If you have traveled to 30A, you have seen the beautiful community of Alys Beach.
Marieanne Khoury, along with her husband Erik Vogt, are the founding principals of Khoury & Vogt Architects. Their firm practices architecture, urban development, and town planning in Alys Beach, Florida, and they have made quite a mark on this beautiful vacation area.
Here, Marieanne shares building tips and what makes Alys Beach such a special place.
Tell us about your work in Alys Beach and what makes it so special architecturally?
Ultimately, what makes Alys unique is its sculptural and crisp architecture set within a strong and cohesive urban plan. Careful attention was paid to every aspect of this built environment.
This, coupled with the green landscape of our parks and streetscape against the background of blue skies and water, delivers a realm that one wants to linger in.
Erik and I are in our 17th year as the town architects here. It has been incredibly rewarding to see the town grow and prosper knowing we have had a strong hand in helping to define it.
The climate here allows you to live outside in a comfortable environment 10 months of the year so we love designing homes with outdoor courtyards and rooms.
This is an opportunity to seamlessly tie indoor and outdoor spaces together in a way that is alluring, romantic and unexpected.
Tell us how the design process works for you.
There is a deep appreciation for clients who are engaged and energized by the design process. We love nothing more than taking the sum of their desires for the home and presenting them with a design that is poetic, refined and unexpected.
Our first presentations are typically hand-drawn sketches that are subsequently rendered. Along the way, we ask for photos and images that inspire them, and we will do the same so that expectations can be aligned and well managed from the onset.
When working with clients, are there questions or concerns that are consistently raised?
As a custom boutique architecture and interior design firm, our designs are original and ideally tailored to our clients.
Sometimes, a client may reveal something important about the way they live that will inform the overall design or trigger a strong idea that we had not initially considered.
What are your clients asking for at the moment?
It seems that many of our clients are seeking houses that can accommodate extended family for a longer period of time as well as gracious outdoor rooms.
That is music to our ears, as these spaces are an integral part of our work—where gardens and landscape can merge with fountains and pools to create spaces for social gathering or for respite and solitude.
As people start envisioning themselves spending more and more time in their homes, they are seeking places that can afford them privacy when needed, areas for quiet escape and meditation for much needed moments of zen, and offices where they can work remotely without cluttering the common areas.
What do you think contributes most to a successful collaboration with interior designers?
We love working with talented interior designers and think this collaboration is critical. We always appreciate a new set of eyes on the project and ideally want all elements of a home seamlessly tied together.
Since we typically do the interior architecture for our projects, we will often collaborate on the interior design selections and then let the interior designer further enhance the design with their curated furnishings.
We have found that the best projects are when we are all working together, sharing ideas, being receptive to new ones and always doing our best to move the project forward.
We find ourselves often having our own exchanges with the designer, sometimes without the owner present, so that we can flush it all out and present a cohesive and harmonious concept together.
Tell us about your own home.
Erik and I have lived in our house in Alys since 2006 with our two daughters. We live outdoors and have an outdoor loggia that is essentially our main living room. We end our days chatting in this loggia every single day.
What is one thing you absolutely can’t live without?
That is easy! Travel. It is what gives me the most pleasure. I love the anticipation and thrill of planning a trip and discovering new cultures, cities and spaces.
I love a little of the unexpected and unplanned but also want to have no regrets, so our trips, at this point in our lives, tend to be deliberate, thoughtfully pre-planned, and organized while still leaving room for leisure and impulse.
I will not think twice about knocking on a door and asking to see what lies beyond; I will try different foods as much on a street as in a fine restaurant; I try to seek out experiences that will be memorable and meaningful; and obviously, as architects, we seek out the historical places as much as we do the newly designed ones.
I hope you enjoyed these building tips from Marianne and learning more about their firm. She and Erik are a talented duo and have had a beautiful impact on the development of Alys Beach.
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As I shared with you here, a client’s home renovation resulted in not only an amazing Kitchen and but also a newly created Butler’s Pantry.
This new space, connecting the Kitchen to the Dining, is a sophisticated work horse created with entertaining and ease in mind. It made quite the transformation from when our client emailed us for help with their home.
