Mobile Bay Magazine - April 2019

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Mobile Bay THE LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE FOR MOBILE AND BALDWIN COUNTIES

April 2019

— HOME & GARDEN ISSUE —

BRINGING NEW LIFE TO

Classic Homes THREE HISTORIC MAKEOVERS:

SP

IR IN

G HO

FRESH FASHION

M

56

EP

with Genia Benton & Catherine Burton

TI P S

TR

HOTOS

EN DS & I N

Olde Towne Daphne Charmer, Midtown Labor of Love, and De Tonti Total Reno

WALLPAPER

Katie Kirby on WHAT’S HOT!

EASTER BRUNCH

Three generations of the Clement family

BOBBY ISAKSON

Transforms De Tonti Square

,



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CONTENTS | VOLUME XXXV / ISSUE 4

FÊTE UNCOMMON GREENERY CO-OWNER GENIA BENTON POSES IN A BLUE SOFIA TUNIC FROM SWAY AND HER OWN LEOPARD JEANS AND ACCESSORIES. PHOTO BY WENDY WILSON

APRIL 2019 40

Natural Beauty

The owners of Fête Uncommon Greenery show off fresh styles with an unexpected edge.

48

Finding Calm An Eastern Shore fixer-upper gives one New York couple a change of perspective.

54

Curation and Craft

Two artists bring a Midtown cottage back to life with an eye for the unusual.

 A homeowner’s work is never done, but the stories on the pages of this Home and Garden issue prove that no matter the consequence, making a space your own is the ultimate reward.

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CONTENTS | VOLUME XXXV / ISSUE 4

APRIL 2019 22

28

ON OUR COVER Bobby Isakson and dog Winston show off the two-story porch at their newly renovated De Tonti residence. PHOTO BY JUSTIN CORDOVA

71 11 EDITOR’S NOTE 12 INSPIRATION HOME MB’s premier inspiration home makes its ground- breaking debut. 25 GARDENING Meet the recognizable varietals that dub us the “Azalea City.”

38 SPOTLIGHT Learn to tidy up with Clara Schoen of The Home Organized.

20 GOOD STUFF Let nature inspire your next indoor and outdoor purchases.

26 DECORATING Get wallpaper inspiration from interior designer Katie Kirby.

67 MARCH CALENDAR

22 TASTINGS A new kitchen in Fairhope brings bold flavors to all-day brunch.

28 BAY TABLES Feast your eyes on a Spring Hill Easter brunch fit for kids and parents alike.

14 REACTION 17 ODDS & ENDS 19 THE DISH

74 ARCHIVES Most Pure Heart of Mary’s local and cultural history 76 ASK MCGEHEE The submarine’s historic connection to the Bay

71 BAY LIFE Bobby Isakson takes his 78 IN LIVING COLOR Play a round at the 1950s first shot at residential Grand Hotel. revitalization. BOOZY FRENCH TOAST / PHOTO BY ELIZABETH GELINEAU WINSTON ENJOYS HIS RENOVATED HOME / PHOTO BY JUSTIN CORDOVA EASTER CANDY AWAITS / PHOTO BY ELIZABETH GELINEAU

 Statistics show that people only regularly use about 20 percent of the items they own. What to do with the rest? Get organized! Clara Schoen from The Home Organized offers her most helpful tips on page 38.

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Mobile Bay VOLUME XXXV

No4

APRIL 2019

PUBLISHER T. J. Potts Stephen Potts Judy Culbreth EXECUTIVE EDITOR Maggie Lacey MANAGING EDITOR/WEB Abby Parrott EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Amanda Hartin EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Hallie King PRODUCTION DIRECTOR Virginia Mathers ART DIRECTOR Laurie Kilpatrick EDITORIAL INTERNS Emily Buck Kate Huete

ASSISTANT PUBLISHER

EDITORIAL CONSULTANT

ADVERTISING S R. ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE

Joseph A. Hyland Anna Pavao ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Jennifer Ray

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE

ADMINISTRATION CIRCULATION Anita Miller ACCOUNTING Keith Crabtree AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT

Mark Singletary

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Mallory Boykin, Scotty Kirkland, Lawren Largue, Tom McGehee, Breck Pappas CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS

Summer Ennis Ansley, Justin Cordova, Elizabeth Gelineau, Elise Poché, Wendy Wilson ADVERTISING AND EDITORIAL OFFICES

3729 Cottage Hill Road, Suite H Mobile, AL 36609-6500 251-473-6269 Subscription inquiries and all remittances should be sent to: Mobile Bay P.O. Box 43 Congers, NY 10920-9922 1-833-454-5060 MOVING? Please note: U.S. Postal Service will not forward magazines mailed through their bulk mail unit. Please send old label along with your new address four to six weeks prior to moving. Mobile Bay is published 12 times per year for the Gulf Coast area. All contents © 2019 by PMT Publishing Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of the contents without written permission is prohibited. Comments written in this magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the ownership or the management of Mobile Bay. This magazine accepts no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts, photography or artwork. All submissions will be edited for length, clarity and style. PUBLISHED BY PMT PUBLISHING INC .

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EXTRAS | EDITOR’S NOTE

What’s old is new

PHOTO BY ELIZABETH GELINEAU

A

s I write this, I am neck deep in a home renovation. What started as a small idea — just switch up a few things here and there — spiraled into a major overhaul, and I now sit with a 12-foot gaping hole in the front wall of my house and a thick layer of construction dust on every single item we didn’t pack away. Some people cringe at the thought of renovating a home. Too many decisions, too much dust and too much chaos make daily life unbearable. I, on the other hand, love it. As soon as I walk into a space I start dreaming of the things you could do to transform it. It’s amazing what a good coat of white paint can do! We purchased a very mod, 1960s concrete and glass house about eight years ago and have been renovating it room by room ever since, hoping to make it our forever home. Some of the vintage character I plan to preserve, like split-brick floors, aluminum windows and even the lime green tiles in the master bath (I can’t help it!). Other things had to go, however, like the Mondrian-inspired color-blocked front door and the dark, claustrophobic kitchen with its midcentury cabinetry and original wall oven. I’m not the only one who enjoys tackling a home project. Our annual Home and Garden issue is always a reader favorite. There is something exciting and somewhat voyeuristic about peeking into another person’s home. And there are no shortages of beautiful homes in Mobile and Baldwin counties just waiting to inspire. In this issue we chose to focus on three traditional old homes that recently underwent enormous renovations. While each homeowner, and thus their spaces, has an aesthetic all their own, the transformations are exceptional. They each valued the history of the home and preserved the integrity of the architecture but crafted new spaces and introduced modern finishes that make the old shiny and exciting. When my own renovation is finished — assuming my family survives a few more months of the turmoil — I imagine moving back into a gleaming space of glass and terrazzo tile that would make the Rat Pack proud. In the meantime, we have some sheetrock to hang. Say a prayer for me.

Maggie Lacey EXECUTIVE EDITOR

PIN THIS ISSUE WE ARE THRILLED TO LAUNCH A NEW FEATURE THIS MONTH! SAVE ALL OF THE GORGEOUS HOME IMAGES FEATURED IN THIS ISSUE DIRECTLY TO YOUR PINTEREST BOARDS. SIMPLY OPEN THE APP, CLICK THE CAMERA BUTTON AND HOVER OVER THIS CIRCULAR IMAGE. TA-DA! HAPPY PINNING!

[LOVE THIS ISSUE] BASKET CASE THE HOME ORGANIZED’S CLARA SCHOEN SHARED HER TIPS FOR KICKING THE CLUTTER, INCLUDING USING BASKETS LIKE THESE IN PANTRIES AND CLOSETS. YAMAZAKI TOSCA BASKET, THE CONTAINER STORE, $24.99

TOUCH OF GREEN MOBILE’S ANNE CLEMENT HAS A KNACK FOR CREATING GORGEOUS SPRING PLANTERS, LIKE THIS ONE ON HER BACK DECK.

ON THE PROWL WHAT’S STRANGE TO SOME IS HILARIOUS TO OTHERS. HOMEOWNERS ELIZABET AND DUANE (PG 54) FELL IN LOVE OVER A GIFTED TAXIDERMY COYOTE — IT MUST BE TRUE LOVE!

maggie@pmtpublishing.com

 We’ve been having a ball working with custom home builder Tom Bierster (pictured left)

and architects Mac and Gina Walcott to build our premier Inspiration Home! The design and amenities are truly inspiring. We can’t wait to share it with you this December.

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Mobile Bay magazine

INSPIRATION HOME 2019 Coming this fall, Mobile Bay has teamed up with renowned local architects Walcott Adams Verneuille, Tom Bierster Fine Homes and Espalier Landscape Architects to present our first-ever Inspiration Home.

HOME FEATURES 2,800-SQUARE-FEET OF CUSTOM DESIGN FOUR BEDROOMS AND 3.5 BATHS EXTERIOR FINISHED WITH LAP AND SHINGLE SIDING WITH A STONE BASE ACCENT

INTERIOR WOOD PANELING SAWN FROM ON-SITE TREES, INCLUDING BEECH AND OAK

TOP-LEVEL MASTER SUITE, 28 FEET UP INTO THE TREES FOR A TREEHOUSE FEEL

LARGE OUTDOOR COOKING PORCH

LIBRARY STAIRCASE AROUND DAYLIT BOOKSHELVES AND SEATING NOOKS

OUTDOOR LIVING AREA AROUND A LOWER LEVEL PORTE-COCHERE

ELEVATOR WITH GLASS WINDOWS

OPEN FOR TOURS THURSDAY - SUNDAY DEC. 12 - JAN. 5 12 mobilebaymag.com | april 2019


Mobile Bay magazine’s Inspiration Home is a luxury woodland retreat just steps from Mobile Bay and downtown Fairhope.

