first impression

At three stories, six bedrooms and 3000+ square feet, the Southern Living Tarpon Run Idea House is big!  Of course, not every corner of the house could be featured in the editorial spread.  One area that wasn’t shown in the feature is the central staircase.  The view below is the first thing you see upon entering the house:


Doug and Bess designed a pair of benches that flank the front door which provide a place to sit down and take off your shoes or to put down a bag of groceries.  Beyond the entry area, the upper floors beckon by way of a sky-lit staircase.  The simple horizontal railings relate to the exterior architecture of the house.  The aqua color on the back wall of the stair continues up into the upper floors and gives a hint of the palette found elsewhere in the home.



[We think you can never have enough hooks inside a door where family members and guests come and go often.]


Paige and Anna Kay hung photos they took of the Port Aransas area on the back wall of the stair, collage style–one of our favorite ways to display artwork and photography.

collagewall slih

[Black frames and white mats are always a fun and graphic way to display art, but against the cool aqua color of the wall the effect is even more impactful.]


At the top of the stairs, a pair of consoles flank french doors leading to a porch with gulf views.  Above the [Rustic Two Drawer Console] from Wisteria, Paige and Anna Kay hung a piece by Courtney Garrett, and artist we feature prominently in our Rosemary Beach shop.  The blue tones of Courtney’s piece contrast beautifully with the orange shaded glass Barbara Cosgrove lamp.


To view more of Courtney’s work, visit her website [here].  We have several of Courtney’s pieces on display in our shop or works may be commissioned through Tracery as well, call (850) 231-6755 for more information.


[All photos by Laurey W. Glenn for Southern Living]

antiqued mirror


A very distinctive feature of the Southern Living Tarpon Run Idea House is the kitchen back splash, which is made up of antiqued mirror panels.  We selected this treatment because we liked the character it bought to the kitchen.  As Paige remarked in the magazine story, because the mirror already is aged you don’t notice spots and smudges, which makes it perfect to use behind a cooking surface.  The mirror reflects the gulf view out the windows on the opposite Family Room wall and allows the cook to see guest seated at the bar.

While mirrored walls have a lot of good qualities, we admit the idea can be a little 80’s so we like aging the glass first and foremost to give texture and to keep the effect from getting too slick.  In the case of the Idea House we had to be careful to not let the treatment start to feel too much like a bathroom, so we had the mirror cut into rectangular panels and installed those on the wall, as opposed to using one big sheet of glass.


You can see in this overall shot of the kitchen how much depth and interest the antiqued mirror back splash creates–imagine how  much more cold (and less interesting!) a typical tile back splash would have been in this setting!  [photos by Laurey W. Glenn for Southern Living ]


This was the first time we had used antique mirror in a kitchen, however we’ve had great results using the treatment in Powder Rooms.  In a Mountain Brook, Alabama home which is nearly complete, we’ve covered one wall of a Powder Room in antique mirror panels and then placed an old french table with a beautiful white bronze vessel sink in front of the wall.  We’ll have photos of that soon…it’s stunning!


In another Mountain Brook home we completed last year, we designed two giant mirrored panels which bracket both ends of a banquet-sized dining table. 


We had leaded glass caming  and steel rosettes installed between the panels in this application to add detail.  At one end of the room we hung an antique Italian mirror on chains over the mirrored panel, creating a beautifully layered composition.  [photo by Ryan Davis]


The antiqued mirror in both the Idea House and the home pictured above was created by our very talented friend and go-to-source for all things expertly finished, Jan Hale, owner of Jan Hale Studios in Montgomery, Alabama.  Jan and her staff have helped us create many beautiful and distinctive finishes–from textural plaster to hand painted stencils.  To create the antique mirrors we like to use, they strip sheets of new mirror by using a special (and top secret) chemical process that when complete rivals any authentically old mirrored glass.  We love this finish every time we employ it and you can be sure you’ll be seeing it again in some of our soon-to-be completed work!

another stencil design from Whitewall & Co

We’ve already told you about the amazing custom stencil that our sister company The G Brand designed for the Southern Living Tarpon Run Idea House, and how it helped launch a new venture called Whitewall & Co.  We were so pleased with the way the stencil turned out in the Idea House, we decided to try out another design in our Birmingham office!


