Sophisticated Elegance

When Marci Grant was ready to decorate her 4, 200-square-foot Mountain Brook Tudor, she knew exactly what she wanted—a neutral palette, lots of textures, and plenty of antiques. Luckily, she also knew exactly who to call: her good friend—and boss—Jenny Garrison of Thomas and Garrison Designs. “One aspect I love so much about Jenny’s work is that none of the homes she designs look the same. She puts so much thought and effort into making them reflect the homeowners, ” says Marci. “So I knew I could give her a few ideas of what I really liked and she could take it from there and make my vision come to life.”

When Marci and family first moved into the home three years ago, Marci actually started working with another interior designer, Beth McMillan, to begin the design process. “I absolutely loved what she did, ” Marci explains. “But before we could finish, I ended up taking a hiatus from decorating for a while. In the meantime, I also started working for Jenny. So when I was ready to get everything complete, it was just natural for me to turn to her.”

From neighbors to friends to coworkers, Marci and Jenny have a long history. Because of that, Marci (seated) knew that Jenny could create the effortless elegance she desired while keeping it practical for her active family of four.

With a few core pieces already taken care of, Jenny began translating Marci’s vision into reality. To make it happen, she paid particular attention to the details. “Those details are what made everything just come to life, ” Marci says. “They were small but made things a little more unique.”

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Some of the details Jenny added were chosen according to the numerous textures that had been incorporated into the home’s original design. “We wanted to get a variety of woods in the construction to bring in those textures, but we had to be careful about having too many different wood colors, ” explains architect Brian Jernigan, who worked with the Grants on the plans. “So we put a faux finish wash on many of the surfaces to create all the different textures that blend together well.”

In the master bedroom—where Marci maintained she wanted no patterns or prints—Jenny brought in a variety of textures and pops of color to create an elegant, pared-down look. “We used a mixture of fabrics, such as velvet, wool, and leather, on the custom bedding, all while keeping a more sophisticated palette, ” Jenny explains. “We also knew we wanted to incorporate navy, so we looked for a color to pop against that navy. The turquoise worked perfectly.”

Jenny did manage to persuade Marci to incorporate a pattern in the dining room with Schumacher linen upholstered walls—a detail that turned out to be one of Marci’s favorites. “I was determined to keep it all solids, but Jenny was so good about getting me outside of my comfort zone when I really needed to be, ” Marci says. “And, of course, it turned out to be amazing. This is now one of my favorite rooms in the entire house.”

Another detail Jenny worked into the décor of the dining room is original artwork. “I love to bring in things that have a history, such as an art collection or a sculpture, ” Jenny explains. “It increases the warmth of the home in a way that can’t be duplicated by getting a new sofa or bringing in a new table.” So when Marci was searching for a piece of art to hang in the dining room, Jenny suggested having the piece commissioned. “She knew that would make the piece more special to us, ” Marci says.

Marci and Jenny worked with local artist Meredith Keith to create a portrait of a church in the Scottish town where Marci’s husband, Douglas, grew up. “To make it even more special, she creatively ‘hid’ other items in the painting for the rest of the family, including a crown for my daughter, Mary Campbell, and my son Will’s favorite Scottish flag, ” Marci explains.

The end result of Jenny and Marci’s collaboration is an elegant, yet family friendly home that’s perfect for the Grants’ everyday use, as well as for hosting parties for 100. “The home has a great mixture of antiques with a sophisticated, modern edge, ” Jenny says. “But just as importantly, all of the details reflect the personality of the family and tell their story, not mine.”


ABOVE Instead of a traditional wreath, Jenny went for a more unique front door adornment with a grapevine floral cone wrapped in white birch bark and moss.


ABOVE LEFT In the front hall of the home, numerous textures are incorporated as Marci originally requested, including the pecky cypress walls, iron railing, and cowhide rug. For the holidays, fresh garland, tussy mussies filled with flowers, and pinecones add a rustic touch. 

ABOVE RIGHT The banquette’s zinc top table serves as a favorite gathering place for the Grant family and the children’s friends. “We knew it would really be put to a lot of use, so we wanted something that could take a beating but still look great, ” Jenny says. 

ABOVE Jenny brought in a variety of textures and pops of color to create an elegant, pared-down look in the master bedroom.


“I love to bring in things that have a history, such as an art collection or a sculpture. It increases the warmth of the home in a way that can’t be duplicated by simply getting a new sofa or table.” — Jenny Garrison


Interior Design: Jenny Garrison, Thomas & Garrison Designs • 205.936.7385
Residential Design: Brian Jernigan 205.877.3831  
Foyer: Antlers: Scott Antique Market •; White Cowhide Rug: Paige Albright Orientals, 2814 Petticoat Lane • 205.877.3232; Pillow: Too, Unique Pillow Accents; Settee Fabric: Lee Jofa; Birch Paper and Ribbon: Leaf and Petal, 2817 Cahaba Road • 205.871.3832; Antique urn container: Village Firefly, 2816 Culver Road • 205.870.4560; Zinc-top table: Thomas & Garrison Designs 205.936.7385 White hide-on hair with acid burnout pillow and linen pillow: Suite Dreams, 2409 Montevallo Road • 205.414.1922; Purple lumbar pillow: Too, Unique Pillow Accents Upholstered walls: Chivasso; Window Treatments and Rods: Thomas & Garrison Designs; Painting: Meredith Keith • Custom table: Lucy Smith, Oxford, AL • 205.202.0922; Concrete tabletop: Scott Antique Market
Bedroom: Custom Iron Bed: Thomas & Garrison Designs; Acrylic Table: Scott Antique Market; Bedside Tables: Lucy Smith; Rug: Hiltz-Lauber, 2838 18th Street S • 205.879.0039

text by Paige Townley • photography by Beth Hontzas

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