By Laura McAlister
When it comes to interior design, decorator Tammy Connor considers lighting to be somewhat like the icing on a cake.
When done correctly, it only enhances the decor, said the principal owner of Tammy Connor Interior
Design in Homewood.
Her nearby home in Hollywood is a good example of just how the right lighting and fixtures can make a home shine.
“I have lots of lamp lighting in my house,” she said. “The way I approach lamps is I want them to be functional but pretty. They’re just sort of the icing. It’s the opportunity to introduce something pretty but also functional.”
Tammy said there are three types of home lighting. There’s general or ambient lighting, which provides overall illumination of a room or space. Then there is task lighting for specific purposes like reading, cooking and preparing food. Finally, there’s accent lighting, which is used to add drama to a particular piece like a painting.
Tammy will have different types of lighting and show how they can enhance a home at her exhibit at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens’ Antiques at The Gardens. As one of the event’s tastemakers, her theme will be “Let There Be Light.”
Just like in her home, Tammy said most of the lamps and light fixtures she’ll have on display will come from markets she frequently visits in Charleston, S.C., New Orleans, New York and Atlanta.
Tammy has filled her home with timeless lamps and lighting fixtures to create the sort of Southern elegance she’s become known for.
Tammy and her husband, who have two children, have lived in their house for about six years. The Tudor-style home built in 1926 was familiar to Tammy long before the couple purchased it.
“This is a house I grew up playing in,” she said. “As a kid I always loved it.”
Tammy grew up not far from her current home, and her mother still lives right around the corner.
Though she loved the house growing up, she admitted it needed some work by the time she and her husband purchased it.
They renovated the kitchen and refinished part of the attic to start.
They also added lots of built-ins, especially in the study, where they sandblasted a painted wall to reveal the original stonework. The light fixture there is from a flea market Tammy visited in France.
She also added a cozy seating area at the entryway of the house.
“I wanted it to be welcoming, but it was a small space,” Tammy said. “So we added the built-in seat.”
When it came to the decor, Tammy said she wanted pieces that reflect her style but also ones that tell a story. She points to her 4-year-old daughter’s room as an example.
The room is a soft shade of pink with more built-in shelving. A collection of crosses with a special significance hangs over the bed.
“The crosses are all ones my friends made at a baby shower,” she said. “I like things that tell a story. It makes them more than just ‘stuff.’”
She also likes to layer textures and mix different styles.
Throughout her home she uses soft, neutral colors, accenting them with accessories she’s collected from her travels.
She said most of her lighting is from lamps with one-of-a-kind shades. She’s added some accent lighting for artwork and book shelves, but for the most part she wanted to keep with the style of the house.