Finishing the Job

Huntsville designer Kelly Butler returns to a favorite project to finish phase two of this light and lively family home.

A decorating project doesn’t always happen at once. Sometimes clients prefer to take on one room or one section of a home at a time. Such was the case with Rebecca and Brad Bawcom, designer Kelly Butler’s Huntsville clients. “We started with just a few rooms six or seven years ago,” Kelly says. “We worked well together, so it’s always nice to have people who come back for the next phase.”

This round, Kelly and the Bawcoms continued the project by extending the scope to the living room, entry hall, a new outdoor room, and some bedrooms and baths in the color scheme they adored. “Rebecca loves blues, and so do I,” Kelly says. “We found a couple of fabrics we both loved, and I pulled the rest together from there.” In addition, Kelly and her client focused on mixing in antiques such as the chest in the living room, something Kelly says adds warmth and a layered look that you can’t get when everything is brand new.

Living room
Photography by Jean Allsopp

Make Yourself at Home

“The living room originally had two sets of French doors with half-moon transom windows,” Kelly says. “But my clients wanted to bring in more natural light and make the new screened-in porch addition more accessible.” To accomplish the request, the designer added a third set of French doors and replaced curved transoms with straight-edged windows for a crisper finish. A classic blue-and-white color scheme with pops of green and gold—as well as some French notes in the mirror and chandelier—creates a layered, cozy space that still feels sophisticated. The four pieces of abstract art are by Birmingham artist Cecily Lowe.  

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Hang it Up

In a niche just off the main living spaces, framed abstracts and landscapes hang above a dining-table-turned-writing-desk from Scott Antique Markets. “Some of the pieces were purchased on travels, and we filled in the blanks for others,” Kelly says. “The Bawcoms love art, so this was a perfect spot to do a gallery wall of collected pieces.” Playing to the color scheme in the art, Kelly updated an antique armchair with Schumacher’s Lotus Garden. She used the pricier fabric on the back and covered the front in a blue velvet performance fabric for durability and longevity. On the desk, a trio of blue-and-white Chinoiserie ginger jars corral around a Bird’s Nest fern. A pair of sculptural lamps flank the vignette.


Make An Entry

Kelly refreshed the entry hall walls with a fresh coat of paint (Healing Aloe by Benjamin Moore) to tie into the blue schemes throughout the house. She polished up the trim with a crisp coat of white. A new ceiling fixture (Visual Comfort) is perfectly aligned with an antique barley twist gateleg table, a piece that offers plenty of room for display while allowing easy passage between rooms. On the floor, Kelly layered a smaller vintage rug atop a sisal to add depth and ground the space.

Covered porch
Covered porch

Behind the Screen

No Southern home is complete without an outdoor living area. The Bawcoms finally took the plunge and added a screened outdoor room outfitted with a kitchen, seating area, and dining space. “Rebecca and Brad love to cook and entertain,” says Kelly. “This porch is easily accessible from their indoor kitchen and offers plenty of room for prep and storage.” Seating from Southern Home helps the space feel more like an extension of the interiors, while heaters in the ceiling make it usable year-round. Sconces over the grilling area are by Hudson Valley Lighting. The beaded board ceiling is painted Woodlawn Blue by Benjamin Moore.


Total Refresher: Bed and Bath

Sometimes, all a space needs for an update is new finishes. “We kept the same basic layout in this bathroom but introduced marble countertops, new tile floors, polished nickel plumbing, and brass sconces,” Kelly says. “We used a favorite Schumacher fabric on the window (Acanthus Stripe) and pulled a soft blue color from the fabric for the ceiling.” The bedroom transformation resulted in a soothing space with varying shades of taupes, blues, and whites. An upholstered headboard in a linen fabric adds softness.

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