keeping warm

Over the past year, regular readers of our blog have seen bits and pieces of this Keeping Room which is part of a Tudor-Revival residence in Mountain Brook, Alabama we designed a massive renovation for.  As a portion of the update to the original 1929 structure, architect Jeff Dungan, of our sister company Dungan Nequette Architects, designed this room to create a casual living area located off of the home’s renovated and expanded kitchen.  The room takes the place of a garden that was original to the house.  To maintain the effect of the garden, which originally terminated one end of the front terrace that spans the front of the home, Jeff opted for a greenhouse-like effect utilizing floor-to-ceiling steel windows.  The room now connects the original structure to a new master suite addition while still maintaining the feeling of an outdoor space.

Of all the rooms in this rather large home, we’ve observed many visitors ultimately remark that this space is their favorite.  We think it’s the warmth which is exuded by the finishes and architecture; as well as the comfortable nature of the furnishings.

To balance the clean lines of the linen-slipcovered Verellen sofa and pair of chairs, we selected a beautiful linen-upholstered fauteuil from Robert Hill Antiques in Birmingham.  We love the warmth of this textural piece against the rich stone walls.  The stone, which matches that on the exterior of the home, was wrapped inside the space to further the effect of this space being added to the original home and to help connect it visually with the terrace and pool which flank the room.

The warm feeling evoked by this room is furthered by details such as the lamp pictured above — which is crafted from an architectural fragment.  Beyond, a long table holds stacks of books and magazines.  Antique urns heaped with moss add texture the composition.

We searched and searched for the perfect coffee table for this space, but eventually found it easier to just have one made.  Paige designed the iron base for this piece which we topped with limestone to match the bracketed mantle.

We extended the finishes found in the Keeping Room down and around a gallery hallway that leads to the home’s Master Suite.  The beautiful French Parrafeuille antique terra-cotta floor is actually installed upside down — the color range was a little stronger than we anticipated when the crates of tile were unpacked, so Doug and the homeowners did a little experimentation and found that the back of the tiles had a softer appearance.  Radiant heating beneath the floor ensures warm toes on the way from the Master Bedroom to the Kitchen each morning.

[photos by Colleen Duffley]

7 thoughts on “keeping warm

  1. I’m just very slightly jealous of all that storage in the hallway. Houses in the UK are not known for storage especially older homes and we don’t tend to have the huge basements that many US houses have. The’cellars’ in old houses (pre1900s) often had a cold stone slab table to store meat!When I was younger,I thought that they were sacrificial tables! Maybe one of my siblings told me that


  2. That last picture is simply amazing. I spy pecky cypress and several other great features – the trimless doors, the bench, the windows that flood light in, the enfilade culminating (presumably) with a (master) bedroom night stand.

    I’m curious about the rectangular molding box in the center of the hall ceiling. Is it just an architectural embellishment?

    I think I have a new favorite piece of furniture too. That bench is something! Is it an antique? It looks like the back and sides are carved from wood with an upholstered seat.


    • Thanks James–you always have great observations! The room at the end of the enfilade is actually a Sitting Room off of the Master, which is done entirely with pecky cypress. The box in the ceiling is an attic access to reach mechanical equipment–not the finest of details but necessary and wrapping in the pecky certainly helps hide it. You don’t notice it in person but I sure saw it when I posted that photo…I think it might get photoshopped before that image gets used again! Finally the bench is an antique, wooden sides and back with upholstered interior sides. It was in pretty rough shape when we found it, but it’s been rejuvenated very nicely.


      • I would have never guessed attic access. Ya’ll did a good job of beautifying it.

        Thanks for the details on the bench. I see a lot of stuff from the likes of Oly, etc. with the animal-style feet and wondered if they were antique-inspired or not.


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