With the help of architect Jason Robb, we straightened out the wall in the kitchen and took the old office space (see the door to the left in the before picture) to create the new Butler’s Pantry. A hallway was cut short across from it for the new office.
For design consistency, we used materials that blended the Butler’s Pantry to the adjoining Kitchen. A marble backsplash and countertops create the perfect prep station—useful for food prep, drink mixing or staging a buffet.
Cream-colored cabinetry creates a quiet backdrop for more dramatic finishes. Brass knobs, pulls, fixtures, and lighting add warmth and high impact with finishes that will age beautifully over time.
Keep in mind, that, as a transitional space, a Butler’s Pantry can also be the perfect space for art.
Often visible from both the kitchen and dining room, a pantry wall can double as a gallery. Displaying photography, paintings or drawings is a wonderful way to add layers and visual interest to a walk-through space.
Storage is also important. We added elegant open shelving—unlacquered brass frames with simple quartersawn white oak shelves—to display our client’s pretty collection of glassware.
Two refrigerator drawers and a wine refrigerator allow for easy access to cold drinks and anything needed for entertaining.
Highly functional and polished, this pantry acts as the perfect transitional while delivering a big design punch.
I hope you have enjoyed seeing this Before and After of our client’s newly created Butler’s Pantry. If we can help you with your home, be sure to reach out to us here.
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We work with many incredible fabric houses, and Jim Thompson is one of our favorites to incorporate into our clients’ interiors. Their luxurious fabrics add a beautiful layer of texture, uniqueness and quality to our projects.
I am thrilled to share a glimpse behind the scenes in our Insider’s Insight series from Jim Thompson’s Senior Design Director of Home Furnishings, Susan North.
Before joining Jim Thompson, Susan previously led creative teams at Schumacher, Thibaut, and Scalamandre, and she is one of the most respected textile designers in the business—a mixmaster of color, texture and pattern.
Susan shares below her Insider Insights into the business.
What are you seeing in the design industry that has you excited?
I’ve been excited to see a lot more unexpected use of bold, deep color to transform rooms—from dark doors, dramatic ceilings, more black in interiors, and brilliantly hued furniture pieces.
Designers also seem to be playing with lots of pattern mixed together in single spaces with often amazing results.
It’s perhaps just starting as a trend, but with everyone home a lot more this year, it’s my hope that there will be more interest in investing in better furnishings and textiles that are both luxurious and lasting, more high-level quality and a lot less throw-away.
Tell us what inspires your Jim Thompson designs…
Inspiration comes from so many different places for me; like threads that you pull together to create something new—a bit from fashion, from art, or from favorite books, all mixed together.
But I would say the colors, textures and patterns from nature are what inspire me the most.
No one else hand-weaves Thai silk, or any silk for that matter, quite the way that we do at Jim Thompson. They are some of the most beautiful fabrics on earth, and behind each one is a skilled artisan weaver.
It’s the rich texture, the ‘humps and bumps’ of the silk yarns, as Jim Thompson used to call them, and also the nearly iridescent cross-dyeing of colors that makes them so amazing.
Of course, we don’t just produce hand-loomed silks; we also have a lot more to offer with beautiful velvets, prints, wallpapers and trimmings. But it’s the approach to color and a high level of quality that begins in the silk that comes across in all the products we offer.
Tell us about one of your favorite career collaborations or accomplishments…
I love the story behind one of my favorite prints ever, Pyne Hollyhock Print, which I developed at Schumacher.
Nancy “Princess” Pyne, who was a good friend and client of Albert Hadley’s, showed me scraps of fabric, all faded and in pieces, that she saved from the original room Albert designed for her in the early 1960s. I remembered it from Hadley’s book and had always thought it was one of the most beautiful chintz florals.
She kindly lent me her pieces, and I had it developed into a new chintz print, piecing the design together from all the scraps, and mostly using the colors from the original at the scrap edges, but adding some new colors, too.
Along the way, I would get these phone calls from Albert, who kept recalling what the pattern looked like when it was new, especially the color. In the end, I visited him to show the pattern in progress and he seemed very pleased to see it brought to life again. Albert was delightful to know; charming, funny and with such an incredible eye for design.
Do you have a favorite Jim Thompson pattern?
