Prior to this house, I had purchased and decorated a house on my own,” says artist Laurel-Dawn Latshaw, “But when Michael and I got married, it was important for us to make our own home together.” Finding that home would prove easier than expected, despite the couple’s long list of wants: a new house with old-house charm in Homewood, a basement, a garage, alley access, and within walking distance to schools and shops.
Out for a drive one day, Laurel-Dawn passed an empty lot on a leafy corner. She knew her friend (and architect) Jared Bussey was working with Twin Construction on plans for the property, so she gave him a ring and asked to see the design. “The list of items we were looking for were all there,” she says. “We knew that wouldn’t likely happen again.”
Laurel-Dawn began working with Jared and Twin Construction’s interior designer, Danielle Robin, to tweak the home into what she and Michael had envisioned, “I had been saving inspiration ideas for as long as I can remember, but since this was supposed to be a spec home, Danielle had already been coming up with design concepts,” says Laurel-Dawn. “It was funny to see how similar our visions were. We only made a few changes so that the home fit our specific needs.”
Then came the need to factor in Michael’s aesthetic into the interiors scheme, which could have proved frustrating for a creative like Laurel-Dawn. Instead, she welcomed her husband’s input. “He loves hidden rooms and charming spaces, so we incorporated his ideas. One of his favorites is the wall in the kitchen that has a secret door,” she says.
Like a yin to a yang, Laurel-Dawn’s talents with color, painting, arranging, and sewing complemented Michael’s penchant for small cozy rooms, a voluminous library of To Kill a Mockingbird editions, and Native American art. According to Laurel-Dawn, the duality actually created a more dynamic and interesting look that perfectly reflects both of them.
Tip: Laurel-Dawn prefers vintage, gilt frames to display her photos and artwork. “They are a little wonky and chippy but have a lot of character,” she says.
Forging Your Own Design Path
Laurel-Dawn follows her instincts when it comes to decorating.
Find a way: Laurel-Dawn loves the large, mural floral patterns popping up all over Instagram these days, but she didn’t want to spend the money for fabric for draperies in her bedroom. Instead, this determined and clever seamstress purchased a chinoiserie-printed duvet cover from Williams-Sonoma and sewed it into deliberately unmatched curtains and shades.
Get Nostalgic: Laurel-Dawn recalls childhood visits to her great-grandmother’s home in Madison, Wisconsin. “She had the most amazing style. I remember, even as a little girl, appreciating her furniture and wallpaper,” she says. “She had this incredible floor-to-ceiling collection of family photos going all the way up her stairwell. I loved to sit on those stairs with my sister staring at each photo every time we went to visit. I knew this was something that I wanted for my home—a place to stop and appreciate moments and people in our life.”
Make it Personal: Laurel-Dawn’s art collection is “mostly kid art and art that has a story—pieces that I painted for my husband while we were dating,” she says.
Builder and Interior Design: Wayne Smith (Construction Manager) and Danielle Robin (Interior Designer) of Twin Construction twincompanies.com • 205.802.3920 Architect: Jared Bussey, Architectural Cooperative, architecturalcooperative.net 205.533.3563 Landscape Design: McDaniel Land Designs mcdaniellanddesigns.com • 205.918.0190 Exterior Lighting: Brandino Brass, brandinobrass.com 205.978.8900 Windows: Holcomb Doors and Windows Appliances: AllSouth Appliance Group, allsouthappliance.net 205.942.0408 Plumbing Fixtures: Ferguson, fergusonshowrooms.com • 205.254.3454 Countertops: Surface 1, surface1.com 205.621.1125 Bathroom tile: Triton Stone, tritonstone.com •205.592.0202