your fortune reads: lots of love & funn in near future

Tracery is teaming up with 30A Funn again to host a fun-filled afternoon of crafting for Valentine’s Day. Next Saturday, February 6 from 2-4pm we will be making these funn felt fortune cookies here in the Tracery Shop! [Image & idea via Martha Stewart Website] This is free & open to the public. For more information feel free to call us at 850.231.6755.

[5 favorite things] Bess Marshall

Want to know what makes your favorite designer ‘tick’?  What we can’t go one day with out?  Well, we have all taken the time to compile a list of our [5 favorite things], gadgets, foods, accessories…the small details that set us all apart and keep us all sane. We will start our new series with one of our Rosemary Beach based designers, Bess Marshall.

1. Google Reader     


As one of the two ‘official’ Tracery Bloggers I feel it is mucho, mucho importante for me to keep an eye on what is going on in the rest of the blogosphere. About 3 years ago I discovered the world of blogging  and had developed quite a list of blogs that I found myself going back to day in & day out. I was oblivious to the world of online feed readers, or as I tell my friends not in the blog world: its email for blogs, everything is in one place. Thank you Stacy Pritchett for helping me to see the light! My life has never been the same & it is purely shameful how many blogs I follow now. Image from here.     

2. Tazo Zen Green Tea     


I started drinking green tea daily back in 2004. I started out with Lipton, no offense, but yuck! Starbucks finally turned me on to the Tazo line of teas & I have come to cherish Zen as a part of my everyday existence. Zen boasts a “harmonious blend with lemongrass & spearmint.” I think it’s the perfect blend of flavorings-not too sweet, not too spicy & doesn’t leave that weird dry feeling in your mouth like so many green teas.  I also highly recommend Tazo’s Passion tea. I’m currently using it to try & curb my sweet tooth. Tazo teas can be found at any Starbucks or your local grocery store.     

3. Saijo Persimmon candles by Voluspa     


I have had a Saijo Persimmon candle somewhere in my home since I was just a wee little intern here at Tracery. It has a fresh, sweet scent that I can’t get enough of. Everyone is attracted to different scents. Vanilla & woodsy scents have never been my thing & if it’s too floral I get a headache, this scent is none of those. I love the Voluspa candle line [offered in the Tracery Shop] because you can simply leave one of these around the house sans lid, not even burning & people will ask what that scent is?     

4. TNT Roll at Old Florida Fish House


 The Fish House, as we locals say, is the best place on 30A to grab some sushi and enjoy tunes & dancing. I lived next door for two years and found any reason possible to go see James [sushi chef extraordinaire]: birthdays, girls’ nights, holidays, family/friends visiting, or simply because it was a Wednesday night & why not? I have tried sushi up & down this scenic highway & although I am no expert-this is the best, I promise!  The TNT is definitely the house favorite [& mine]…tuna inside & on top, crunchy tempura batter, avocado, eel sauce & spicy sauce plus lots of things I can’t recall at the moment. It’s amazing. I also recommend the Amazon [bring your appetite for that one], DAT & Spider. If you are feeling adventurous just go sit at the Sushi bar, tell James a few of your favorite things & ask for a surprise. He does not disappoint. Order the Up Town Beef too…so hungry now.

5. bareMinerals Refillable Buffing Brush

This was a life changing purchase for me this year. I love the way bareMinerals makeup looks on my skin-covers up flaws and doesn’t make me look cakey. ‘Cakey’ is an easily achievable look here on the Gulf Coast, especially during the summer months. If you have ever used bareMinerals makeup then I’m sure you will recall how messy it can be. Maybe I’m just too clumsy for a loose powder? Anyways-this refillable retractable brush is AMAZING & so easy. Makes my everyday routine speedier & ‘veil of powder on every surface in my bathroom’ free.

What 5 things could you not get through a day/week/year with out?

story of a range hood

When you have a 7 foot long, handmade French Lacanche range; a standard range hood just won’t do. This signature appliance was the jumping off point for the entire kitchen we designed for foodie and internet personality JB Hopkins and his partner when we undertook the renovation of their 1920’s Spanish Revival residence in Homewood, Alabama. Working in conjunction with architect and principal of our sister company Dungan Nequette Architects (and original co-founder of Tracery), Louis Nequette, Doug helped designed a range hood worthy of such an amazing piece of cooking equipment–and of the room at large.

