Rustic Elegance

After a pesky water leak required extensive repairs, a Liberty Park owner gets the casual, rustic kitchen of her dreams.

Photo by Jean Allsopp

The classic 1983 song by The Fixx may have put it best: One thing leads to another. Burgin and Chris Vernon know this all too well. What started as a repair to a leak in their air-conditioning system led to a full renovation of their Vestavia Hills home. From the pitch of the roof to the flooring, every inch of the house got a casual, family-friendly makeover. “I wanted to have a nice home, but I also wanted my friends to feel like they could come in and set a glass down on the counter, ” says Burgin.

The most drastic change came in the kitchen, where Burgin, who has no formal design training, led the charge, with help from Clark Parker of Embassy Homes. She had the soffit taken down, the refrigerator moved, and swapped an in-cabinet oven and separate stovetop for a Wolf range. As a result, the kitchen now has a dramatic focal point while the refrigerator attracts less attention hidden behind a cabinet panel. A new island hosts a deep sink and Burgin’s favorite touch: the X-design at the end of the island. “I saw one just like it in a magazine that featured Tom Brady’s kitchen and knew I had to have it, ” she says. A brick veneer defines archways that lead into the living room and brings Old World style. While the vision for the space was hers, Burgin worked with a team of contractors to complete the work. “That was definitely the most challenging part, ” she says. “Making sure everyone was there in the right order and exactly when they needed to be was a full-time job.” 

While thrilled with the outcome, Burgin isn’t ready to take on another project just yet. “Not at my house, at least, ” she says, though she has since been recruited by several friends to consult on their projects.

Things We Love

A marble-and-porcelain tile mosaic backsplash and marble countertops are soft counterpoints to the more textural items in the space, such as the reclaimed wood island, ceiling beams, and brick wall. “I was hesitant to choose marble because I have three kids at home, but once the backsplash was in, I couldn’t go back, ” says Burgin.

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The Vernon children range in age from elementary to high school, so the home plays hosts to a wide range of guests—often entire families from their close-knit neighborhood. “When dishes start piling up on the counters during a party, people have a tendency to start washing them, and that is never what I want my guests to be doing. So, I chose a sink that would hold a ton of dirty dishes, ” explains Burgin.

“Our main issue with the last kitchen was the lack of a pantry— someone was always having to run out to the garage for something, ” says Burgin. She worked with two cabinet makers to ensure that everything now has a proper home. “We were even able to utilize some space in the island behind the dishwashers to store extra items such as serving pieces.”

The cabinets wear a custom glaze that Burgin first spotted on the pages of a home-design magazine. “As we were working on it, I was holding the page up to the cabinets to get it just right, ” she recalls. With minimal color in the room, the finishes of the kitchen provide the shine. A polished-nickel bridge-style faucet and cabinet hardware contrast with the forged iron straps on the hood and barstools.

Builder: Clark Parker of Embassy Homes  205.981.3363 Cabinets: Treglown Construction  205.369.6068; Brock Cabinet Company  205.625.6560 Countertops: Premier Surfaces • 205.203.0010 Hood and sink: Texas Lightsmith  512.821.2266 Backsplash: Triton Stone Group  205.592.0202 Barstools: Ballard Design Pendant lights: Gabby Home Plumbing fixtures: Ferguson • 205.951.7800 Appliances: AllSouth Appliance Group • 205.942.0408

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Jennifer Bonds

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