The Architects: Carey Hollingsworth

Carey Hollingsworth has been designing homes in Birmingham for more than 20 years. Currently, he’s the president of the Birmingham chapter of AIA. The reason he loves his work? “A client’s genuine appreciation of a job well done inspires me to keep at it, ” he says.

On style: People tell me that they can recognize my “style”, but I don’t see it. Mostly I try to help the design express the style of the owners while fitting into the context of the neighborhood. Many of my clients are young upwardly mobile professionals with growing families. For them I think it is especially important to consider resale potential when designing a new home or renovation so that the house will appeal to a broad market when it comes time to make a change. It is extremely satisfying to me when a former client tells me how much they enjoyed living in a house I designed and that they made a pot full of money when they sold it!

Designing for yourself: Most architects dream of designing their own home. I was fortunate to be able to do that over 20 years ago as the building boom was just getting underway. It is a great feeling to live in a space of your own creation. Other than that, I have really enjoyed designing a a couple of country lodges  using vintage wood.

Favorite project ever: A three-story addition that consisted of a garage with a two story man cave above. In the man cave, the loft and vaulted ceiling is supported by four massive cypress trunks, and the fireplace is centered on a single eleven foot long moss rock mantel. We composed the fireplace and hearth on site, piece by piece.

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Pencil and paper: I am definitely old school when it comes to drawing. All of my designing is done freehand and presented as sketches. We use autocad to produce construction plans, but I draw the elevations and most of the details drafting with pencil on vellum paper.

On trends: Architecture is definitely moving in a more sustainable direction. Energy conservation and the use of recycled and repurposed materials is becoming more the norm than the exception. Traditional, or rustic style structure complemented by the use of contemporary or whimsical furnishings and accents remains popular. Many homes are now designed with entertaining in mind, as well as the ever increasing use of technology to control audio visuals and building systems.

On downtown: I do very little commercial work, but I enjoy seeing the increase in urban living and the many multi-family projects that are underway. I amazed almost daily at the resurgence of urban living and the development of associated entertainment areas. Frankly, I didn’t see it happening as fast as it is. Sometimes it is nice to be wrong!

Dream project: I really enjoy designing outdoor spaces— screened porches, and things like that. They are small and I don’t make much money from them but they sure are fun. My dream project would be for a client with lots of patience and an unlimited budget. I doubt I will ever see that one!

On service: All professionals should do what they can to serve their community and those less fortunate. Our AIA chapter has several programs we use to introduce children to the profession. It is our hope that we can foster an interest and appreciation of architecture in these kids that might influence them to pursue an education that could prepare them to for a career in a design or construction related field. Our Birmingham Architectural Foundation offers scholarships that can be helpful with the cost of higher education.

What’s Your…

Favorite lunch? I will eat almost anywhere I see smoke. Bar-B-Que is my basic food group.

Favorite vacation? I recently spent a week in Montana with my two boys who are expert fly fishermen. You still can’t wipe the smile from my face. We floated several rivers and actually caught some fish.

Hobby? For years, my favorite hobby has been hunting and fishing with my boys. Now that they are grown I don’t go as much as I would like. When I do go, I usually just end up taking a nice nap in the woods. 


Carey Hollingsworth Architect, Inc.,  Carey F. Hollingsworth, III    
Email: [email protected] 
Phone: 205.907.3711

Produced by Cathy Still McGowin • photography by Art Meripol

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