Launched over the weekend in Birmingham, Alabama, the 2016 Southern Living Idea House features design by Mark D. Sikes, Lauren Liess, Amy Berry, Ashley Gilbreath and Margaret Kirkland, along with area architect Bill Ingram, who also designed a section of the home’s interior. Their inspiration? The past. The designers were given tear sheets from past decades as inspirational material in honor of the Idea House’s 27-year anniversary.
Southern Living senior editor Zoe Gowen shares with EAL, “We were looking to represent the Southern style of today, which cannot be traced to just one place or defined as a singular aesthetic. To reflect all the different Southern styles, we tapped five designers from all over the regions with distinctive looks united by a Southern sensibility: a respect for tradition, keen eye for color and pattern, and a priority on keeping rooms livable. Since the house is in Birmingham, our hometown, we wanted a local architect to be the linchpin of it all. Bill Ingram is great at creating instantly classic homes that always delight.”
Sikes’ living room was inspired by the June 1986 issue of Southern Living; Kirkland’s dining room was inspired by the March 1989 issue; Gilbreath’s foyer, upstairs landing and upstairs bedroom each drew influence from the January 1976 issue; Liess’ master bed and bath were inspired by the October 1979 issue; Berry’s upstairs bedroom and pajama lounge were inspired by the October 1974 issue; and Ingram’s family room and kitchen were inspired by the January 1975 issue.
The Idea House’s sponsors include Ballard Designs, Belgard, Delta, Southern Living Collection at Dillard’s, Haiku Home, InSinkErator, James Hardie, Lennox, Marvin Windows and Doors, Southern Living Plant Collection, Sherwin-Williams and Thermador.
“Several of the designers used fabrics on the walls (and ceilings too!) that left me scheming for ways to do it in my own home,” says Gowen. “They balanced out the fabrics’ plushness with simple patterns and tonal colors in a way that’s familiar and fresh, but not fussy. As Bill Ingram said to me, ‘Don’t buy anything precious, just go to a big fabric barn where you can buy plain fabric by the bolt.’ Clearly, I’ll be at a fabric barn this weekend.”