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]

recycling the past

When undertaking a huge renovation project, it’s easy to get carried away as the sledge hammers start flying and the dumpsters start to fill up.  We were lucky to work with some very thoughtful homeowners on a massive renovation we designed with Dungan Nequette Architects for a Tudor Revival style home located in Mountain Brook, Alabama.  The homeowners saved the original hardware from the home’s exterior doors and although we chose something new for the doors, we were able to reuse at least one original lockset elsewhere.

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We placed this handle with thumb latch and mortise lock, all vintage 1929, on the door leading to the home’s Wine Cellar.  The intricate acanthus detailing and hammered surface is wonderfully unique and an appropriate gesture towards a home which was lovingly renovated from top to bottom.


This same renovation saw the home’s original front porch, picture below, enclosed to create a new vestibule space.


[vintage lantern hanging on the front porch, pre-renovation]


Once the renovation was complete, we decided to place the same gothic style lantern which hung on the porch for 75 years prior to the home’s renovation, right back where it belonged.  It’s beautiful seeded yellow glass panels thankfully survived three years in storage!

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Our friend Jan Hale handpainted the ceiling of the renovated Vestibule with a medieval-inspired motif that pairs perfectly with the lantern.  The tiny glass circles you see on the beams are LED pin lights which create an absolutely magical twinkle in the space at night.

A place for everything


Sometimes true luxury is found in some very utilitarian places…think about it:  what’s better than a customized, well thought out place for everything in a home?  We enjoy working with homeowners to really concentrate on how they live and where they want to keep all of their belongings, so that their home ends up functioning as great as it looks when complete.

Here are two of our favorite well-planned and well-organized spaces from some of our recent projects:


When we started working with designer, author and well known Twitter personality John Bryan Hopkins (The Foodimentary Guy, @Foodimentary) to design a kitchen and pantry as part of a massive renovation project he and his partner undertook on their 1920’s Spanish Colonial Revival in Homewood, Alabama (designed in conjuction with Dungan Nequette Architects); function and well-thought out storage were at the top of the list.  In this pantry space, a wall of open shelving purposefully blurs the line between storage and display.  A bone china sink (Herbeau through Kenny & Co.) on a wooden stand provides a decidedly european farmhouse charm to the space, as does the umber-stained terra cotta tile floor.  The two-sided commercial refrigerator opens into both this space and the adjacent kitchen.  [photos above by Colleen Duffley]


No matter how large a home, storage is always a matter worth thoroughly exploring.  Though this Tudor Revival home in Mountain Brook, Alabama we helped to design a renovation for and furnish was quite large, the owners still wanted to take advantage of every available space for storage.  In low headroom beneath a staircase, we captured space for a small pantry.  The space is just tall enough for the lady of the house to walk inside, creating a charming place to store extra dishes and serving pieces.

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The best part?   We concealed the door to the space in a wall of pecky cypress paneling visible from the main kitchen.  When the door is closed, the pantry discretely goes away!

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Catherine’s Market


We know, we know…we tell you all about a project and show you photos of the progress along the way and then you don’ t ever get to see the end results.  Well, at least not for a while, anyway.  Unfortunately, that’s the nature of how a project wraps up.  There are always last minute details to finish, and pieces that didn’t show up on time you have to wait for.  And then a photographer has to be scheduled!

Fans of Tracery on Facebook may remember seeing a few photos of the nearly complete Catherine’s Market at Russell Crossroads, near Lake Martin in Alexander City, Alabama.  We designed the interiors for the Market with our sister company Dungan Nequette Architects and selected the fixtures and finishes for the building.  The Market opened just before Christmas last year and now, eight months later, we have photos of the finished product to show you.  We promise, it’s worth the wait because this is the coolest market you’ve ever seen (if we do say so ourselves!). 

Jeff Dungan, the architect of the building, envisioned a structure that told the story of an old agricultural structure which had been converted to a retail space.  The building is designed from the outside to look as if it was added on to over time and slowly converted from a barn to an upscale market.



Doug made several trips from Birmingham down to the Lake to get that red color right, but we think it turned out perfectly!  The stain was actually hand brushed over the entire structure in multiple coats in order to create a weathered and authentic patina.


Inside, the Market is fresh and bright.  Clerestory windows light the space along both side walls and a cupola in the rear of the space provides even more natural light.  Not only are the clerestory windows an authentic touch, but they conserve energy during the day by requiring less artificial lighting.






Catherine’s Market is operated by Rick and Lynn Little, well known in Birmingham for their extremely successful V. Richard’s store in Forest Park.  Rick and Lynn have incorporated their same upscale products and services at Catherine’s, and we wanted the interiors to reflect that.  Sophisticated choices such as imported Italian glass dome light fixtures, highly-polished charcoal grey concrete floors and hand-glazed tile keep the interior of the Market from feeling too rustic or kitschy.  We did pay homage to the barn concept through the use of whitewashed planking on the walls and hand crafted light fixtures over the Meat Counter, made from old buckets.




