Home building runs in the Smith family. Taylor and Blair built their first home on Vestavia Place on one of four lots his grandfather purchased from the Wald family in the 1970s and later gave to his grandchildren. But then Taylor found a vacant large lot on Shades Crest Road ripe for a new build—and decided to subdivide the lot with his parents Phyl and Bubba Smith. With a set old-school blueprints the couple had a retired fireman/draftsman work up in hand, their home took shape.
Apart from Taylor’s prized elk and “smart” all-in-one security/HVA/camera system installed by Wright Innovations, though, most of the interior selections were in Blair’s court, and he took over more the building process since her father was ill at the time. Her vision? An updated French look that incorporated her grandmother and mother-in-law’s antiques with a fresh twist. Mixing old with new is the name of her décor game, you’ll see in any room in her home—and many she designs through her business, Blair G. Smith Interiors, too.
“Your home is your sanctuary,” she says. “You go to work all day, and I think you should invest in your home. Your home should be a place where you feel relaxed and safe, where you look around and enjoy beautiful things. It’s an investment in your life and your happiness.”
Throughout the home, you’ll find reupholstered and refinished furniture passed down from generation to generation paired with custom furniture Blair commissioned that add a more youthful flair to the overall look. Likewise some walls hold custom framed antique ledgers or other family treasures while others boast more abstract pieces commissioned from local artists Claire Cormany and Ashley McCullars.
As Blair tours us through the space, she lists off design tips along the way. “You have to look at fabric morning noon and night because it changes with the light,” she says. And when it comes to making a big purchase like drapes, “live without it and wait until you find the right fabric or can afford a thought-out purchase. Don’t throw something money on something temporary.”
Blair started her design business in 2014, but she’d been working in the industry for years before that, starting with jobs at King Cotton in high school and college and giving way to sales jobs for Ferguson, Kenny & Company (now Fixtures & Finishes) and plumbing companies.
Today Blair and Taylor’s two children and dog love to run their Shades Crest property, not too far from where both their parents grew up (although they didn’t start dating until college). Time will tell whether the building itch will strike again, but for now the family is more than content to stop and admire their view—and their completed project.
Cyprus display cabinets with chicken wire door faces show off wedding gifts, baby gifts, family silver and other kitchen ware the family has collected over the years. “I tell people to shine it, display it, use it,” Blair says of silver and other china. Adjacent to the Carrera marble-topped space sits Blair’s French kitchen table passed down by her mother-in-law paired with lucite chairs and her a church pew Blair and her sister bought from one of their grandmother’s many yard sales.
Floor-to-ceiling Magnolia damask fabric custom drapes with a velvet overlay play up the drama of this two-story den, pulling similar colors from the leopard print-needlepoint combination pillows Blair had made for the space. Like the rest of the house, the room also shows off pieces passed down to Blair from family members and of course her husband’s prize elk. To the left of the drapes hangs a painting by local artist Ashley McCullars that, upon Blair’s request after the passing of her father, was her interpretation of what heaven looks like.
Blair had pieces of an old botanical calendar that was her grandmother’s framed as wall art in this room, across from a wall that boasts portraits of her two children by Leon Loard. She also had the antiqued mirror custom made for this space and added white drapes to both entryways that add another layer of warmth.
One of Blair’s favorite ways to add a pop of color to a space is with a rug like the one here from Old World Acquisitions in Homewood that welcomes guests who come in their front door.
The master space shows off Blair’s “antique with a twist” look. The custom headboard she designed delivers a modern feel, while the tables that were her mother-in-law’s add a classic touch. Blair likes that the white coverlet from Ballard Designs can easily be washed too.
Since Blair’s daughter loves birds, Blair designed he room around a colorful bird fabric from King Cotton, and she commissioned local artist Ashley McCullars to create matching colorful canvases behind the bedside table. You can spot birds in the light fixture too.
Blair and Taylor’s son’s room is full of memorabilia that show the love of the outdoors he shares with his dad. Blair had the leather headboards custom made with bridal pieces that hang at their tops.
Behind the Scenes
- Interior Design: Blair G. Smith Interiors
- Hardware: Brandino Brass
- Appliances: Ferguson
- Select Lighting: Gabby
- Select Furniture: Birmingham Wholesale Furniture, Gabby, Lee Industries
- Other Furnishings: Available through Blair G. Smith Interiors