When you see the detailed artistry of master kitchen and bath designers, you sometimes wonder if their own homes are as luxurious as the work they create in others’. In the case of Jay Young, owner of Toulmin Cabinetry & Design, the stunning craftsmanship and exquisite design he creates for his clients are on full display in his newly built home in Tuscaloosa.
“The style of our home really transcends from our clients,” Jay says. “It’s a super classic look, and we probably lean more toward traditional, because that’s the direction our clients usually go in. But in general, I like to keep it simple, clean and classic — that’s kind of my motto. I believe less is more.”
While traditional decor and a neutral palette anchor the interiors of Jay and Mary Harmon Young’s home, clean lines and arresting accent pieces lend an air of modernity to a home that embodies timeless elegance.
One of the main reasons Jay decided to build the home, he says, was to offer his wife a larger kitchen — the “heart of the home” that she dreamed of for family mealtimes with their two children, as well as for entertaining friends and family. And the kitchen’s jaw-dropping beauty is rivaled only by its smart design. Naturally, every functional need was taken into consideration by this cabinetry expert. “We wanted to make sure we had a lot of deep drawers to store all our kitchen wares and tools,” Jay says of the home’s dynamic and cleverly hidden storage design.
Another signature of this home is its light, airy feel, thanks to the generous installation of Sierra Pacific Windows wherever possible. Every room is awash in natural light and outfitted with lighting fixtures with dimmers, which imbue the spaces with gorgeous illumination at dusk. “There’s nothing worse than a newly created space that’s dark,” says Jay.
Ever mindful of the interplay of light with the colors and textures of interiors, Jay chose an exquisite Montclair Danby marble kitchen countertop that gleams in the sunlight and glows beneath oversized contemporary gilded lanterns. Instead of trying to purchase a lot of mediocre décor that you “kind of” like, Jay stresses investing in a few great pieces — like nice countertops or ornate light fixtures. This will create strong focal points and quiet some of the confusion caused by an abundance of smaller details. This strategy not only helps clients stay within their budget, Jay says, but it also allows splurge-worthy items to get their deserved time in the spotlight. “It makes the impact more profound,” he adds.
From the kitchen, rich hickory-toned hardwood floors flow into the adjacent living room and through a versatile wet-bar-meets-butler-pantry hallway that leads into the dining room. Being frequent entertainers, Jay says it was important to have an area where he and his wife could mix up cocktails and also store some of their fine china. In the dining room, rustic beams provide a striking juxtaposition against the clean, classic vibe and exude an inviting Old World charm.
“I’m usually not big on the rustic look, but I needed something to give it interest,” Jay says of the stately cedar beams that anchor this corner of the home. “Our neighborhood is on Lake Tuscaloosa, so we wanted a touch of earth — I think the beams kind of give it a warm look.”
Flanked by the gorgeous kitchen and dining spaces, the living room has a decidedly subdued and cozy feel, due in large part to the timeless neutrals. “I’m a proponent of sticking with a pretty neutral color scheme, and then adding pops of color with accessories to give interest,” says Jay. For this softer space meant for relaxation, subtle patterns and velvety textures are accented by sleek metal decor for a look that doesn’t overpower the space or compete with the adjacent high-activity rooms. “Mixing modern and traditional gives it a nice eclectic feel,” says Jay of this comfy sitting area.
Perhaps one of Jay’s favorite rooms in the house, because of its unexpected bold design and accessories, is the downstairs powder room. With its bright blue, metallic patterned wallpaper and eye-catching mirror, it adds a beautiful pop of color to the home. “My wife fell in love with this mirror, and she wanted me to build a room based solely on it,” says Jay. “Neutral is definitely what we usually do, but in this case we decided to do something wild in a small area.”
Jay actually advises clients who fall in love with bold statement pieces or bright-colored wallpapers to feature them in smaller spaces. “Bathrooms and hallways are perfect for this,” he says. The same brilliant blue in the powder room appears again in a mudroom-style built-in storage bench — a fun catchall hallway accent that has become a conversation piece. “A lot of people when they walk into our home ask ‘why did you paint that one cabinet in the hallway navy blue?’” Jay says with a laugh. “I guess I wanted a pop of color.”
Upstairs, gorgeous bedrooms embrace a more traditional Southern feel with antique furniture and neutral colors. But this kitchen and bath designer let his expertise absolutely shine in the master bath, where a freestanding tub, large mirror, ample storage space and original artwork make the space dream-worthy. One of Jay’s favorite details, he says, is how interior designer Randall Bobo of Randall Bobo Dress & Design decided to suspend a painting to break up the large size of the mirror. “I just thought that was so cool” he says. Sublime custom tile work throughout makes the sleek spa-like oasis sing, while mirrors on the cabinetry make the space feel bigger and lighter, and clean, crisp details give the room a sense of calm.
After years of practicing the art of kitchen and bath design, and now, having recently finishing his own home, Jay’s design philosophy and convictions ring truer than ever. He still leans toward the simple clean and classic, believing that less is more. And he remains steadfast in warning clients against cutting corners when it comes to investing in their homes. “So many times, clients want to skimp,” Jay says. “I tell them to just wait until they can afford it, and do it right. There’s just no reason to put a Band-Aid on something in lieu of quality design.” And judging by the high-quality custom design and timeless elegance of Jay’s own home, that is a pearl of wisdom we are pleased to accept.