This house was like nothing we had seen before in Birmingham—it had great bones and lots of custom accents, and we knew we could put our touch on it to make it work us,” says Melissa Colvin, who along with her husband, Whit, fell head-over-heels for the modern Brookwood Forest home from the first moment they saw it. Designed by Israel & Associates and inspired by the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the house offered lots of open space, lofty ceilings, a private lot, and too-many-to-count windows letting in an abundance of natural light. However, the 7,800-square-foot home also came with a lengthy list of updates needed to modernize its original 1988 design and create the sleek California look Melissa wanted.
To make it happen, the Colvins brought in two tried-and-true professionals-turned-friends—architect Brian Jernigan and interior designer Lisa Flake. Brian fashioned a better floor plan by moving around some doors. He also reconfigured the bathroom to create the ultimate master retreat. Lisa refreshed every room, opting for sleek white cabinets and a waterfall-edge island in the kitchen. For the décor, she chose varying shades of white, black, and earth tones to create continuity. Then she added interest with various fabrics and textures. “We achieved exactly what we wanted: a modern space that’s also welcoming and relaxing,” says Lisa. “It’s truly a showpiece.”
Mad for Modern
Want to create your own modern masterpiece? Designer Lisa Flake shares her style tips.
1) Choose furniture and accessories with simple lines and sculptural appeal. In the den, sling-back camel-colored cowhide chairs play off the chunky, custom cocktail table by Ben Bludsworth.
2) To keep a space from feeling cold, opt for warm undertones. Think honey-hued neutrals and warm grays in fabrics and finishes. Add in well-edited, personally meaningful art and accessories, such as the figure by local artist Catie Radney.
3) Maintain a consistent color scheme. White, black, and earth tones create drama and allow the black furniture and accessories to pop.
4) Consider scale. Because of the home’s soaring ceilings, abundance of windows, and open layout, we opted for heavy furniture to ground the rooms and then added interesting fixtures and bold artwork to draw the eye upward. The fireplace makeover in the great room helps delineate spaces thanks to its strong, architectural lines and black marble.
5) Add depth with texture and contrasts. In the den, an Italian 3D-surfaced tile creates interest above the fireplace. In the master bedroom, an antique desk chair and starburst mirror add just enough of a playful mix of styles.
Interior Design: Lisa Flake, Caldwell Flake Interiors, caldwellflake.com Remodel architect: Brian Jernigan, wmbrianjernigan.com Fireplace design: Gary Justiss, garyjustiss.com Fireplace insert: Southern Fireplaces, southernfireplaces.com Kitchen backsplash: Crossville Studios, crossvillestudios.com Kitchen barstools: Details, 205.870.8005. Rugs: Hiltz Lauber, hiltzlauber.com Wall color throughout house: Decorator’s White by Benjamin Moore, benjaminmoore.com Glass stair railing in entrance and mirrors in master: Birmingham Glass Works, birminghamglassworks.com Pool: Swimrite Pool Services, swimritenow.com, GreenGo Aquatics, greengoaquatics.net