PHOTO BY ELIZABETH GELINEAU

This showcase home is currently under construction as part of an exclusive new development called Van Antwerp Park. The development features 11 acres, seven of which have been preserved as an arboretum with trails and communal amenities for residents to share and enjoy. The tall canopy of trees makes a perfect natural setting for this shake and stone three-story house. The 2019 Mobile Bay Inspiration Home will reflect the story of our area through architecture and design from local vendors and designers. Each room will be outfitted with the latest technology and furnishings. Innovative fixtures, smart design, top-of-theline finishes and unique character make this a project to behold. Mark your calendars to tour this spectacular home!

GET TO KNOW VAN ANTWERP PARK: AN 11-ACRE DEVELOPMENT WITH 15 HOMESITES 7-ACRE ARBORETUM, A BOTANICAL COLLECTION OF TREES SHARED HIKING TRAILS, COMMUNAL GARDENS, STONE FIRE PIT, BOCCE COURT AND OTHER NEIGHBORHOOD AMENITIES

PROJECT PARTNERS

BENEFITING USA CHILDREN’S AND WOMEN’S HOSPITAL FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE EMAIL SHEILA WARDY AT SWARDY@PMTPUBLISHING.COM

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EXTRAS | REACTION

Tell us how you really feel ... February 2019

The lifesTyle magazine for mobile and baldwin counTies

BROTHERLY LOVE

BEAUTIFUL HISTORY

On February’s feature story, “The Art of Carnival”

On February’s “Ask McGehee,” about the history and rejuvenation of the former American Legion building on Government Street

The newcomer issue

ron Barrett

+

PRE-PARADE

PANCAKES

LocaL

- Terri Rosene

character

IN OAKLEIGH pg. 28

mardi gras CreaTiVes Five Amazing Artists Who Make Mobile’s Carnival

Will HugHes Fresh Off The Truck

MOBILE’S Own LOvE StOrIES

WE DIG CORRECTIONS On February’s “Newcomer’s Notebook” I hate to nitpick, but Perdido Pass is not natural. It was dug to replace the original pass, which was to the east.

The transformation is breathtaking. It was so sad to ride past it twice a day for the last 31 years and see it crumbling into further ruin. Thank you MOTs. - Judy Brasell Alexander Great article on the history of the Kennedy Cox House. In a world of tear down and replace, it is nice that this house was restored and updated. - Corry Glenn

- David Russell

FULL OF CHARACTER On February’s cover, featuring local designer Ron Barrett My favorite magazine issue yet. - Page Smith He so deserves your cover. - Liz Terry I have devoured Mobile Bay’s February issue with pure delight. Ron Barrett on the cover? Who could resist that adorable man and his smile? - Toni Myers-Wineman Loved seeing Ron on your cover. He did the flowers when my daughter led the KOR reception and then did both her and my youngest daughter’s weddings. He is not only a great artist but a visionary. - Ann A. Davis

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PHOTO COURTESY LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, PRINTS & PHOTOGRAPHS DIVISION, HISTORIC AMERICAN BUILDINGS SURVEY, AL-800

RON BARRETT / PHOTO BY MATTHEW COUGHLIN

Designer

My late brother, former Mobile Bay magazine art editor Peyton Russell, designed the floats for the MOT parade one year. It was so much fun to see his designs as they paraded the streets.

HIGH PRAISE

[You’ve] got Southern Living beat by a bunch — real stuff. - Sissy Geist ALWAYS ROOM FOR LAUGHTER You might be a native Mobilian if you bear a facial scar from a ballistic box of Cracker Jack on a cold Mardi Gras night. - Pamela Terrell McElhany, native Mobilian and resident of Southlake, Texas

 Want to share your thoughts and reactions to this issue with us? Email maggie@pmtpublishing.com.


[MORE ONLINE]

Find additional local stories on mobilebaymag.com. Here’s what’s new on the website! Best of the Fests Music, food, art and more. We round up the top upcoming festivals you must add to your calendar this spring.

Shop ’til you Drop

PHOTO BY ELIZABETH GELINEAU

Love the pieces showcased in this year’s spring fashion feature (page 40)? Browse the full gallery of photos online to see more.

Here Comes the Bride Our 2019 bridal issue is here! Go online to see photos from 15 of this year’s most beautiful local weddings.

Party Pics Share your event with us! Fill out the Party Pics registration form and submit your photos to be featured in a gallery on the Web.

Join Our Email List Get the latest in fashion, food, art, homes, history and events delivered right to your inbox. Sign up for our email list at mobilebaymag.com.

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EXTRAS | ODDS & ENDS

How Does Your Garden Grow? text by HALLIE KING

BR UNCH •

Our favorite combination word, or portmanteau, “brunch” is credited with launching the trend of mixing alcohol with juice. Dating to the 1920s, cocktails like mimosas and bloody marys are perfect daydrinking combos.

800

species of azaleas have spawned around 10,000 beautiful varieties.

Raise a glass to the best idea since mixing juice and alcohol — all-day brunch — and celebrate at the Bay’s newest spot, Cereal Killer, page 22.

Visit page 25 for a selection of a few of our favorites.

April is LAWN AND GARDEN MONTH [ 40TH ANNIVERSARY ]

E.O. WILSON’S PULITZER PRIZE

EASTER SUNDAY

APRIL 21

THE AVERAGE AMERICAN HOME CONTAINS

300

THOUSAND ITEMS While sentimental treasures and highquality pieces deserve a permanent place, most everything else in our homes could use an occasional declutter. Get expert tips from The Home Organized’s Clara Schoen on page 38.

To preserve the eggs that they abstained from eating during Lent, Eastern Christians boiled their remaining bounty. They decorated the eggs to mark the end of the season, then ate them on Easter to celebrate, beginning a historic tradition.

On April 16, 1979, the sociobiologist and world’s leading expert in myremycology (the study of ants) who spent his early life in Mobile won his first Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction for the book “On Human Nature.”

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FOOD | THE DISH

Bite of the Bay MB’s contributing food fanatics share the local dishes that made them hungry for more. CRAWFISH AT R&R SEAFOOD “It’s my favorite time of the year! Springtime means mudbug season. What two better things could you ask for, and R&R Seafood is an amazing spot to experience both. Their crawfish are, hands-down, among the best in town. Once cooked, they’re coated in delicious spices so you really get to savor all of the flavor, along with a great view of Mobile Bay.”

JACK MCCOWN, Owner, Atchison Home

R&R SEAFOOD • 1477 BATTLESHIP PARKWAY 621-8366 • RANDRSEAFOOD.COM

KASEE HEISTERHAGEN, Assistant United States Attorney

CRAWFISH PHOTO BY ELIZABETH GELINEAU

CUBAN SANDWICH AT NIXON’S “One of the best new additions to Midtown, Nixon’s has perfected the throwback family-friendly atmosphere of your neighborhood drug store. Try the ‘Have a Cigar,’ their take on a Cuban sandwich featuring ham, pulled pork, Swiss cheese, Wickles pickles and Creole mustard. This is the perfect place to meet friends for a draft beer or wine on a Friday night as much as it’s the perfect place for lunch with grandparents on Sunday.” NIXON’S MIDTOWN • 1801 OLD SHELL ROAD 586-8780

CARL HARPER, Vice President, Harper Technologies, LLC

PORK CHOPS AT THE NOBLE SOUTH “The Noble South offers big flavor in a comfortable setting and, for lunch, they have a variety of proteins that you may pair with your choice of up to three sides. During my most recent visit, I chose the pork chops with sides of sweet potato fries and collard greens. The two chops were lemon-pepper seasoned, giving them a robust and satisfying flavor. The fries were waffle-cut for a fun spin on a traditional side, and the collard greens were a bowl of savory goodness.”

B’BETH WELDON, Artist

SHAWARMA AT SAGE “We couldn’t wait to try Sage in Fairhope after their recent remodel with the goal of ‘traditional and new Mediterranean & Lebanese cuisine flavors offered with a modern creative approach.’ We shared grape leaves, baba ghanouj and garlic labneh with olive oil and warmed pita. These were outstanding! Then we shared beef shawarma on hummus and NYC chicken shawarma. The leftovers were as delicious the next day.” SAGE LEBANESE CUISINE AND CAFÉ

THE NOBLE SOUTH • 203 DAUPHIN ST.

