Perfect Finish

A serene color palette and elegant finishes let a Mountain Brook kitchen at long last feel in sync with its chic surroundings.

Photos by Jean Allsopp

Designer Megan Houston believes a home should feel cohesive; however, her client’s Mountain Brook abode was anything but. More specifically, the kitchen felt out of kilter with the rest of the house. “It’s a very elegant home with an airy, feminine feel, ” Megan says. “But the kitchen was dark and dated with stained cabinets and deep green countertops.”

To remedy this, Megan spearheaded a floor-to-ceiling overhaul of the room that brought in more natural light at every turn. A spacious casement window was added above the sink, French doors leading to the patio replaced a small single one, and an entire wall was removed to create a 14-foot-wide opening between the kitchen and the sun-drenched living room. That last change also laid the groundwork for the kitchen’s new color scheme. “The homeowner is a collector, and her prized assortment of china (in the floral pattern Chateau Chantilly by Gorham) is prominently displayed in the living room, ” says Megan. “We pulled hues from those dishes to devise a palette of cream, gray-blue, and hints of coral.” The soft shades were paired with classic details such as honed marble countertops and glass-fronted cabinets for a kitchen that’s (finally!) as light and ladylike as the rest of the house.


Things We Love

The kitchen’s window treatments (an oversized Roman shade above the sink, along with voluminous panels flanking the new French doors) add visual softness to the space while also complementing the curve of the backsplash. The Kerry Joyce fabric’s subtle design features a hand-blocked motif in a soft coral.

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Trend-proof accessories are key. Case in point: The pewter cabinet hardware by Brandino Brass not only provides timeless style but also stands up to wear and tear. Another classic detail? The antique Oushak runner, purchased from Keivan Woven Arts, that beautifully incorporates the colors from the inspiration china.

Counter-to-ceiling tile is nice, but sometimes less is truly more. For an understated vibe, Megan allowed the creamy white walls (Oyster Shell by Sherwin-Williams) to do the work of a backsplash. The one exception is behind the range, where a piece of Lincoln Calacatta marble produces curvy contrast to the rest of the kitchen’s clean lines.

Patience is a virtue, and that’s especially true when selecting a cabinet color. Megan went through multiple rounds of soft gray paint colors—some too taupe, others too green—before landing on the winner: Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore. The shade’s faint blue undertones create a serene look on the custom cabinets by Birmingham-based Cotton Woodworks. (The firm also constructed the handsome walnut island.)

Style shouldn’t stop at the cabinet fronts. To make the beautiful space equally efficient, Megan teamed up with local home organizers, The Amandas, to incorporate form and function. Storage consists of plenty of baskets, labels, and dividers in cutlery drawers, pantry shelves, and more.


Megan Houston’s Must-Have Kitchen Essentials

Can’t-beat item? A 12-inch-deep, apron-front sink. It’s not only beautiful but can hide dirty dishes.

Must-have accent? A gorgeous faucet. Cheap plumbing looks, well, cheap. A high-end fixture will elevate everything around it.

Favorite gadget? Small herb scissors. I use them to “chop” things at every single meal.

Best advice? You’d be surprised how many people finish a remodel and realize they don’t have enough storage. Before you start construction, label the plans with what pots, pans, etc., will go where.

Approved splurge? A Scotsman ice maker. Who doesn’t love pellet ice?

Go-to cost saver? A fresh coat of paint on cabinets instead of completely scrapping the old ones.

Interior designer: Megan Houston, 205.834.5708, Builder: Chris Farren, Benchmark Specialties, 205.965.9645 Cabinets: Cotton Woodworks, Hardware: Brandino Brass, Appliances: Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, Countertops: Triton Stone Group,

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Caroline McKenzie

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