By Anna Grace Moore
Photos by Shelby Willoughby with James and Rachel Culver
Dover Drive is a quiet street that’s shaded under tall pines in the winding hills of Mountain Brook. It was this exact comfort–a family-friendly neighborhood–that drew Amber and Scott Cantrell to this 1984 house nearly a decade ago.
Before the family’s move, this house on Dover looked completely different. One could barely see the front door as the yard housed several trees, blocking a street view.
“I love a traditional-looking home,” Amber explains. “We looked for nine months before deciding on this one. It looks totally different than when it was first built.”
Amber befriended Homewood local Ragan Wesson of Ragan Wesson Interiors on Instagram, prompting the two to bond over sprucing up Amber and Scott’s humble abode.
“I told Ragan my biggest thing is that [our home] cannot be like a museum,” Amber says with a laugh. “We live here, so we don’t want anything to be so expensive or so pristine. I want it to feel homey and cozy.”
Ragan, a mom of three herself, understood the assignment. She paired the couple’s traditional cherry-wood furniture with light neutrals and pops of blue and gold for a subtle balance between new and old.
Amber recalls the remodeling as “easy and efficient.” She compares working with Ragan to working with a friend on a school project, laughing and having fun the entire time.
“She hasn’t let me down,” Amber says. “I get very overwhelmed with fabrics and rugs. I would go buy five rugs, and none of them would work. It’s been money well spent to have somebody come in and say this is what we’re going to do and have it work.”
Scott says their house now finally feels like a home, thanks to Ragan’s creative eye for poignant design. To work with Ragan, visit raganwessoninteriors.com to start a conversation about your next project.
“Ragan does a great job mixing new with old with splurge items and some budget items. That’s what drew me to her. She did a great job in here with the antique piano,” Amber says.
These gold-framed mirrors were Southeastern Salvage finds. They give a sort of distinction to the lounge that’s fitting for hosting company.
This vintage 1970s piano is a gorgeous statement piece that alludes to a warm, inviting nature in the room. Between the subtle glow of the beaded lights above, this piece is both visually and audibly beautiful.
Ragan adds that sprucing up rooms with greenery is a great and inexpensive way to fill a room.
Ragan’s mother, Lisa Brock of Brock Custom Interiors, sewed each of the throw pillows. In fact, Ragan sources most of her items from local or family-friends’ businesses.
This cherry-wood table, chairs and China cabinet are family heirlooms from Amber’s grandmother. These pieces predate the 1950s.
Makenzi Tew of Tew Good Finds sourced several trinkets and books to create a sophisticated look behind the glass.
Amber and Scott lived in a condo in Scottsdale, Arizona, before moving back to Birmingham. She jokes this piece she moved across the country, having taken it from their own apartment.
Arthur Smith, whose work can be found at The Grand in Fairhope, Alabama, freehanded both of the Cantrells’ daughters, Emma Kate and Elizabeth, using charcoal and watercolor.
This family room is the site of fellowship between many.
Amber’s uncle gifted these glass end tables to her and Scott as a wedding present 20 years ago. Her uncle designed custom furniture for years.
Mixing Modern with Traditional
Local artist Shannon Harris custom-painted both of these pieces, using only a color palette made up of hues in the rug and pillows.
“The more layers you can bring in the better,” Ragan says. “The lamps are from Pottery Barn. You add all that with your soft textiles like pillows and blankets and rugs, and it all makes the room feel cozy and inviting.”
Ragan sourced the blue dinnerware from Blue Willow and the antlers, which are real, from Hanna Antiques. The living room statement rug is from Scott’s Antiques.
Amber and Scott met while they were both students at the University of North Alabama. They both met while working at Court Street Cafe. After graduating and starting their careers with State Farm, they got married at Grace Wedding Chapel before eventually settling in Birmingham to raise their daughters.
This kitchen was the most recent family project. The sink was moved underneath the window, so Amber and Scott can watch the children play outside. They also installed a new stove, countertops, cabinets and a brand new vent hood where the sink used to be.
Brad McCormack installed all new cabinetry, utilizing Benjamin Moore’s “Stillwater Blue” for the “pop of color” Ragan suggested. Amber says she was nervous about the color at first, but now she loves it. Trusting in one’s interior decorator is key to any good home remodel.
Amber requested quartz countertops since the stone is more cooking-friendly.
Paintings from a Friend
Sasha Popova, a 15-year-old artist from Ukraine, painted these lovely floral statement pieces for the family.