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Living Large

Small spaces take on grand scale with clever styling that perfectly fits a growing family.

When Dawn and Brett Turnbull bought their Mountain Brook home, remodeling was definitely on the agenda, but first they wanted to try it on for size and determine how they would live in it. As they settled in, Dawn sifted through magazines, pulling out pictures of what she liked best. The common denominator was green, a favorite color of hers and the basis for many choices made by interior designer Melanie Pounds when the renovation began after more than a year.

“I thought about the function inside the house, and Melanie is really great at using every inch of space,” Dawn says. “I knew we weren’t trying do a grand job. That’s really not our style. And we didn’t know we would end up having four kids here.”

ABOVE A white-washed armoire on one wall of the dining room is set up as a hidden bar area and space for hors d’oeuvres when the family entertains. A pair of leather armchairs moves to each end of the bluestone table during dinner parties.


Designing for an unknown future, Melanie, owner of Patina in Mountain Brook Village, created versatile spaces for a young family that frequently entertains, keeping in mind that the family might grow. “This house lives big, even though it’s rather small,” Dawn says. “It’s not closed in, and we have a lot of entryways. When we were planning, we wanted to think about how the kids could get in and out, and I needed to be able to see them from inside the house. It’s neighborhood living, and that’s really what we wanted.”

The first step was creating a flagstone courtyard in the front, easily visible through the entry’s French doors, as well as from the den and kitchen windows. The kitchen underwent a complete transformation to open up the space and make room for family and friends. A stained wooden island with a hammered-finish zinc countertop adds an Old-World ambiance with understated iron barstools to give the kids an easy-access breakfast or homework area. Stitched leather knobs add texture and interest on the cabinets beneath the cooktop and counter. Eschewing the traditional stove hood, Melanie added a soffit across the top as a better fit in the 8-foot ceiling space. “The kitchen needed to be warm and humble instead of stately and proud,” Melanie explains. “The house has an overall cottage feel in the design on the inside, and we wanted to be honest to that.”

What was once a sunroom became the formal dining room where, instead of using a rug, Melanie stenciled the original oak floor with octagonal accents to accompany a custom-made table of bluestone with iron legs. The rough-hewn piece draws out the green hues so prevalent throughout the home. Above the table, an antique chandelier with faceted crystal pendants adds an elegant aura to the space, while linen-covered benches are designed to slide beneath the table when not in use, creating more space. “Just because the space is small doesn’t mean it can’t be higher in style,” Melanie says. 

In the living room, a slip-covered sofa and comfy Verellen linen club chairs offer plenty of lounging space for the family. A soft cowhide atop the sisal rug adds a bit of sophistication. The neutral-themed room allows Dawn’s love of green to show through in the pillows ranging from olive to kelly as well as in the botanical prints above the sofa.

With renovations complete and daily life back in full swing, this family of six has had time to again try their home on for size. And this time it’s clear that the result is a perfect fit.

ABOVE Twin iron lanterns above the bar and double farmhouse kitchen sinks flanking the cooktop create symmetry in the kitchen. Handsome appointments fill the renovated space: quilted stainless steel, a wooden countertop, oil-rubbed bronze pulls, and shades of gray-green. 


ABOVE LEFT A custom banquette gets a style boost from nailhead accents that draw attention to its angles and curves. 

ABOVE RIGHT In the bedroom shared by the oldest girls, Melanie custom-designed twin headboards, affixing sculptures of birds in the center of each. 

“My husband and I didn’t grow up in a neighborhood atmosphere, It was important to us to that our kids have that.” — Dawn Turnbull, homeowner


ABOVE LEFT Dawn’s favorite hue shows up on hallway walls as well as the plank wood walls of the powder room. Gold fixtures make this little jewel box shine.

ABOVE RIGHT In the master bathroom, Melanie designed demilune cabinets to make it easy to move around the space without clipping a corner. To create much-needed storage, she included medicine cabinets behind the custom-designed mirrors.

Interior design: Melanie Pounds, Patina • 205.802.9805 Builder: Chris Franks, Franks Building Co. • 205.966.6917 franksbuildingcompany.com Landscape: Gardens by Griffin • 205.965.3607 gardensbygriffin.com Sound system: Creighton Mason, Anything Audio & Video • 205.538.3228 Backsplash & tilework: Triton Stone of Birmingham • 205.592.0202 tritonstone.com Hardware: Brandino Brass • 205.978.8900 brandinobrass.com Dining room chandelier: Beverly Ruff Antiques • 205.871.7872 beverlyruff.com Kitchen curtain fabric: Galbraith & Paul galbraithandpaul.com Living room club chairs, banquette, master bedroom headboard: Melanie Pounds, Patina

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