the rest of the room

We know, we teased you yesterday with that amazing photo of the draped doorway from our Tudor Revival restoration project in Mountain Brook, Alabama.  Let’s see the rest of the room today, okay?


This formal Living Room is in the original 1929 portion of the house, and is one of the few rooms in the house to retain its original shape and layout, post-renovation.  Like many 1920’s era homes in the Birmingham area, the original house is one room deep in most places–this space located at one end of the house is therefore surrounded by windows on three sides.


Though spectacular today, the room wasn’t always so breathtaking.


[the Living Room in 2006, pre-renovation]


When the homeowners who undertook this rather massive renovation first purchased this home, it lacked the architectural detail one would expect in a home of the era–particularly one as beautifully detailed on the exterior as this home was (and is).  Our goal in first fixing the ‘bones’ of this room was to bring authentic 1920’s era detail into the room.  Doug worked with architect Jeff Dungan to design features like a cove ceiling, beautiful hand-troweled plaster walls, and a properly scaled limestone fireplace for the room; which  now looks as if it’s always been as it is today.


Because the room is so large, Paige and Anna Kay placed two high backed sofas facing each other in the center of the room to create a feeling of intimacy and enclosure.  The unbelievable vintage rug, which looks and feels like velvet, is from Paige Albright Orientals in Mountain Brook.  The Italian-style chandelier in the center of the space helps to emphasize the ‘room-within-a-room’ feeling of this grouping.


Along the front wall of the room we placed a pair of museum-quality antique Italian console tables.  We admit these pieces are more ornate than the kinds of antiques we typically select–but that’s what we love about them–in this elegantly quiet room the intricate gilded legs of the consoles stand out like sculpture.


Above each console we hung a pair of abstract pieces by artist Hyunmee Lee, which Paige found with the homeowner at The Lowe Gallery in Atlanta.  The stylistic contrast between the very fine antique consoles and the equally fine modern abstracts is one of our favorite things about this house.



[A limestone vessel on the coffee table is carved in the shape of a quatrefoil, an architectural motif that appears throughout the interior and exterior of this English Tudor style home.  Bittersweet-colored glass balls sparkle in the afternoon sun.]


One of Paige’s first ideas for the space was to drape the end wall of the room from floor to ceiling.  We preserved the two Tudor-arched french doors which lead to a screened porch and had decorative iron tie-backs made to hold the drapery above the openings.  An exquisite gilded cross from Robert Hill Antiques in Birmingham is suspended from the ceiling in front of the drape.







Between the pair of consoles, another set of french doors leads to the home’s front terrace, part of which features a wooden overhead pergola that will eventually feature climbing roses.  In this outdoor room we placed a grouping of McKinnon Harris outdoor furniture.


Lounging on this daybed in the afternoon sun, one can overlook the Birmingham Country Club golf course across the street, and Shades Mountain beyond.  We selected wonderfully soft fabric for the furniture which feels like an indoor texture, but performs outdoors (and sheds water) remarkably well.

We love the combinations of old and new, elegant and textured in this room–and the way it communicates the feeling of the rest of this incredible home.  More to come soon.


[‘after’ photos all by Colleen Duffley]

4 thoughts on “the rest of the room

  1. Wow – this space looks beautiful, and it was particularly helpful to see the room ‘before’.

    I would love your thoughts about grand piano placement – is there any concern about placing it near an exterior wall?

    A repeating motif makes a home really special. The quatrefoil is one of my all time favorite shapes.

    And finally, McKinnon Harris!!!! I saw this beautiful line of outdoor furniture at the Kips Bay Showhouse, and have had my eye open for it ever since. What do you think???


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