Family and friends make this house a home
Written and Photographed by Graham Yelton, Styling by Paula Coldiron
Three years ago, the Schranz family of four was on the hunt for the perfect plot of land. They were dreaming of building a home but needed to find the right location and price tag. On one of their many outings, they came across a new development in Leeds: A gorgeous two to three acre plots of land, nestled between tall trees and rolling farm land. It was perfect.
“We really wanted this to be our home to raise a family in and we also love hosting people in our home,” says Rachel Schranz. Builder David Acton recommended that they sync up with home designer David Smelcer to create plans for the home. “I didn’t even know there was such a thing!” exclaims Rachel Schranz, “But we just told him what we wanted and he would draw it out!” In six months, they were moving into their dream home.
When asked who decorated the house, Rachel responds, “Magazines were my best friend. I would go to Barnes & Noble and just scour magazines. If I found something I liked, I would buy the magazine, tag it and go from there. Throughout the process, the builder would ask about various things like trim or finishes, and I would go to the magazines for answers.”
Rachel admits that she found a jaw-dropping kitchen in one of her many publications, sourced budget-friendly finishes and simply copied it. Despite the copy-and-paste philosophy, the home is rich with personality and customization. The couple decided to take the exterior brick and bring it into the kitchen and the formal dining room. Layne Schranz grew up in the mountains of Colorado and designed the fireplace himself, so that the television and wood burning fire could coexist without the family straining their necks to view the TV.
“It was so much fun, but by the end of the process, I was so stressed out that I couldn’t think straight.” It was the end of construction, but just the beginning of decorating, and Rachel’s head was spinning from so many paint samples. It was time to call for help. “Within an hour and a half, she had the paint colors for the entire house laid out.” Meg Wallace, an experienced decorator, helped make tough paint decisions. It was the push Rachel needed to go dark with her trim, a bold move that many people shy away from. “It’s a big decision. It dictates everything.”
Rachel also had a few good friends that would play key roles in the decorating process. The house is full of furniture that she found at the Furniture Market in Atlanta, a shopping event that is only open to the trade (she went with a friend.) When she needed someone to bounce ideas off of, she turned to friend and local Birmingham home and lifestyle blogger Paula Coldiron of TwoEllie.com. Rachel was also able to find some key pieces and Christmas accessories from friend and antique restorer Kelli Wright of RestoreInteriors.com. Lastly, several pieces such as the large mirror above the fireplace, the built-in bench in the informal dining room and the outdoor swing were all built by John Taylor Moore, a family friend and builder.
The Schranz’s goal was to have an open-floor plan, but for the home to still feel warm and cozy. The front doors open into the living room and formal dining area. Round the corner and the room opens up to the kitchen and informal dining area. Just past that is another TV room, where you can usually find one or both of the Schranz’s teenage girls, and perhaps even a few of their friends. Through the large windows, you get a view of the spacious backyard and outdoor living area, complete with sofa swing and cozy chairs. Each space is clearly defined, but without any walls dividing them. The entire heart of the house is open and visible, and truly welcoming.