Friday, October 11, 2013


Last week, Parrish Watson Design attended Antiques at The Gardens to hear a fantastic lecture by legendary architect Bobby McAlpine (introduced by interior designer Richard Keith Langham, no less!).  Bobby was born in the Alabama sawmill town of Vredenburgh and designed his first house at the age of five.  Luckily, for all of us that admire his work, he hasn’t stopped since!


Bobby's own website describes him as an architect, romantic, poet and entrepreneur.  He spoke poignantly last week about everyone’s personal search for home and his romantic descriptions of modern living left an impression on us.  His inspirational book, The Home Within Us, chronicles more than twenty gorgeous residences all over the country that range from country and seaside retreats to homes in historic American neighborhoods.

As designers, we were excited to hear how Bobby McAlpine approaches relationships with his clients and, in turn, relationships with their homes.  Each home he highlighted was accompanied by a tidbit about the owners and the journey they went through together while designing and building their house.   

We were so captivated by Bobby's words of wisdom and great one-liners that we found ourselves furiously scribbling notes onto our program as the lecture went on:

 “You have to give the richness some rice to be served over.”
(Referring to this leather, draped chain and limestone console placed in a grand Dining Room, Bobby reminded us that not everything should be precious.)

“Dining Room tables shouldn’t be where you last ate last November.”
(Bobby explained that a Dining Room table in the middle of a home, that you have to walk by each day, makes memories as it is used often.)

“My favorite interior is how I’d like to be caught dead.”

 “Getting a dog is a perfect excuse to redecorate.”

"White interiors are beautiful, but short lived."

 “Dutch Doors are great for kids and dogs who are always on the wrong side of the door.”

 “Play with scale and extremes, the compression and release of spaces.”

 “Don’t childproof your house—you’ll neuter it.  Put sconces behind the drapery and place balusters too far apart on the mezzanine.”

Bobby perfectly described lake house paints as “Scout and Brownie uniform colors” and a Rosemary Beach interior as “the palest shade of pink you can imagine” and mentioned working with favorite materials such as thatch, cedar planking, pecky cypress, painted brick and antique roof tile. 

(Scout and Brownie uniform) 
(The palest shade of pink you can imagine) 
*All images from
 We had a fantastic afternoon at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and enjoyed the chance to view the booths of 25 architects, interior designers and garden designers who curated spaces as the "Tastemakers" of the show.

A Well-Edited Home

A Well-Traveled Life

Fireside Chat
Artisan Garden
 David & Holley Camp with Helen Harmon

Welcome Home

No comments:

Post a Comment