My family has been reading Southern Living magazine for years and it truly is probably the #1 magazine for home decorating inspiration for me. I just love the styles they feature for the most part and their mix of casual elegance, sprinkled with antiques and collectibles just speak to my Southern-loving heart. We are collectors and passers-down of family things and it’s that bringing together of old and new that to me make a room look so great and Southern Living designers seem to have a knack for doing that so well. At least to my eye. So, let’s take a tour of the Southern Living Idea House in Birmingham.
This year’s Southern Living Idea House is not far from where I used to live (over 5 years ago now!) in Birmingham, in the cute community of Mt. Laurel. I used to go here often when they did yardsales and events like their Saturday morning farmer’s market. It is such a beautiful master planned community nestled in the trees back in the woods and I always admired it.
The house above, designed by architect, Bill Ingram, is a beautiful representation of Southern Living Idea houses. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to tour several of these homes in person over the years, although this one didn’t happen. I know it’s not that far from Atlanta to get over to Birmingham, but I more than likely won’t make it over there to see it in person, so pictures will just have to suffice. Luckily, they had plenty on their website and the whole story is in the August issue of Southern Living.
A note from Southern Living:
“In honor of our 50th anniversary, we picked five of the South’s best designers –Mark D. Sikes, Lauren Liess, Margaret Kirkland, Ashley Gilbreath, and Amy Berry – and set them loose to decorate this beautiful Mt Laurel cottage. Designed by architect Bill Ingram, the space is a fresh take on traditional Southern style without sacrificing any of the charm.”
Several designers (noted above) took part in the design portion of the home and they did a beautiful job. Designer Ashley Gilbreath from Montgomery did this foyer and this shot took my breath away. It’s such a beautiful mix of pieces and textures weaving old and new, color and neutrals.
Living room design by Mark D. Sikes.
More on Mark D. Sikes living room.
Dining room designed by Margaret Kirkland. I loved the fresh melon color used in here, along with the floral drapes. It’s a restful looking room to me, with traditional lines on the chairs and table, but freshened up with a modern twist.
More on the dining space by Margaret Kirkland.
Kitchen designed by Bill Ingram. This is a bold move in Emerald Green for the kitchen. I love those bar stools.
Family room off the kitchen.
Master Bedroom designed by Lauren Liess, one of my faves. I’ve watched Lauren grow over her years being a blogger and designer and love to see her designs. She always has a fresh and unique way of mixing natural elements for a really organic space. More about this space from Lauren Liess at Southern Living.
More from Ashley Gilbreath, the upstairs bedroom.
This beautiful front porch really caught my eye and I love how Margaret Kirkland brought it alive with all the colors and textures. My dream would be to have a swinging bed like this on a porch. What a way to while away a summer day!
There are lots of videos and all the information about the Southern Living Idea House on their website, so check there for more details. It’s always a pleasure to see how they design these houses and all the beauty created inside and out. For a Southern girl like me, it’s always inspiring!
New blog friend Pam with Everyday Living visited the house in person and did 3 posts about it, so check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 here for more behind the scenes pics!
Thank you for the Southern Living home tour, Rhoda. Enjoyed going through each room & savoring the details. When the Southern Living idea home tour was here in the Dallas area several years ago, I was able to go with several friends….it was a joy to walk through all of the rooms. So much beauty, so many ideas!
Catherine (newest follower of your blogging adventures!) 🙂 🙂
HI, Catherine, thank you for stopping by!
Barbara Hunnicutt Moore says
Love everything Southern Living….. but this one is probably my least favorite. Too. much. stuff. Young designers need to learn more isn’t necessarily better. Thanks for sharing, though. Now I won’t waste a trip to Birmingham!
There were lots of elements I loved, but some I didn’t care for either. My fave is the porch and entry foyer and the exterior of the house. The living room is pretty too and I loved Lauren’s bedroom she did.
Love the porch to.
Becky in 'Bama says
I look at those photos and imagine my five small grandchildren in there. Would not be a pretty site after they got through exploring and touching everything. LOL.
Becky in 'Bama says
let me clarify…my comments were meant to say – if I actually lived there. I would NEVER take them to a house tour like this!
Wish I lived close enough to visit SL houses but I can live vicariously through the magazine spread and your blog. I love nearly all of this! It’s nice to see color coming back on walls. Although, I must say, the green kitchen, not so much. It’s a
little too bold a statement for me. Maybe if it was a softer sage green.
Yeah, Jan, I agree the kitchen is too bold for me. Fun in a showhouse, but I couldn’t live with that all the time.
Becky in 'Bama says
Indeed…I had the bold green in my daughter’s playroom circa 1981, and looking at it I recall my later comments, ‘never more.’ That’s just too much. And the fabric covered ceiling – can you say DUST? Thanks for the photos Rhoda.
Just beautiful! Thanks for sharing.
Pam Richardson says
Rhoda, thanks so much for the shout-out and for sending your sweet readers over to visit my 3 part series! The SL idea house was really beautiful, but obviously the designers want to impress and to design memorable spaces. The tented ceiling was certainly a wow factor, but could you imagine the dust. I always enjoy seeing the latest trends, and I do think color will be making a huge comeback’. Enjoy your vacation! Pam @ Everyday Living
[email protected] Designs says
I love this house Rhoda!!!…..I plan on taking a trip and visiting soon. I have a question…I could not find a source in Southern Living on that fabulous bamboo octagonal coffee table…it is exactly what I have been looking for….do you know where it came from? Have a great weekend!
