Smith Lake cottage

Hey, it’s Doug…hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend. The day back to work after a long weekend always seems rough, doesn’t it? I thought maybe today we could prolong the time off just a little bit longer by giving you a look inside of a lake house we designed at Silverock Cove on Smith Lake in Alabama. We created this house as a model home and it was so well received it sold mere days after we completed it!

The Living Room is a mix of striped fabrics combined with a pale blue canvas slipcovered sofa. The wall of windows overlooks beautiful Smith Lake.

Paige and I found these vintage botanical prints at Scott's Antique Market in Atlanta. They are hung on the wall with simple metal display clips.

We hung a vintage green industrial pendant over the custom designed wood and steel table. I worked with Dungan Nequette Architects, who master planned and designed all the homes at Silverock, to develop the interiors for the lakeside cottages found in the development. The kitchen design is simple and straight forward--perfect for a weekend getaway. Paint washed pine plank walls are found throughout the main level of the home.

At the top of the stairs, Hannon and I hung a vintage tobacco basket from our Rosemary Beach shop over a vintage green bench Paige's mom discovered for us. The newel post is a custom design we created.

The Master Bedroom has an amazing view of the lake! The ledge behind the bed is accessorized with a variety of objects including sleek task lamps from Ikea. A vintage chair from our Mountain Brook shop gives a cozy place to hang out and enjoy the view.

In one guest room we layered a vintage quilt found on Etsy with a duvet cover from Ikea and fun Thomas Paul pillows from our Mountain Brook shop.

Paige and I found this AMAZING painted flag chest at Scott's and bought it immediately for this fun is it?!? It's the perfect accent for another one of the home's Guest Bedrooms.

In the lower level Den, we created a cozy study area. We paired an antique oak desk with a vintage schoolhouse chair lacquered white. A vintage life preserver completes the vignette.


Hey everyone, it’s Doug.  To say we’ve been traveling a lot lately would be an understatement.  From New York to Missouri, and everywhere in between, our projects have us spread all over the place right now.

Last week, Paige joined me in Birmingham on Monday afternoon for an interview for a potential new project.  On Tuesday she and I had meetings in Birmingham all day–including a great one about the Birmingham Home & Garden Inspiration Home that we’re designing.  Wednesday, we headed to Atlanta to visit ADAC and gather fabric samples for some new projects we’re working on.  Anna Kay joined us Wednesday night in Atlanta and we all three attended the cocktail opening of the Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Luxury Living Show at Phipps Plaza.  It was great to catch up with editor Clint Smith while we were there.  Thursday we headed out to Scott’s Antique Market for the day and then Paige and AK drove home and I came back to Birmingham.  Friday we all caught up on office work and meetings.  On Saturday, Hannon and I packed up and went to Silverock Cove at Smith Lake for the day, where we set up a mini-Tracery shop during the Dock at the Rock event.

Whew!  What a week…here’s hoping this one is a little more low key!  We tried to snap plenty of photos along the way last week to document all the activity, here are a few:

Monday night dinner at Bottega Cafe in Birmingham with Paige's sister, Maggie

Paige and Anna Kay at the Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Luxury Living Show kick off event on Wednesday night

An amazing antique French armoire we purchased for our Rosemary Beach shop

A fun apple green painted piece of iron work that's headed to our Mountain Brook shop

A set of dining chairs we are having reupholstered for a project at Lake Martin

Loading as much as possible into the Tracery van!

Our mini store at the Dock at the Rock event at Silverock Cove

styling an artificial Christmas tree

Hello friends–Doug here.

Everyone, let’s try to embrace the artificial tree for a moment.  As pretty and natural and good smelling as they are, real Christmas trees are also incredibly messy and in extreme cases, prone to bursting into flames.  For this very reason, the trees at our stores are artificial and this year we’ve styled a couple of artificial trees for clients as well.  One such case is at the Clubhouse at Silverock Cove on Smith Lake, near Crane Hill, Alabama (about an hour north of our Mountain Brook shop and studio).  The tree at Silverock needed to stay lit 24 hours a day in an unattended building and because no one wanted to constantly clean up needles and remember to water the tree during the off-season at the lake–we agreed with the management at Silverock that an artificial tree was probably the best way to go.

It was a bit of a challenge to make an artificial tree look good in a place filled with natural beauty and surrounded by real trees everywhere, but we thought we’d share a few tips that we use to make an artificial tree look almost as good as the real thing.

Ah, just like cutting down your own tree in the forest!


So the first step is to find a decent looking artificial tree.  The tree used at Silverock is a 7-1/2 foot artificial Douglas Fir — the tree has some variation in the coloring which we’ve found is a feature that helps from immediately shouting “I’m a fake tree!” like the solid green versions often do.  The tree was also pre-lit which saved a lot of time stringing lights–although the cords on pre-lit trees often need a little adjusting once the tree is unpacked.


Adding natural elements is an ideal way to spice up an artificial tree.  For the tree at Silverock, I went to our favorite local wholesaler in Birmingham–Davis Wholesale Florist–and picked up four bundles of dogwood branches.  The branches are bare and about 12″ long with small buds at the tips.  For the Silverock tree I went with natural colored branches although there were also bright red ones available (we actually used those in the Mountain Brook store mixed with magnolia leaves and they look AMAZING!).  I wired dogwood stems into groups of three and then placed them throughout the tree, twisting the wire around the branches.