319 FAIRHOPE AVE., FAIRHOPE • 517-7536

690-6824 • THENOBLESOUTHRESTAURANT.COM

SAGELEBANESECUISINE.COM

 What dishes made you drool and left you hungry for more? Share them on our Facebook page! april 2019 | mobilebaymag.com 19


GOOD STUFF | GARDEN

Green Thumb A garden’s fruitful abundance inspires us to 1 celebrate nature both indoors and out. text by HALLIE KING

1

2

3

GORGEOUS SOAP PETALS ARE ALMOST TOO PRETTY TO USE

5

4

FOUR WALL PLANTERS HUNG TOGETHER MAKE A MAJOR STATEMENT

8 6

7

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1. BATHED IN BEAUTY Deceive your eyes with bathing petal soap flowers that appear to be picked straight from the garden. STREET’S EXQUISITE PLANTS • A’MARIE’S BATHING PETALS SOAP FLOWERS • $40 EACH PHOTO COURTESY A’MARIE’S BATH FLOWER SHOP

2. GOING GREEN One hundred percent bamboo fibers keep hands cool and dry. Being green never felt so comfy! BELLINGRATH GARDENS • GARDEN WORKS BAMBOO FIT GLOVES IN GREEN • $10 PHOTO COURTESY GARDEN WORKS PERENNIAL PRODUCTS

3. ABOUT FACE This selfie planter can quickly change personalities based on the arrangement within. LUSH HOME GARDEN EVENT • CERAMIC SELFIE VASE WITH DOUBLE TULIPS, GERBERA DAISIES AND ITALIAN RUSCUS • $28 PHOTO BY ELIZABETH GELINEAU

4. IN FLIGHT These swallows, available in countless colors, add movement to a quiet garden space. STREET’S EXQUISITE PLANTS • KALALOU CERAMIC HANGING SWALLOWS • $20 EACH

5. DISBE-LEAF Bertice McPherson’s locally hand-crafted leaf platter brings botanical elegance indoors. ASHLAND GALLERY • BERTICE MCPHERSON LEAF PLATTER $125 PHOTO BY ELIZABETH GELINEAU

6. HEALING HANDS Clean your garden-tending fingers with this hand soap infused with botanicals and aloe vera. BELLINGRATH GARDENS • GARDENER’S HAND WASH BY CAREN ORIGINALS • $14 PHOTO COURTESY CAREN ORIGINAL

7. CUT IT OUT Herb scissors with three blades and can’t-miss packaging bring the garden to your table. BELLINGRATH GARDENS • KILO THREE-BLADE HERB SCISSORS • $8 PHOTO COURTESY KITCHEN INNOVATIONS

8. WALL TO WALL No yard space? No problem! These wall planters can be filled with plants of your choice. BELLINGRATH GARDENS • PAMELA CRAWFORD LIVING WALL PLANTER • $35 EACH (FOUR PLANTERS IN PHOTO) PHOTO COURTESY KINSMAN GARDEN COMPANY

RESOURCES ASHLAND GALLERY • 2321 OLD SHELL ROAD. 479-3548. FACEBOOK.COM/ASHLANDGALLERY BELLINGRATH GARDENS GIFT SHOP • 12401 BELLINGRATH GARDENS ROAD. 973-2217. BELLINGRATH.ORG LUSH HOME GARDEN EVENT • 1910 GOVERNMENT ST. 473-6121. LUSHHOMEGARDENEVENT.COM STREET’S EXQUISITE PLANTS • 17750 S GREENO ROAD, FAIRHOPE. 990-0901. STREETSOFFAIRHOPE.COM

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FOOD | TASTINGS

Cereal Killer text by MAGGIE LACEY • photos by ELIZABETH GELINEAU

CHEF ILYZAR FLORES (LEFT) AND CHEF WADE PRICE (RIGHT)

C

hef Wade Price is a dreamer. Like many professionally trained chefs, he dreamed of owning his own restaurant one day. He planned menus and concepts in great detail, outlining the spaces and flavors of his future. “I have tons of ideas I want to execute one day,” he admits, but a brunch spot was always a favorite. When a tiny corner kitchen at The Mill in downtown Fairhope came available, and rumor was the landlords wanted a breakfast spot, Price pitched his concept. He sold them on his vision, and Cereal Killer was born. Price isn’t chasing down a dream alone, however. He and his business partner, chef Ilyzar Flores, met in culinary school and became fast friends and roommates. The two have much in common, but it’s where they differ that makes them the perfect team. “Wade is full of creativity and ideas,” says Flores, who goes by Eli for short. “He geeks out on the flavor combos while I obsess over execution. I want to present delicious, high-quality food every single time.” I guess you could say Price is the bacon to Flores’s egg, the milk to his cereal, the French to his toast … you get the idea. It’s hard to single out the stars on this all-day brunch menu — so many options sing out for attention like an early morning rooster. It’s

a fun mix of global flavors, with a few updated takes on traditional brunch dishes. Everything has a cool twist, chef Price’s creative stamp. And all the building blocks of these sandwiches and plates — I mean all of them — are made from scratch. Bacon, sausage, pickles, ketchup and mustard? You got it, 100 percent measured, stirred and concocted by Price and Flores in the tiny kitchen. The only thing not being cranked out by hand is the bread, and the duo says they are working on it. “We found a brioche that just can’t be beat, so we had to start with that. But ours is coming,” promises Flores. The coffee is a custom, house blend from Fairhope Roasting Company, while the sodas are from Big Jerk, a Gulf Coast company out of Pensacola. The eggs are from pastured hens in Barnwell. Every piece of bread is toasted on the griddle in duck fat, an added touch you can taste. “Wade and I believe that we should put more money into the quality of our ingredients,” explains Flores. That commitment shows in every bite of this well-priced menu. Whether your brunch cravings lean toward sweet or savory, Asian or French, Cereal Killer will satisfy. And while a menu with such breadth might sound a bit haphazard, Price’s dream brunch menu hits all the right notes, no matter the time of day. MB

 Cereal Killer • 85 N Bancroft St. • 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. T - Th, Su; 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., 5 – 8 p.m. F – Sa; closed Monday 278-7970 • facebook.com/cerealkillerfairhope • average entree price $9

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BREAKFAST BANH MI

BREAKFAST RAMEN

[ON THE MENU ]

BREAKFAST BANH MI

BREAKFAST RAMEN

BOOZY FRENCH TOAST

CHURRO BUBBLE WAFFLE

Braised brisket gets a kick from honey habanero hollandaise and crunch from pickled veggie slaw with sesame seeds, cabbage, carrots and daikon. Finished with fresh herbs and a duckfat-grilled French baguette.

Delicate noodles, Srirachamaple bacon, a turmericpickled egg and chopped scallions swim in a rich “buttered toast” tonkotsustyle broth, topped with a slice of roasted garlic truffle compound butter.

Texas toast gets a crispy exterior from caramelized cinnamon sugar and crushed Fruity Pebbles. Another sprinkle of colorful cereal and a drizzle of bourbon maple syrup makes sweet breakfast perfection.

A unique waffle iron out of Hong Kong serves up soft cinnamon-sugar waffles that are topped with a drizzle of dulche de leche, whipped coconut, strawberry hibiscus jam and crispy crushed peanuts.


GUMBO | OBSERVATIONS

The Azalea City The blossoms that the Bay area is known for bloom in countless varieties and an array of colors. Here are just a few of our favorites. text by K ATE HUETE

AUTUMN SUNBURST A new hybrid from Encore, these unique blooms are coral pink with white ruffled edges.

KAEMPFERI One of the hardiest azaleas that has gone on to produce many hybrids.

THE WILD HONEYSUCKLE This variety can grow to become a small tree and is very fragrant.

POUKHANENSE A hardy grower, the flowers blossom before the leaves sprout, covering the bush in color.

ALABAMENSE Originated in Europe but named after our lovely state.

AUTUMN AMETHYST This hybrid variety from Mobile-based Encore Azalea blooms three times a year.

SOUTHERN INDICA The “Pride of Mobile” blooms soft pink, magenta, purple, and salmon red.

JAPANESE SATSUKI Every petal of this exquisite variety looks as if it was painted with watercolor.

SPIDER AZALEA A rare breed, this variey boasts narrow, lavender-colored petals.

 Azaleas are deeply intertwined with Mobile’s rich history, thanks to Fifise Langlois, who, in the mid-18th century, brought three colors of azaleas to Mobile after visiting his childhood home of Toulouse, France. The azalea bushes that were planted at that time have since grown into trees that are 15 to 20 feet in height, and are now thriving at Bellingrath Gardens.

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HOMES | DECORATING

Paper Renaissance What was once a dated wallcovering has transformed into the darling of designers. Wallpaper is having a major moment, and local interiors maven Katie Kirby shares her top picks for the trend. text by MAGGIE LACEY • portrait by ELIZABETH GELINEAU

A

ll trends come and go. A few of the best trends, however, come and go and come full circle again, reappearing years later with a fresh new look. According to local interior designer Katie Kirby, we are just coming full circle with one trend in particular. “Wallpaper is very hot right now and very in,” she says. Wallpaper traces its roots as far back as Europe in the 1500s, although some say the Chinese might have used it in their buildings even sooner. A decorating option once out of reach of your average citizen, wallpaper became democratized in the 1950s and saw great popularity in the following decades. Flocked velvets and shiny foils ruled in the ’70s while florals with matching borders and trims covered the ’80s. After a few too many attempts to remove hard-stuck trends from home interiors, homeowners switched to solid colors of paint with tons of white, and wallpaper all but disappeared from store shelves. Not anymore. Kirby has been designing homes for residents on both sides of the Bay for the past 15 years, helping with everything from a room refresh to a completely new construction plan. She even assists clients with the small but important details of a home update, like lighting schemes, custom furniture plans or art installations. Wallpaper is increasingly becoming a part of her clients’ wish lists. “It’s not just for walls anymore,” she advises. “Try it somewhere unexpected like on the ceiling or in the back of a bookcase.” Kirby loves to mix traditional and modern, and adding wallpaper is a great way to achieve a fun mix. “They’ve come a long way with the technology,” she says, so don’t be afraid to try it out. The new glues ensure wallpaper will come down as easily as it went up, making way for the next trend to circle back around. MB

WALL TO WALL ART If you’re looking to make a serious investment in patterned walls, these three wallpapers are the way to go. Each one is completely custom-made from start to finish. You send the designers your room dimensions, they draw up the plans and supply a sample rendering which you approve before printing. The possibilities are endless!

