Bold & Beautiful

When pairing a skirt and sweater or piecing together chairs, rugs, and lighting,  a sense of style gives things distinctive sparkle. Interior designer Lisa Flake has such a sense of style and has put it to use in both her wardrobe and her home.

“I like color, and I like an edge, ” Lisa says. “That’s with my clothes as much as my interiors.”

That creative flair and unexpected approach to furnishings is showcased in her family’s Mountain Brook home. Built a decade ago in a European style, the house embodies a design indicative of the owners’ inventive temperament in fitting a right-sized home on a typical, compact Crestline lot.

“We jokingly call it an Italianate shotgun, ” Lisa says. “But it’s actually a great floor plan.”

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The Flakes’ open living space was designed to bring in maximum natural light, which bounces off white walls and creates a bright, uplifting atmosphere. The neutral backdrop allows a riot of color in the accessories, including blue Moroccan vases on the dining table, vibrant Missoni pillows, Czech art glass on the demilune table, a large abstract painting by Atlanta artist Cynthia Knapp, and even the selection of books on the coffee table. Ebony-stained hardwood floors provide a dramatic grounding for the light-filled room. 

The home is not palatial in size, so Lisa has worked to get the best use of every of inch. The result showcases how unconventional thinking can open up greater possibilities for creating attractive, comfortable living areas.

With Lisa’s imaginative rethinking of the traditional layout, she combined the home’s entrance hall, living room, and dining room to make better use of seldom-used rooms. Now this retooled area sees a lot of more of the family. “I did it out of a need for space, but I have enjoyed it because we use it so much more, ” she says.

Defying all convention, Lisa went white for her central living area. Not only does the lightness increase the feeling of spaciousness, it sets off the splashes of color she has expertly daubed throughout. And the room maintains balance with ebony-stained hardwood floors that give depth to the airy space.

For a fashionista, a fabulous accessory can be the theme that inspires an outfit or even an entire wardrobe. In Lisa’s new family room, that essential accessory was a pair of blue Moroccan vases. “I wanted to build the room around those two vases, ” she says. “The vases look better with a white background. I wanted a ton of white, and then I elaborated on that beautiful blue.”

In the midst of the white backdrop is a panoply of color—blue, of course, but also green, purple, red, brown,  black, and shades in between. The light-as-air setting allows a variety of elements, too, without overwhelming the room. Just as the glint of precious metals dresses up an outfit, silver and gold metallics add richness to the decor. “I love mixed metals, gold and silver together, ” Lisa says. With her out-of-the-box thinking, she added metallic accents in unexpected places, such as lampshades.

Deftly blending art and antiques, color and texture, the designer has created a comfortable family home with a European feel—and just the right measure of fashion-forward edge.


ABOVE LEFT A “den” section of the open area is more casually dressed but still has plenty of verve. Lisa says the long, soft white leather sofa is where the family lives. A pop of purple enlivens the black-and-white Verellen chair, and the deep mahogany color of the scrolled coffee table provides a bit of depth in the airy room. The brass horn, a favorite piece, adds a metallic glint, echoed in the gold lampshade. For added warmth, Lisa draped the walls with light linen.

ABOVE RIGHT Lisa’s attention to color extends to her built-in bookcases. Books are grouped by color of the spine for maximum impact. The hues are repeated in accessories throughout the room, including a bright green pillow on a Lee Industries armchair covered in durable Sunbrella fabric. The jewelry accent is easy to find here—a pair of assertive gold-tone sconces over the mantel.

ABOVE The master bedroom continues the home’s white theme, but with greater swathes of color, primarily in lime-green drapes and an antique Oushak rug. Contrasting pillows, with hues ranging from light orange to deep rose, were crafted using fabric from a Trina Turk dress.


ABOVE LEFT In the master bath, metallic lime Shand Kydd wallpaper offers a refreshing twist to a traditionally-elegant pattern. A painting by Mobile artist Ashley Terrell continues the relaxed mood. Cosmopolitan luxury is underfoot with a vintage Moroccan wedding blanket from Paige Albright Orientals.

ABOVE RIGHT Showcasing a mix of styles, an antique demilune bar, inherited from Lisa’s great-grandmother, sets off modern artwork by artist Bonnie Fuchs. Lamps fashioned from classically-styled busts are topped with sleek, silver metallic shades.


ABOVE LEFT A recent redo to 11-year-old Caldwell’s room uses hot pink and black for a grown-up interpretation of “pretty in pink, ” a palette that “fits her personality, ” Lisa says. 

ABOVE RIGHT Lisa who says she’s “very into clothes, ” spends enough time in her closet that she thought it deserved its own décor, choosing a fun wallpaper. Here she displays her signature accessory, cuff bracelets against a background of fun wallpaper. “I am obsessed with cuffs, ” she admits.


Decorator: Lisa Caldwell Flake, Caldwell Flake Interiors, 205.222.9139
Den: Rug: Hiltz-Lauber, 2838 18th Street South • 205.879.0039; Chairs: Circa Interiors & Antiques 2831 Culver Road • 205.868.9199; Lamps and Chest: Atmosphere Home Essentials,
Living Room: Mirror: Village Framers, 2847 Culver Road • 205.871.6221; Hide Rug: Paige Albright Orientals, 2814 Petticoat Lane •; Sofas: Circa Interiors & Antiques, 2831 Culver Road • 205.868.9199
Master Bedroom: Painting: artist Carolyn Goldsmith •; Stools: Richard Tubb Interiors, 2829 2nd Avenue South • 205.324.7613
Master Bath: Painting and Throw: Paige Albright Orientals, 2814 Petticoat Lane •; Tile: Crossville, Inc. •

text by Lucy Merrill • photography by Jean Allsopp

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