Balancing Act

ABOVE This front room previously served as a dining room. When the latest incarnation saw it as a formal living space, Meredith decided to float the antique daybed underneath the antique iron-and-crystal chandelier to open up the room. With the update, the space became a haven for a mixture of styles such as the more modern industrial pecky cypress bookshelf, the classic Asian Jade disk, a contemporary Tizio lamp in the background, and an ornate urn by the window. 

Ranch-style homes are often given a bad rap. The floorplans are predictable, and for the most part, outdated. Still, with a few minor tweaks, these straightforward layouts are easily amenable to contemporary living. Birmingham-based interior designer Meredith Sherrill reimagined and revived the rancher she shares with husband John and their boys by turning the outdated floorplan into a clean-cut, free-flowing venue for both formal entertaining and daily life.

One glance into the Sherrills’ home puts even the most harried mind at ease with its intentional simplicity. “It makes me feel calm not to have too much going on in a space, ” Meredith says. She gravitates toward textiles with natural colors and textures rather than busy patterns. White-oak hardwood floors, left nearly natural, are complemented by surrounding cream-colored walls from Pratt & Lambert. The dining room’s wooden table, with its simple but bold Greek key design, adds a layer of texture to the otherwise sleek space. The kitchen houses a massive limestone island and custom leather benches that are as inviting for a cup of tea as they are for a cocktail. 

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ABOVE Meredith uses a vintage French laundry basket to hold her Christmas presents, which are wrapped in shimmery metallic papers from Paper Source at The Summit and finished with bronze and copper ribbon from Smith’s Variety.


By opening the kitchen to the family room with an elliptical arch, the designer created a natural flow and personalized the space by showcasing her collection of international and local artifacts.

Multifunctional pieces in a soothing color palette ensure that Meredith can mix, match, and relocate almost anything on a whim—and she does. “I feel like I’m constantly moving things around or adding things and taking away, ” she says. “If I put something in a room that looks too fussy, I’m pretty quick to realize it and take it away.” But be warned that such ease in remastering a room comes with a cost. “My husband and friends and family think I’m truly insane because I am constantly rearranging our rooms, ” Meredith laughs. 

The designer also enjoys moving her collection of atonal pieces around and combining them with her more eye-catching artifacts, such as the African necklaces showcased in the foyer. She explains that these changes allow for effortless and satisfying updates to any room. From African and Asian textiles to family heirlooms and local art, Meredith’s artifacts meld together in perfect harmony thanks to the neutral backdrop of the interiors. As a result, the house comes across as part living space, part art gallery, and part haven—exactly the look that defines Meredith’s style.

ABOVE The reconfigured kitchen continues the neutral theme, allowing for pops of color in the seasonal greenery.


ABOVE LEFT Custom faux-leather cabinets with a simple nailhead trim sit atop two crisp iron bases in the dining room to house Meredith’s dishes, serving pieces, linens, and party supplies. “Instead of building in another pantry or closet, I wanted something I could take with me to my next house, ” she says.

ABOVE RIGHT Meredith uses natural elements to elevate everyday decor. Rosemary from her garden encircles a coconut cake from Edgar’s Bakery. 

ABOVE Blushed burgundy drapes and an oblong accent pillow lend color to the bedroom’s serene palette. A painting by Birmingham artist Lacey Russell is suspended from the drapery rod above an antique bench. An antique Chinese trunk and a French desk become his and hers bedside tables. 


ABOVE LEFT An African Kuba cloth from an open-air market in France covers an antique French armchair in the living room, adding texture to the space while maintaining the earthy color palette. 

Thistle Collection

Perched on a stool from Meredith’s grandfather’s Tennessee antique shop, Johnny (2) and Madden (4) model outfits from the Thistle Collection, created by Meredith and her business partner, Jeanette Hightower.



In the Spring of 2016, Meredith Sherrill debuted her children’s clothing line called Thistle Collection. Inspiration for the line arose from two places in the interior designer’s life. The first, she says, was having two little boys and being unable to find clothes that she wanted to dress them in. A long-time proponent of clean, streamlined neutrals, the designer wanted something different from the traditional frills of baby clothing. The second inspiration came from having an abundance of leftover fabrics from design projects that already reflected her personal style. Armed with the idea and the materials, Meredith reached out to friend Jeanette Hightower to help make her sketches a reality. The duo has been working together since, adding new items every season.

Thistle Collection features mostly unisex items such as overalls, rompers, button-downs, harem pants, dresses, and bloomers in sizes from 0-24 months up to 4/5. The most appealing aspect of the line is that all of the pieces are made to coordinate with one another—just like the neutral fabrics in Meredith’s interiors. The collection is sold through Instagram, with orders made via phone or email or at

Interior design, architectural design, custom furniture, lighting: M. Sherrill Design • 205.451.7055 [email protected] Builder: Leo Payne • 205.965.0283 Kitchen: cabinets: M. Sherrill Design hardware: faucet by Rohl; appliances: European Kitchen of Alabama • 205.978.5629 French limestone countertops and marble tile/backsplash: Synergy Stone • 205.556.8115 Triton Stone Group • 205.592.0202 kitchen stools: Circa Interiors & Antiques • 205.868.9199 Dining bench: Verellen Bathroom hardware: M. Sherrill Design Powder room fixtures: faucet by Rohl marble sink: Circa Interiors & Antiques Living room chairs and pillows, African necklaces, and Asian jade disk: Circa Interiors & Antiques Bedroom: coverlet: Restoration Hardware 205.967.1901 shams: Libeco Kitchen color: Pratt & Lambert: Arrowroot Living, dining room color: Pratt & Lambert: Manchester Master bedroom color: Pratt & Lambert: Ancestral powder room color: Pratt & Lambert: Zinc

Text by MOLLY C. LiPSKI / Photography by jean allsopp

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