I love the hand-loomed silks. Thai silk weaves have a beautiful dry texture that makes them simply elegant but unfussy. And of all of these, I am especially fond of the ikats, which are hand-tied and dyed and hand-woven.
Some of my favorites are Anais and Thalia, which haven been in the collection for years, and also the newest ones, like Serengeti. They are like works of art, each one beautifully crafted.
What is one thing you absolutely can’t live without?
This year has somehow made a lot of things seem a whole lot less important, or even necessary. But I can’t live without nature and its beauty. It’s always inspiring to me, for colors and patterns – but getting outdoors and being immersed in nature also calms and feeds the soul in a way that nothing else can do.
I hope you enjoyed learning in this month’s Insider’s Insight series about the amazing process and artisans behind Jim Thompson fabrics. I know I certainly did.
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We love when a client emails us for help with a home renovation, and with all of the time we’re spending in our houses these days, this particular before and after kitchen makeover for our clients in Birmingham, AL, happened just in the nick of time.
The tired kitchen needed not only updated finishes and details but to function better for this active family.
Rework The Existing Space
There was a lot of wasted space in hallways and angled walls, so squaring off walls and moving others around was a must for more livable space. Jason Robb did a great job drawing the plans.
We reclaimed square footage from hallways and created a walk-in office and a butler’s pantry that now connects the kitchen and dining room.
Stayed tuned on a future before and after post on the butler’s pantry- you won’t want to miss it.
Quite the before and after kitchen makeover, right?
Create A Timeless, Functional Kitchen
To create a more timeless space that didn’t feel dark and heavy, we removed the dark painted cabinets and replaced them with quartersawn white oak ones. They now feel more like furniture than built-ins.
A custom wax finish enhances the elegance of the wood and reflects the light beautifully.
Everyday appliances are cloistered behind paneled fronts to create a seamless yet functional space. The La Cornue range is like the perfect accessory to a little black dress.
The large center island was also replaced and given a more elegant, furniture-like design with quartersawn oak legs and fluted details. The main sink was relocated to it and a prep sink installed under the window.
This is a great #entertainingtip so the island can be used as a serving area while prep is out of the way.
Customize The Details Throughout
Unlacquered brass accents are found throughout in the faucets, pot filler, island lanterns and on the black La Cornue range and hood. Tile floors were replaced with light blond oak to complete the light, airy palette.
The finishing touch is a large-scale, honeycomb coffered ceiling. It is an interesting detail that catches your eye but doesn’t distract from the timeless quality of the kitchen.
Adjacent to the kitchen, we incorporated a breakfast area with a custom banquette that looks like a sofa. It’s perfect for family meals or morning coffee.
I hope you like the before and after of this home renovation and kitchen makeover as much as we enjoyed working on it. If we can help transform your home into one you love, email us here. We would love to discuss your project with you.
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We are adding a new series into our blog, Insider’s Insight,where we are sharing thoughts, tips and trends from some of the top thought leaders in the design industry.
Barbara Sallick is co-founder of Waterworks, one of the world’s most prestigious makers of luxury design goods. I personally love the quality and craftsmanship found throughout the Waterworks’ plumbing line, and I am amazed at all Barbara has accomplished over her lifetime.
Enjoy below, as Barbara shares some practical advice for creating a kitchen you will love and appreciate for years to come.
You have one of the most admired kitchen and bath brands in the industry. What’s the secret?
The secret to staying in business for 40 years and maintaining brand leadership is to consistently deliver innovative and authentic product, outstanding experiences, and impeccable service.
I am familiar with the rigor that goes into designing, engineering and manufacturing all of our products. There is such a high level of integrity and craftsmanship in creating things that are timeless and meant to last a lifetime.
What is your most important piece of advice when renovating a kitchen?
Plan carefully. Do your research long before you set foot in a kitchen showroom or talk to a cabinetmaker. Only thoughtful preparation will allow you achieve the results you have dreamt about.
What’s the trick to creating a timeless kitchen?
You need to pay close attention to function and style. Your kitchen layout must flow easily. The design should be both practical and personal.
You should use the finest, most honest materials you can afford—things that will only become more beautiful with age.
But(and here’s the trick), you must first look back and think about the kitchens you’ve loved and were happiest in during your life.
