HOME TOUR: Country Estate

“Timeless” is the adjective used to describe the clients’ idea for their forever home.

As we grew to know our clients, we meticulously absorbed the descriptive words they used and incorporated them into the design. To successfully design a custom home for someone means to completely embrace their personalities and lifestyles and deliver an end product that reflects them exclusively. This homes is often used in seasonal features such as the Birmingham Home & Garden magazine.

Family and faith were immensely important to the client and therefore drove many design decisions. A dramatic feature distinguishing this estate’s architecture is the large chimney wall that pierces the entire west wing of the home. The 35’ long, 25’ tall, undulating stone wall solved a programmatic need to create a private area for aging parents on the main level. The wall naturally provided a transition from the public space of the great room to the more private space for guests/in-laws on the other side. Entertaining gives the owners great enjoyment; therefore we created an open floor plan allowing them the flexibility to host large gatherings comfortably. Custom mouldings surround the expansive openings between the great room and kitchen, thoughtfully providing marked distinction of space without interfering with the open relationship.

Incorporating traditional antiques and family heirlooms, along with new furnishings, created an eclectic feeling for the interiors that made this newly built home feel like it had been there for years. The design team included storage and display cabinets throughout the home to feature the family’s vast collection of dishware. The main level offers unique spaces such as the secluded in-law suite, a solarium dedicated for prayer and reflection, and a separate dish pantry. The basement provides areas for the couple’s various interests like exercising, crafting and wood working, while the upper level is geared towards the anticipated future grandchildren.

1 . An Entry Experience Sets the Stage

The client wanted guests to experience the entry in a unique way. They did not want front columns or a traditional front porch so the design team created an approach to the front door under a cantilevered covered canopy. As you walk along the path under the splay of the roof, you get little glimpses inside the home. Traditionally, you might find a home where you walk into a foyer and there is a dining room on your right and a study on your left. With this entrance, however, you experience them simultaneously with the architecture from the outside. Flanked by a beautifully manicured courtyard, the approach is best described as a preamble to the foyer and the rest of the interiors.

2. The Chimney Wall is a Dramatic Interior Feature of the Home

A dramatic design element is the large chimney wall which pierces the home. The 35’ long, 25’ tall, undulating stone wall provides spatial distinction between the public family room and the private guest suite. The stone wall penetrates the house perpendicularly, from the basement through the first and second floors and the roof line. While it shines as a dramatic design feature, it also serves practical functions.

4. The Chimney Wall is the Focal Point of the Great Room

Flooded with natural light, the great room features a stonewall that passes through three floors and each side of the home. The custom limestone fireplace surround complements the limestone lintels above each built-in storage cabinet. Traditional furnishings create a cozy seating grouped around the family’s heirloom baby grand piano.

5. Aisle to Guest Suite Through Chimney Wall and Interior Chimney Wall Opening

A walk down the main floor aisle takes you under a limestone lentil that spans the chimney wall opening and carries the weight of the masonry above it. Imagine walking through a 30-inch stone opening that runs transverse through the entire home. This element became a feature design piece, but also provided the requested spatial distinction.

6. Kitchen

A classic French-country style kitchen was created by carefully selecting various materials that blend to promote a warm and inviting feeling. By mixing metal finishes, installing antique lighting, designing custom cabinetry and incorporating low-maintenance materials, the kitchen took on an old-world charm with modern conveniences.

The island was designed to look like a piece of finely crafted furniture with custom
turned legs and decorative edge profile around the quartzite countertop.

Following the classic French-country style, the cooking area stands alone featuring a custom hood surround and hand-painted ceramic tiles. The family’s love for cooking and entertaining is embraced in the design of this spacious kitchen. The kitchen windows expand from countertop to ceiling and wall to wall, allowing an abundant amount of natural light to flood the interiors and provide an unobstructed view to the rolling hills beyond.

7. Master Suite

The master bedroom is a picture of tranquility with personalized monogrammed linens, floor to ceiling custom drapery and a soft seating group at the foot of the bed.

A center three-sided glass shower provided the transition layer distinguishing his and her spaces. The elegance of marble tiles and solid marble slabs on the shower walls make this spacious master bath feel like a personal spa. Set into its own niche, the free-standing tub is the ultimate relaxation. The large window provides views to the lawn and garden beyond.

8. Butler’s Pantry and Laundry Room

Custom cabinetry line the halls in the butler’s pantry connecting the dining room to the kitchen. The operable cremone bolts add an element of sophistication to the glass front cabinets displaying some of the family’s heirloom dishware. The laundry room houses kennels for the homeowners’ two dogs, Dixie and Tess. The family pets have their own entrance off the patio, so they can come and go as they please.