White enamel refrigerator cases and a vintage-inspired grey green accent color give the market’s interior instant history and charm.


A full service deli counter provides by the pound salads, baked goods and breakfast and lunch fare.  The entire Tracery crew has eaten at Catherine’s on several occasions and we can all attest the food tastes every bit as good as the market looks!



Adjacent to the deli area, a dining area with wrap-around windows provides beautiful views of the Russell Crossroads development.



We selected retro-inspired aluminum chairs for the dining room to maintain the market’s fresh and vintage interior aesthetic.



Elsewhere, a white-washed antique oak floor gives distinction to the wine area.


[all photography by Eric Marcus]

for more information on Catherine’s Market, visit their website [here]

little space, big pattern


Powder Rooms are  the perfect place to be a little daring when it comes to design.  Because these rooms are usually small and not often used everyday, they are a great place to try out an unusual finish or bold wall covering pattern.  For the Southern Living Tarpon Run Idea House, we decided to put this idea to work by covering the walls of a small Powder Room in a brightly patterned wall covering.  The aqua and citron colors recall those found elsewhere in the house.  The simple white base cabinet features one of our favorite details–a shaped ‘foot’ in place of a plain toe kick.  A slab of white Carrara marble supports a simple white china vessel sink.  This room is cheerful and a little unexpected–sure to put a smile on the faces of guests and the home’s occupants alike.

[photo by Laurey W. Glenn for Southern Living]

design details

At Tracery, we believe that no detail should be overlooked.  The combination of many small decisions is what leads to an completed interior that feels deliberate and customized from end to end.

As we get ready to install furnishings in a beautiful Mountain Brook, Alabama home [click here to see some photos of this home which we posted last month] that is just wrapping up construction, we thought we’d share a few design details that make this home truly special.

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The first time we saw these egg-shaped crystal knobs we knew this house had to have them!  Paired with white bronze backplates this hardware elevates the experience of opening a door to a new level.

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We gave an existing claw foot tub new life by having the feet silver-leafed.  We are crazy about how they look with the herringbone white Calacutta marble floor!

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In the Butler’s Pantry, we love how the hammered surface of the nickel bar sink contrasts with the smooth and milky slab of Cararra Blanca marble.

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More storage space was a big concern for this family of six, so we worked with the home’s architects to find as many places as possible to sneak in another cabinet or closet.  Set in the eave space too low to otherwise occupy, this built-in dresser shows off some incredible iron hardware imported from France.

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Designed as a counterpoint to all the white marble found elsewhere in this home, carbon colored subway wall tile and hexagonal Lagos Azul limestone on the floor makes this bathroom sophisticated and distinctive.  We matched the color of the horizontal planking in the main part of the bathroom to the upper wall tile color in the shower for continuity.

Everyone’s been raving about the antique oak herringbone floors in this home’s Foyer since we first posted a picture last month.  When viewed from above, the effect is even more stunning!  Definitely won’t be the last time we use this detail.

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We will hopefully start the move-in process for this home in the next few days, check back for more photos soon!

gas lanterns

Though we are an interior design firm, we spend a lot of time thinking about the details that make exterior spaces special too.  We work on a lot of new construction and renovation projects, often hand-in-hand with the building’s architect to ensure a smooth transition between the inside of a project and the exterior.  We very often weigh in on exterior color and materials selections and of course, the selection of exterior light fixtures.


[We selected a copper gas lantern for this Homewood, Alabama residence — photo by Eric Marcus]


One of our absolute favorite ways to provide light and ambiance to an exterior space is with gas lanterns.  Gas lanterns come in a variety of sizes and shapes and suit nearly every style of project.  We’ve specified gas lanterns for contemporary coastal residences and for very traditional in-town projects.  Regardless of the project, the gentle glow and authentic nature of these fixtures always says ‘welcome.’



[Uplighting placed in the landscaping and a pair of gas lanterns make the entrance of this Auburn, Alabama home warm and dramatic — photo by Colleen Duffley]



[On the same Auburn, Alabama home we selected this slender copper fixture which features a distinctive glass hurricane–photo by Colleen Duffley]



[A row of tall copper gas lanterns against crisp stucco on a Rosemary Beach, Florida house for which we designed the architectural interiors — photo by Michael Granberry]


The costs associated with running a gas lantern are higher than an electric fixture, but we think the effect created is well worth the expense.  Gas lanterns don’t always put out as much light as traditional electric fixtures, so we often pair them with uplighting or small fixtures hidden above openings or in rooflines adjacent to the area that needs to be lit.


Tracery is proud to carry Bevolo lanterns, which are handmade in New Orleans following centuries old designs.  If you’re interested in these fixtures for your home, contact us for more information.