By Laura McAlister
The planners of the Birmingham Home & Garden Inspiration Home had family living in mind when they designed the 2011 home, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a showstopper.
Attention to detail was key in the building and decorating of the home at. From the orientation of the house on its lot in The Cove at Overton to making the decor flow from room to room, this is a home you have to see.
People will have the opportunity to do just that Nov. 19-Dec. 4. Tickets to view the Inspiration Home are $10, and proceeds go to the American Diabetes Association.
The home also will be a part of the Independent Presbyterian Church Holiday House Tour Dec. 10-11.
Whether you’re looking for inspiration or unique finds from local merchants, this house has it all.
Building started about six months ago. Architect Chris Reebals designed the home, and the decorating team at Tracery Interiors — Doug Baker, owner Page Schnell and Hannon Kirk Doody — decorated the house using all local furniture and decor. Even the materials used to build the house are local. The developer was Kessler Companies.
“We have loved working with local sponsors, designers and resources to show just how well-rounded this city is as a style mecca and how much talent exists,” said Birmingham Home & Garden editor Cathy Still Johnson. “Tracery interior designers Paige Schnell and Doug Davis, along with architect Chris Reebals and developer Charles Kessler, worked with local vendors and shop owners to pull together a home that is at once livable, inspiring and achievable. Nothing in the house was custom made.
“Visitors to the home will be excited to see just how interesting a home can be by shopping Birmingham. The design team pulled together an eclectic mix of furniture, rugs, and accessories that shows just how diverse you can be if you shop carefully.”
Like all the homes at The Cove at Overton, which is in both Mountain Brook and Vestavia Hills, the Inspiration Home is designed to be pedestrian-friendly, taking advantage of the development’s community gazebo and park as well as the many outdoor spaces of the home.
Chris describes the exterior as a “French eclectic style.”
“It’s really hard to pin down the exact style,” he said. “We played on some of the new urbanism. It’s real pedestrian-oriented. It fits tight on the lot. The first thing we did when laying it out was look at the sun angles.”
A sidewalk made from Peacock Pavers concrete tiles leads into this house. The tiles also are used for flooring in the entire downstairs of the about 4,600 square foot, five bedroom and 4 1/2 bath home.
When designing the house, Chris said, he took great care to make sure you could see from one end of the house to other while standing in the foyer.
“When you come in the front, you can see straight through the house to the outdoor area and pool,” he said. “From each direction you can see windows to the outdoor spaces.”
The arched doorways are extra-large to make the flow throughout the main level easy and great for entertaining, Doug Davis added.
When it came to the decor, Doug said they wanted it to feel like a lived-in home, not just one that’s open for show. He said they made up a family of four and then began decorating the home based on them.
“We tried to give it a story,” he said. “We made up this family of four with a boy and a girl.”
The upstairs is dedicated to the kids, while the downstairs has more formal spaces for family and guests.
Downstairs, Doug kept the walls the same neutral color throughout to allow the furnishing and decorations to stand out. He said it also added to the flow from one room to the next.
In the dining room, Doug said the oval table is the focus. Straight-backed chairs and an antique chandelier over the table give the room a formal feel. The dining room has entryways to both the kitchen area and family room. Rustic wooded doors open to the family room. There, Doug said, they used the lofty ceilings for inspiration.
“The ceilings are really high in here, so we used really high-backed chairs,” he said. “The cedar double doors were custom built for the house.”
A three-tiered loop chandelier also plays on the drama of the high ceilings, which are whitewashed wood with exposed beams. Doug said all the ceilings in the downstairs are whitewashed wood instead of the typical drywall.
An entire wall of the family room is Alabama limestone and contains the fireplace.
The family room leads into the breakfast room, a narrow room with built-in bench seating on one side of the large rectangular wooden table.
Though the kitchen isn’t too large, it has just about anything a chef could want. Even though there are no upper cabinets, a large butler’s pantry adds plenty of storage space.
The back wall and counters in the kitchen are white marble. All the appliances are stainless steel, with the exception of the refrigerator. It blends in with the cabinets, which are pale green.
The study is in the center of the house. Here, the decor takes on a masculine feel with leather chairs and wood whitewashed walls.
The master bedroom is on the main level, with a whole separate living space for the children and guests upstairs.
It’s upstairs where Doug said they decided to have a little more fun using brighter and bolder colors.
The second story also has a family room. The children’s bedrooms, which share a Jack and Jill bath, are on one side of the family room.
On the other is what Doug calls a guest suite. It includes a large bedroom with a separate sitting area and full bath. While the family room upstairs plays on the blues and grays from the boy’s room as well as the pinks and oranges in the girl’s, Doug said he used a completely different color scheme in the guest room.
“I really wanted this area to feel like a retreat,” he said. “We’ve got this amazing purple rug that is so beautiful. The bedding is subtle, but we’ve mixed patterns and colors.”
Another upstairs retreat is the family theatre, which includes a built-in wet bar. This room’s walls and floors are covered with sea grass.
Although the interior of the house is something to see, don’t forget to check out the outdoor spaces.
There’s a grilling porch off the breakfast room, and the backyard also has a full outdoor kitchen as well as an oasis pool and fountain. The Peacock Pavers used inside also cover the back patio. The countertops of the outdoor kitchen are limestone.
“We really wanted to play up the outdoor spaces,” Chris said. “The grilling porch overlooks the community area and gazebo and can be accessed from the family room and the breakfast room. The outdoor kitchen can be accessed straight through the foyer.”
For more information on the Inspiration Home and touring times and tickets, visit www.birminghamhomeandgarden.com and click on the “Home Inspiration Tour” tab.