Remember how you felt in those rooms and think about how their design contributed to that feeling. Then, through your design choices, try to recreate that emotion in your own new kitchen.
In your opinion, what should people splurge on in their kitchen?
First, use amazing hardware, it is the jewelry of the kitchen.
Next, select a high-grade sturdy sink and faucet together; they are the hardest working appliance in the kitchen.
Finally, do something special on your backsplash. Please don’t follow the trend and use white 3 x 6 tile.
What 3 things should every kitchen have?
Every kitchen should have a faucet that is comfortable to use. You will turn it on/off multiple times a day. This is the practical must-have.
The room should have a beautiful backsplash. This is the decorative must-have.
Your kitchen also requires a range of lighting choices, including general illumination, decorative accents, and—most important—task lighting. The way you layer lighting plays a big part in creating a kitchen that is personal and brings you joy.
What color palettes are you loving for kitchens and baths at the moment?
I am seeing lots of dark blue and, most especially, I see a mix of two colors. Either the top cabinets are light and the bottom are dark or the perimeter cabinets are all one color and the island is something different.
In my own kitchen, I used a mix of Waterworks paint colors—pale whisper gray on the upper cabinets to make the space feel wider, and navy for the lower cabinets.
What do you love most about your kitchen?
I love that my sink is in the island placing me squarely in the middle of the kitchen. I am, therefore, in the center of all activity—cooking, visiting, and looking out at my beautiful terrace.
Even though it is a small space, it has the kind of charm and functionality that make it the perfect classic and timeless kitchen.
What is one thing you absolutely can’t live without?
I never thought this was important, but having all of the cabinet interiors with pull-out trays is essential. There is no digging around and everything I have is visible. And, natural light is essential.
I hope you enjoyed this interview with our Industry Insider, Barbara Sallick. I particularly enjoyed how she emphasized to buy the finest materials you can afford as they will only become more beautiful over time.
To learn more, pick up Barbara’s book, The Perfect Kitchen.
Thank you, Barbara, for sharing your insight. Cheers, friends, to creating your perfect kitchen.
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I am so excited to be included in a recent Traditional Home magazine story on lighting and thought I’d share four tips on selecting lighting for your home.
Selecting the perfect light fixture is a great way to marry function and beauty while adding a custom touch to your house.
In many interiors, lighting isn’t given the attention it deserves. It’s often an afterthought, but well-chosen light fixtures—from chandeliers and pendants to wall sconces and lanterns—can be the element that adds that final hint of drama to a beautiful room.
Here are four tips we often implement when selecting lighting for our clients whom reach out to us here.
Four tips for selecting lighting for your home:
1. Include Lighting As A Statement Piece
In this soft gray corridor, we incorporated unlacquered brass lanterns to draw the eye upward and act as the perfect punctuation mark to tame a long hallway.
They not only make a statement but they provide needed light for the space.
2. Incorporate Sconces For Dimension and Soft Lighting
Sconces are often the jewelry that completes the little black dress of an interior—offering soft, sculptural light that can break up a long wall and add dimension. These gorgeous accent pieces act not only as accent lighting but also as artwork that personalizes the space.
Ornamented brass sconces with white shades act as delicate accents and balance artwork across the way.
3. Create Drama In A Small Space
Dramatic lighting used in small spaces can offer high impact in a diminutive package. It’s the ideal place for sculptural lighting that catches your eye.
We selected sconces in the same patina in the home’s powder room for consistency and to act as counterpoints to a gorgeous gilt mirror.
Paired with a gray grasscloth wallpaper and gray-flecked marble, the fixtures take on a new life.
4. Include Task lighting Where Needed
Another tip for selecting lighting for your home is that decorative fixtures need to be paired with task lighting in high-use areas like a kitchen. Recessed lighting, mixed with the more decorative ambient light from the lanterns, ensures that every surface is illuminated.
In the kitchen, we chose lanterns with a patina finish to hang over the island. While the kitchen has varying shades of gray, the patinated lighting acts as a casual counterpoint to the dark waxed island while popping against soft gray cabinetry.
I hope you found these four tips for selecting lighting for your home useful as the options for lighting are limitless.
