Architectural designers Richard and Lynielle Long create a new home in Auburn that references European traditions and brims with antiques.
When a custom home builder and his wife decided to build a new home in Auburn, Alabama, their shared love of English architecture drove the design, though not strictly bound by any one period or place. “I love that you can’t tell exactly when the house was built. It could be 100 years old or 20,” says architectural designer Lynielle Long. Her husband and fellow designer Richard Long adds, “This house would be just as comfortable in England or France as it is in Auburn.”
In addition to bringing the European look to life, the Longs were tasked with fashioning a house large enough for their clients and their four children that would not feel imposing. But because they asked for a bedroom suite for each of their children on the second floor, it dictated a large footprint.
Employing architectural sleight-of-hand, the Longs divided the large garage into two separate structures, so as to minimize its visual impact on the main house. “It also gave us the opportunity to build the porte cochere,” Richard says.
Salvaged brick from South Alabama Brick Company lends the exterior a softer aspect than new brick while also adding a timeless patina to the house. Enclosed courtyards become outdoor living spaces with a sense of privacy. In an architectural flourish, an oval oeil-de-boeuf window (also called an ox-eye window) near the front door references the French architectural tradition of tucking a circular or oval window in a dormer for a bit of ooh-la-la. “It was a way to bring whimsey and charm near the front doors,” says Richard.
To keep the roofline from feeling enormous, the Longs worked to make it appear one-room deep. “The overhangs of the hipped roof and cedar shake relax the impact of the house,” Richard says. “It’s a humble approach for a two-story house.”
Inside, the designers used paneling to add polish. Pecky cypress in the living room, shiplap in the bedroom, and painted paneling in the bath have powerful impact. The wife handled the decorating and wielded a confident hand in using bold color. In the living room, a pair of Charles Stewart sofas covered in a teal Pindler fabric command attention.
The kitchen checks all the boxes for a modern, high-end design. Sunny and bright with loads of counter space and jewelry-quality hardware, the space gets the job done in the daytime and glows at night. An adjacent eating area with a built-in banquette and wall of windows epitomizes functional luxury. Performance fabrics and an antique dining table team up for an elevated family dining experience.
In the primary bedroom, a tufted headboard and trumeau mirrors bring European flair to a serenely soft scheme of ivory and white fabrics, sourced through King Cotton and punctuated by the patina of antiques. “I grew up antiquing with my parents,” says the wife. “Some of my favorite places to shop are Henhouse Antiques, Hannah Antiques, Lolo Antiques, and Tricia’s Treasures. I look for quality pieces but try not to get hung up on provenance. It’s fun to mix high and low.” Scott Antique Markets in Atlanta and Round Top market in Carmine, Texas, are also favorite hunting grounds.
“With my husband being a custom home builder, we moved often early in our marriage,” says the wife. “This house was a place to settle and grow roots in, as well as a place to raise our four children. I’m not going to say it’s our forever home but hopefully it’s one that we will make many more memories in over the years.”