Hey, Shirley, sorry I don’t know anything other than what the website shares either.
Kelly - Talk of the House says
Shirley and Rhoda, we visited the house the first week it was open. The lovely coffee table is a “teak bamboo octagonal coffee table from Mrs. Howard at mrshoward.com.” So it’s a Phoebe Howard piece. I hope to have posts up on our visit within a month. We have been traveling and dealing with heath issues of a family member. So it may be awhile.
[email protected] Designs says
Thanks Kelly….and I hope your family member is feeling better!
Furnitureland South near me in High Point carries Mrs. Howard….love Phoebe!!!
[email protected] says
That bold kitchen reminds me of the fabulous pops of green in your home! Fabulous bar stools.
I’m with you Rhoda. I love the porch. It really did take my breath! I also LOVE how they made such excellent use of all spaces. The pajama lounge is such a cute idea! I did NOT like the kitchen. I could never get used to that much color! I get the whole “green/environment” thing, but would want to eat out most days with this bold cabinet color! Thanks for sharing. I won’t get by the Idea House this year either, so your post is a welcomed site!
Rhoda!!! Tip Hero featured you today regarding your 1980’s Carnival Cruise!!! I saw the pic and thought…isn’t that OUR Rhoda?!? YES! I’m sure your circulation will benefit. Love your blog!
Hi Paulette, that’s great to know. Seems that Carnival is sharing my posts, so that’s great.
Melesa Garrison says
Thanks for sharing this beautiful home. It was too fancy for me and not my favorite colors. In the 90’s we had lots of the dark green in our home, but NO on the kitchen. If that kitchen were white…WOW, it would be gorgeous and you wouldn’t get me out of there.
Have a great weekend!
I think it is interesting that color and floral prints seem to be coming back! The dining room reminded me so much of the ’80’s (in a good way) with the elaborate window treatments: cornice boards and matching floral curtains! It is just so funny that everything comes around again – after we’ve been given so much grief about how awful it is from the designers. So we rip it all out. Then they bring it back, like it is the greatest, newest, thing ever!
I appreciate you sharing Rhoda. I always look forward to seeing how these idea homes are decorated. This time though, not for me. Too formal, too stuffy.
And the green kitchen…..oh no!
I do enjoy your blog. ☺️
Lana Austin says
My amazing Rhoda!!! I miss you!!! I love this post. I love S. L., too, and I”m so close I can’t believe I haven’t been down there to see it yet, but at least I get to experience it vicariously through beautiful YOU!!! Hey, sweet lady, I’m gonna be in Atlanta soon & would love to take you to coffee or SOMETHING. One of my book tour stops is there & we have family there & I’ll be there for a conference, too. Are you at the same email??? We need to catch up!!! Yes, I finally finished the first poetry book. So much news to share with you!!! I’ll try you at the email I have for you. I truly pray that you are wonderful. My blog is kind of down….about to be re-booted as the author’s site, but I’ll list it below anyway. Hope to see you soon (I’ll be in Atlanta in November). Love you!!!
Love/hugs/blessings, Lana Austin in Huntsville
PS You’d be so proud of me–the last time I saw you I’d been on steroids for my knees & had gained 25 pounds BUT I LOST THEM!!!! 🙂 All glory to God/praise Jesus that I can fit back in my old clothes–who has money to buy a whole new wardrobe?!?!!? 😉
Hey, Lana, I should be at the same email so yes, send me a note! Would love to see you and catch up when you are back in ATL!
Sofia F. says
Hi Rhoda-as always, love your blog. And southern living magazine is my favorite! This idea house though? A total miss for me-the designers took what could have been lovely, open spaces and choked the air out of them by cramming in so much STUFF! I did like the bedrooms and porch, but the amount of furniture and heavy-handed color/textile choices ruined the other spaces for me. I do “get” that it’s an idea house, not meant for someone to actually live in though!
My thoughts exactly, Sofia. When I saw this home in my SL magazine I thought it looked so disjointed and busy. There’s no flow of style which I find jarring instead of inviting and peaceful. All of that fabric in the den gives me the willies … Imagine what could crawl in there and hide besides giant dust bunnies! And that yucky green kitchen would get on my last nerve in about 5 minutes. Take it from a 50 something longtime subscriber, SL, this house is a fail.
Thank you for this wonderful blog, was looking up lima beans of all things and came across your blog. I live in Birmingham and was raised on lima beans & cornbread of course this was in the 70’s in Mobile Al. I just love your blog. I was trying to find the cornbread dressing recipe. ..still looking.
Hi, Pamela, thank you for stopping by, so glad you found me. Just for reference I lived in Birmingham for 5 years, but Atlanta is my home and I’ve been back here over 5 years. Here’s the cornbread dressing recipe:
Marika Diamond says
The Idea House was not inspirational…
The Emerald green.. WHOA!!!
The fabric on the ceilings…another WHOA!!!
Not a fan. I much prefer neutral furniture and background with beautiful touches of color brought in with pillows, throws, ottomans, and accessories and muted area rugs.
It was interesting, but NOT for me.
Thank you for sharing.