Living Inspired

Fearless when it comes to mixing color, pattern, and fabulously quirky finds, designer Virginia Volman knows how to layer it in and pile it on to create a balance that’s just right.

Virginia designed the bar and conversation lounge around the pink and burgandy-veined marble-topped buffet. Her carpenter built the cabinets on each side to fit perfectly next to the antique. Formerly the dining room, this space is now used by Virginia and her husband, Marc, to relax and entertain. “My husband is an amateur mixologist,” she says. “We love collecting all the little accoutrements that go along with a bar. It’s fun to look at, and it’s a nice way to welcome guests.” Photos by Jean Allsopp

If you even think you found a deal on any of Birmingham’s trading sites, you better snag it before designer Virginia Volman sees it. With an eye for “potential” and “possibilities,” Virginia isn’t timid about clicking the “interested” button. Most everything in her mélange has been upcycled, re-covered, or reinvented in some way to create a custom look that is at once fresh and familiar. “A home is meant to be lived in, not looked at,” Virginia says. “If it looks good in a photo, that’s great—but it’s even better when people feel at home.”

Virginia Volman Talks Fabulous Finds

When designing a room, Virginia begins with a base layer. “This usually includes your initial investment pieces, the bones of the room,” she says. In her dining room, it’s the brown furniture. Once that’s in place, she adds a secondary layer of wallpaper, lighting, and architectural accents, such as the chair rail. Finishing touches include art, colorful accessories, and finally, flowers and live plants. “Even after the layers are in, I’m constantly editing,” Virginia says. “If I don’t feel a tie to something or I don’t enjoy using it, I will find someone who will.”

“I love supporting local businesses and local artists,” Virginia says. “When I buy something, I want to see it, sit on it, and try it out. You can’t do that when you order something from a website. Plus, many of the local merchants will let you try something in your own home before you actually buy it. And the service is so much better when you shop local.”

“Life isn’t perfect. When things do wear and tear, consider it the patina of a life enjoyed,” Virginia says. “I don’t spend crazy amounts on fabrics, and I usually opt for the five- to seven-year sofa—especially when buying for families with kids and pets.”

- Sponsors -
Virginia shares her home with her husband, five children, three rescue dogs, and a cat (the chickens stay outside). An enthusiastic entertainer, she converted her home’s designated formal living room into her dining room and the former dining area into a bar and conversation lounge. “I like to create places where you can sit and linger,” she says. Mismatched antique chairs pull up to the Craig’s List dining table. Garage-sale finds, the wing chairs were picked up for $70 (for the pair). “When something doesn’t cost much, I don’t mind spending the money on fabric and labor,” Virginia says.

Virginia Volman Designs: [email protected], IG: Virginia Volman

Get the best of Birmingham delivered to your inbox

Stunning local homes, inspiring before & after projects, southern-style recipes, entertaining ideas and more!