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Atlanta Kitchen with a Soaring Ceiling

A dramatic barrel-vault tiled ceiling crowns an Atlanta kitchen that gracefully gathers a family of six, their two dogs, and oodles of company

Written by Sally Finder Weepie
  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Parents to a brood of four boys, Jennifer and David Higgins know a thing or two about homework. And they patiently did theirs before opting to build a new house in Atlanta—designed around a kitchen with a soaring arched ceiling. “We looked at 56 houses before we decided to build,” Jennifer says. “I saw some barrel-vault ceilings during our search, and I wanted one—on a much larger scale.”

    A Carrara marble island takes center stage in a kitchen that accommodates both cooking and gathering. Paneled refrigerator and freezer drawers flank a Wolf range. Counterops are soapstone; floors are French limestone.

    Photography: Emily Jenkins Followill  
    Produced by Lisa Mowry

    Architect: Stan Dixon, D. Stanley Dixon, Architect, Atlanta; 404/574-1430;
    Interior designer: Clay Snider, Allied Member ASID, Clay Snider Interiors, Atlanta; 404/541-9495;

    Cabinetry: Kingdom Woodworks, LLC;
    Kitchen cabinet paint “Puritan Gray” with a glaze: Benjamin Moore; 855/724-6802;
    Cabinet pulls: Top Knobs USA, Inc.; 800/499-9095;
    Soapstone -countertops, island Carrara -marble: Precision Stoneworks, Inc., Buford, Georgia; 770/271-6907;
    Design of dog bowl inset: Clay Snider, Allied Member ASID, Clay Snider Interiors, Atlanta; 404/541-9495;
    Ceiling tile, butler’s pantry floor tile brick pavers stained Dark Walnut: Traditions in Tile & Stone; 800/906-5523;
    Wall treatment “Feather Bloom Dove,” drapery fabric “Sierra Ikat” in Zinc, fabric for Roman shades, fabric for banquette: F. Schumacher & Co; 800/523-1200;
    Sink faucet, range pot filler: Kohler Co.; 800/456-4537;
    Range: Wolf Appliance, Inc.; 800/332-9513;
    Refrigerator: Sub-Zero, Inc.; 800/222-7820;
    Custom drapery and shade fabrication, banquette fabrication: Tecnosedia, Inc., Atlanta; 404/810-9081;
    Custom drapery hardware: S&L Designs, Dallas; 214/742-6417;
    Sconces flanking window, drum pendants over island, chandelier at banquette “Farlane Small Chandelier” by Thomas O’Brien: Circa Lighting; 877/762-2323;
    Counter stools at island, round dining table at banquette: Holland & Co.; 800/446-5526;
    Tall dining table: Century Furniture; 800/852-5552;
    Ottomans at banquette: Baker Furniture; 800/592-2537;
    Pillows on banquette: Stanton Home -Furnishings, Atlanta; 404/351-3890;
    Blue-and-white lidded urn on perimeter counter, cutting board on island counter: Scott Antique Market, Atlanta; 740/569-4112;
    Planters, vases, white pitcher and bowl by range: B.D. Jeffries; 800/954-3004;

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Barrel-Vaulted Ceiling

    Architect Stan Dixon and designer Clay Snider made the drama happen, creating a spacious, family-friendly kitchen crowned with glimmering tile. “It’s handmade with a slightly irregular shape and more texture than standard subway tile,” Snider says. 

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Breakfast Nook

    As a counterpoint to the rows of rectangular tile, Snider brought in a sisal wallpaper with an overscale blossom pattern that suits the size of the room. Ikat draperies, flax-hue Roman shades, and tufted blue upholstery further soften the space—and absorb sound—while they work with gray-painted cabinetry to establish a neutral palette enlivened by hits of easy-to-live-with color. “You see so many white kitchens,” Jennifer says. “I wanted something a little different but still traditional.”

    Wipe-clean cushions make bench seating family-friendly, while tufting brings a classic look. Plenty of fabric, including flowing draperies—in a fashionable flame-stitch ikat pattern from Schumacher—erased Jennifer’s fears that the tiled space would be an echo chamber. Roman shades layer in texture and a hint of soft yellow. 

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Gorgeous Backsplash

    Like the countertops, the range backsplash is soapstone—impervious to stains and to heat. 


  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Hide and Seek

    Gray-painted cabinetry conceals the microwave.

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Pull up a Seat

    As a mom and frequent entertainer, she also demanded plenty of function. “We all know everyone congregates in the kitchen,” she says. “In addition to a great cooking zone, I wanted several gathering areas within the bigger space.” Dixon delivered, incorporating bar-stool seating on one side of the island, a sitting area next to patio doors, and a plush banquette in a bay window nook. 

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Family Matters

    Homeowner Jennifer Higgins gathers her boys (from left), David, Cooper, Charlie, and Jack, at the kitchen table. 

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Pet Station 

    Even furry family members have their spot. Snider built a pet station into one end of the waterfall island so Winston and Annie can enjoy a bite. “No more knocking over the dog bowls,” Jennifer says. 

    Annie and Winston belly up to the built-in pet bar on one  end of the island. The Carrara marble is mitered for an extra-thick look. 

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Butler’s Pantry

    For even more clutter control, Dixon and Snider concealed the butler’s pantry behind a door that looks like part of the cabinetry. “I love that secret door,” Jennifer says. “I can leave out the toaster, the coffeepot, paperwork. I close the door and no one sees it. It’s just one of the many things that makes this kitchen great.”

    To the left of the range, Jennifer’s “secret door” opens  to reveal a secondary prep zone and storage spot.

  • Nancy Nolan