When JB and his partner first bought this house, it was obvious it needed a lot of reworking to become the home they wanted. The original kitchen in the home was about three miles away (slight exaggeration) from any living space and was dark and small–definitely designed for household help in the 1920’s; and not for homeowners who love to cook and entertain. Louis imagined an entirely new space housed in an addition to the original structure.

Louis’ first vision for the space (dated 4-07), illustrated in a very early conceptual space below, was for perhaps the entire room to have a gothic-arch vaulted ceiling, with a dramatic range hood made of rustic wood planks.

Doug took Louis’ early vision for the room and began to interpret it into drawings in AutoCAD. He prepared several options–two of which are reflected below. The first is very similar to Louis’s early sketch (although the gothic vault had already been replaced with the flat ceiling and skylight that exist today). The second reflects a totally different vision, a more traditional tapered hood resting on corbeled brackets–much more European and expected.

The design that Louis, Doug and the homeowners eventually agreed upon is based upon the scalloped gothic arch version Doug drew based on Louis’ sketch, but rather than be crafted from planks of wood it’s made from sheets of blackened steel.

You can see in this construction drawing that Doug prepared, the final design for the range hood coming into shape. Once this drawing was ready (complete with dimensions verified to the actual space), we charged the execution of everyone’s vision to the very talented artist and metal worker Darren Hardman. Darren took Doug’s drawing and constructed the amazing range hood that graces the space today.

Made from sheets of blackened and clear coated steel with brass rivets, the range hood is absolutely the centerpiece of this kitchen and the perfect companion to the Lacanche range. Early on, JB Paige and Doug toyed with the idea of making the range (and also the island) a color–pale greyish purple and light green were both discussed–but in the end we all decided the black was the most classic and distinctive choice. It’s perfect with the blackened steel isn’t it?

A few details to note in the above photograph: Louis Nequette likes to add an extra stud and frame a low wall behind ranges. Here you can see this technique displayed perfectly, with a handy ledge for utensils and spices within easy reach of the cooking surface. The entire inside of the range area is covered in terra cotta bricks, layed in a herringbone pattern and stained dark. Just above the point of the arch, two Broan commercial hood inserts are installed between stainless steel trim to properly vent the massive cooksurface. Halogen pin lights light the inside of the cavernous surround. A Rohl pot filler is always handy in the wall beyond–JB requested unlaquered brass for all of the faucets in the kitchen which over time are acquiring a wonderful patina.

Want to learn even more about this amazing kitchen? Check out JB’s blog where he’s documented nearly every square inch of 11 Bonita, and be sure to read this post which discusses the Lacanche range in even more detail.

Doug’s bathroom

Hello everyone, Doug here.  Several of you have asked to see more of my new place, so I thought I’d give you a glimpse of another room.  This maybe isn’t the most exciting room to feature, but the kitchen and bedroom still are missing a few things that I want to add before I show them to you.

My bathroom is a classic 5×8 all the fixtures on one wall layout.  I’m sure a lot of you have a very similar bathroom in your house.  Because the layout of the room is so ordinary, I wanted to do some things to make the room a little more interesting.  Prior to renovation the room had standard 4×4 white tile and a nondescript 12×12 floor.  All white and all boring.

The design elements of this room are taken from two bathrooms we designed for clients–one at Lake Martin and one here in Mountain Brook.  I think the one thing that makes the biggest difference between my bathroom and the millions of others out there that look just like it is the arched tub surround.  The lower ceiling height over the tub gets rid of that awkward ceiling space above the curtain and it gives the room a focal point.

The tile inside the tub area and on the ceiling of the arch is a mosaic brick joint Carrara marble tile from Akdo.  I had a waterproof recessed can added in ceiling above the tub which is something that we always do–and you should too–bathroom lighting always feels inadequate without a light in the ceiling above a tub or shower.  Ideally you should switch it separately from the other lights (which I did here).

As far as tile goes for the rest of the room, the bath has a wainscot of Cararra marble to match the tub surround.  Little tiles everywhere would have been really busy (and expensive) so one of our favorite tricks is employed here, cutting 12×12 material in half and installing in a brick joint pattern.  12×12 tiles are usually the least expensive way to buy natural stone so this works well no matter which variety of  stone you use.

