A home serves so many purposes beyond mere shelter. It provides respite from our busy lives, it welcomes friends and family, and it expresses our passions. For Laura and Neill Hatcher, home represents the start of their new life together, and the couple benefitted from some great timing when it came to where that home would be.
Laura’s parents, who lived in a home that Laura owned in Mountain Brook, made the decision to downsize and move to a retirement community around the same time that Neill was moving to Birmingham with his children. The newly engaged couple decided to consider the house in their search for a residence to fit their blended family. “I had never really thought about what a perfect floor plan it would be for our situation, but it works beautifully,” says Laura. “There is a separate wing for the three girls, Nancy, Madison, and Abigail, with a bedroom for each, while Bo has a separate boy’s wing to sleep in and hang out with his friends.”
Laura and Neill were not only blending their families but also their styles, and they wanted to make the home reflect that. “I’m a little more modern, while Neill likes more traditional style,” says Laura. “I call our look ‘contemporary Georgian,’ if there is such a thing!” And while Laura was adept at merging family heirlooms with newer pieces, she reached out to interior designer Lisa Flake to bring in some color and her signature flair. “I really just added a layer to what was already there,” says Lisa. “Laura has great taste and is decisive, which made working with her a breeze. Plus she likes purple, a color I don’t usually get to showcase in a design scheme.”
Lisa used lavender, blue, cream, and rose in light touches throughout the main floor. “She wanted a softer palette for the family spaces, but we also included metallic finishes for a more transitional feel,” says the designer.
Each room has a special piece or treatment that makes it come to life. In the foyer, for example, an antique Oushak rug hints of what’s to come. “Lisa brought over several rugs for the foyer, and although all were beautiful, the last one laid was a rug with a prominent blue color that we both just loved,” says Laura. “We knew immediately it was the perfect rug for the space. It really sets the tone for the rest of the house.”
The den, painted a striking gray, including the ceiling, doors, and bookcase, offers a cozy place to watch television in front of the fire. Gilt accents in the form of a fireplace screen, lighting fixtures, and end tables bring a bit of shine to the overall moody palette. In the dining room, a metallic bamboo étagère showcases treasures while an eye-catching light fixture casts a warm glow over the table. “We wanted our home to be sophisticated but comfortable, and I think it makes that impression,” says Laura.
For the family’s first Christmas together, Laura decided to deck every hall in the house, so she engaged Leah Hazzard of 3 Graces Design to work her magic. “I wanted each child to have his or her own Christmas tree, so we placed multiple trees in the house, plus another one outside by the swimming pool,” says Laura. In addition, Leah filled the home with an abundance of greenery to not only bring in the look of Christmas but also the scent. White lights, metallic touches, and a flocked tree complete the festive scheme that blends beautifully with the home’s interiors. “Leah really captured our style,” says Laura. “The outside is traditional with garlands and red bows, while the inside is more unexpected. Our ‘contemporary Georgian’ is dressed in its holiday best.”
white on white
Leah Hazzard’s Holiday Decorating Tips:
• Give yourself permission to buy a few new decorations to mix in with your old favorites.
• If you decide to go in a new color direction, perhaps choosing pale hues rather than red and green like Laura did, I advise investing in quality ribbons that complement your palette and can be used year after year.
• Not everything needs to be precious. Use natural elements such as pine cones unadorned or spray-painted. Take clippings from a garland or tree to bring some cheer to a console table. Paperwhites and amaryllis in simple containers are always welcome and seasonal.
• Use candles abundantly. They are ideal for warming up a large space. I like to put scented candles in places guests frequent, such as the foyer and powder bath.
RESOURCES: Interior Design: Lisa Flake, Caldwell Flake Interior Design, 205.222.9139, caldwellflake.com; Floral Design/Holiday Décor: Leah Hazzard, 3 Graces Design, 205.902.3635; Bookcase Collection: Details by Liz Hand Woods, 205.423.2993; Trouve, trouveinmountainbrook.com; Lamb’s Ear, lambsearltd.com; Art: Gallery 1930, artgallery1930.com; Foyer–Rug: 18th Street Orientals, 18thstreetorientals.com; Lamps: Hiltz-Lauber, hiltzlauber.com; Living Room–Upholstery: Richard Tubb, richardtubbinteriors.com, Circa Interiors, circainteriors.com