade of Laura and Jesse Vogtle’s house may hint at tradition, but once inside, that tradition is thrown to the wind. Every wall is painted white, hardwood floors are stained black or painted high gloss white, and contemporary art and sleek, modern furnishings are everywhere. And like a well-appointed outfit, there are the chicest accessories—a chandelier with an oversized tassel, a suede coffee table, burnished gold fixtures, and a copper-colored gazing ball, just to name just a few.

When the Vogtles purchased the house, it was a great fit for the family of seven, but it longed for some fresh air which Laura blew throughout the rooms in heavy doses. Wallpaper came down and conventional room appointments were redefined. “The floorplan was perfect for us, but we wanted to lighten everything up and put a couple of the rooms to new uses, ” explains Laura. The dining room became a place for hanging out and entertaining. In lieu of a traditional table and chairs, Laura situated a large ottoman in the middle of the room, leaving space for mingling. “No one sits down at a party, ” she says. “ I decided not to waste the biggest room in the house on dining and instead made it into a place that we can really use.” Two very stylish bar alcoves line one wall to serve up party accouterments. “In my old house, everything was tucked away and had to be pulled out for entertaining; now the accessibility just makes it easier to have people over anytime, ” says Laura. 

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Out-of-the-box thinking also applies to the old living room, now a chameleon of a space that can transform into many uses. A white laquer-topped sawhorse table allows for dining, projects, and meetings, but it can also be pushed against a wall to make space for a band if the desire arises. Despite the reconfiguration, the home still offered plenty of space for a traditional family room and smaller sitting area for reading or watching TV. And, there’s plenty of room for Laura, her husband, and five children to enjoy their privacy. The master bedroom and bath is on the main level, the girls’ quarters are upstairs, and the basement is guy central. 

No matter the use, the rooms are filled with artists whose work is represented by Gallery 1930, Laura and her mother Kathryn Keith’s space in English Village—including her sister Meredith Keith. (They recently opened a second gallery named Scene. Located in Pepper Place, it is also a party rental venue). “I decided to make this house all about art, and the stark walls are the perfect backdrop for all my favorite pieces, ” says Laura. “I love white and black and get tired of color quickly.” The art brings visual interest, as do pillows and other decorative accents that Laura can change out whenever the mood strikes her. “I am not attached to things, and I like extremes and trends, ” she says. This mentality is in keeping with fashion, which Laura appreciates from her retail days at the former Laura Kathryn in Crestline. However, as trends come and go, Laura knows that art, well-collected and loved, will never go out of style.

ABOVE The former living room now serves multiple purposes depending on the needs of the family. The furniture was intentionally kept sparse, so it can easily be moved around or moved out for parties.  Art by Rebecca Tully Fulmer at Gallery 1930; elm and lacquer table from Bobo Intriguing Objects.


ABOVE Comfort abounds in the family room as one of the Vogtles’ Labradors takes advantage of regularly. “It is stylish but also family friendly, ” says Laura. “The fabrics are durable and the suede coffee table is indestructible.” A huge mirror by Laura’s friend Lucy Smith is just one of many cool elements in the collection.

ABOVE The kitchen shows off the simple beauty of black and white, Laura’s favorite color pairing. The wood console from used as an island softens the contemporary vibe. Laura opted for no upper cabinets because she likes the clean look.


ABOVE LEFT An adjoining generously sized working pantry keeps everything out of the way and organized.

ABOVE RIGHT Most family meals take place in the kitchen at the large table with three settees to pull up. Laura chose many furniture pieces because of their generous proportions. “In a home with large rooms, you really need some substantial pieces to fill the spaces, ” Laura says.

“We love to entertain, so I made that a focus in this house. Many of the design choices were geared to being able to host effortless parties.”  — Laura Vogtle


“When you mix Home Goods, CB2, and Ikea items with more expensive pieces, it elevates the whole—like when you put pricey shoes and a handbag with a basic dress.”   — Laura Vogtle

ABOVE The master bedroom reeks of glamour with all the gold touches throughout. The bookcase used to be brown wood, but Laura had it lacquered in white for a fresh look. “I believe in using paint to transform a piece that you are tired of—white is especially is powerful, ” she says.


ABOVE Throughout the stylish rooms, accents arranged in engaging vignettes keep the eye moving around the spaces. Laura, an admitted lover of trends, makes certain that nothing is too predictable. Art by Rebecca Tully Fulmer at Gallery 1930.

Master carpenter: Jason Lindsey  205.718.9802 Floor staining & lacquering: David Burch of Alabama Hardwood Floors  205.338.6878 Cabinetry: Mendez Woodworks  205.599.8737 Wall color & trim whole house: Benjamin Moore,  White Heron (trim in high gloss finish) Artwork: most artists represented by Gallery 1930 in English Village • 1930 Cahaba Road,  205.870.1930; Tile, sinks & faucets whole house: Fixtures and Finishes (Formerly Kenny & Company) 205.323.5616 Kitchen: Soapstone countertops: Amari Marble and Granite 205.661.1127 Kitchen table and settees: Verellen at Patina  205.802.9802 Art over table: Karly Martin Den chairs: Verellen at Patina Leather sofa: Restoration Hardware Hand woven jute rug: Hiltz Lauber  205.879.0039 Lamps: Verellen at Patina Hampton Pendant Chandelier: Aerin Lauder Brass and Lucite side table: Jonathan Adler; Mirror: Lucy Smith Designs  205.202.0922 Art over sofa: Meredith Keith Bar: Art over bar: Ron Rabun at Gallery 1930 Tassel chandelier: Laura Kirar for Arteriors Mirror: Leaf & Petal at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens  205.877.3030 Hand woven jute rug: Hiltz Lauber Foyer: art: Meredith Keith Multipurpose room: Cheval table: Bobo Intriguing Objects Fireplace balls: Architectural Heritage, Pepper Place Birmingham • 205.322.3538 Art: Rebecca Tully Fulmer at Gallery 1930 Floor lamp: Verellen at Patina Master bedroom: bed: Modern History Art next to bed: Linda from Studio by the Tracks, Irondale • 205.951.3317 Select bed and settee pillows: Details by Liz Hand Woods Pink pillow in chair: Too Unique Pillow Accents Furniture refinishing in white: Christopher House Antiques  205.581.0202 christopherhouseinc.comArt: Drew Galloway at Gallery 1930 Sconces: Aerin Lauder for Circa Lighting

text by Alice Welsh Doyle • Photos by Jean Allsopp

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