Allyson Mouron remembers the day vividly. Her husband, Lewis, had driven her to see the house he had his eye on—the one whose wooded lot and privacy he’d already fallen for. Seeing the house from the road didn’t spark Allyson’s interest at first. But then, it came to her. “When we were pulling down the driveway to see it, I had this vision of two kids on little motorized vehicles riding around on the driveway,” Allyson recalls. “I knew this was from the Holy Spirit and this house was for us. I just didn’t know how our story would unfold at that point.” As of that time, the couple had been trying to have children for four and a half years.
Little did they know that a year later they’d move into that house with not one but two infants, and two years after that, Allyson would be spending her afternoons playing with two kids in that driveway. As it turns out, they found out Allyson was pregnant a month after finding the house. As if that wasn’t a big enough surprise, they also got the news that their surrogate, who they’d been working with because they didn’t think Allyson could carry a baby, was also pregnant. Their children Tyson and Annie were born six weeks apart in the fall of 2015.
Once they knew their family would be growing as they hoped for years, the Mourons wanted more space as well as to update the interior of their new home, which had been owned by the same family for the past 24 years. To do so, they enlisted architect Pete Pritchard and interior designer Dana Wolter, whom Allyson had first met with she taught Dana’s daughter at Mountain Brook Elementary.
One of the major selling points of the house had been its open floor plan and all the rooms being on one floor, so the renovations played up those two features by rethinking the main living spaces. They opened up the breakfast nook and kitchen into one large space and added white oak beams with a custom wash to the ceiling. In both the breakfast nook and living room, they added nearly floor-to-ceiling windows to allow in natural light and show off their forested yard.
The Mourons also added a new master in a separate wing, updated the foyer and mudroom with shiplap, and added a laundry room and screened-in porch.
Dana and Allyson collaborated on the modern touches with timeless traditional designs Allyson envisioned. “Dana has great taste and has a way of making a house feel like a home,” Allyson says. “Her style is beautiful and timeless.”
In the end, the Mourons were ready to move into their new home five days after Annie was born—and six weeks after Tyson was born. And it was just in time for the holidays. “It was such a special Christmas to be in our new house with these kids we had prayed for and hoped for for so long,” Allyson says. It’s hard for the Mourons to imagine any home being as perfect for their family as this one is now.
The custom quarter sawn white oak cabinetry is the statement maker of the kitchen, with sleek Alabama White marble on the large island and on the backsplash. “The cabinet details are unique and what a difference custom cabinetry can make in a home,” Dana says. “They are made to fit the space like a glove.” Allyson loves the detail in them with their curves and angles. The kitchen also opens up in the living space on side and the mudroom and to a playroom on the other. “I love that I can be at my kitchen sink and look out and see my family in the living room,” Allyson says. “And my kids can be in playroom while I make dinner.”
Custom cabinet panels conceal two of the kitchen’s most practical elements (see photo on left). The panels on the refrigerator don’t allow for the fingerprints that can gather on stainless appliances. And to the left of it, doors open to a large butler’s pantry with spacious cabinets that allow Allyson to store all the things she doesn’t want out in the “pretty” side of the kitchen—a microwave, bottles, a crock pot, dog bowls and more. “I want my home to fill lived in and warm, but I don’t want stuff everywhere,” Allyson says.
Sunlight floods into the breakfast nook and adjacent living area thanks to tall windows the Mourons had added as a part of renovations. “Part of the charm of this lot is you don’t feel like you are in Birmingham, so we wanted to make sure we had natural light so we do feel quiet and secluded back here,” Allyson says. Dana and Allyson also made sure to select a kid-friendly upholstery for the banquette that could easily be wiped off after kid meals. “I wanted pretty, but I needed function,” Allyson says.
While the Mourons enter their house through their mudroom, Allyson wanted the foyer to make an inviting statement to welcome guests as they arrive. Shiplap lines the walls here just as it does in the mudroom, and details on the chest make the space warm
This painting by William McLure was the basis for the furnishings in the foyer, and golden retriever Maggie approves. “It’s a special piece because [William] is a friend of mine, but also I feel like the colors and the feel embody our house,” Allyson says. To the left of the painting you can see the custom door Dana designed for the front of the house to make more of a statement.
This space is the retreat the Mourons envisioned when they were designing this addition. “It feels more like I am in the mountains with the trees [behind the bath tub], especially when they change colors,” Allyson says. Behind the tub the couple has his and her sinks with custom reeded cabinets made out of the same quarter sawn white oak as the ones in the kitchen.
Behind the Scenes
- Interior Design: Dana Wolter, Dana Wolter Interiors
- Architect: Pete Pritchard, Pete Pritchard Architects
- Contractor: Chris Franks, Franks Building Company
- Faucets: Fixtures & Finishes
- Countertops: Alabama Marble, Mineral, and Mining Co.
- Cabinet Hardware: Brandino Brass
- Lighting: Visual Comfort (foyer sconces), Currey and Co. (kitchen pendants), Brandino Brass (kitchen sconces), Urban Electric (master bathroom sconces)
- Cabinets, Banquette, Breakfast Table, Select Art: Custom designs through Dana Wolter Interiors
- Select Furnishings: Dana Wolter Interiors