The wall behind Doug’s desk (which is unusually clean in this photograph) used to be plain white sheetrock.  With the addition of the ‘Morris Stevens’ pattern stencil from Whitewall & Co. the room now has a dramatic backdrop and considerably more depth than it did before.  By confining the pattern to one wall it keeps things from getting too busy and provides an otherwise ordinary room with a strong focal point.  We love how objects are highlighted when placed against a patterned backdrop–here an rustic barn window and an antique terra cotta chimney pot become sculptural elements. 

For those of you wondering about the details/logistics: The basecoat of the wall is ‘China White,’ and the stencil is in ‘Copley Gray,’ both from Benjamin Moore.  The wall shown here is aproximately 12 feet wide by 8 feet high and took about 8 hours total to complete (you do have to wait for each section to dry before starting again, so there’s a lot of downtime in that 8 hours).

If you haven’t checked out all the great designs available from Whitewall & Co, click [here]


[photo by Ryan Davis, for Whitewall & Co]

Beautiful Baths by Tracery

Yesterday we shared some details of an amazing bathroom in the 2009 Southern Living Tarpon Run Idea House, and today we thought we’d show a few more beautiful baths from our portfolio.  Bathrooms are such a great place to take a chance and choose an unusual color or finish you wouldn’t necessarily want to use in a larger space.  We’ve designed everything from lavish Moroccan style oasis to sleek contemporary retreats–always with an eye on the details and fixture selections that can make a bathroom truly unique.


This Master Bath in a renovated Spanish Colonial style home in the Hollywood neighborhood of Homewood, Alabama features a room devoted solely to an iconic soaking tub from Waterworks.  The Tub Room connects the Master Bedroom to an area with vanities, a shower and toilet compartment.


Architect Louis Nequette had the brilliant idea to wrap glass around the two sides and abovethe Master Bath vanities, bathing the area in natural light.  Tiny mosaic travertine tiles are used in similarly sized niches in the steam shower on the opposite wall.  [photos by Colleen Duffley]


In the Master Bath of a Rosemary Beach, Florida villa, Paige selected handmade Moroccan tile to bring color and interest.


The white rectangular vessel sinks and soaking tub bring a crispness to the space and serve as a wonderful contrast to the hand-made irregularity of the tile’s surface.



[photos by Michael Granberry]


In the Master Bathroom of an Auburn, Alabama home the mood is much more classic and subdued.  Pale blue walls and crisp white cabinetry makes this space feel fresh and relaxing.


The paneled wall separates His and Hers vanity areas and provides a focal point from the Bedroom.


[photos by Colleen Duffley]


In the Guest Bathroom of a renovated 1929 Tudor Revival home in Mountain Brook, Alabama, we used one of our favorite materials:  white Carrara marble.  Paige designed a tile ‘rug’ for the room and then selected white marble moulding to case the shower door.  Doug detailed white paneling that maintains a period-appropriate feeling in the room and which conceals a ‘secret’ closet door in a panel.

 Bath 4

Rather than design a wall of cabinetry, we placed a rectangular washbasin by LaCava atop a painted wood cabinet and then added a free standing dressing table with a skirted white chair.  An antique iron pendant fixture completes the room.

[photos by Ryan Davis]


Every one’s talking about the saffron-colored barn door in the Southern Living Tarpon Run Idea House, which separates one of the Bedrooms from an adjacent Bath.  Beyond, a contemporary tub sits below a delicate crystal chandelier. 


Flannel grey walls blend beautifully with another white Cararra marble floor.  Paige and Anna Kay selected a piece of local photography to hang above the tub.

