By Donna Cornelius
One of the stars on this year’s Historic Hollywood Tour of Homes is a house that manages to be fashionable, functional and family-friendly.
Mary Scott and Blake Pearson’s home at 9 Bonita Drive was built in 1926. Its original owners were Laura B. and Fay B. Belt, who lived there until 1947. The house, called the Bailey-Hardin House in honor of two other former owners, earned a Jefferson County Historic Marker in 1995.
The Spanish Mission-style house may be 92 years old, but thanks to two major renovations, it isn’t feeling its age.
The first major project was in 2006, four years before the Pearsons bought the house. A second level and a den at the back of the house were added. An exterior facelift, which maintained the house’s stucco construction, included the addition of Spanish tiles around a new front entrance.
Last year, the Pearsons made changes of their own.
“The existing patio was tiny and got too much sun,” Mary Scott said.
They solved that problem – and made the area more livable – by constructing a covered outdoor living area with a fireplace and kitchen. A separate dining porch has accordion-style glass doors that open from the family room.
“The adults can be outside eating while the kids hang out in the family room,” Mary Scott said.
The Pearsons also created an upper-level retreat off the master bedroom by building a covered balcony with a fireplace.
Another component of the renovation was done with the younger members of the family in mind. The Pearsons have three children: Samantha, age 13; Becca, 10; and Blake Jr., 6. The clan also includes Copper, a lively standard poodle.
“The kids weren’t using the existing mudroom,” Mary Scott said. “We added cubbies in the kitchen-den area so they could hang their stuff there.”
A butler’s pantry now occupies the space that was the original mudroom and a bathroom.
Mary Scott said she loves to cook in the updated kitchen, as does Blake, who also shows off his grill-master chops on a large outdoor grill. The kitchen has new stainless steel appliances, including a microwave, oven warming drawer, and Sub-Zero refrigerator, plus a new backsplash.
Long tables in the kitchen and the dining room can accommodate a number of diners. “Both Blake and I come from large families, and we wanted to have plenty of seating for everybody,” Mary Scott said.
Two enlarged photos on the dining room walls are of French wineries.
“We took an anniversary trip to Paris, and that was when we were decorating this room,” Mary Scott said. “We brought back these two photos.”
Blake, a Birmingham neurosurgeon, has an office on the house’s main level. But the room looks more like a handsome sitting room than a workspace. A computer keyboard is hidden away in the drawer of an antique cabinet, and a round table with chairs replaces a traditional desk.
Upstairs, the Pearsons enhanced the master bathroom with new tile and countertops. The children’s bedrooms and a guest room also are on the second level.
In Samantha’s room is furniture that belonged to Mary Scott’s grandmother. It’s been painted a bright blue to make it more contemporary.
Becca’s room is girly and fun. A single bed painted green is dressed up with a mini-canopy.
Blake Jr.’s room has artwork featuring horses, duck hunting, trains and other boy-friendly themes. There’s a case full of books, too.
The Pearsons love living on Bonita Drive, one of the first streets in Hollywood. Clyde Nelson, who developed the neighborhood, lived on the street, as did Hollywood’s first and only mayor, Clarence Lloyd, and other well-known Birmingham businessmen and their families.
Mary Scott is director of the Homewood City Schools Foundation. She’s also PTO president of Shades Cahaba Elementary School, which her children attend. Part of the proceeds from the home tour, hosted by the Hollywood Garden Club, supports the school.
“I love this community, and I love our schools,” she said. “I love being part of the garden club, too. The last time they asked us to be on the tour, we were gearing up for our renovation. We’re glad we were able to do it this year.” ❖