FROMENTAL This pattern, one of many options from Fromental, is meant to look like travertine stone. “It’s amazing on walls and in the backs of bookshelves, too,” says Kirby. 26 mobilebaymag.com | april 2019

AREA ENVIRONMENTS This designer makes large-scale contemporary prints with clean looks that pair beautifully with antique furniture. Kirby says Area Environments papers are “pure art on a wall.”

DE GOURNAY This classic line is most often used in dining rooms but also works well in foyers and living areas. The exquisite botanical scenes are hand-painted with custom colors and can even be woven with silk.


READY TO ROLL If custom wallpaper is beyond your budget, Kirby loves these options sold by the roll and available through designers everywhere.

“I love the cheerful green of this fun wallpaper. It is so fabulous in a powder room or laundry room.” ALTA 82113 WALLPAPER IN KELLY by Lindsay Cowles

“I used this in my client’s powder room (left) because it fit her playful personality and the color scheme of her house. It’s a little unexpected, not the typical grasscloth you see in so many other bathrooms.” ALTA IVORY-A WALLPAPER IN GREY By Lindsay Cowles

“This bold wallpaper screams power and grabs your attention, but black and white keeps it classic and easy to work with.” ALTA 81613 WALLPAPER IN BLACK by Lindsay Cowles

“This bold pattern has soft curves and a neutral color palette. Designer Kelly Wearstler is so creative and out of the box.” CRESCENT PAPER IN EBONY & CREAM by Kelly Wearstler

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FOOD | BAY TABLES

Golden Legacy The Clement family gathers annually to celebrate Easter, a tradition they hope endures for generations to come. text by AMANDA HARTIN • photos by ELIZABETH GELINEAU

S

unlight dapples through dew-kissed dogwoods and magnolias, gently awakening the Port City from its gray wintery slumber. Showy azaleas, hydrangeas, lilies and tulips emerge while hatchlings chatter in nearby nests, echoing the joyous giggles of children that dash across the green lawns below. “It’s a rebirth,” Tommy Clement Jr. says of springtime in the South as it unfolds before his eyes in his own backyard. For the Clement family, the word “rebirth” means much more than just nature’s revival; it represents the handing down of Easter traditions from one generation to the next. For as long as Tommy can remember, Easter — complete with egg hunt and dinner — has been celebrated at his grandmother

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Jackie Williams’ home. After decades worth of hosting, however, Tommy says she is about ready to “pass the baton on to us.” Eager to keep the family tradition alive, Tommy and wife Anne graciously accepted the opportunity to coordinate this year’s fete. Located on a picturesque corner in Spring Hill, an idyllic white picket fence envelops the Clements’ thoughtfully landscaped lawn. Lush shrubbery and flower-filled planters provide perfect spots to tuck eggs just out of toddlers’ sights while mature trees offer enough nooks and crannies to keep older children hunting for hours. The home boasts warm and inviting gathering spots for guests of all ages, and pastel eggs, bright tulips and white porcelain bunnies dotted throughout form the subtle backdrop.

As in years past, the morning starts with baskets teeming with trinkets and candy for Clement children Emme, Bond, Thompson and Mary Ellen. A traditional service at Dauphin Way United Methodist Church is next, which always includes the Clements’ favorite, a heart-stirring rendition of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.” Then it is back home for pictures and an egg hunt, the most prized finds of which are the golden eggs, a tradition started by Tommy’s grandmother (she tucked $2 bills and silver ABOVE LEFT Anne and Tommy Clement Jr. steal a moment together before guests start arriving. ABOVE MIDDLE Soft touches of pastels adorn the family’s dining room table. ABOVE RIGHT Emme Clement snuggles Peanut, the family’s pet rabbit. OPPOSITE T.C. Hamilton springs into action.


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dollar coins into the plastic shells). While kids turn their attention to playtime and tween talk, the men enjoy their pastime of choice — an afternoon spent watching golf and playing a raucous football game pitting kids, dads and granddads against one another. “There is always an injury,” Anne says, laughing. Not lost amidst the bustle is the heavenly aroma of the buffet-style dinner, with dishes prepared by various family members. “We all know what we’re good at,” Anne explains. Among her favorites is the macaroni and cheese dish, made from her grandmother’s recipe. Passing down recipes is something Anne hopes to do with her daughters. “Right now, Emme is the baker,” she says of her oldest. “We certainly enjoy our time in the kitchen together.” And the kitchen is where the group of brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, cousins and friends gather, if only briefly, to admire the delicious meal spread before them. But before the first slice of ham is carved, the group circles together to say the blessing — a prayer for health, provision and continued traditions. MB

MISSIONARY’S DOWNFALL SERVES 4

A surprisingly strong drink that can waylay the best of intentions, as the name reminds. Recipe adapted from “Come On In,” a cookbook by the Junior League of Jackson, Mississippi. 1 small can frozen limeade 1 limeade can measurement of vodka 1 handful fresh mint leaves

1. Fill blender with ice. Add limeade, vodka and mint leaves. Blend until mint leaves are finely chopped. Serve in glasses garnished with fresh mint sprigs. OPPOSITE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP Sisters Adele, Frances and Merril Clement compare their Easter treasures. The Clements’ brightly decorated kitchen table creates a happy, inviting space. A Missionary’s Downfall, served in a frosty silver julep cup, is the perfect complement to casual conversations.

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ROSEMARY SCONES Skip the store-bought rolls — ­ these scones can be prepped ahead and stored in the freezer. Just place and bake Easter morning. Recipe adapted from the former Sweet Olive Bakery in Fairhope. 4 1/2 cups flour 2 tablespoons baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 2 teaspoons salt 2/3 cup sugar 3 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter 2 cups heavy cream 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 2. Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and rosemary in a large bowl. 3. Divide butter into small pieces and add to flour mixture. Using a pastry cutter or your fingertips, cut butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. 4. Make a well in the center of flour and butter mixture. Gently incorporate cream into the well until dough pulls together. Turn out onto a lightly floured table and form into a 1-inch thick round. Cut with a biscuit cutter. 5. Place dough on a parchment-covered sheet pan and freeze at least 30 minutes. Dough can be baked immediately or stored in a sealed container and frozen for up to 30 days. 6. Before baking, brush the tops of scones with egg wash. Bake 25 – 30 minutes or until golden brown. 7. Add baked ham bites and a dollop of Jezebel Sauce (below) to each sliced scone.

JEZEBEL SAUCE Just like Southern women, this classic sauce is sweet with a little spice. Recipe adapted from “Some Like It South,” a cookbook by the Junior League of Pensacola, Florida. 1 10-ounce jar apple jelly 1 10-ounce jar pineapple preserves 1/2 jar prepared horseradish 1 teaspoon cracked pepper 1 tablespoon dry mustard

1. Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate overnight.

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CRUNCHY ROMAINE TOSS

CHEESE GRITS

SERVES 10

SERVES 10

Recipe adapted from “Come On In,” a cookbook by the Junior League of Jackson, Mississippi.

Gruyere and Parmesan give this Southern dish a unique taste. The recipe can be prepared the day before and baked when ready to serve. Recipe adapted from a cookbook by the Junior League of Memphis, Tennessee.

4 1 1 1 1 4 1

tablespoons unsalted butter cup walnuts, chopped package ramen noodles, uncooked (discard flavor packet) bunch broccoli, coarsely chopped head romaine lettuce, broken into pieces green onions, chopped cup Sweet and Sour Dressing (recipe follows)

1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Brown walnuts and noodles in butter; cool on paper towels. 2. Combine noodles and walnuts with broccoli, lettuce and onions. Pour dressing over and toss to coat well.

SWEET AND SOUR DRESSING YIELDS 2 1/2 CUPS 1 cup vegetable oil 1 cup sugar 1/2 cup red wine vinegar 1 tablespoon soy sauce salt and pepper, to taste

1. Blend all ingredients well, and serve with chilled salad.

1 quart milk 1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup butter, divided 1 cup grits 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon white pepper 4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 2. Bring milk to a boil. Add 1/2 cup butter and stir in grits. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is the consistency of oatmeal (about 5 minutes). 3. Remove grits from heat, add salt and pepper and beat mixture well. 4. Stir in remaining 1/3 cup butter and Gruyere, and pour into a greased 2-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan. 5. Bake 1 hour and serve warm.

ABOVE, LEFT TO RIGHT Mary Ellen Clement cannot resist freshly cut fruit. Anne Clement’s Crunchy Romaine Toss looks gorgeous nestled in a borrowed silver server. Granddaughter Merril Clement hunts eggs hand-in-hand with Tommy’s mother, Lisa Clement.

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MACARONI & CHEESE SERVES 10

This quick and easy Southern staple is dear to Anne Clement’s heart, as the recipe was handed down from her grandmother. 16 ounces elbow macaroni 16 ounces Amish Country Colby cheese, shredded 3 – 4 cups milk butter, for topping salt and pepper, to taste

1. Boil noodles according to package directions. Pour half of the noodles into a 9-inch by 12-inch casserole dish and cover with half of cheese. Add remaining noodles to cheese layer, then top with remaining cheese. 2. Top noodles with enough milk to nearly cover entirely. Top with butter, salt and pepper. 3. Cook at 350 degrees for 45 minutes – 1 hour, until lightly brown on top.

