Dream Home: Tree House Getaway


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Written by Madoline Markham
Photography by Jean Allsopp

Each weekend morning, a tapestry of trees greets Richard Tubb as he steps into his master bathroom. Just beyond them the deep green waters of Smith Lake come into view. “It makes me happy every morning,” the interior designer says.

The bathroom is part of a recent addition and refresh to the weekend getaway Tubb and his partner Danny Weaver worked on with architect and friend R. Cherri Pitts. “I encouraged her to think outside the box, and she did,” Tubb says. “I like everything she did with it. It’s a wonderful collaboration of an interior designer and an architect who get along and understand each other.”

According to Pitts, the new spaces are “intended to exude serenity and tranquility.” The master bathroom shower feels like an outdoor shower brought inside with one wall made of glass overlooking the lake. You’ll find a similar view through the bay window from the pewter bathtub Tubb picked out from Fixtures & Fineshes in Birmingham. Pitts notes that the window also makes the bathroom feel much larger than it is.

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The outdoors come inside the house as well, with a stairwell railing that looks like a tree branch and metal door handles that resemble branches. In the master bedroom, there’s a twisted Wisteria circle as wall décor, and in another bedroom a hornet’s nest that Tubb found outside the house hangs on the wall. “It’s not conventional,” Tubb says.

At the same time, the décor conforms to what Tubb delivers to his clients as an interior designer. “It’s got to be about comfort and longevity,” he says. “Everything I do is understated, pretty, functional, and comfortable.”

In the house, you’ll also see custom accents in the form of metal bathroom sinks by local blacksmith Darren Hardman, who also built an iron bed frame for the master bedroom that Tubb designed. “It’s my favorite bed I’ve ever seen,” Tubb says. Instead of a door, cream draperies separate the the master bedroom from the adjacent library—a cozy room with a fireplace full of books and games for a fall or winter day.

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With the recent renovations, Tubb also rethought the upstairs. He and Weaver have friends and family stay at the house often, but they prefer to just have one couple visit at a time. “When we have company, I want them to feel very special,” he says. To create a private retreat, the second of two upstairs bedrooms was converted to a sitting area, so visitors can enjoy a full suite—complete with its own private balcony with chaises overlooking the lake.

Pitts envisioned “an inviting and comfortable guest suite with an updated bathroom and a stronger connection from the new sitting area to the upstairs deck.” “Sliding doors into the bedroom and sitting room allowed for the spaces to feel like one big suite instead of a compartmentalized upstairs,” she explains.

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“I want people to leave completely relaxed,” Tubb says, noting those who visit love to take in the views of the lake like he and Weaver do.

In the sitting room, Tubb showcases Birmingham artists with a watercolor of feathers by Dan Carlisle and a large contemporary abstract piece by Patterson & Barnes that sits behind a chic daybed. The small coffee tables in the room have petrified wood table tops.

For Tubb, the interior is all about creating the ambience of a retreat. He always has music playing in the background, and there’s always a daily boat cruise—no matter the time of year.

“I want adults to feel like kids again—like going to a refined camp,” he says.

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Behind the Scenes 

Architecture: Studio C Architecture & Interiors– R. Cherri Pitts

Interior Design: Richard Tubb Interiors– Richard Tubb

Contractor: Russell Building Company– Brook Russell

Bathroom Hardware: Waterworks

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