Shades of Light

Tapping into French Quarter elegance and agrarian influences, this Tuscaloosa homeowner asked architects Paul Bates and Jeremy Corkern to design a simple, elegant home that was part modern, but filled with historical leanings. Though the owner’s descriptive sounds challenging, Jeremy says, “The house is as simple as it can get.” Atune to the desired aesthetic, the architects fashioned a home that Jeremy says is more or less two shotgun houses bridged by a central room. The floorplan wraps a courtyard, recreating the graceful settings found in many French Quarter homes.

Inspired by New Orleans row houses, Birmingham-based architects Paul Bates and Jeremy Corkern designed a home built on traditional Southern style for a Tuscaloosa client. Historical notions such as the painted brick walls combine with a contemporary floating staircase for a look that is completely modern yet rooted in the past.

Described by the architects as a thin house because the plan is only one-room deep, rooms are open and bright, glowing with an abundance of natural sunlight that filters in through the expansive walls of windows and French doors. “Fixed French doors and a series of transoms line most walls, ” says Jeremy. “And because the house is so narrow, every room has a view of the courtyard and receives natural light on two or three sides.” To maintain the open feel, the architects played to the homeowner’s desire for a floating staircase. “He wanted something a little more modern, and nobody wanted to block the view, ” Jeremy says.

- Sponsors -

In the dining room and throughout the main living spaces, the exposed brick walls add texture and evoke historical Southern style in a most modern way. Strategically placed lighting—sconces, chandeliers, floor lamps, and recessed overhead fixtures maintain the feeling that Paul and Jeremy describe as Suspended in Light—even after dark.

“On first impression, it’s hard not to notice that the house has a great feel to it. But, over time, what you really come to appreciate is how well the house functions. It is such a pleasant day to day retreat, yet it easily rises to any occasion.”


Architects and Interior Design: Paul Bates and Jeremy Corkern: BATES CORKERN STUDIO • 205.214.0123 •



dining room

artwork: ADELE SYPESTEYN • chandelier: KARLA KATZ & CO. • • 504.897.0061 mirror: ANTIQUES DE PROVENCE • • 504.529.4342 sideboard: ANTIQUES DE PROVENCE rug: BATES CORKERN STUDIO sconce: WILLIAM WORD FINE ANTIQUES • brown jugs: HENHOUSE ANTIQUES • 205.918.0505 • chairs: NIERMANN WEEKS• 19th century iron chairs: COLEFAX AND FOWLER ANTIQUES •

Dawn Neel

Get the best of Birmingham delivered to your inbox

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