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CHESS BARS 24 SERVINGS

These creamy bites are the perfect “pick up” dessert. Recipe courtesy of Betty Luce, as found in “One of a Kind,” a cookbook by the Junior League of Mobile. 1 package butter cake mix 4 eggs 4 ounces (1 stick) butter, melted 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 3 eggs 8 ounces (1 package) cream cheese 16 ounces (1 box) powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 2. In a medium bowl, combine cake mix, egg, butter and vanilla. Spread into a greased 9-inch by 13-inch pan. 3. In a clean bowl, beat eggs, cream cheese and sugar. Pour on top of cake mixture and bake 30 – 40 minutes. Cool and cut into bars.

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PEOPLE | SPOTLIGHT

Simply Organized Clara Schoen helps south Alabamians ditch the clutter, leaving space to appreciate what’s important in life. text by AMANDA HARTIN • photo by SUMMER ENNIS ANSLEY

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erhaps it’s the lighting. Perhaps it’s the subtle aromatic notes of popcorn and coffee. Maybe it’s just lack of self-control. But try as I might, each time I enter my favorite big-box store, I’m drawn toward items I never knew I needed. A woven llama-shaped basket? Yes, please. A cheeky-labeled, cupcake-scented votive? Throw it in the buggy. Once home, reality hits: I have zero use for the braided pack-animal and, worse, I own enough candles to light Betty White’s next birthday cake. I know I am not alone in my affliction. Clara Schoen, Mobile-based decluttering extraordinaire and owner of The Home Organized, confirms my suspicion. “As a society, we are constantly bombarded by consumerism, which can easily lead to impulse buying,” she explains. “Homeowners are overwhelmed with the amount of possessions they have accumulated, stuff they thought ‘sparked joy’ in the store. The trouble with that is, if everything is special, then nothing is special.” It turns out, “stuff ” affects more than just the physical space around us. According to Clara, if left unchecked, clutter and disorganization in our homes can quickly create a toxic environment in which negative feelings spill out into relationships. “I want your home to be a place of peaceful rejuvenation and relaxation,” she shares of her mission. “The world is chaotic enough. I want your space to feel good.” Maintaining that feel-good environment actually begins before strolling into the hypnotizing throes of fluorescent-lit aisles. “Take a list to the store and stick to it,” Clara suggests. But if you find yourself aimlessly perusing, it becomes

LEFT Clara Schoen shows off a client’s recently organized pantry, which features a designated space for everything from snacks to Tupperware.

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Quick Steps to Decluttering 1. Set a timer. Don’t think you have enough time to declutter? Think again. Set an alarm for 15 - 30 minutes, and see how much you can get done without distraction. 2. Start small. To avoid being overwhelmed, pick one or two small spaces, such as a drawer, shelf or dresser, empty it out and wipe it down, then place everything in a pile. 3. Bag it. Grab three trash bags: one each for trash, donations and recycling. For each item, ask yourself if you have used it within the past year. If not, it’s probably safe to toss it. 4. Think quick. Touch each item as little as possible. When you hold items, you grow more attached to them. 5. Find a home. If you keep an item, find a home for it, and that’s where it should stay when not in use.

a matter of asking questions as you shop. Where is this item going to live? Do you want it displayed? What might you take out in order to make room for this? And for the bigger picture, remember that costs add up. Is making the purchase worth not going on vacation this year? As for Clara, wife and mom of two growing boys, keeping her home organized is centered on one thing — remembering what’s truly valuable in life. “I want to enjoy my space,” she says. “If I know something is not going to add value to my life, I’m not bringing it home with me.” MB

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ON GENIA, LEFT Flowing blue “Sofia” tunic with tie neck (Sway). Leopard-print skinny jeans, gold cuff, black fringe heels (model’s own). ON CATHERINE, RIGHT Multicolor racerback tank top (Sway). Fully lined elastic hem cropped “Dreamlike” bomber jacket in red (Keepsake, CK Collection). Blue distressed cropped jeans (Sway). “Jubilee” heel with red sole lining and lucite upper (Steve Madden, DSW). Dramatic gemstone earrings (Sway).

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The co-owners of FÊTE

natural

Uncommon Greenery blossom in the season’s newest threads.

BEAUTY Catherine Burton and Genia Benton are creative kindred spirits. Although they went to the same grammar school years ago, the pair truly bonded after they found themselves living on the same small cul-desac. Catherine once owned a contemporary art gallery in Manhattan and studied sustainable agriculture in California. Genia lived and worked at the Getty Museum in California. With creative backgrounds and a shared affinity for beauty, health and local good things, the pair put their heads together. They daydreamed of creating a venture that would feed their creative spirits while offering flexibility around family life, all the while generating something good for the people around them. Their love for the beauty of the natural world was a shared, simple joy, and before long Fête was born. Known for crafting unique wreaths and arrangements with foraged greenery and natural elements, Fête is becoming a creative brand known for its unique approach to everyday beauty. Their joie de vivre sprinkles joy all along the way. As they say, “Local girls. Local greenery. Uncommon design.”

styling by MAGGIE LACEY text by HALLIE KING photos by WENDY WILSON hair by BRANDY HELTON makeup by OLIVIA FRYFOGLE models GENIA BENTON AND CATHERINE BURTON shot on location at ATCHISON HOME

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ON GENIA, OPPOSITE Mid-length balloon-sleeve V-neck leopard wrap dress in Minion Yellow (Ganni, Debra’s). Black “Sofia” wedges in Seta Negro (Kanna, CK Collection). Gold cuff (model’s own). ON GENIA, MIDDLE LEFT Waxed suede cropped “Josey” jacket in Cloud (Jakett New York, East Bay Clothiers). Gray striped “Annika” midi skirt in Juniper (Fabiana Pigna, Debra’s). Silky suede slingback “Unes Espadrille” sandal in Beige (Moda Spana, DSW). Rose gold bangles (Twoa, Debra’s). ON CATHERINE, MIDDLE RIGHT Gray striped “Yusuke” blouse in Juniper (Fabiana Pigna, Debra’s). Black link necklace (ZENZII, CK Collection). Black “Sofia” wedges in Seta Negro (Kanna, CK Collection). Pintuck ankle-length “Gramercy” pant in Black (Lafayette 148, CK Collection). ON CATHERINE, RIGHT Egg shell sequined tank top (Lola & Sophie, Hemline). High-rise flare leg white jeans (Hudson Los Angeles, Hemline). Suede chunky heel “Menora” sandal in Dusty Pink and Violet (VANELi, DSW). Gold teadrop earrings with floral accents (Hemline).

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ON GENIA, LEFT Floral V-neck “Cloud Nine” midi dress (Talulah, Debra’s). Leather block heel “Hibiscus” sandal in Fuschia (Cecelia New York, CK Collection). Gold statement “Lydia” floral earrings (Jennifer Behr, Debra’s). ON CATHERINE, MIDDLE White ribbed cotton “Karlie” tank (Sway). High-waisted ruffled patterned “Eddie” pant in Metamorphosis Black (Crosby by Mollie Burch, CK Collection). Black “Sofia” wedges in Seta Negro (Kanna, CK Collection). Gold hoop earrings (Sway). Three-quarter sleeve black blazer (Sway). ON GENIA, RIGHT Frayed zebra print top with accent zipper (Odeeh, Debra’s). Chunky gold hoop earrings (Sway). Black-on-black cat eye “Don’t @ Me” sunglasses (Quay x Desi Perkins, Hemline).

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ON CATHERINE, ABOVE Spaghetti strap trumpet “Utopia” lace gown in yellow (Keepsake, Debra’s). Cropped floral bomber jacket (model’s own). Gold statement “Lydia” floral earrings (Jennifer Behr, Debra’s). ON GENIA, MIDDLE Burgundy striped midi dress (Tela, Debra’s). Three strand port-colored wood beaded necklace (Ink + Alloy, Hemline). Gold cuff, black fringe heels (model’s own). ON CATHERINE, RIGHT Ruffled floral embellished top in Tapioca (Ganni, Debra’s). Pull-on cuff pants in Black (Estelle and Finn, CK Collection).

RESOURCES CK COLLECTION • 320 FAIRHOPE AVE., FAIRHOPE. 990-9001. CKCOLLECTION.COM DEBRA’S • 4068 OLD SHELL ROAD. 343-7463. FACEBOOK.COM/DEBRAS.BOUTIQUEMOBILE DSW • 3930 B AIRPORT BLVD. 460-9129. DSW.COM EAST BAY CLOTHIERS • 39 N SECTION ST., FAIRHOPE. 928-6848. EASTBAYCLOTHIERS.COM HEMLINE• 4356 OLD SHELL ROAD. 287-6875.SHOPHEMLINE.COM SWAY • 324 FAIRHOPE AVE., FAIRHOPE. 990-2282. FACEBOOK/SWAY-FAIRHOPE

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Finding Calm A charming, historic fixer-upper on the Eastern Shore becomes one couple’s peaceful respite from New York City courtrooms and soundstages. text by LAWREN LARGUE • photos by JUSTIN CORDOVA

E

arly morning sunlight trickles onto the back porch while the intoxicating aroma of sweet honeysuckle dances on the breeze. Jeffry Culbreth and husband Tom Farley sip their coffee, wisps of steam from their mugs intermingling between them. Easy mornings like these, away from the hustle and bustle of honking taxicabs and crowded sidewalks, are just what they had imagined for retirement. Indeed, there was a time when the bright lights and excitement of the metropolis beckoned, and Jeffry concedes that she adored her 32 years working as a talent producer, booking celebrity guests for several popular television series, including “The Rosie O’Donnell Show,” for which Jeffry won an Emmy, “The Today Show” and “Martha.” But in the back of her mind, she’d always dreamed of opening a quaint shop in a small town and living in a storybook cottage. In 2008, with her two kids out of the nest, she bid farewell to New York and returned to her roots in Lower Alabama. Tom, an attorney, began downsizing his practice and joined her when he could in Fairhope. LEFT Pets Otis and Murray lounge in the sun-dappled breakfast room. The table is from Jeffry’s store, Fairhope Furniture Consignment. Tom hand-crafted the cabinetry and moulding throughout the house.