Artificial trees are famous for having ‘holes’ in them that from the right angle can reveal the big metal pole running up the center of the tree.   By placing large-scale ornaments on the tree first, the biggest bare spots in the tree can be easily camouflaged.  Once I had the tree filled out with the dogwood and larger ornaments, I mixed in gold mercury glass ornaments from our Mountain Brook shop.  The ornaments were a mix of classic Christmas balls, gold acorns and gold pinecones.  Inexpensive copper-colored glass balls were added to give depth and to provide contrast to the gold mercury glass.


The end result looks like this…





So what kind of tree do you have at your house this year?  Real or artificial?

[exterior colors] in the woods

Now that Halloween has passed, summer has certainly transitioned into Fall.  At our Rosemary Beach studio and shop, the temperature has started to drop (this is a beautiful time of year to visit the beach, by the way) and in Birmingham, the trees are turning fall colors and the leaves are crunching underfoot.  We’ve been talking about starting a new blog series for a while now that focuses on exterior color selection–a service we frequently provide in addition to interior design.  Today we thought we’d kick off this series by highlighting some exterior colors we’ve selected for the homes at Silverock Cove, a development about an hour north of Birmingham located on beautiful Smith Lake.



The design of the homes and amenity buildings at Silverock focus heavily on the beautiful natural setting of the site.  When choosing colors for the exterior of the buildings, we selected colors that would blend with the woods, rocks and water while still defining the architecture of the homes (which were all designed by Dungan Nequette Architects).



The grey green body color of this home is repeated on the window trim. Using the same color for both elements respects the simplicity of the home's architecture while darker eaves and fascia provide definition at the roofline. Untreated wood porch elements will weather naturally over time.



On this home, dark brown windows and trim give depth to the color scheme.

We generally find that in a wooded setting, darker windows and trim help buildings recede and blend into their surroundings rather than stand out.  Imagine if the homes pictured above had bright white or cream windows.  The darker tones also feel more rustic and relaxed in a wooded setting.



Charcoal grey trim and windows ground the lighter body color of this lakefront home.


There are over 50 homes at Silverock Cove–with more on the way–so of course we didn’t paint every house a shade of green or brown.  The home pictured above, the first in Silverock’s Phase III actually has a very light body color, which stands in a pleasant contrast to the surrounding woods.  To keep the house from feeling too light though, dark charcoal trim–and eventually windows–keep the color scheme grounded in the wooded setting.  The base of the home will soon receive a stone veneer which will further connect the house to the natural site.


Red window sashes provide a pop of color to this otherwise sedate home

It’s still possible to use color on a home set in the woods too without it seeming out of place.  On the home pictured above, an otherwise quiet color scheme is enlivened with red window sashes that give an unexpected pop of color–and fun–to the home’s exterior.

All of these homes show that when thinking about exterior colors for a home in a natural setting, simple palettes of brown, grey, green and even autumnal red can give distinction to a structure while still blending with nature.



[all photos courtesy Silverock Cove]

Tracery in Birmingham Home & Garden

Our work at Silverock Cove, located on Alabama’s Smith Lake, is featured in this month’s Birmingham Home & Garden Second Homes issue.



The feature outlines some of the amenities at Silverock (which was master planned and designed by our sister company Dungan Nequette Architects) including the Pool House, which we furnished.

[click to enlarge each image]





The story also features the interior of a home we furnished for one of Silverock’s founders, Carter Hughes.  The furnishings are natural, comfortable and durable–musts for a lakeside home.  Sourced mostly from our shop, the pieces are complimented by artwork from Birmingham’s Loretta Goodwin Gallery



[all images courtesy Birmingham Home & Garden, article text by Cathy Still Johnson, photography by Jean Allsopp]

lakeside relaxation


What could be more peaceful than lounging poolside, on the quiet shores of a secluded lake?  That’s exactly the setting you’ll find at the Silverock Cove Pool House.  Silverock Cove is a community of lakeside homes located on Smith Lake, near Crane Hill, Alabama (about 45 minutes north of Birmingham).  Silverock Cove was master planned and designed by our sister company Dungan Nequette Architects.  Doug worked with the architectural team to design the interior details of the homes, as well as to select the exterior paint color schemes for the community.  We’ve already furnished a model home in the development and recently we completed furnishing the new Pool House as well.

Designed as a social center for the initial phase of the development, the Pool House features an Owner’s Lounge, restroom facilities, a small catering kitchen and most importantly–an incredible view of the infinity edge saltwater  pool and Smith Lake beyond!



In the main Lounge area we placed a cozy moss green velvet sofa and durable aged leather club chairs.  Chunky stump-like lamps, a nickel-plated antler lamp with a wooden shade and playful turtle-printed pillows relate the decor of the space to the lakeside surroundings.  Rustic barnwood siding–with its original paint intact–covers the end walls of the space while hand-built steel windows along the length of the space erase the line between interior and exterior.


The steel windows were built on site by Greenbottle Workshop–the same group which installed similar windows in the Hopkins Finley Residence master bedroom addition, which was recently featured [here].

The exterior of the building features horizontal siding with translucent panels beyond, causing the building to glow like a lantern at night.


You can learn more about Silverock Cove by visiting their website [here]. 

[All photos courtesy Silverock Cove]