Hannah and Matt Benak knew they would soon be ready to start a family, but they also knew that meant there was a big task at hand: finding a new home with more space. After looking all over Birmingham, they stumbled upon a different option just a couple of streets over from their current Vestavia Hills home. “We heard about a double lot for sale that was slated to have two smaller houses on it,” Hannah says. “We left it as one lot because it would allow us to build the home we wanted and still have a big yard for our kids and entertaining.”
With plenty of space to play with, the couple engaged architect Heath Clement to design the home. Their must-have list included an open layout, especially with the main living spaces. “I love to cook, and I don’t want to feel isolated in the kitchen when everyone’s gathered in the living room,” Hannah says. They also wanted a formal dining room and at least three bedrooms upstairs to accommodate out-of-town guests. Heath helped them maximize the square footage, adding ensuite bathrooms for each bedroom to fulfill another wish list item of Matt’s. “It was a great call,” Hannah says. “When we have family in town, everyone has their own space.”
The aesthetics of the home were just as important, as Hannah and Matt both wanted a timeless design that wouldn’t quickly feel dated or trendy. They approached every decision with that mindset, from paint colors to tile, keeping everything as clean and classic as possible. “We didn’t want to look back and regret any of our decisions,” Hannah says.
Creating a neutral palette of whites, creams, soft grays, and blues, along with using tried-and-true materials such as subway tile, Calacatta marble, and white oak beams and floors, Hannah was able to weave in pops of color here and there to reveal her energetic personality. In addition to seeking out design assistance from Caitie Morgan, as well as art and accessories from Laura Vogtle of Design Supply, Hannah also drew from her fashion background, blurring the lines between high and low by mixing antiques with bargain finds. Now the couple not only has aesthetically pleasing (and family friendly) design, but also plenty of space for their son, Teddy, and Yorkshire terrier, Coco. “It’s a thrill to be able to come home to this house every day,” says Hannah. “We worked so hard to get the details just right, and it’s everything we wanted it to be—comfortable, livable, and fun.”
Architect: B. Heath Clement, AIA, 205.586.4711 Interiors: Caitie Morgan Interiors, caitiemorgan.com Paint colors: Trim: White Dove, Benjamin Moore, benjaminmoore.com Walls: Pearly White, Sherwin Williams, sherwin-williams.com Kitchen cabinets: Agreeable Gray, Sherwin Williams Kitchen island: Urbane Bronze, Sherwin Williams Master bath walls: Classic Gray, Benjamin Moore Ceiling beams and white oak hardwood floors: Evolutia, 855.277.5495, evolutiamade.com Cabinets: Deep Fried Southern Cabinetry, deepfriedsoutherncabinetry.com Tile: South Cypress, 800.891.2623, southcypress.com Countertops: Synergy Stone, 205.556.8115 synergystoneinc.com Plumbing fixtures, appliances, hardware: Ferguson, 205.254.3454, ferguson.com Dining room: Brass side table: Defining Home, 205.803.3662, defining-home.com Living room: Antique Italian sculptor’s table, coffee table, charcoal chairs, pillows: Design Supply, 205.777.3464, artgallery1930.com/designsupply Master Bedroom: Bed: Bernhardt, bernhardt.com Bedding: Leontine Linens, leontinelinens.com Master bathroom: Chandelier: Restoration Hardware 205.967.1901, restorationhardware.com Tile: South Cypress Drapery: custom by Rollins Drapery, 205.841.0372, rollinsdrapery.com Hall bath: Sconces: Circa Lighting, circalighting.com Artwork: Carrie Carlton through Gallery 1930, artgallery1930.com Mirror: Ballard Designs, ballarddesigns.com Plumbing fixtures: Ferguson, 205.254.3454, ferguson.com Marble top on vanity: Synergy Stone