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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP One of the couple’s most treasured pieces is the dining room table, which originally belonged to Tom’s parents. When Jeffry had the piece refinished a few years back, she was quick to make sure that one element remained completely untouched: one edge of the table is covered with scrapes and nicks that Tom vividly recalls carving as a child with his knife during dinnertime. In the guest bedroom, shiplap paneling coated in Decorator White paint and stained wood sliding barn doors lend a modern farmhouse appeal. Tom has enjoyed woodworking since his teens when he learned the trade building signs in Vermont. In place of the former garage, they built a workshop where Tom could enjoy his hobby. The sign is a running joke, welcoming visiting feathered friends. OPPOSITE Jeffry folds laundry on this Vermont farm table. Tom’s brother donated the vintage door for the utility room.

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ABOVE A white slipcovered sofa, gray cane wingback chairs and a crisp ivory mantel keep the cottage airy, while rich wood accent tables, all from the consignment shop, add dimension and warmth to the space. The old, photo-laden piano belonged to Tom’s mother. OPPOSITE With two patios and four porches, the home has an indoor-outdoor vibe. Although Jeffry admits that she does occasionally miss the New York food scene and Broadway, she couldn’t be happier to be home. Likewise, Tom quickly became enamored with life in the South and the friendly community of the Eastern Shore. “He laughs and tells people that you could sit still through three red lights and not a single person would honk their horn at you,” says Jeffry.

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After working booths at a couple of antique malls and assisting at a consignment shop, Jeffry felt ready to take on the store she envisioned. Today, she is co-owner — with designer David Van Colvin — of Section Street’s chic emporium Fairhope Furniture Consignment. In addition to upscale — and yes, quaint — used furniture, the popular spot also carries stylish retail accessories. Part one of Jeffry’s wishful thinking became a reality. True to their propensity for vintage, in 2014, Tom — by then a full-time Bay resident — decided to purchase an old cottage in historic Daphne. A natural visionary, Jeffry could see beyond the mustard-yellow siding, tattered red garage and haphazard additions to the circa 1920s place. Tom, ever the “piddler” and an avid woodworker, reveled at the thought of constructing new oak cabinetry for the kitchen. The two set out to make the place their forever retreat for themselves and their two Havanese pups, Otis and Murray, and a coastal vacation hub for their adult kids and their grandchildren (one and hoping). Following the kitchen, bathroom and master bedroom overhaul and plenty of coats of Decorator White paint, Jeffry assembled an eclectic and refined collection of furnishings and decor, old and new. In addition to family heirlooms and antique Oriental rugs, crisp white textiles paired with gray painted accent pieces and natural wood family heirlooms create a casual yet sophisticated French country aesthetic. Just as they had hoped, Jeffry and Tom are enjoying a tranquil lifestyle near the Bay. MB

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A PERFECTLY CURATED COLLECTION OF VINTAGE TCHOTCHKES, ARTISTIC TREASURES AND NATURE-THEMED BAUBLES DECORATE THE MIDTOWN HOME.

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Two of Mobile’s artistic innovators put their talents and personalities on display in their reconstructed Midtown home.

CURATION AND CRAFT

text by HALLIE KING photos by JUSTIN CORDOVA

M

eet the cast of characters: A nearly 200-year-old uninhabitable Midtown cottage. A pair of artists six months into a relationship. A small amount of renovation experience and an unquenchable thirst for adventure. Sometimes, a few right-place, right-time circumstances are all it takes to set the stage and, quite literally, transform a house into a home. Elizabet Elliott, director of exhibitions and public programming at Alabama Contemporary Art Center, lived a whirlwind life of art and travel before returning to the Bay area to make Mobile her latest muse. Duane Knight, meanwhile, spent time remodeling homes and working on his own artistic endeavors in Nashville and Mobile before he and a friend established flux, a working studio and art gallery for Mobile’s creative entrepreneurs. Despite the duo cohabiting the same artistic circuits, Elizabet and Duane’s paths never crossed, an ironic circumstance not lost on the two who share countless friends, acquaintances and connections. After they finally met four year ago, their love story unfolded as Duane drove his 1986 Ford Ranger back and forth across the Bayway from the Eastern Shore to see Elizabet. The truck was missing windshield wipers, it rained like the dickens for weeks and Duane was unaware of his ever-present need for glasses. Elizabet suddenly realized that kind of risk-taking must be love. “I just came here because of Bet,” Duane jokes, fully transparent about the fact that their life here is as much committed to each other as it is to their work. For the couple, making Mobile home wasn’t just about reconnecting to their hometown roots. They share a passion for the community and its local artists, both of which seemed to be in need of and ready for a more organized art april 2019 | mobilebaymag.com 55


THE HOME’S ORIGINAL CABINETS WERE MOVED AND MODERNIZED WITH MISMATCHED VINTAGE 1940S ’60S CABINET PULLS FROM A CABINETMAKING RELATIVE.

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scene where artists could grow and experiment. The two jumped head-first into a life together working to expand and enliven the local art scene bit by bit. “It’s soft ground; you can grow things here,” Elizabet says of the creative climate in Mobile. By bringing avant-garde works into public spaces where the average citizen can see them, she and her contemporaries are working to expand the conversation. “If you meet people where they are and you’re doing something cool, they will support you.” Their passion for creativity is equally present in the design of their home. The couple retained the original layout and baseboards, but put their individual spin on the rest of the house — they pulled out 5,000 pounds of demo all on their own, re-covered every wall, refinished floors with plywood sawn to look like hardwood floors and completely rebuilt the dilapidated living space and patio. The entryway spills into an open dining space and den, complete with an antique piano, lively plants and plenty of patina. Off the sides of the main foyer sit a master bedroom, a cozy entertainment room and a spare bedroom that doubles as a rehearsal space for the duo’s pop-up band. The kitchen, retaining its original cabinets and framework, was updated to make the storage layout more practical, create space to display their handmade dishes and mugs and be a respite for Elizabet’s inner chef. A square of tile installed

DUANE KNIGHT (ABOVE LEFT) AND ELIZABET ELLIOTT (ABOVE RIGHT) SHARE AN AFFINITY FOR ART, FOR INDIVIDUALITY AND FOR EACH OTHER. THE PIECES IN THEIR HOME (LIKE A PIANO, PASSED DOWN FROM A FRIEND WHO WAS MOVING) EMANATE SENTIMENTAL SIGNIFICANCE FOR THE COUPLE.

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THE ENTERTAINMENT ROOM SWELLS WITH DUANE AND ELIZABET’S MUSICAL TALENTS AND TAXIDERMIC QUIRKS.

to the right of the range makes the perfect perch for hot pots and pans and adds an extra touch of quirky character. And the home certainly has quirks-aplenty. One of the first things that greets visitors when they enter the home is a taxidermy coyote, which Duane gifted to Elizabet on their second date. No sentimental value, no intrinsic meaning, just a snarling canine presented as a token of affection. The taxidermy theme continues throughout the home, with an albino raccoon, an otter, and multiple skulls and antlers making appearances room by room. Original works of art by celebrated painters, friends and even Duane himself pepper the walls and furnishings, which are an eclectic mix of antiques, hand-me-downs, roadside pickups and happenstance finds. The home radiates an overall folksy agrarian vibe, with allusions of nature and light reflected as much in the contents as they are in its owners. Each cherished item tells its own story, turning the home into its own live-in storybook. For Elizabet and Duane, and their faithful companions Amadeus the Dog and KoolAid Folcault the Cat, 1,200 square feet is all they need to sustain their life and love while leaving their artistic stamp on Midtown. MB

AT FIRST GLANCE, THE DETAILS OF EACH ROOM MAY SEEM CLUTTERED, BUT IN REALITY, EACH PIECE WAS ACCUMULATED AND METICULOUSLY ORGANIZED BASED ON THE EMOTIONAL CONNECTION ATTACHED TO IT — INCLUDING THE ABSTRACT PIECE UNDER THE WALL CLOCK BY STAN HACKNEY FROM MOBILE MUSEUM OF ART AND THE BULL HEAD PIECE CRAFTED BY DUANE HIMSELF (TOP), AND KOOLAID FOCAULT THE CAT (BOTTOM) WHO WAS ADOPTED FROM BLANKENSHIP’S ON SPRINGHILL BECAUSE HIS AUBURN-COLORED HAIR AND ENERGETIC PERSONALITY WERE STRIKINGLY AKIN TO DUANE’S.

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MOBILE BAY MAGAZINE PRESENTS

MOBILE BAY RENOVATES Home renovations rank among the top of life’s biggest stressors. The must-do list grows dauntingly long. Questions about who to call for behind-thescenes plumbing and electrical work or where to shop for front-and-center showstoppers, like countertops and appliances, linger. Whether facing a fullgut rehabilitation or a room-by-room upgrade, the following local businesses are here to ease homeowners’ worries and help you transition your plans from dream to reality. A SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

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SPECIAL SECTION | MOBILE BAY RENOVATES

JubileeScape ENSURING OUR CLIENTS MAKE THE BEST POSSIBLE IMPRESSION IS THE EVERYDAY GOAL FOR JUBILEESCAPE. WE PROVIDE EXCEPTIONAL LANDSCAPE CONSTRUCTION AND MAINTENANCE FOR HOMES AND BUSINESSES ACROSS THE GULF COAST.

