Text by Bethany Adams
It was the floor plan that first caught the attention of Michelle and Steven Kampwerth when they came across the house plans in a publication in 1997. “We decided we were going to be here for a long time, and we wanted to find a house that would grow with us and grow with our needs,” Michelle says, noting that they had moved around a lot prior to settling in Alabama. “We also didn’t want an especially large house that, when we would downsize, would be too large.”
Equally important to the couple was building a home that they—along with their two young daughters—would really use, with no space left unenjoyed. “And the thing that appealed to us the most, I think, was the way the light would flow through all areas of the house,” Michelle says.
The layout of the home, which she describes as an open atrium, proved to be the perfect setting for the interior designer’s style, which largely features white and cream tones. “A neutral color palette is perfect for rejuvenation and relaxation,” she says. “I think our homes need to be a relaxing retreat from our busy lives.”
And the Kampwerth home is clearly that, with a great room doused in sunlight from floor-to-ceiling windows providing just one of its many areas for curling up and enjoying the view. “Warm wood tones, metal finishes, and natural materials like marble, limestone, and brick are inherently warm,” Michelle notes. “In designing my home, as well as my clients’ homes, I use texture in a variety of sources to add depth and visual interest.”
Velvets, linens, and animal hide are a few of the elements she layered throughout the space, pairing them with harder materials and dark details, like stained ceiling beams and a pantry door made from a repurposed mirror in the kitchen. The marble island top finds a subtle contrast in quilted barstools, but the room is truly softened by an inviting seating area that’s perfect for a cup of hot tea or two.
Thanks to the flow of the layout—and with the help of a brick-lined, arched opening over the sink—the kitchen connects to the sunroom, where Michelle got creative with balance and texture. “The sunroom is actually embellished with nailheads,” she points out. “I wanted to enhance the only Sheetrock wall with something interesting but not overwhelming to balance the brick walls.”
The room, with its vaulted ceiling, textured rug, and abundant light, is a wonderful place for keeping cozy throughout all seasons, but surprisingly, it’s the master bedroom that Michelle says is often used as a family room. A sitting area provides a spot for coffee in the morning and wine in the evening, playing into the Kampwerths’ desire to use every room in their home.
And even two decades after building, they still do, with their favorite space to gather changing as the seasons do. But whether they’re taking in the view from the great room or cozying up next to the fire in the kitchen, they’re sure to be enjoying the home’s warm and relaxing atmosphere. “After 20 years,” Michelle says, “we still frequently say, ‘I love this house.’”