Tradition with a Twist

In late 2011, Chris Reebals of Christopher Architecture & Interiors, consulted with a couple on the purchase of a 1960s Vestavia Hills home. “The kitchen was a dark, outdated mess, ” Chris says. “It was very cold and uninviting.” But the views, Chris says, are “tremendous and we really wanted them to be a focus.”

Less than a year later, the couple, with their young family, moved into the renovated home that had the kitchen of their dreams. “Our vision for the kitchen was built around the family’s deep desire to create profound life memories while sitting around the table eating meals, playing cards, or watching the sunset, ” Chris says. The room’s large windows and doors capitalize on the views, while an eating area with butler’s pantry welcomes guests. The kitchen’s island and work triangle allow the whole family to participate in each meal. “Kitchens are where people tend to congregate because it is where things happen, ” Chris says. And in this well-designed space, family life happens every day. 


1. White One might assume that white is not the finish a young family should embrace. “We selected a neutral color palette because the thought is that the area is a backdrop for the most important fixture in the space—the people, ” Chris says. The crispness of the color also makes the room feel clean, even when it’s not. Large windows over the sink bathe the kitchen area in light, while more windows in the dining area do the same.

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2. Island Chris’s clients wanted an island big enough for food prep and cooking to happen on one side and homework or snacks to happen on the other. A bonus to having such a large island: hidden storage. Cabinets behind the bar stools are the perfect hiding place for less-often used items such as Christmas china and small appliances.

3. Cabinets “The fabrication of inset doors is a custom detail. The insets provide a crisp line which, to me, transforms the aesthetic, ” says Chris. “It is a simple detail we set off with a small bead just before the cut opening between the face of the cabinet and the doors, ” Chris says. The end result is reminiscent of high-end furnishings.  

4. Natural Materials Chris’ design philosophy tends toward the natural and local. “The ceiling is 1- x 6-inch, center-match pecky cypress milled in Maplesville, Alabama, and the floors are heart pine, ” he says. “The countertops are Alabama White marble and the kitchen backsplash is the same marble in 3- x 6-inch tiles.”

5. Butler's Pantry A run of cabinets fills a niche near the dining table with hardworking storage. “It is meant to be both aesthetic as well as functional, ” Chris says. The honed Indiana limestone countertop is convenient to both the kitchen and the outdoor area, Chris says, “so that serving pieces could be set out. And when it is just the family, it could be used for a buffet.” Glass doors on the upper cabinets show off barware and everyday dishes. A chevron-patterned backsplash gives the space a personality all its own. 


Architect Chris Reebals says his clients are “very family-oriented, and they love to host guests.” So he designed a large kitchen and breakfast area to create a space where family and friends can gather in this newly rebuilt home. “We really wanted this to read as two separate spaces which flow into one another, ” Chris explains. 


Architect and interiors: Christopher Architecture & Interiors, Chris Reebals, AIA, • 205.413.8531; Cabinets: A-1 Cabinets, Boaz, AL • 256.561.4675; Tile and countertops: Triton Stone, • 205.592.0202; Appliances: Ferguson, • 800.638.8875

text by Lacey Howard • photos by Jean Allsopp

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