My friend Blair and I visited the Southern Living Idea House 2016 in the Mt Laurel community of the B’ham metro just before it closed this month. We thought it would be great, great fun — and we did have a good time — but while there were interesting touches, overall it was decorated very…mature. Some aspects were somewhat puzzling.
The living room was quite large, and anchored on each short wall by these great built-ins, but rather than being furnished as one large space, it had two opposite seating areas. It seems like something of a waste of all that room if you have fewer than five or six people in one of the areas using just half the room. Otherwise, you literally have your back to the people on the other couch.
Other half, literally facing the other direction. It’s not as though this room is huge, but it is a nice area, and pretty.
Lots of rug layering throughout.
Right off the living room, not separated by anything other than a door, is the master bedroom
…which has a really pretty master bath:
The master bath is something of a long space with the bathtub at the end, and a single sink on the left and right. On each side of the sink is a closet, and here, the shower, and on the other side is the spouse’s closet and the toilet room. Thing is, though, there’s very little storage here. Extra toiletries and such go where? Towels? Counterspace for morning routines? Hand towels for the sink are…?
The world isn’t done yet with shiplap. It’s all in the entryway, too. The stairway is really pretty, though.
This is a terrible pic, but it was interesting that the moulding was hung from the ceiling with a small gap, rather than crown moulding affixed at the top of the walls to the ceiling. The rooms with wallpaper had little flaps at the top where it was undoubtedly difficult to paper properly.
Also interesting was how low all the lighting switches were to the floor — approximately chair-rail height. Outlets were all done horizontally on the baseboards.
lots of slanting walls in the bedrooms
Another bedroom, centered under the window with (again) more curtaining to the side to deal with the pitch, making no room for a night table on the left or right.
This room was heavily draped — presumably to work with the slants of the walls.
There are just so many slanting walls upstairs that it’s something to think about. The second floor looks great from the outside, but inside, these rooms have so much square footage consumed with areas in which people can’t stand up straight.
The entrance to each bedroom had its own closet, which was interesting.
Another upstairs bedroom, decorated in an especially mature fashion.
I didn’t take a picture of the ‘pajama room’ (that’s what the volunteer called it) upstairs — what could have been an upstairs office or small bedroom (though no closet, and again, heavy slanting of the walls) had just a *lot* of furniture with giraffe-meets-cheetah wallpaper and the same for the upholstery. I didn’t get a picture of the pajama room because a couple of women were sitting in it talking about how odd it was with one of the home’s volunteers. It likely would have been more successful as an office. On the other hand, this was set up as an ‘idea house’ not a ‘move in tomorrow house’ — so for people with teenagers and an extra room with no other purpose, it would work.
Back downstairs — in the entrance hall
Here, the laundry room which was seemingly made for giants, as with the generous width of the tall counter here, we could only barely reach the handles of the cabinets above.
I like the idea that Bill Ingram, who is the architect and designer of this room and the next, has about the kitchen looking like another room rather than some showcase of appliances. Still, this kitchen is so completely dark and oppressive
The kitchen opens to this seating area which was, again, heavily upholstered
even with circus-tent style ceiling
Here, ’60s/’70s canasta?/bridge? table set next to the ’80s stark-white console with the ceramic animal-footed bowl. Under the circus tent.
When we were leaving, the volunteer at the front door asked what we thought, and we were very kind about how lovely the home was, just mentioning that we would have furnished the room off the kitchen differently. She said that she thought that room was crazy because all the drapery in that room was going to absorb the odors/oils/dust/etc from the kitchen. Didn’t even think of that, but true.
Lastly, the dining room by the front door, which was very traditional but perhaps the most modern with the colorful paintings and mix of patterns.
A foggy, rainy day, but here’s the home — and all that pitch on the second floor.
Wish SL would perhaps give the designers more direction to go modern, little less ‘concept’ and a little more ‘useful/clever’. There were ideas here, though — the light switches were lower than eye level, the outlets were in the baseboards, and it was interesting that the closets were in each bedroom’s entryway so as not to take up space in the room proper for doors.
Here, the official tour, which gives another great idea of how the home flows