District Design: Birmingham
I just picked up Bobby McAlpine’s new book, THE HOME WITHIN US, this week. Besides the fact that I am a big fan of his work and am thrilled to finally have access to great photos of his architecture and interiors, his book reminds me that Alabama, his home and base of operations, is a designer destination. I have always loved the south and have visited many of its magical cities – New Orleans, Charleston, Savannah – but I have yet to make it to Montgomery, Huntsville or Birmingham. My old comrade and fellow designer at Solis Betancourt, Meredith Leach (now McBrearty) was from Alabama and always raved about its beauty, its charm, and of course, its shopping. As the holiday and travel season descends upon us, what better city for “District Design” to visit than sweet home Alabama’s own Birmingham.
WHAT'S THE CHICEST FURNISHINGS RESOURCE IN BIRMINGHAM?
Circa Interiors has amazing pieces for the home, both antiques and upholstery. If you’re in Birmingham be sure to stop in their shop on Culver Road.
WHERE DO YOU GO TO FIND ACCESSORIES?
Alex Marshall dinnerware and Woodbury flatware set available at Table Matters.
IS THERE A GREAT LINEN SHOP IN BIRMINGHAM?
Suite Dreams in Mountain Brook Village carries lines such as Matouk, Matteo, Archipelgo, Peacock Alley, and more.
HOW DO YOU WORK YOUR FASHION LOOK INTO YOUR INTERIORS?
I love the look of layers and texture for fall. In terms of your home, I think the more personal layers you can add, the more interesting. Of course, like your wardrobe, knowing when to say when is important!
WHAT FASHION DESTINATION CAN YOU NOT LIVE WITHOUT? WHAT STORE EMBODIES YOUR LOOK?
I was introduced to Theodora (Anna Sui, Tracey Reese and more) in Homewood Village during college when I would go home with friends to see their families in Birmingham. Marella in Mountainbrook Village is another chic spot for dresses. Her sister store, Carriage House is in my hometown of Decatur.
Trina Turk vest at Marella.
WHAT'S THE BEST KEPT SHOPPING SECRET IN BIRMINGHAM?
Betsy Prince’s annual shoe sale – when brands such as Ferragamo are up to 50% off!
An open-toe bootie at Betsy Prince.
WHAT BIRMINGHAM DINING SPOT DO YOU LOVE FOR BOTH ITS MENU AND ITS DECOR?
Chez FonFon in Five Points for delicious French food and authentic ambiance. Urban Standard is a unique spot downtown. It’s a restaurant with interesting accessories (such as taxidermied animals and magnifying glasses) and contemporary light fixtures.
The men behind Chez FonFon - Frank Stitt, Zoubir Tabout and Patrick J. Dunne (photo by Howard L. Puckette/Southern Accents).
Thanks Mer! Tricia xo
Bobby McAlpine's book is available in stores and online. Meredith McBrearty's work is featured above and on her eponymous website. For other great shopping suggestions, go to www.fabulousboutiques.com for a list of Birmingham destinations.