An Edgewood Classic with Modern Flair


Residential remodel of home in Homewood Alabama by Willow Homes, Willow Design Studio, and Triton Stone Group Photographed by Tommy Daspit, an architectural and interiors photographer based in Birmingham Alabama. See more of his work at http://tommydaspit.com

 

Matt and Laura Feld turn a Homewood fixer-upper into a neighborhood gem.

Written by Jane Reynolds

Photography by Tommy Daspit

Matt and Laura Feld were hardly real-estate newbies when they began their search for a home in Edgewood in late 2017. They had previously built another home from scratch in Edgewood a few years earlier, only to learn four months after that they were moving to Franklin, Tenn.—giving them a fresh opportunity to build another house there.

So when they ultimately decided to move back to Birmingham, they had plenty of experience and experimentation under their belts in order to hone in on what they were really looking for. In a nutshell, they wanted an Edgewood remodel with a modern feel and well-crafted spaces that felt open and airy but not too expansive. They’d had a 3,000-plus-square-foot house in Franklin; here they wanted a more intimate setting for family and friends to enjoy comfortably. It would be the kind of cottage-style house that used to define Edgewood but with an open layout and contemporary flair.

Photographed by Tommy Daspit. See more of his work at http://tommydaspit.com

 

What they found, on Carr Avenue, just a stone’s throw from Gianmarco’s Restaurant, was a house with the potential to be all that and more, but it took a leap of faith to see it at first. “This house had been on the market for a while, and our realtor, Brent Griffis, suggested we take a look,” Matt remembers. “We walked in and fell in love.”

It helped that they had a builder they had worked with before, Willow Homes, and a designer, Katherine Bailey—an owner of Willow Design Studios—whom they trusted implicitly. Bailey in particular helped them see past the warts, of which there were plenty. The kitchen was cramped. The flooring was mismatched. There was even a window inexplicably divided by a wall. The overall layout, Matt says, was “just odd.”

None of that fazed Bailey when the Felds brought her and the team from Willow over to consider the possibilities. “I like to start with the shell,” she says. “You have to look past all the things that you don’t like and get an overall vision.

“I had been wanting to do a more modern Homewood house,” Bailey adds, “So when they said that’s what they wanted, I said, ‘Absolutely—we’re going to run with this.’”

They bought the house in February of 2018, essentially gutted it and started over. The first step from a structural standpoint was to address the eight-foot ceilings, on the low side by today’s standards, by vaulting them in the kitchen, living area, and master bedroom, giving the home a sense of height without losing the original character. They made the kitchen, dining, and living room into one big space, with the kitchen on one side opening out to the backyard and the main seating area on the other, facing the windows. In between is a round dining table, the shape Matt preferred because it’s easier to walk around and creates a more casual feel for get-togethers.

Photographed by Tommy Daspit

Another significant layout change involved the master bedroom. The house originally had three bedrooms and two bathrooms, which is how the Felds planned to keep it. But when Bailey pointed out that the original master was too small to fit a king-sized bed, they looked to the original garage that had been finished out and converted to a den with a one-step dropdown. The Felds raised the floor to make the bedroom even with the rest of the home, then added a large master bath with striking features, including a bath-shower combination—essentially a glassed in room-within-the-room containing a three-head shower and a tub placed directly inside the enclosure, making a luxury soaking tub that’s also kid-friendly. “We put the boys in the tub, and they can make the biggest splashes they want—the extra water all goes down the drain in the floor,” Laura says. Three-dimensional tiles against one wall create another level of dimension and interest.

Back in the kitchen and living area, there was still the flooring problem to be addressed. “There were probably five different floorings types in here,” Matt remembers. “Three-inch-plank floors here and one-inch over there…it looked terrible.” The team at Willow Homes suggested blending some of the wood types to create a more cohesive look and refinishing all of them with a lighter stain, enabling them to keep the original floors but completely refresh the look.   

Photographed by Tommy Daspit

 

All of the other design elements are new and carefully selected by Bailey and the Felds. The kitchen has a clean, black-and-white design with simple quartz countertops and white cabinets with gold fixtures. They also chose a stunning backsplash made of black and white marble tiles and gold-leaf trim. Double doors lead out to the back porch and expansive backyard beyond it. The living area, framed in part by a sectional sofa Laura loves especially for having friends over to watch a favorite show together, is well appointed but casual, finished off with lively patterned drapes.

No matter how remarkable the interior makeover turned out, however, the home’s front entrance represents the most dramatic change. Once a drab, beige house that was easy to overlook, the newly remodeled 806 Carr Ave. is both stunning and inviting, with its white stucco exterior, black metal roof and a front porch that spills into a small courtyard. “We are usually backyard people, but having that courtyard, we’ve become front-porch people,” Laura says. “We can sit out there, see people walk by, and sometimes we’ll call out and invite them in for dinner.”

While Matt says they enjoy adventures in home design too much to rule out ever moving again, he thinks this one’s a keeper for the foreseeable future. “We’ve done this a couple of times, and we’re proud of everything we did on our other houses,” he says. “But this one we wanted to do a little differently, and we get a lot of interest and compliments. We’re really proud of it. And we get to live here.” 

BEHIND THE SCENES

Builder:Willow Homes

Designer:Katherine Bailey Co-ownerWillow Design Studios

Stone and tile work:Triton Stone

Lighting: Mayer Lighting

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