By Keysha Drexel
Visitors to Birmingham Home & Garden magazine’s Inspiration Home Tour this year will not only get a chance to get ideas from some of the Over the Mountain and Birmingham metro areas’ top retailers and manufacturers, they will also be able to do some shopping.
The magazine selected a two-story home in The Preserve neighborhood in Hoover as this year’s Inspiration Home. The 5,400-square-foot house is full of furniture, rugs, lamps, accessories and fresh ideas from retailers ranging from Issis & Sons and Swaddle to At Home and Three Sheets.
And it’s all for sale, said Walker Sorrell, associate publisher and sales director of Birmingham Home & Garden.
Sorrell said visitors to this year’s Inspiration Home can shop the interiors for ways to dress up their own homes.
The tour of the house, built by Byrom Building Corp., kicks off Nov. 13 and will run Thursdays through Sundays through Dec. 14.
This is the fifth Inspiration Home Tour the magazine has hosted, Sorrell said.
“The first one we did was back in 2004, and we don’t do one every year,” he said. “It’s a huge project for us, but we think it’s a great way to show the quality of the builders and designers we have here in the Birmingham area.”
This year, organizers decided to take a different approach to showcasing local builders, retailers and designers, Sorrell said.
In the past, one designer was responsible for outfitting the whole house for the tour, he said.
“But this year, we are trying a different approach. We have a different local retailer doing different spaces in the house,” Sorrell said. “We wanted to let people create their own space to help show visitors the great things they can find right here in their own backyards.”
While different retailers were charged with decorating and furnishing different rooms, Sorrell said tour organizers wanted to make sure the result wasn’t a disjointed design.
“Alison Smith is the designer who coordinated everything to make sure the design flowed from room to room and wasn’t choppy or jarring,” he said. “We wanted it to reflect each individual retailer’s vision, but we also wanted the design to flow throughout the house.”
To make sure all the different parts come together into one inspiring vision, Smith–a Birmingham-based designer and head of Alison Smith Interiors–said she worked closely from the very beginning of the project with Marty and Colt Byrom, the father-son building team known as Byrom Building Corp.
“I worked with the Byroms every step of the way–from the floors to the doors to the windows to the plumbing fixtures to the lighting,” Smith said. “I wanted to make sure that the colors and finishes complemented the architectural style of the house.”
Smith said she would describe the white, painted brick house that features four huge columns framing an expansive front porch and a second-story balcony as having “Southern charm with modern appeal.”
Wrought-iron rocking chairs with comfy-looking cushions beckon visitors to sit a spell on the front porch and watch neighborhood children ride by on their bikes.
“We wanted to be sure that each room reflected the overall style of the home and that the interior matched the feeling evoked by the exterior,” Smith said.
To that end, Smith said, all of the designers stuck with similar color schemes and, for the most part, similar styles.
“It’s all about embracing the traditional elements–like the rustic beams, the reclaimed wooden floors throughout the house–and adding a modern twist with crisp elements and clean lines,” Smith said.
In keeping with the traditional feel of The Preserve community, the house has a traditional Southern style on the exterior and a welcoming, open floor plan with unique details throughout, Colt Byrom said.
Byrom said the design of the house was inspired by one he and his father visited last year on Cherokee Road in Mountain Brook.
“That house had great center lines, a good flow with an open and airy floor plan that kind of blurred the lines between inside and outside at some point, and that’s what we wanted to do here,” he said.
Just inside the front doors, a grand hallway leads to an expansive living room and kitchen area, which features a beamed ceiling, built-in banquette and French doors that offer a glimpse of something sparkling and blue.
“The lot here overlooking the valley was perfect for a pool, and so we took that into consideration when we were designing the main living area downstairs,” Byrom said.
The French doors open to a large, covered outdoor living area, complete with a professional-grade outdoor kitchen, large fireplace, flat-screen TV and long dining table with room for at least eight people.
The kitchen has a scullery area that allows hosts to tuck away dirty dishes and keep them out of sight of party guests, Byrom said. There’s also a butler’s pantry, complete with a prep sink and plenty of space to mix up the perfect cocktail, in the kitchen area.
Tucked behind the main living area downstairs is an expansive master bedroom with a coffered ceiling, a walk-in closet that would make any cast member of “The Real Housewives” shows proud, and a luxurious private bathroom.
Upstairs, the house has three more bedrooms, including a large suite that has been outfitted as a home theater/man cave and a roomy nursery with a loft.
“It is all coming together beautifully, and I think the tour will offer a lot of great ideas to inspire homeowners and to highlight the talent and resources we have here in our community,” Sorrell said.
The Inspiration Home Tour will also give visitors a chance to better the community, Sorrell said.
“Proceeds from the ticket sales will go to the Junior League of Birmingham this year,” he said. “We try to mix up the charities that benefit from the Inspiration Home each year.”
Tickets to the 2014 Inspiration Home Tour are $10 and will be available for purchase online soon.
To read more about the nursery in the Inspiration Home created by Swaddle of Homewood, see our story here.
To read more about the guys’ retreat created by Issis & Sons, see our story here.
For more information, visit www.birminghamhomeandgarden.com.