Starting with ideas from a celebrated house more than a thousand miles away, Tammy Gibbons followed her heart to build a home that reflects her style all the way.

Written by Jane Reynolds/ Photography by Edward Badham

Tammy McCarty Gibbons’ previous house, which she built with her late husband, was spacious at about 9,000 square feet and fairly traditional in design. The size made sense at that time in her life, with three daughters at home, and she loved it. But after her daughters were grown, she decided it was time for something different—a smaller, one-level home that would reflect her personal style in every way.

She’d already found a site—two-and-a-half acres at Indian Lake Estates in Pelham, an area she was familiar with because her father used to take her fishing there when she was a child. Then she started combing the Internet for designs that captured the feel of the dream home she envisioned. But it was her sister who eventually tracked down images of Folly Farm, a home in Boulder, Colorado with a contemporary farmhouse style that Gibbons loved. She showed it to an architect, who drew plans inspired by the images, scaling the blueprint to fit Gibbons’ desire for a more modestly sized, one-story home. The construction was done by her current husband, Gerry Gibbons, who added some special touches they both love.

The resemblance to Folly Farm—especially the exterior—is striking, but the interior design is definitely Gibbons’ own, an eclectic mix of contemporary furnishings with a minimalist bent. But she also felt free to break the rules, which meant incorporating a few favorite antiques as well.

“I love modern/contemporary, but I also love to throw in a couple of unusual pieces,” Gibbons says. “I had kept a few pieces from my other house, including a very old, antique opium bed that we put one of the guest bedrooms, and then in the kitchen, I have acrylic barstools that are very contemporary, but the kitchen table is more farmhouse. So it’s my taste, basically.”

She also went to Theresa Thornton, president of Scandinavian Design and Leather Gallery in Hoover, for design consultation. Many of the new pieces she bought came from Scandinavian Design, which specializes in modern and contemporary furnishings.

“Tammy likes clean, contemporary lines, and she doesn’t like a lot of clutter,” Thornton says. “But she didn’t want to decorate in a very specific category of style, so we blended a lot of things. And the house is her vision—it began with the inspiration she took from pictures of Folly Farm, but it went off script to become something that was really her own.”

That meant an open floor plan with a kitchen that flows into the living room, creating one large space that works well for entertaining family and friends. It also meant building an expansive outdoor living space with a large-screen TV for game days, a fireplace for when it’s cold outside, and a full-scale dining table. Inside, one of Gibbons’ favorite private spots is her craft room. It’s large enough for plenty of cabinet space to hold all her supplies but made to feel cozy and whimsical with a small sitting area, where she repurposed an antique side table that used to be a bedside table in her previous home, and a white spherical hanging light fixture that projects decorative patterns on the ceiling and walls.

“I’m a big crafter, so that room is like my little sanctuary,” she says.

Throughout, the home is painted in Simply White, and many of the furnishings are white as well, contrasted by unique wooden pieces in different styles and stains. It creates the perfect backdrop for bursts of color that come from a handful of well-chosen pieces—gold sling chairs in the living room, for instance, or the series of glass flowers hung on the walls—to add depth and interest. “We carefully crafted the pieces of furniture like the TV cabinet and the cocktail table and other pieces that are so interesting on their own,” Thornton says. “You don’t want to cover them up with a lot of things. Just one beautiful piece on the coffee table is all that was really needed in the living room, and it helps pull the colors together.”

That aesthetic discipline also left Gibbons and Thornton leeway to have fun with a mix of eye-catching light fixtures throughout. The kitchen features a series of industrial-looking hanging lights, while a feathered chandelier adorns one of the guest bedrooms. Still others range from glass to beaded and even a handful of rustic metal chandeliers. “We spent a lot of time getting the light fixtures just right,” Thornton says. “They really stand out and become statement pieces in most of the rooms.”

But while Gibbons led the way from beginning to end—she had actually begun planning the home on her own before she and Gerry got married—Gerry also added a few touches and spaces that are truly his own. The most notable of these is the powder room, with walls covered in antique wood, and a sliding barn door he built in the master suite leading from the bedroom to the bath. “Those points of interest are special to me because he came up with the ideas, and they’re unique,” Gibbons says.

The home took about a year to build, and it was a labor of love from beginning to end. Gibbons cherished the opportunity to do her own thing, having found a designer in Thornton who understood her vision but also trusting her instincts to make choices that just felt right.

“Everything is what I wanted,” she says. 

Behind the Scenes

Architecture: Dave Branch,

Fifth Dimension Architecture & Interiors LLC

Builder: Gerry Gibbons, Gibbons Contractors, Inc.

Interiors: Theresa Thornton, Scandinavian Design & Leather Gallery





Leave a Reply