Traditional with a Twist

Traditional style gets tweaked with graphic prints and boosts of color in this Mountain Brook home. A bold and bright holiday scheme further accentuates the sophisticated interiors.

Photos by Jean Allsopp

Anyone familiar with designer Lisa Flake knows she has a bolder-is-always-better philosophy when it comes to interiors. So when friends Mary Beth and Rob Howland purchased their 6,800-square-foot Shook Hill Circle home, Mary Beth knew Lisa was the person to call. The European-style house is impressive in its own right with its dominant arcades and limestone exterior, but Mary Beth needed someone to help push her traditional style to a new frontier and make the interiors just as dynamic. “Lisa worked with me to find the right balance between fun and traditional to make the home livable and comfortable, and she made it fit our family and our lifestyle, ” she says.

Ray Jordan of Flowerbuds massed white blooms of amaryllis, peonies, hydrangeas, tulips, hybrid delphiniums, and euphorbia to create the arrangement on the dining table.

Mingling their design philosophies, Lisa added pops of color and glamour to a neutral backdrop in the living room. Lee Industry chairs received graphic navy-and-white print pillows. Contemporary gold lamps from Atmosphere Home Essentials bring pizzazz, while a traditional muted rug speaks more quietly. Large columns and multiple doorways prevented the use of a typical sofa that would have blocked too much of the room off, including the view to the backyard pool and patio. To keep it open and still comfortable, Lisa brought in four chairs and a round table instead.

In the dining room, the designer papered the walls in an overscale Victorian damask and layered on more prints with custom draperies, a diamond patterned rug, and dining chairs covered in a chic python print. “The dramatic scale of the traditional print on the wallpaper gives this room that punch it needs while keeping a hint of the tradition that Mary Beth loves, ” Lisa says. “The python print offers a modern feel, while traditional pieces like the antique buffet and china cabinet keep it grounded.” Hammered gold lamps from MCJ interiors and a chandelier from Hiltz-Lauber bring in the metallics and glamour.

In the master bedroom, Lisa updated a pair of French armchairs with a patterned fabric and fur pillows. “Refreshing antiques with updated upholstery can give furniture—and a room—a whole new look, ” she says. Amber accents on the crystal chandelier and starburst mirror play to the warm wood tones. Wallpaper on the ceiling and the limestone fireplace temper the room’s grand scale and keeps things cozy.

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In 2015, the Howlands enjoyed the first Christmas in their new home. To celebrate, they shared the house with friends and neighbors by putting it on Independent Presbyterian’s Holiday Home Tour. The Howlands worked with Ray Jordan of Flowerbuds to develop spectacular holiday scenes both indoors and out with garland, trees, and wreaths draped in lights, ornaments, and ribbon. Outside, Ray chose a chartreuse color scheme for the front gate wreaths, as well as for the tree and mantel on the pool house patio. In the main living areas inside, he primarily used gold, silver, and bronze so as not to fight with any patterns. “Gold and silver are neutrals that go with everything, ” he says. “They really complement the existing look in each room. The home is already so elegant and grand year-round, we simply built upon it for a festive, holiday feel.”

The already grand entrance and staircase, featuring beautiful stone floors and limestone, is given a cheerful holiday boost with drapes of garland accented with gold and silver beading, silver ribbon, and pinecones.
Floral designer Ray Jordan stayed with the neutral color scheme Lisa established in the main living areas. He focused primarily on ivory, silver, soft gold, and bronze for the Christmas tree ornaments and ribbon and added in pops of blue. “We didn’t want the holiday décor to be strikingly different,” he says.
A fresh garland with a strand of white lights drapes across the mantel to create a romantic glow in the evening.
A large wreath embellished with a chartreuse green ribbon welcomes guests at the front gate.
The same look is carried over to the pool house patio’s mantel and tree.

Designer: Lisa Flake, Caldwell Flake Interiors • 205.222.9139 Flowers: Ray Jordan, Flowerbuds • 205.970.3223 Living room: chandelier: Circa Interiors & Antiques • 205.868.9199 Lamps: Atmosphere Home Essentials • 205.324.9687 Table: Richard Tubb Interiors • 205.324.7613 Dining room: chairs: Birmingham Wholesale Furniture • 205.322.1687 Lamps: MCJ Interiors • 205.458.2700 Chandelier: Hiltz-Lauber • 205.879.0039 Bedroom: artwork over mantel: Antiquities • 205.870.1030 Fur throw and bedding: Three Sheets A Linen Shop • 205.871.2337

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