When it comes to Alabama and Auburn, most fans view crimson and burnt orange in terms of black and white. There is no middle ground. Houses are divided and rivalries run as deep as the Black Warrior River. So what happened when die-hard Bama fans Julie and David Chadwick asked true-blood Auburn fan Libby Greene to help them with a game day house in Tuscaloosa? “I put the sport aside and focused on the design, ” Libby says. “I looked at it as a theme and a color palette—and as a house that I knew would be enjoyed by friends. That’s something anybody can appreciate.”
The Chadwicks actually credit their decorator’s AUdacity for finding the house. “We had always wanted to be on University Circle, ” David says of the historic neighborhood that enjoys a view of Bryant Denny Stadium. “Nothing was available at the time, so we considered settling on a house a little further away.” Libby, determined to help her clients, knocked door to door down the street of white clapboard and brick cottages. “Finally, someone said, ‘Maybe, ’” Libby explains. “And we made it happen.”
Once the house was purchased, Libby’s next task was the renovation. Built in 1912, the original home had a small footprint, and the Chadwicks wanted more room to entertain and host weekend guests. “To gain space we went up and back. The roof came off just before the Iron Bowl this time last year, ” Libby says. Despite Alabama’s 2014 win, Libby moved forward with gusto, determined to transform the cottage into a home both she and the Chadwicks would be proud of.
“Libby knows what we like, ” says Julie. “She’s worked with us on other projects and knew we wanted something pretty that showed our Alabama spirit without all the kitsch.”
Indeed there’s not one bobble head, hound’s-tooth hat, or Big Al replica in the house. Instead, the theme and colors run through in elegant crimson mohair pillows, silvery grey walls and fabrics, original oils by Birmingham artist Dirk Walker, and marble slabs veining gray and crimson.
“It’s the details that I obsess about, ” says Libby. Every decision was based on color, durability, and theme. Seeking AUthenticity, Libby unearthed a trove of vintage paraphernalia and souvenirs that pays homage to the history of Alabama football. Original pendants are framed in bedrooms, a collection of Alabama tribute magazines rests in a deep stack on the coffee table, and framed program covers make a striking display in the dining area. “I started collecting items as soon as they bought the house, ” Libby says. One of her favorite pieces—a black-and-white photo of an Alabama cheerleader—hangs in the powder room. Arceneaux Gallery framed the find and crafted a neat pocket on the back to accommodate the companion story.
Finished just in time for the 2015 season, the house has already seen plenty of weekend company. Two master bedrooms downstairs and two upstairs bedrooms welcome overnight guests. One upstairs bedroom features two queen beds, while the other has four custom full-size bunks complete with monogrammed pillows boasting team pride.
Asked if all this work turned Libby’s blood crimson, she laughs and emphatically says, “No!” Joking, she adds, “One day they might find the Auburn Tiger I’ve hidden in the house.”
Interiors: Libby Greene 205.807.2192 Builder: Chase Adcox / Adcox Construction, 205.223.2317 Landscape: Joe and Donna Tinsley / Tinco Landscape and Lawn Care • 1630 Plantation Road, Tuscaloosa, 205.752.1053; Framing: Arceneaux Gallery • 1830 29th Avenue South, 205.802.5800 arceneauxgallery.com; Dining table: The Nest • 2718 19th Place South, Homewood, 205.870.1264 Antique sheepbone dining chairs: Maison de France • 1304 8th Street, Leeds, 205.699.6330 Upholstery: Sugar and Spice Upholstery • 2806 19th Place South, Homewood, 205.870.4325 Custom paintings: Dirk Walker through Beverly McNeil Gallery • 605 28th Street South, 205.328.1761 beverlymcneilgallery.com; Stair runner, carpets: Hiltz Lauber 2838 18th Street South, 205.879.0039 hiltzlauber.com; End tables in living room: Lucy Smith Designs through Hiltz Lauber Living room ottoman, sofa, and swivel chairs: Circa Interiors and Antiques • 2831 Culver Road, 205.868.9199 circainteriors.com; Stair runner, carpets: antique rugs: Paige Albright Orientals • 2814 Petticoat Lane, 205.877.3232 paigealbrightorientals.com Monograms: Little Legacies • 2831 Linden Avenue, 205.879.7011 Hardware: Architectural Hardware Supply • 200 28th Street South, 205.910.4893 Cabinets: Bud’s Cabinets • 46425 US Highway 280, Sylacauga, 256.249.3716 Bathrooms: Finishes and fixtures (formerly kenny & co.) 2500 2nd Avenue South, 205.323.5616 Kitchen backsplash and slab: Triton Stone • 4500 5th Avenue South, 205.592.0202 Walls: Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore benjaminmoore.com