It Started With a Stove
Hampton and Bart Stephens never expected to find a 20-year-old La Cornue range in the basement when they moved in to their 1930s Birmingham, Ala., home. But Hampton, an architect and designer, was so struck by the bright yellow vintage appliance that she searched for an expert to get it working and decorated the whole house around it. \"I picked a palette of ocean blue and apple green that I thought would look great with the sunny yellow, and I worked it through, room by room,\" she says.
Luckily, a repairman eventually got the stove running, and the brightly colored home came together just as Hampton and Bart had imagined. In the kitchen the couple brought in comfy turquoise barstools with arms and backs, and a gorgeous fridge with a glass-front door (also a basement find!).
For the Stephens family, a bank of 26 drawers was a better option than cabinets. When the couple couldn't decide on knobs, they went with carved-out notches instead. To keep the color scheme going, Hampton painted the insides of the drawers blue (for a similar look, try San Francisco Bay by Benjamin Moore).
Electric-blue walls were a risky pick, but Hampton and Bart knew the splashy color (California Blue by Benjamin Moore) would set off the white table, pleather chairs and the wood buffet from a local antiques shop. Plus the blue helps carry the palette through the home. All those colors make the patchwork rug versatile: Switch rooms, repaint the walls and it still works.
Why so much seating? (The banquette fits 10.) On weekends, extended family comes over and piles around the trestle table for brunch. The built-in banquette with storage is topped with stain-resistant, chenille-like cushions. The seating extends way beyond the eating area, which makes the spot a nice lounging place for reading, too. For this reason, Hampton went with sconces instead of overhead lights.
The colors show up in the living room in a subtle way, with prints on the pillows and a wool rug. The cotton slipcovered sofa is from Lee Industries, and the tree-stump side table is from West Elm. The star of the room: the arc lamp, which makes ceilings feel higher. For a similar look, try eurostylelighting.com.
Hampton and Bart found a pair of stained-glass doors at an architectural salvage shop, and they just happened to fit perfectly in the hallway that leads to their bedroom. The glass adds color and brings a little extra light into the room. The painted rails (seven shades plus white, in random order) lead to a blue and green playroom upstairs.
Sports equipment, coats, bags and magazine stacks stay organized in a wall of cubbies by the back door. Hooks on the sides of each cubby, instead of just one in the back, mean double the hanging room. The painted black shelves along the bottom hide dirt and keep everyone's shoes from going AWOL.
Hampton painted a 50-square-foot bulletin board white and framed it with trim. The distressed painted chest stores TV-watching blankets and serves as a play table. The light-filled space is the perfect spot for Eden, 2, Mose, 6, and James, 7, to play together.
The “Oh, wow!” element in 7-year-old James’ room is definitely the map wall: Hampton had a giant map (8 feet, 8 inches by 13 feet) cut to fit, then hung by a wallpaper installer. The other walls are painted Blueberry Hill by Benjamin Moore. The bed is from The Land of Nod, and the painted dresser was Bart’s when he was a kid.