IN THE WORKS: Mountain Brook Reno

Mountain Brook, AL — We began working on this reno in January, with expected completion in September 2018. We are bringing the exterior architecture up-to-date with painted white brick, new dark bronze windows, a steel and glass front door, and a gabled roof, which will be made of Alaskan Cypress.

 Before

Before

We are keeping the downstairs floor plan similar to the original, but we are opening up spaces between the family room, sunroom, and kitchen. We’re also adding a mudroom, pool bath, exercise room, larger laundry and pantry, and reworking the master bathroom.

 Cypress has  some unique characteristics that make it decay resistant. It grows in higher elevations that have shorter growing seasons, and the result is a heavier wood (approximately 1/3rd heavier than Western Red Cedar) because of its tight growth rings. It also has more natural oils that are responsible for the decay-resistant properties that protect it against the various elements. Cypress has typically been used in boat building and bridge stringers because of its structural strength. 

Cypress has  some unique characteristics that make it decay resistant. It grows in higher elevations that have shorter growing seasons, and the result is a heavier wood (approximately 1/3rd heavier than Western Red Cedar) because of its tight growth rings. It also has more natural oils that are responsible for the decay-resistant properties that protect it against the various elements. Cypress has typically been used in boat building and bridge stringers because of its structural strength. 

Stay tuned for more updates on changes upstairs and our interior design.

IN THE WORKS: Beloved Little House on Linden

Residents in Homewood may remember the “Little House on Linden Avenue,” a small house-like structure that was home to Littlehouse Galleries. Founded in 1960 by Gene Smith, Littlehouse Galleries was one of the most established galleries in the Southeast, hosting local artists’ collections and providing expertise in framing and art restoration. They closed their doors for business in 2017, but we have the pleasure of renovating this familiar structure for continued commercial use of two or three tenants. 

 The original buildings

The original buildings

Our designers are working to keep the ghost of the old building and will include the metal perforated panels from the original structure, a gabled roof, and large windows. We’re excited to add a pedestrian sidewalk through the two structures that will connect to 18thStreet South, the main drag in downtown Homewood.

MATERIALS PALETTE: Bathroom Tiles

Interior Design is not for the weak of heart. Imagine that you are responsible for facilitating the strength and wisdom of a home. Over and over in each and every room. Now imagine doing this for people you didn’t know till they hired you. You’re not just slapping up wallpaper and nailing down some matching carpet. No sir. 

 
When you’re building a room, you’re building character, and character is the strength and wisdom of a home.
— Rose Tarlow, antiques dealer
 

You aren’t just a designer with a degree. You have to be a student of people, creating an atmosphere in which they open up so you can discover their character and eventually express it in the interior details of their home. You have to be able to ask nuanced questions to gather information from your clients—hear what they say and simultaneously what they don’t say.

We are currently working on the character of a home on Smith Lake, and here’s a glimpse of the tiles we’re using in the three bathrooms. 

For this palette and many others, we enjoy partnering with Triton Stone Group, a family-owned company located in Avondale, Ala., that is one of the largest importers of natural stone in the country. 

IN THE WORKS: Scuba House

Orange Beach, AL — Our client is a certified scuba diver and asked for a simple but refined home situated on the bay with a boat dock. We began the design process in January of 2018, and construction should start this summer. 

This 3-bedroom-4.5-bath house will be rotated on the site so that not one stunning view of the bay will go unappreciated. We're tackling the necessary elevation above the flood plane, not with the standard supports under the structure, but by building the grade up to the house. 

We are enjoying this project, especially some of the outdoor spaces, like the 2nd-story balcony that wraps around three-quarters of the home, and the 3rd-story observation tower.

Introducing BeSpoke Forged

If you so choose, luxury can touch every corner of your home. Even your garage. The place where the floor under your car is spotted with oil stains (or covered with cardboard if you’re old-school). The place that smells like grass clippings, rubber, and rusting tools. Our garages often-times hold forgotten treasures or boxes of stuff we don’t really need but are holding on to “just in case.” It’s not exactly the first room to come to mind when you think of luxury homes.

But we’d like to change that. We have partnered with a local, family-owned metal fabrication company called Weldon Welding to design, fabricate, and install custom garage doors that aren’t like all the other garage doors out there. We call this collaboration BeSpoke Forged. You’ll be seeing more about these curated doors soon, but for now, here’s a glimpse of the guys who manufacture these pieces of art by hand, and a few examples of our finished product. 

IN THE WORKS: A New CAI Headquarters

We are renovating the former Office of Senior Citizens Services building on Highland Avenue in downtown Birmingham for our new office space. The stand-alone building is in the historic Southside district with great visibility from Highland Avenue and Niazuma Avenue.

The majority of the bottom floor was previously underground, so we knew we'd have to find a way to let the light in. We designed a sunken courtyard that will have cantilever benches and planters, trees, a gravel area, and bleacher seating for hosting lectures or small concerts. We are so excited about including a water feature, an outdoor lounge and fireplace, and a library. All this will be in addition to conference rooms, workspaces, and offices. We are currently under construction and hope to be finished by Thanksgiving.

Click through our progress photos here, and check back for updates.

"If You're Afraid of Butter, Use Cream" — Julia Child

You know all the kitchen-type cliches: it's the heart of the home; kiss the cook; never trust a skinny chef, etc. Truly, the kitchen is where a lot of magic can happen in tangible and ethereal ways, and there's plenty to be said about them. Maybe it's the room that has the most potential to turn a house into a home – so we've gathered some of our favorite kitchens here for you.

 

CAI On AL.com

One of our favorite renovations was featured on AL.com. Click here to read the full article. And click here to see more progress photos.

"Sifting through before and after photos of a Christopher Architecture & Interiors Mountain Brook renovation project, it's hard to believe that the original one-story home wasn't a complete tear down."  —Birmingham Magazine

 
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