Modern Makeover

With numerous antique family heirlooms but also a flair for all things modern, one family found a happy medium by mixing in transitional pieces with bold, daring style.

Photos by Sarah Arrington

When Liz Pharo and her husband, Andrew, stumbled upon what is now their Crestline home, Liz immediately knew that with a few renovations it would be the right fit for their recently expanded family.

But with the new space came another much-needed change: fun, bold décor. “I was so tired of how our previous home was decorated, ” she explains. “It was dark, drab, and traditional. I really wanted something different and modern that fit more with my personality.”

Craving color—but not willing to part with treasured family heirlooms—Liz sought help from Annie Goldberg and Ginny Maguire of AG Designs for a whole-home transformation that resulted in a fun but functional dwelling to reflect Liz’s bold style.

“They nailed it, ” she says. “Our home is now energetic, colorful, and alive. When friends and family walk in the door, they say it feels like me.”

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In Living Color

Liz wanted the option of using the den as a family room, so Annie and Ginny kept the atmosphere fun instead of formal with a wall of eclectic artwork that Liz and Andrew had collected over the years. The collection features a number of unique pieces, including a velvet Elvis portrait Andrew purchased at a yard sale years ago, a giant pink donut indicating the family’s love of The Simpsons television show, and a Widespread Panic painting by Frenchy that the couple received as a wedding present. “Our artwork collection is so ridiculous that it’s actually quite endearing, ” Liz says with a laugh.

Dramatic Effect

The original layout included a galley kitchen, but Liz had her hopes set on an island. To make room, a wall was moved back (taking some footage from the oversized den) allowing for extra kitchen space. To create a clean, sophisticated look, Annie and Ginny chose black cabinets and Olympia white marble countertops and backsplash. Small uses of color were brought in with the red chairs and a hand-blown red Murano glass chandelier. Notice the red cords on the pendant lighting. The banquette, covered in a textured silver vinyl will withstand the wear and tear of the couple’s four children.

Bold and Beautiful

Annie and Ginny chose to make a strong statement in the formal living room with a navy lacquer wall covering. “Since this is a room they aren’t in every day, we felt we could go really bold, ” Ginny explains. The crown molding was painted a matching shade of navy to make it an extension of the wall and accentuate the ceiling height.

To create an eclectic feel, Annie and Ginny brought in a neutral coffee table and a Moroccan-inspired light fixture to use with many of the family’s existing pieces. The red secretary, an antique that has been in Andrew’s family for years, provides the perfect pop of color against the navy walls. The formal portrait that hangs above is actually a portrait of Andrew’s father, Ernest, which was painted by renowned artist Doug Davies. Annie and Ginny had the family’s sofa and chairs reupholstered in fun patterns and added in another print with the draperies. “There are a lot of patterns, but it just works, ” Annie says. “If we kept the furniture in solid colors, the room would be boring. This gives the space personality.”

The Wow Factor

Annie and Ginny treated the stand-alone powder bath as an opportunity to add drama with walls and ceiling covered in a black-and-white-stripe wallpaper. Since one wall of the bathroom includes a tub/shower combination, the designers had a shower curtain custom-made with black-and-white stripes of the same width as the wallpaper to act as an extension of the wall covering. “We wanted to create a feeling of the stripes just wrapping around you from every angle, ” Annie says. The designers finished up the look with a brass frame mirror and then mimicked its bubbles with the drum shade on the light fixture.

Modern Elegance

To make the master bedroom serene and inviting, Annie and Ginny kept the palette mainly neutral with pale walls, an ivory upholstered headboard, and shades of gray in the rug and draperies. The calm colors let the bright emerald-green bedding grab the eye’s attention.

Making it Personal

Since the dining room would contain many of Liz’s family heirlooms—the china cabinet, chairs, and chest of drawers were all gifts from her father—Annie and Ginny knew the room would need something to help lighten up the look of so much dark furniture. To do so, they kept the walls neutral and reupholstered the chairs in an ivory fabric. They also covered the ceiling with a hand-painted silver-leaf wallpaper. “It’s a subtle feature, but one that really creates some drama, ” says Annie.

Grown-up Getaway

During the renovation, Annie and Ginny had a sitting room created for Andrew and Liz out of an unused room that shared a wall with the master bedroom. “With four kids under the age of eight, this couple needs a little escape just for them, ” Ginny says. “The only way in and out of this room is through their bedroom, so it’s a perfect little area for just Andrew and Liz.”

To give the room the appeal of a den/study, Annie and Ginny kept the feel masculine with a stained wood veneer wall covering, wooden wall art, and dark draperies and upholstery. A U-shaped sectional sofa offers plenty of comfortable space for reading or watching television.

All in the Details

The elegant design of the master bedroom carries into the master closet with a gold floral ceiling and gold sunburst light fixture.

Meet AG Designs

Annie Bayer Goldberg and Ginny Monheit Maguire grew up together in Birmingham and shared a love for interior design. While they each pursued their own paths that took them out of state after graduating high school, they both found their way back to the Magic City in 2010. Last year, they merged their two areas of expertise to launch AG Designs. “We specialize in creating interiors that are unique and personal to each individual client, ” Annie says. “We really pride ourselves on making sure every home we design reflects the people living in it.”

Annie and Ginny’s appreciation for all sorts of styles, as well as their ability to create fresh, elegant, and livable interiors that suit each client’s individual taste, is partly because each designer brings a different style to the process. “Personally, Annie’s style is elegant, sophisticated, French country with a flare, while mine is more contemporary, eclectic, and colorful, ” says Ginny. “But that’s part of how we complement one another. We have taught each other to appreciate all aspects of design.”

Interior design:
AG Designs • 205.937.2107 (Annie) or 205.215.6250 (Ginny). [email protected], [email protected]; Builder: Franks Building Company • 205.966.6917; Wall coverings: available through AG Designs Den: brass base chairs: Jonathan Adler through AG Designs Dark gray velvet chairs: Defining Home • 1916 28th Avenue South,  205.803.3662; Sofa: Circa Interiors • 2831 Culver Road,  205.868.9199. Deer sculpture: Artist Merrilee Challiss  205.370.6967. Dining room: chandelier: Restoration Hardware Rug: through AG Designs Master bedroom: chandeliers: Argent Antiques • 2949 18th Street South,  205.871.4221 End tables: AG Designs Bedding: AG Designs Headboard: through AG Designs rug: Calypso St. Barth Home  225 Summit Boulevard,  205.262.2996. Drapery: custom AG Designs Kitchen: cabinets: custom by AG Designs Pendant lights: through AG Designs Hardware: Brandino Brass • 2824 Central Avenue,  205.978.8900 Appliances: AllSouth Appliance • 4 West Oxmoor Road, 205.942.0408 Breakfast table: custom from Seibels • 2927 18th Street South,  205.879.3558 Powder bath: mirror: custom AG Designs Sitting room: pillows: custom AG Designs Drapery: custom AG Designs Sofa: Defining Home Coffee table: West Elm Formal living room: drapery: custom AG Designs Upholstery: custom, AG Designs Coffee table: through AG Designs

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