Step Inside this 1970s Home Makeover in Vestavia Hills

A drab 1970s Vestavia Hills home becomes a showstopper thanks to the collaborative vision of Interior Designer Anne Turner Carroll and Residential Designer Richard Long.

Fresh paint, new windows and doors, and a crisp new color scheme make this room worthy of its vistas. For architectural interest, Richard Long added curved details to the kitchen’s formerly squared openings. Photography by Jean Allsopp.

“We absolutely love the location, but the house is only likable.” That’s the all-too-familiar quandary for many Birmingham families on a quest for their forever home, including these Vestavia Hills homeowners. “We had been living in the neighborhood for 15 years and didn’t want to give up our friends, the bike riding, or the walk to school,” says the wife. Luckily the couple was paying attention on one of those bike rides and saw the potential behind the overgrown shrubbery climbing this 1970s home. “The thought of renovating was a bit overwhelming, but we did like that the house backs up to the Vestavia Hills Country Club golf course,” the wife says.

In the den, Anne Turner Carroll skipped window treatments and instead painted the windows and muntins Benjamin Moore French Beret (1610). “If you had this view, you wouldn’t hang curtains either,” she says. 

Deciding to go for it, the couple made a call to their friend and interior designer Anne Turner Carroll. They also enlisted the expertise of residential designer Richard Long of Long and Long Design and builder Nikolaus Mimikakis. “Teamwork makes the dream work, and this was really the best team I’ve ever worked with,” says Anne Turner.

“The home’s architecture had a lot of character and charm,” Richard says. “We wanted to maintain the scale and as many of the Arts and Crafts details as we could. Our plans started with preserving those details while adding the modern amenities and efficiencies that people want today.”

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A bigger window, white cabinets, and new tile and countertops, along with an island to accomodate seating, allow the kitchen to feel and live larger.

Richard drafted a two-story, steeply-gabled addition to mimic the existing roofline on the front right exterior. Bringing symmetry to the design offered a more cohesive and updated look and allowed space for the new garage that the homeowners wanted. 

Inside, Richard reconfigured the floorplan to maximize living spaces. Rooms without much purpose were eliminated to allow for larger, hardworking areas such as the laundry and office. Newly widened halls welcome an abundance of natural light while discreet but amply-sized built-in closets and cabinets hide quietly between rooms and beside doorways. And when the team discovered the house had originally been framed for 9-foot ceilings, Richard elected to restore them to make the house seem bigger. 

Removing a partition that divided the living room and kitchen improved circulation.

For the interior scheme, Anne Turner made light-handed decorating choices. “It was really hard at first,” she says. “The husband likes minimal, modern designs while the wife prefers bright color. I was nervous about how to make it all work, but then I realized that the answer is exactly what I like myself—a neutral backdrop with a consistent pop of color and some black accents for contrast.” she says.

White bathroom walls allow punches of color and pattern to take center stage.

To start, Anne Turner painted everything a classic white (Benjamin Moore’s White Dove) and then threaded a blue theme throughout. Pops of teal, Tiffany blue, navy, and aqua appear in fabrics and fixtures. The color palette includes a range of dark and light hues in solid applications, as well as graphic prints and soft florals. “There’s also a liveable mix of modern and traditional, like the funky wallpaper paired with the wife’s grandmother’s chandelier,” says Anne Turner. “It’s a comfortable combination that allows the family to live beautifully and fully in all of the spaces.” 

In the master bedroom, the husband wanted to wake up feeling like he was at the beach. Anne Turner obliged with a raffia Oly Studio bed from Design Supply dressed in Matouk bedding with aqua accents from Suite Dreams.
Richard created a built-in cabinet in lieu of a traditional sideboard while Anne Turner selected a whimsical wallpaper from Quadrille.
Richard retained the home’s original eyebrow dormer and widened the front doorway by 6 inches while adding a second gable. A fresh gray-and-white palette (Sherwin Williams Grecian Ivory and Benjamin Moore Iron Mountain) gives it a 21st-century spin.
A sweep of bluestone pavers runs across the new patio on the back of the house and descends easily into the lawn.

Meet Anne Turner Carroll

An Auburn design school grad with a stellar resume, Anne Turner Carroll started her career in New York City working under industry heavy hitters like Diamond Barrata and Hable Construction. She later held positions at Cottage Living and Southern Living magazines. Now she’s the owner of ATC Interiors + Designs. 

Personal Style: Traditionalist with an edge. Warm, elegant, and elevated are the buzzwords running through my head when I’m scheming for clients. I try to avoid anything saccharine or trendy. You should invest in your home with timeless and elegant pieces.

Design Inspiration: Sounds cliché, but it’s travel, textiles, and photography. My mom, also a decorator, and I went on the went on a trip of a lifetime to Paris to celebrate her 70th and my 40th. The city is over flowing with design inspiration.

Dream Project: Whether I’m working on new construction or a renovation, my dream is simple: I want to work with a client that trusts me to create a beautiful, functional home that exceeds their expectations.

Residential designer: Richard Long, Long & Long Design, Interior designer: Anne Turner Carroll, ATC Interiors + Design, Builder: Nikolaus Mimikakis, Mimikakis Construction, Landscape design: Peter Falkner, Falkner Gardens, Art in entry hall: Carrie Carlton through Design Supply, Green botanical photograph in living room: David Hillegas, Art above mantel in den: McKenzie Dove through Gallery 1930, Most light fixtures: Fixtures & Finishes, Den upholstery and floor lamp, dining table and chairs, living room sofa and chairs: Design Supply Den chairs: Lee Industries, Most rugs: Billy Brown Flooring, Living room accent rug: Nashville Rug Gallery, Hardware: Brandino Brass, Living room pillows and kitchen stool fabric: Heather Chadduck Textiles, Custom kitchen cabinets: Southern Grain Woodworks,

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