Serene Retreat


Architect Gary Justiss may live in Chelsea, Alabama, but he’s more likely to be found on Florida’s Highway 30A. While the beach crowd keeps him busy with second home designs along the coast, he embraced the opportunity to design a Birmingham home for clients Anne and Henry Strickland. Seeking a livable home that evoked character but offered modern amenities, the couple opted to build in Highland Crescent, a small lot line, new-home neighborhood in Southside. 

Cueing the historic homes nearby, Gary designed a house just large enough for entertaining yet small enough for two people to live comfortably. The master suite offers views of Caldwell Park, while the adjoining bath recalls an old-fashioned sleeping porch with its bay of windows and horizontal wood siding. The end result gave the Stricklands all the traditional charm they asked for—rusty, leaky pipes not included. 


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1. Historic Charm – Nodding to old-fashioned sleeping porches, Gary designed a bank of windows above the chair rail behind the tub. The freestanding Victoria + Albert tub, framed by an arched opening, recalls early 19th-century character.

2. Glamorous Reflections – Contemporary and traditional light fixtures add shimmer against silvery gray walls. Mirror-framed mirrors, glass sinks, and chrome fixtures add even more shine.

3. Modern + Classic – The bedroom and bath showcase both traditional and contemporary items. A soothing color palette and restrained use of pattern keep the look clean and fresh.

4. Thoughtful Details – Details on the built-in cabinets, in addition to hand-carved legs on the vanity, give the look of custom-made furniture. A mix of metal and crystal hardware from Brandino Brass adds interest.

5. Custom Mix – Pairing a custom-designed upholstered headboard with side tables, chandeliers, and mirrors from Restoration Hardware lends individuality to store-bought pieces. 

Architect: Gary Justiss Interiors: Anne Strickland Contractor: Jake Schillaci / Shield Properties • 205.563.0335 Bathroom: countertops: Alabama Marble from Triton Stone • 205.592.0202 countertop fabrication: Premier Surfaces • 205.664.1440 vanity: Bud’s Cabinets  256.249.3716 fixtures (sinks, bath): Ferguson • 205.254.3454 mirrors and sconces: Restoration Hardware floor tile: Emser Tile • 205.945.1500 crystal light fixtures: Dale Tiffany Collection from lighting New York hardware: Brandino Brass • 205.978.8900 Bedroom: headboard: Robert Allen fabric from King Cotton • 205.322.5878 accent pillows: Z Gallerie bedskirt: Bella Notte Linens Rug: West Elm

Photography by Jean Allsopp

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Jean Allsopp Photography

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