Wednesday, December 30, 2009

European Style in the South: McAlpine et al

Chapel, east of Montgomery, Alabama via Garden and Gun

As I head back to Alabama for work this week, I reflect on "Alabaman" or Southern Style. What the heck does it mean? And what are the great modern-day examples? Southern is not limited to Greek or Classical Revival but rather-I think- encompasses a wide range of European influences. There's one architecture firm in Alabama that truly evokes Southern grace- though it's not what first springs to my mind when I think Southern. McAlpine Tankersly (and McAlpine Booth & Ferrier Interiors). Honestly, my heart nearly stops- or maybe that's because it's beating so fast- when I look at their work.

As many of you already "in the know" errr know, McAlpine Tankersley is an architecture firm based in Montgomery, Alabama. There is also McAlpine Booth & Ferrier Interiors, with offices in Atlanta and Nashville. While the firms are separate entities, apparently they do collaborate a good bit. Their work has been featured in just about every major design publication. Selecting a few favorite homes was nearly impossible, but I'm going to try.

First, a Birmingham, Alabama home. I believe this is all the same house. I found this on the Interiors website but couldn't help but notice all the architectural details here. Almost over the top... and I love it!

Every single ceiling seemed to have some sort of architectural detail- crown molding (dentil work?), beams, archways). And while a lot of the materials appear to be stone, the dark wood floors and lush upholstery doesn't leave you feeling cold.

Another amazing space in Montgomery, AL. I'm wondering if this is a private home or public space. Anyone know?

Again, lots of neutral tones, sumptuous fabrics, and dark wood. And fabulous light fixtures.

And heading over to Rosemary Beach, FL. This seems somehow more "achieveable" to an everyday person.

A little more color than the two previous versions with chocolate brown and hints of green, but still a lot of neutrals. But never bland! I could just move right in here.

And I'll end with one of my faves- though it's already been featured in three magazines. Unfortunately, much of the photos seem to be of the same few rooms and being the nosy girl I am, I want to see more!!

from British House and Garden Jan 2003

Home Style Feb 2002

All very European to me, but perhaps great examples of elegant, romantic, and in some of the spaces very welcoming- Southern space.

have a warm day!



  1. I love all of these images - so many that I have never seen before, which is always a treat! The McAlpine house in Nashville is one of my all time favorite Veranda features; it is not really a style that I like for myself, but I admire the beauty of the architecture and the way the architect set the house right into the hill, taking advantage of all of the sweeping views.

  2. It's really overwhelming. I hope to see more McAlpine houses in Atlanta. The architect working across the street was a classmate/suite-mate of Mr. McAlpine at Auburn and said that McAlpine was just better than the rest.

    I'd enjoy seeing some McAlpine work done on a less than carte blanche budget.

  3. What a truly magnificent post. A great ending to 2009! A great designed room is as exciting to me as a football game might be to others.This was great fun! I have such a draw to move back to the West Coast but I also have a great interest to live in Georgia. What oh what will the next year bring? Happy..happy New Year to you Emmie. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your kind words over the months. You are truly a special person. Ring in the New Year with great joy xx deb

  4. There are some really gorgeous ones in your favs towards the end. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and safe travels for work!

  5. I really need to start reading Veranda -- these homes are gorgeous! Love so many of these windows and ceilings in particular.

  6. All of them are sumptuous but I really like the last one.

  7. That was quite a profile of McApline's work! I love some of the details he uses over and over, like the darted ceilings, coffered walls, and those huge leaded arched doorways. Thanks for putting it all together! I hope to learn more about his work.

  8. Lovely eye candy! Those windows and light fixtures were beautiful!


  9. Happy 2010. All your wishes to come true.
    It's been a pleasure to blog with you. And i'm looking forward to even more.

    btw, fantastic post!

  10. Oh my goodness what a beautiful post!!
    Happy New Year to you ~~ and I am excited for a wonderful 2010!


  11. Absolutely beautiful images. Best wishes for the New Year.

  12. Wow, what an extensive, and delightful, post! Being from the South, I have long been an admirer of Bobby McAlpine, and now Susan Ferrier, his work is timeless, founded in classicism yet always fresh and forward favorite approach...reminiscent of the great John Saladino. thanks for posting, I discovered your blog through Haven and Home and will be linking back to several of your images if that is OK with you? Nice to meet you, Happy New Year!


  13. Wow! Those are beautiful images, Emmie.

    Have a very Happy New Year!

  14. What a wonderful tour...all magnificent examples of European influences with true Southern comfort and sophistication.

  15. I love the strong, clean square lines combined with all those neutral colors and the pop of the lush lush green outside the black mullions. What has really struck me is the bathroom vanity images (towards the end), the mirror is off center-and it looks perfect, a quiet reminder for all of us not to just follow rules but examine each decision individually. So enjoyed looking at these lovely images, Emmie and I do hope that you and your hubbie had a fabulous Christmas! All the best in 2010!

  16. Textural neutrals and rich woods is such a great look, if your house has the architectural integrity to back it up. All these do...just lovely.

  17. McAlpine is in a league of his own. He and his team all do amazing work. I love that the interiors aren't too feminine and can be appreciated by both sexes.

  18. H ilove the european style cause is old and new style at the same time reall good .


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