[photo by Laurey W. Glenn for Southern Living]

custom stenciling from Whitewall & Co


[photo by Laurey W. Glenn for Southern Living]

The first floor Master Bedroom in the Southern Living Tarpon Run Idea House has been getting a lot of attention–and we think deservedly so!  The bedroom and adjacent bath span the width of one end of the house, with doors that lead to a private outdoor deck, sheltered by a porch above and the gulfside dunes beyond.  The wall between the bedroom and bathroom is hardly a wall at all, instead it’s made of floor-to-ceiling windows!  A sleek white bathtub sits just on the bathroom side of the glass wall, with white drapes that allow for privacy when desired. 


[photo by Laurey W. Glenn for Southern Living]

On the other side of the bathroom, dual vanities are split by a vanity space.  We selected funky shell mirrors from Wisteria to bring an unexpected accent above the sinks (we usually like to use decorative mirrors in lieu of run of the mill plate glass ones in bathrooms).


As great as the bathroom is though, it’s the wall behind the bed that’s been getting the most attention:


To answer everyone’s first question, it’s a stencil, not wallpaper.  We first tried stenciling on a project in Mountain Brook, Alabama last year and completely fell in love with the results.  Wallpaper certainly has it’s place, but over time the seams inevitably start to show and once it’s damaged it’s nearly impossible to repair.  Stenciling holds up just like a painted wall would, but you still get the pattern and color that wall covering brings. 

The fabulous Dwell bedding in this room was the inspiration for the color palette we used and ultimately informed our decision to stencil the wall in the persimmon color (Valspar ‘Crimson Glow’ #2011-5, over Valspar ‘Clean White’ #WV31001).  The stencil itself was designed by our sister company, The G Brand and marks the launch of their new online retail venture, Whitewall & Co.  This design, along with many others, is available via Whitewall’s brand new website (link below).  We were excited to be able to showcase Whitewall & Co. for the first time in the Idea House and judging from the reaction thus far, we think it’s going to be a very successful new venture for The G Brand–spread the word!

Check out all the new designs from Whitewall & Co. by clicking [here].   The design we used in the Idea House is ‘Turkish Rose’ from the ‘Patterns’ segment of the site.

You know we love a good vintage chair!

We’ve shared our love of vintage chairs before on our blog and we always enjoy integrating them into our interiors.  For the 2009 Southern Living Tarpon Run Idea House, we found a great vintage chair in a South Alabama antique store and decided it would be the perfect piece to bring some spice to the main living space.


We had the stained wood frame of the chair painted a persimmon color, found elsewhere in the house, and then sanded slightly to age the finish.  A fun tropical print fabric from Calico Corners to covers the chair–we kept the original tufted detailing intact along the back cushion to maintain the piece’s vintage style.  We added an embroidered pillow for an accent and paired the chair with a ceramic garden stool from our shop to serve as a place to prop a drink or magazine.

Adding a vintage piece is a great way to bring history and character to a room full of newer pieces and we love the way this chair completes the Idea House Family Room.

Feelin’ the love!

Many thanks for all of the kind comments and warm wishes we’ve received here on The Tracery Blog, on our Facebook page and via e-mail to each and every one of us this week about the Southern Living Idea House.  We’re so excited to have a project receive so much attention and we’re glad that the home has been so well received.

It’s fun seeing the Idea House pop up around the internet, here are a few places we’ve spotted it this week (click on the blog names for links to the sites)–

Blueprint Bliss

Brooke at Blueprint Bliss has always been a very complimentary supporter of Tracery and her post with photos of the Idea House has almost as many images as Southern Living‘s own website!  Blueprint Bliss is always a good source for design inspiration and beautiful images–we’re daily readers of her site and you should be too!

(Brooke also featured an image from our Colonial Hills project today in her ‘This Week I’m Loving’ post)


Apartment Therapy

Apartment Therapy is one of the original design blogs and still one of the best, so we were certainly honored to find that they wrote a post about the color scheme we used in the Idea House this week.  Here’s to hoping saffron and grey is the next big thing!


Bryn Alexandra

Many thanks to Bryn Alexandra for her kind post about the Idea House and Tracery in general today.  Always nice to make a new internet friend…welcome to the blog, Bryn!


Have you spotted the Southern Living Idea House online?  Let us know with a comment or email shop [at] traceryinteriors [dot] com


Happy Friday!