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Living In Color

A Vestavia family’s dream home combines warm hospitality with vibrant, contemporary design.   

Written by Jane Reynolds, Photography by Edward Badham

As she began working with Salahuddin Farooqi and his wife, Mussarat Salahuddin, on their new home in Altadena Park in Vestavia Hills, designer Tiffany Bullard could tell right away that she and her clients shared a similar sense of adventure. They wanted to think outside the box, mixing the clean lines of contemporary design with unexpected details, geometric patterns, and color—lots and lots of color.

“Looking through magazines and walking through homes, I feel like you see so much of the gray tones, bleached-color woods and very neutral colors,” says Bullard, who is an interior designer with Scandinavian Design and Leather Gallery. “The great thing about Mussarat and her husband is they are all about color, the brighter the better.”

The tone for the home, which the family built when they moved here a couple of years ago from Tuscaloosa, is set from the first step into the two-story foyer, which features white tile flooring (a nod to the white marble flooring often found in homes in the family’s native Pakistan), a white-and-cinnamon accent rug, and crystal chandelier. Most striking are the colorful glass wall plates ascending the stairs, which feature a steel horizontal cable rail system in place of traditional banisters, a detail Mussarat insisted upon to reflect the home’s feel of openness and modernity.

Here and elsewhere, a recurring theme is the pairing of dark chocolate woods and light cream walls, which make a statement all on their own. The chocolate lends warmth and definition to nearly every room, from the baseboards to the cabinetry and ceiling beams—particularly in the hearth room, a family gathering space just off the kitchen with a tall cathedral ceiling. The cream and chocolate create the perfect backdrop for Mussarat’s signature pop color—orange—as well as bright red, gold, green, and yellow, accented with chrome or stainless-steel fixtures. Other stunning features include three linear, contemporary fireplaces; a two-story living room accented by floor-to-ceiling draperies; and double-step tray ceilings in the master bedroom and dining room.

Finally, for this family the home would have been incomplete without the expansive, basement-level dining-and-entertaining area they built into the plans from day one. It’s hard to overstate the importance of this feature to them, because they love to entertain large groups of up to 100 people—many from the local Pakistani and Indian communities—and it takes an extra effort to create a space that will not only hold a crowd that size but still feel comfortable and inviting.

The downstairs room features one giant dining table and separate smaller one, along with bar seating, a mini kitchen, and sofas for more casual seating. Complementing the larger room is a separate media room in mostly black and white with tables and accents in bright red.

“Being part of a larger community is one of the main reasons we moved here to Birmingham,” says Mussarat, “so we wanted to have the extra space down here to accommodate them.

“I always had dreams about what I wanted in a house,” she continues. “And I think we built it exactly as we wanted.”


Builder: Berman Construction & Development, LLC

Customized Home Plan: Paul Gilbert Distinctive Designs

Interior Design: Tiffany Bullard /Scandinavian Design

Lighting: Mayer Lighting

Cabinetry: NeedCo, Inc.

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