What Meets the Eye

By adding custom character and thoughtful details to white walls, small spaces, and bland ceilings, Jessica Conner put a little more pop into this new build in Homewood. She also outfitted the rooms with brand new family- and wallet-friendly furnishings. Best of all, she came in under budget.

Photos by Jean Allsopp

Architectural details are especially important when building a new home into a storied neighborhood like Homewood. For Whitney and JJ Thomas’s cottage, designer Jessica Conner inserted style, texture, craftsman details, and super-smart functionality into every nook and cranny. “They didn’t want a cookie cutter house, but they also didn’t want their house look out of place,” Jessica says. “They loved the Arts & Crafts bungalow style but were looking for a fresh, modern take on it.”

The two story cottage is essentially two rooms wide with an open living room and kitchen To delineate spaces Jessica added curved arches to the opening of the dining room The curves are repeated on the kitchen island and in the custom front door Because you can see all the way to the living room through the open front door I painted an accent wall the same color as the dining room Jessica says I wanted the eye to have a stopping point

“Bringing a designer in during the floorplan stage is crucial. It’s a lot easier to make a change before construction than to stand in a space and realize something doesn’t work. You can also add some interesting design elements during the planning stages and have those priced in the bid rather than adding them later and finding yourself over budget.” — Jessica Conner

Because the dining room is just inside the front door on the right Jessica wanted it to have a major visual impact It wasnt large enough for a lot of furniture so we added interest with the arched opening and the X shaped cedar beams on the ceiling Jessica says The dark walls Cheating Heart by Benjamin Moore really draw attention to the architectural elements and the art from At Home in Homewood
Paneled walls in the TV room add visual interest
Jessica designed the powder room sink from a remnant of Alba Vera marble to save on costs The wonderful fabricators at CR Home brought it to life she says I loved the idea of the sink to one side instead of centered so you could have some countertop to the right The wallpaper is a Wayfair find by A Street Prints Wallpaper I love using wallpaper in a small space Jessica says It really adds a punch of style
Invest in good cabinets They make up 75 of your kitchen and are used day in and day out
A Target run yielded the landscape art in the master bedroom
Wall mounted faucets offer a unique element that saves space and makes counter cleanup easy The fabricated design on the marble backsplash is a statement maker
A childs bath showcases big style with a built in cabinet tile floor and oversize tile for the bath surround It still has that great subway tile look but the larger squares make it easier to clean Jessica says

Jessica Conner

TIPS FOR PLANNING AHEAD
Before we started buying anything for the interiors, I made a furniture plan and went room by room with a spreadsheet of each item we needed, down to the throw blankets and curtain rings. I created an allowance for each item so I could make sure the grand total did not exceed the budget. This helped us stay focused while shopping. I updated the spreadsheet as we made selections, and because we started early, we were able to wait for sales on some items. At the end, we were a couple thousand dollars under budget!

RESOURCES
Architect: KYLEStudio, 205.965.6777 Interior design and elevations, cabinetry and millwork design: Jessica Conner,  jessicaconner.com Builder: Saunders Bradford, saundersbradford.com Custom front door: Webb Concrete & Building Materials, webbconcrete.com Cabinets: Hamm’s Custom Wood Products, 205.229.1839 Countertops: CR Home Alabama, 205.943.0680 Hardware: Brandino Brass, brandinobrass.com Plumbing and appliances: Southern Bath & Kitchen, southernbathandkitchen.com Doors and windows: Webb Concrete & Building Materials Dining room chandelier: Mayer Lighting, mayerlighting.com Sofa, chair in master, ottoman in living room: Barnett Furniture, barnettfurniture.com Kitchen rugs: Hazel House Collective, 205.908.7755

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Cathy Still McGowin

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