What does your business offer for someone planning a renovation? Courtyards and landscape lighting are a growing niche for us. Our design team is all about creative solutions. With the Pelican Coast courtyard pictured here, we were careful to preserve a mature mulberry tree, and mixed oyster shells in the concrete for a pleasing texture to fit the organization’s environmental mission. We even secured a bronze pelican sculpture to finish off the water feature. It’s important to listen and understand that every project is completely different.

How do you make sure clients get the best results? Attention to detail and immediate follow-up are core values. We use an app called Sitefotos that allows our technicians in the field to snap an image when they spot a problem and send it immediately to a supervisor for a quick diagnosis and treatment plan.

How has your business grown or changed and where are you going from here? Along with Mobile’s economy, we see growth in commercial projects. That development also means more challenges with erosion, drainage and water management — and we’re expanding credentials to ensure we’re ready.

How did you get into the field?

PHOTO BY ELISE POCHÉ

Running a cemetery business for years meant managing the grounds nearly as much as the services. Transitioning into the landscape business was a natural move.

What makes yours a quintessential Mobile business? I’ve grown up on Mobile Bay along with much of our team. We understand very deeply the impact of our business on the environment. This isn’t just a branch office of a big operation … it’s home.

850 South Conception St. • Mobile • 251- 626 - 5587 • jubileescape.com


SPECIAL SECTION | MOBILE BAY RENOVATES

PHOTO BY ELIZABETH GELINEAU

Mobile Appliance What sets you apart? Everyone on our sales staff has a minimum of 20 years’ experience in the industry. We are a locally owned and operated business. Mobile Appliance has served the Gulf Coast for over 28 years. Why did you choose this field of business? Mobile Appliance was established in 1990 and has been a family owned and operated business since it was established.

What is your mission? We will be known for performing quality service in an efficient and timely manner. We will strive

OFFERING A BROAD SPECTRUM OF APPLIANCES WITH THE ABILITY TO COMPLETE ANYTHING FROM A DREAM KITCHEN TO AN OUTDOOR OASIS.

To what do you attribute your success? Hard work and honesty.

to attract customers and exceed all expectations on a daily basis. We value long-term relationships with individuals, builders, suppliers and vendors. We want to provide an enriching and rewarding environment for our employees, while serving customers and supporting the community in which we live.

Our main goal is to have 100 percent satisfaction from all of our customers. We would not be successful without our loyal customer base. We strive for all of our customers to become repeat customers or to give us a good referral.

How do your services exceed your customers’ expectations?

How do you make sure your customers get the best results?

Our goal is to help guide and educate our customers in making the best appliance selection to fit their needs. We want to help them make their dream kitchen a reality.

We handle all of our customers’ appliance needs, from the planning stages to purchasing to final installation. We are involved in the process from start to finish.

7738 McKinley Avenue • Mobile • 251-633-3188 • mobileappliance.net 62 mobilebaymag.com | april 2019


SPECIAL SECTION | MOBILE BAY RENOVATES

PHOTO BY ELISE POCHÉ

Southern Bath & Kitchen AT SOUTHERN BATH & KITCHEN, WE ARE DEDICATED TO ASSISTING OUR CLIENTS IN CREATING THEIR DREAM KITCHEN AND BATH. OUR TEAM WILL PROVIDE YOU WITH THE PERSONAL SERVICE YOU DESERVE.

Who are your clients? Builders, remodelers and homeowners make up a majority of our clientele, but anyone is welcome to come in and see for themselves what we have to offer. Our doors are open to anyone within the Mobile Bay area. What does your business offer for someone planning a renovation? We have over 20 years experience, an expansive product selection and reliable service after the sale. We are available in the store to see your process and progress through, from choosing fixtures to selecting finishes and matching accessories to ensure that the finished product is exactly what you envision for your home.

How do you ensure the best results? We dedicate attention and time to careful intial product selection, coordination of installation as well as service after the sale. We will follow through every step of the way until the clients’ visions are met. Our consultants have received rigorous training to craft rooms that match the lifestyles of our individual customers and create looks that homeowners will enjoy from day one.

What contributes to your success? Our product knowledge and understanding of the building and remodeling processes is unmatched. We offer the top brands available on the market to make your dream kitchen and bath a reality. Our

company searches the world for premium pieces including appliances, countertops, cabinetry, showers, tubs, sinks, faucets and accessories to offer products that will please the masses and never go out of style. Each product we offer is a sensuous, richly crafted piece that will outfit a home with elegance and class.

Do you cover both sides of the Bay? Our brand extends throughout seven states across the Southeast, but our local branch covers both sides of the Bay. We dedicate our mission to elegant lifestyles in all of our locations and strive to bring that dream to life in every building and home that our products touch.

1422-A Hillcrest Road • Mobile • 251- 634 -1330 • southernbathandkitchenmobileal.com


SPECIAL SECTION | MOBILE BAY RENOVATES

PHOTO BY ELISE POCHÉ

Batchelor’s Service Batchelor’s Heating and Air Conditioning was founded in 1967 by Bruce and Larry Batchelor. Its roots were residential heating and air-conditioning. Over the years the company grew into a large mechanical contractor, added partners and changed the name to Batchelor’s Mechanical Contractors. In the early 1980s, residential service and replacement became a larger segment of the market in Mobile and Baldwin counties, and the company formed a division to address that need. Hence, Batchelor’s Service was born.

Steady growth and thousands of Energy Savings Agreement customers later, we are locally owned by the Leatherbury family and managed by Rick True, one of Batchelor’s Mechanical’s founders. We continue to be committed to serving homeowners in Mobile and Baldwin counties for all of their home comfort needs. Our team has over 250 years of combined industry experience. We have and always will be committed to offering our customers the best service possible at fair prices. We continue to stand behind our work with a 100 percent satisfac-

tion or money-back guarantee on all work we perform. All of our Daikin comfort systems come with a 12-year parts and labor warranty backed by the manufacturer. We also install Cummins and Generac whole home, standby power generators. If you are planning to remodel, we are the people to call. With our industry experience, and the latest technology from Daikin, we can help you find solutions to your home comfort needs. We offer free estimates and consultations.

110 Durant Street • Mobile • 251- 476 - 4321 • batchelorsservice.com • AL license #17070


SPECIAL SECTION | MOBILE BAY RENOVATES

PHOTO BY ELISE POCHÉ

Stone Interiors

STONE INTERIORS HAS BEEN FABRICATING AND INSTALLING COUNTERTOPS, VANITIES, OUTDOOR KITCHENS AND MORE FOR DECADES. WE SPECIALIZE IN GRANITE, MARBLE, QUARTZITE AND ENGINEERED QUARTZ.

Who are your perfect / dream / or most common clients? We work

Why or how did you get into your field? We began as one of the

How do you make sure clients get the best results? We work one-on-one

with homeowners, builders and designers and architects throughout the Mobile Bay and surrounding areas on new construction and renovation projects.

leading commercial stone contracting firms in the United States in 1973. As fabrication technology advanced, we were able to introduce stone in residential applications.

with every client. We discuss their expectations, lifestyle and style preferences. This allows our team to find a stone that fits their budget and aesthetic.

What does your business offer for someone planning a renovation?

What sets your business apart from your competitors? What do you offer that they don’t have?

How has your business grown or changed and where are you going from here? Technology is the

Our team has a wealth of experience in the stone industry and Stone Interiors is the only company in the area to be accredited by the Natural Stone Institute. We continuously invest in education, technology and training to prepare for the demands of the current and future marketplace while drawing on the expertise of our partners who are industry experts. We also have a large selection of inventory on hand at our Loxley location.

biggest change. We now use precision laser technology and robotics, while some custom projects are still done by hand.

We fabricate and install countertops as well as install tile and outdoor kitchens. We frequently partner with home builders and interior designers early in the renovation process so that we can get a full understanding of the space and our clients’ needs. Because we have a full inventory of granite, marble, quartz and quartzite slabs, we invite clients to visit our showroom and select their stone in person, rather than relying on a small sample or photos.

What makes yours a quintessential Mobile business? We have over 50 local employees that contribute to making the Greater Mobile area even more beautiful, one project at a time.

30281 County Road 49 • Loxley • 251-964-5070 • stoneinteriors.com/alabama



EXTRAS | CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Fresh fun for April! APRIL 6 CAMELLIA CLASSIC CAR SHOW 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Stroll among Model Ts, antique Mustangs, Firebirds and more. Admission: $13, for adults; $7.50, for ages 5 - 12; free to members and to ages 4 and younger. BELLINGRATH GARDENS AND HOME BELLINGRATH.ORG

APRIL 6 MOBTOWN MAC ‘N CHEESE FEST Noon - 3 p.m. Celebrate the ultimate comfort food at this benefit for cerebral palsy.

SPRING BIRD MIGRATION

CATHEDRAL SQUARE UCPMOBILE.ORG

DAUPHIN ISLAND DAUPHINISLAND.ORG

APRIL 5 - 6 GALLERY OF GARDENS 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Discover the lush gardens along the banks of Mobile’s Dog River and the western shore of Mobile Bay. VARIOUS LOCATIONS MOBILEBOTANICALGARDENS.ORG

SOUTHSOUNDS MUSIC FESTIVAL APRIL 12 - 14 Over 70 artists take the stage at several locations Downtown. The event highlights local and regional Southern artists from the soul, jazz, Americana, funk, indie and country genres, just to name a few. Tickets: $25 - $100. VARIOUS LOCATIONS, DOWNTOWN MOBILE SOUTHSOUNDSFEST.COM

APRIL 13

COREY SMITH

SPRING BIRD MIGRATION See more than 300 species of birds as they make their flight back to the North after seeking warmer weather for the winter in the South.

