Text by: Tiffany Carboni
Before becoming an interior designer, Melanie Pounds worked at Circa Interiors and Antiques in Birmingham, AL honing her skills. Thanks to owner Cindy Smith who encouraged her employees to snap up an item they loved from each shipment, Pounds acquired for herself a to-die-for antique worktable. “It was my husband’s and my first big home purchase together and has moved with us many times.”
Once it landed in the couple’s 1920s cottage built on a hill, the rustic, two-drawer table became the inspiration and centerpiece for their kitchen remodel. Because the original kitchen was small and boxed in, Pounds decided to gut and reconfigure it by cutting into part of an adjacent bedroom.
To further enhance the room’s flow, Pounds created a wide opening connecting the kitchen with the living room and added a large window that frames the tree views. “There’s nothing greater than opening that window on a warm day and letting the breeze blow through,” she offers. “The window and everything beyond it make the space feel so much bigger.”
While ideally Pounds would have vaulted the 8-foot ceiling, it had to remain as it was, though not without Pounds’ special touch. By adding rough-hewn, lime-washed beams, she gave the ceiling bucolic character and a perception of greater height.
Concrete floor pavers set in a random pattern contrast against the dark soapstone used as the countertops, both sink basins, and the dynamic backsplash handpicked for its heavily veined qualities. “Most people shy away from that much veining,” Pounds says, “but we wanted an artistic focal point that draws in the colors of the walls and exposed wood.”
The cabinetry is sheets of raw wood that Pounds found at a nearby mill to match the surround of the living room’s original fireplace. The dishwasher, to the right of the vintage-style Lacanche stove, is disguised behind one of the sheets. “The entire kitchen was designed to be seamless and true to its style,” she points out.
On either side of the backsplash, white oak corbels hold up the hood hidden behind the tongue and groove siding installed by Pounds’ brother-in-law. The siding, used in other areas of the house, wraps the entire kitchen offering additional inconspicuous details, like the two covert pantries flanking the stainless steel refrigerator.
To mitigate any congestion around the worktable-cum-breakfast bar, a nearby butler’s pantry provides additional storage, counter space, a bar area and microwave.
“This is not at all the same space we moved into,” says Pounds, “but thanks to the inspiration and implementation of that antique worktable, it’s exactly the kitchen we wanted.”