Have fun and experiment with your own by mixing finishes and scale, along with new and antique, for a look special to you. The layering is half the fun.
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It’s amazing what a little vision, new furnishings, fresh paint, and a great floor plan execution will do for your home and for your psyche.
I thought I would share a few homes of clients who needed help furnishing their entire home but with a deadline in mind.
Home Design with a Deadline
Each of these families wanted to update their interiors for different reasons, but all had a common goal- to be finished by the new year.
Believe it or not, if you want to enjoy new furnishings, art and accessories by then, call us now . It takes a few months for orders to be processed and constructed.
There is no time like the present to get started, and I hope these projects inspire you to do the same.
These clients purchased their home a few years back and needed new furnishings, lighting, window treatments, art, and accessories throughout.
In their breakfast room, we incorporated their table (which they loved), refinished their cane-back chars, and added a showstopping, extra long custom banquette to the wall of windows.
Because we started working on this client’s home during the middle of the summer, and the Christmas deadline was in the forefronts of everyone’s mind, we made sure everything was finalized and ordered by the end of August.
As the holidays approached, we completed minor renovations and cosmetic updates just in time for the furniture to be installed. What a treat for this family to enjoy their first Christmas in their new home.
This next home has plenty of square footage, but because of the columns and off-center fireplace, a sofa would not fit in their Family Room. That’s right – there was not enough space for the family to sit comfortably.
As I blogged about here, we completely reworked this room as well as several others. The Family Room transformed into a beautiful, functional space where the entire family can now enjoy together.
The Foyer received new paint, drapery, furnishings, art and accessories.
You know me-I love creating a sitting area when possible because it instantly invites guests to come in, sit and visit. Wait until you see the ‘after’ – it is unrecognizable.
If you are ready to update your home with the goal of enjoying the redesign as soon as possible, call 205-938-4848 or email us here. We would love to discuss your project with you.
Have a great day –
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There is one trend I am seeing in several of our renovation and new construction projects.
While I began designing some homes with them pre-Covid, they are being drawn into renovations and new construction more often as people spend time at home focusing on what their home is missing.
So… what is this trend?
A resurgence in a scullery or second kitchen.
They are more functional than a butler’s pantry as they host a second dishwasher and refrigerator (and some even a second range). These spaces work hard in a home when it is time to entertain.
These second kitchens have special touches such as beverage drawers, dishwashers and coffee bars. Storage is always a priority, too.
They are perfect for containing the mess while the main kitchen serves as an entertaining space for family and friends. I believe that once society is back to entertaining, formal spaces will make a resurgence.
Hopefully, our time is limited that we have to continue to socially distance.
I long for the days of not only having family over, but large gatherings of friends. After all, our homes should be a refuge we love to share with others.
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While my firm works on full-room or full-home interior design projects, a few times a year we offer a limited number of appointments for a one time, 3.5 hour interior design consult.
This service is designed for the client who needs direction and help making decisions for their home but wants to implement the list as their budget and time allow.
In the past, it has gone over really well not only for clients in Alabama but for all over the country. While I have jumped on a plane to make this service happen, I have had several people fly in, drive over or even Facetime with me from across the country.
If you have been noticing all the things you want to change in your home but social distancing is a must due to Corona, this service is for you.
Here’s how the 3.5 hour interior design consult works:
We will ask for a list from you of what you would like to discuss and accomplish during our time together. During our appointment, I will then spend 3.5 hours of uninterrupted time going through your list and answering questions.
We can discuss design dilemmas, furniture arrangements, fabric direction, paint colors, to knock down a wall or not– you name it.
I’ve also had clients use this service to select all of the finishes for a new build while others have brought me in to revamp their existing home.
People who have invested in this consult have been surprised over the amount of detail and information that comes from it. We work hard when we are together.
Matter of fact, I recently saw a client who hired me a few years ago to help her with the finishes, colors, materials, furniture layout, etc for a family lake house under construction.
I couldn’t help but smile as she proudly showed me pictures of the finished product. They didn’t have furniture yet, but the house turned out so pretty. She did a great job implementing my suggestions for building their vacation home.
If you think this interior design consult can help transform your home into one you love, inquire about it here. I would love to talk with you.
Have a great day-
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