Ready to Serve

Designer Hadley Dobson reimagines a kitchen for a couple who loves to cook and entertain.

The original footprint of the kitchen stayed intact except for moving the stovetop from the island to an exterior wall that formerly housed wall-to-wall cabinets. Hadley softened the space by designing a custom arch above it. She let in the light by adding more windows.
Photography by Jean Allsopp

Hospitality has always been a way of life for Tommy and Paula Artmann. It started decades ago when Tommy first began serving as a pastor, and it only accelerated when Paula began hosting local college-aged kids for dinner every week in what became known as Mondays with Mom. “It started very organically with our daughter, who was in college at the time, bringing friends over for dinner after cheer practice,” Paula says. “It grew into something that meant so much to us.”

When Tommy retired and the Artmanns made the move to Birmingham to be near grandkids, they wanted to keep a kitchen that is ready to serve. “Our home is open for people to come and know that they are loved and that they have a place, and that especially includes the kitchen,” Paula says.

Built-in beverage station
The built-in beverage station helps guests feel right at home while also making it easy for Paula to hide items away. The shelves house coffee cups and small appliances, while the drawers below hold a variety of teas, coffees, and accessories.

TIP: To keep a white kitchen from feeling too cold, avoid stark white shades. Here, Hadley opted to go with two coordinating whites: Benjamin Moore ‘White Dove’ on the walls and Benjamin Moore ‘Ashwood’ on the perimeter cabinetry.

Thankfully, the Artmanns knew precisely who to call when taking on a renovation of their new abode—designer Hadley Dobson, who has known the family since her college days when she was coming over for those Monday night meals. Hadley teamed with Trey Crosby of JL Crosby Construction to create an inviting space that’s as warm and welcoming as it is well-designed.

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Hadley started by creating an ultra-functional layout with multiple workspaces, as well as cabinets from The Refinery Custom Cabinets. Near the stovetop, which was moved from the island to an exterior wall underneath a custom-designed arch, she added easily-accessible drawers for spices, cookware, and bakeware. The island houses Paula’s baking station, made to hide her mixer and other baking staples. She even factored in a beverage station, which can be hidden when not in use, as well as a butler’s pantry that doubles as a serving area and storage space.

Hadley also ensured the kitchen was livable, especially since multiple grandchildren would be using it. That led to specific finish selections, including dark soapstone from Surface One for the perimeter countertops. “It’s durable but also grounds the space,” she says. Ever-resilient white quartz covers the island. “Everything about the kitchen is so functional, but it’s more beautiful than I ever expected,” Paula says. “And just as importantly, it’s made to accommodate a crowd.”

“I love this kitchen so much because Paula loves to cook, so I know she’s going to use it for good. In this space, she will continue serving others.”

—Hadley Dobson

Hadley Dobson

Creating a Collected Kitchen

Strategic style choices allow for a newly-renovated space to feel curated yet collected. Here, Hadley shares her tips to give a new space the character that feels like home.

  • Layer in a variety of textures and finishes. This gives the room depth and warmth. Here, Hadley brought in soapstone and quartz on the countertops, wooden barstools, and antique brass plumbing fixtures and cabinet pulls, which will patina over time.
  • Mix the new with the old. Trendy pendant lights and sconces from Visual Comfort offer a pleasing contrast to the vintage-inspired wooden barstools.
  • Incorporate meaningful items. There’s no better way to up the character of a space. In addition to custom-painted floral prints that speak to Paula’s love of gardening, Hadley also included a family heirloom, a painting by Paula’s mother, hung between
    a new, built-in cabinet in the dining room.
  • Avoid going too trendy with the finishes. Keep most picks classic and traditional, such as a stained island, shaker cabinets, and brass finishes, which allows for the space to be stylish without ever going out of style.

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