Above the tile, 1×4 horizontal planking covers the upper walls.  A 3/4″ half-round piece of trim transitions between the two materials.

Last week when we posted about our favorite pedestal sinks, one of the sinks we featured was the Waterworks Exeter, which is what I have in my bathroom.  To make up for the storage space lost by not having a vanity cabinet, the contractor stole some space from the cabinets in my bedroom and snuck some linen storage behind the door.

The cabinet is just big enough for towels and a couple of canvas baskets. 

To add even more storage, an off-the-shelf medicine cabinet from Pottery Barn is recessed in the wall above the sink.

The light above the medicine cabinet is from Urban Archaeology and the faucet is the Dryden from Delta.

I think the only thing I haven’t showed you yet is the floor, which is actually a big part of the room’s design.  Because of all the white marble and China White painted planking above, it was important to introduce something that grounds all the other finishes in the room.  I had a white marble floor in my last bathroom–it was beautiful but it always looked dirty to me.  In this bathroom, 2×2 Lagos Azul tile, also from Akdo, blends really well with the black brown stain I specified for the hardwoods in the rest of the house and it is a really practical choice too.

The tiny vintage oushak rug is from Paige Albright Orientals.  I think it’s the perfect finishing touch.

follow us on Twitter!

For those of you that just can’t get enough Tracery in your life, here’s a way to connect with us even more.  We’ve officially joined the Twitter phenomenon and you can follow along as we tweet daily to the world.  Paige, Doug and Bess are all going to be contributing so you’ll get a taste of what goes on at Tracery from both our Rosemary Beach and Birmingham locations.  If you’re already a Twitter user, just go to and click ‘Follow’ to receive our updates (and if you aren’t using Twitter, why not sign up and learn how it works with us!)

Are you already using Twitter?  Leave us your info in the comments section of this post so we can add you to our list — we love hearing from our readers and knowing what you are up to!

blog love

It’s been almost a year since we started the Tracery Blog and we continue to be amazed by the response this site receives.  Every month the amount of people who read and comment on our posts increases dramatically and we are so thankful for your response to our work.  We’re also so appreciative of the wonderful network of fellow bloggers who so graciously repost our images on their own sites.  We thought we’d dedicate our post today to some blog friends who have recently posted about our work or shop.  If you aren’t reading each of these blogs everyday, you have to add each of them to your list:

Holly of Things That Inspire has an incredible eye for design and her posts are thoughtful, in-depth and so informative.  She’s been kind enough to include our work in the collections of beautiful interiors that she features on her site and we’re honored to be in the company of the many talented designers that she features. 

Paula of Two Ellie has such a fun take on life and is always ready with a beautiful blog post that we can’t wait to read.  We’ve had the pleasure of having Paula in our shop a few times and she’s been kind enough to feature her trips on her blog, as well as a few of our projects.  Her blog will make you smile and you’ll get lost in all the pretty things to look at while you’re there. 

Limestones and Boxwoods is a relatively new blog, but it’s already gained quite a following.  We think that great name has to be part of it, but the images James posts are really what steal the show.  Featuring stunning architecture and interiors, James puts a lot of time and thought into his posts.  Our projects have been featured several times and we’re so excited to have been an early part of what’s sure to be a very popular blog for a long time to come. 

Doug discovered Velvet & Linen last fall and immediately emailed it to the beach office exclaiming “y’all have to start reading this blog!”  Soon after we were so delighted when Brooke featured some images of a home we had designed and even more flattered when we realized the post was about inspiration she was seeking for her own home!  The feeling is mutual, because Brooke’s beautiful work inspires us too and we love reading to see what she’s up to.

Besides these folks, of course we have to mention Brooke, Marianne, Layla, Claire, Sarah, Erika, Bryn, Renae, Jenny, and Erin — one of us tries to write each time we see one of our projects out there in blogland, but in case we haven’t said it:  thank you so much to each of you for your kind words and for posting our work!

What design blogs are your absolute favorites?  Are you writing a blog we don’t know about?  Tell us…we always like discovering new sites to read!  And if you’ve mentioned us and you think we haven’t seen it, please email shop [at] traceryinteirors [dot] com and let us know!  Happy Friday, friends!