HOPE GROWS HERE 12:30 - 4 p.m. Enjoy farmto-market brunch to support cancer treatment at USA Health Mitchell Cancer Institute Kilborn Clinic in Fairhope. USA HEALTH MITCHELL CANCER INSTITUTE USAHEALTHSYSTEMS.COM/EVENTS

MOBILE AZALEA TRAIL MAIDS GOLF TOURNAMENT 7 a.m. - 3 p.m. Enjoy drinks, snacks, a raffle and, of course, golf. Admission: $100. HERON LAKES COUNTRY CLUB MOBILEAZALEATRAILMAIDS.COM

APRIL 13 - 14

LOVE MOOR

THROUGH APRIL 9

APRIL 7

BALDWIN COUNTY STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Don’t miss out on strawberry shortcakes. LOXLEY MUNICIPAL PARK BALDWINCOUNTYSTRAWBERRY- FESTIVAL.ORG

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APRIL 14

APRIL 25

APRIL 27 - 28

MOBILE FUNKY FUN RUN Noon - 3 p.m. Lace up for this autism benefit. Admission: $30.

GIRLS NIGHT OUT AT THE PILLARS 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. Shop local boutiques and vendors while relaxing with your girls and enjoying a glass of wine. Admission is free.

THUNDER ON THE BAY Honor the role that Fort Gaines played in the Battle of Mobile Bay with reenactors, music and more. Admission: $8, ages 13 and up; $4, ages 5 - 12; free, 4 and under.

MEDAL OF HONOR PARK AUTISM-ALABAMA.ORG

APRIL 19 - 30 ROSE BLOOM OUT See more than 2,000 plants in their first bloom. Check the Rose Watch on Bellingrath’s website for peak blooming times. BELLINGRATH GARDENS AND HOME BELLINGRATH.ORG

APRIL 20 GUMBO COOK-OFF 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Sample delectable gumbo dishes in the name of charity. Tickets: $10.

THE PILLARS • FACEBOOK.COM/ THEPILLARSOFMOBILE

APRIL 25

PAINT THE TOWN 5 p.m. Exceptional Foundation Gulf Coast hosts a unique event that includes a live auction, music and tastings from local restaurants. Tickets: $30 per person; $55 per couple. ST. PAUL’S EPISCOPAL LIFE CENTER, NORTH MAIN ST., DAPHNE EXCEPTIONALFOUNDATIONGC.ORG

FORT GAINES DAUPHINISLAND.ORG

APRIL 28

MURPHY HIGH SCHOOL ALUMNI ASSOCIATION HALL OF FAME 3 p.m. Watch the induction of six Murphy High School alumni into its Hall of Fame. Free event. MURPHY HIGH SCHOOL AUDITORIUM

BELLINGRATH EASTER EGG HUNT & BREAKFAST WITH THE EASTER BUNNY 8 a.m. - noon. BELLINGRATH GARDENS AND HOME • BELLINGRATH.ORG

APRIL 13

EASTER EGG HUNT AT THE WHARF 9 a.m.

APRIL 28

WATERWAY VILLAGE ZYDECO AND CRAWFISH FESTIVAL 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Enjoy crawfish and zydeco music at this funfilled festival.

WIGGLE WAGGLE 5K RACE AND 1-MILE FUN RUN 8 a.m 5K. 9 a.m. 1-mile Fun Run. Head to Bellingrath for this Animal Rescue Foundation fundraiser.

WATERWAY VILLAGE GULFSHORES.COM

BELLINGRATH GARDENS AND HOME BELLINGRATH.ORG

END OF RIVIERE DU CHIEN ROAD DOGRIVER.ORG

APRIL 20

APRIL 27

APRIL 13

THE WHARF ALWHARF.COM

5TH ANNUAL DOG RIVER MUD BOTTOM REVIVAL MUSIC FESTIVAL 3 - 7 p.m. Come for a fun afternoon featuring headliner The Will Kimbrough Band, with opening act The Red Clay Strays. Tickets: $25 - 35; children 10 and under free.

DAUPHIN ISLAND

EASTER OUTINGS Celebrate the season with these family-friendly events.

APRIL 21

EASTER SUNRISE SERVICE 6:30 - 7:30 a.m. HISTORIC FORT GAINES DAUPHINISLAND.ORG

APRIL 21

EASTER AT SEWARD FARMS 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

APRIL 23 APRIL 21

JIMMY BUFFETT AND THE CORAL REEFERS 8 p.m. The local pirate brings sounds to the beach like only he can. Sing along to classic hits like “Margaritaville,” “Fins,” “Cheeseburger in Paradise” and more. Tickets: $127 and up.

EASTER SUNRISE SERVICE AT BELLINGRATH GARDENS & HOME 6:30 - 8 a.m. BELLINGRATH GARDENS AND HOME • BELLINGRATH.ORG

APRIL 27 KENNY CHESNEY 7 p.m. The beach bum brings his Songs for the Saints tour to the Gulf Coast with special guests David Lee Murphy and Caroline Jones. Tickets: $142 and up.

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KENNY CHESNEY

ALWHARF.COM

LIVE AT THE WHARF

SEWARD FARMS SEWARDFARMS.COM

APRIL 21

LULU’S EASTER EGG DASH 2 p.m. LULU’S LULUBUFFETT.COM


APRIL PERFORMANCES Big names playing on the local stage.

APRIL 4 RONNIE MILSAP 7:30 p.m. The six-time Grammy winner brings his enduring sound to the Port City stage. MOBILE SAENGER THEATRE MOBILESAENGER.COM

APRIL 6 THE MARSHALL TUCKER BAND 7:30 p.m. Hear classics such as “Heard It In a Love Song,” “Fire On the Mountain,” “Can’t You See,” and “Take the Highway” performed live.

THE MARSHALL TUCKER BAND

MOBILE SAENGER THEATRE MOBILESAENGER.COM

APRIL 8 WILLIE NELSON 7 p.m. Don’t miss this performance from The Red Headed Stranger. This event is rescheduled from February. MOBILE SAENGER THEATRE MOBILESAENGER.COM

APRIL 13 JOAN BAEZ 8 p.m. Catch the legend in her last year of formal extended touring. MOBILE SAENGER THEATRE MOBILESAENGER.COM

APRIL 22 LEON BRIDGES 7 p.m. See one of today’s hottest artists perform live. MOBILE SAENGER THEATRE MOBILESAENGER.COM

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A RENOVATION RESCUE MISSION When a run-down home in De Tonti Square practically fell into his lap, Bobby Isakson jumped headfirst into a top-to-bottom renovation. text by BRECK PAPPAS • photos by JUSTIN CORDOVA

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A

ccording to a well-worn proverb, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” That might well be the case, but Bobby Isakson would probably argue that boredom is the father of it. After all, it was being “bored on the weekends” that inspired the 29-year-old Mobilian to turn a dilapidated property in the De Tonti Square Historic District into a pet project. And although boredom was the inspiration, the finished product is far from unimaginative. Standing outside the 1895-built home on State Street, it’s hard to believe it is the same “derelict” place Isakson first laid eyes on in late 2016. It was in that year that the Lafayette Land Company, for which Bobby serves as vice president under the leadership of his father Robert J. Isakson Sr., purchased the property in a package deal that included the old Waterfront Rescue Mission building next door. The company has an impressive track record in commercial and retail development, which includes the Cheese Cottage and Nova Espresso. Its main focus with this parcel was outfitting the Waterfront Rescue Mission building into the Iron Hand brewpub. But Bobby was nagged by another idea. “I came by here, I snuck in, I looked around,” Bobby admits. “I opened up some walls, and I didn’t see any evidence of termite damage, so I thought, ‘OK, at least [the house] has good bones.’” To his father’s surprise, Bobby made an offer to purchase the house for himself. “I was happy,” Bobby says. “I had a little project on my hands.” But there was nothing “little” about the undertaking. Although he describes himself as “pretty handy,” Bobby admits that he had zero experience taking on 72 mobilebaymag.com | april 2019

something of this magnitude. His secret? “Lots of books on general construction, on renovating Antebellum homes and renovating Victorian homes.” In need of cash to get the renovation moving, Bobby sold the house he was living in and moved in with a cousin to save money. “I felt a little inconvenience would force me to work faster. And that definitely worked.” The renovating newbie attacked the remake on weekends, tackling the initial demolition with a worker before rebuilding many of the interior walls and windows. Although he subcontracted things like painting, sanding, sheetrock installation and fine carpentry, Bobby handled an impressive amount of the workload himself, such as the task of leveling the house, which had sunk over time. “I had to place massive jacks underneath the house and jack it up slowly, let it sit for a week, then jack it up again.” He also replaced roughly 30 percent of the outdoor siding panels, added insulation (of which there was “not one lick”), renovated and relocated many of the windows, and moved around several interior walls. One of the greatest successes was the revitalization of the hardwood flooring. “After I removed the carpet, the tile and the black mastic, the floor still had a black residue that looked like it had seeped into the wood. I was terribly afraid that sanding it would take us down too close to the tongue.” He forged ahead nonetheless, and with four workers sanding nonstop for a week, elegant wood floors arose from the dead. Like the rehabilitated flooring, the home itself is coated in layers of history. The property was a single-family residence for several generations before being donated to the Waterfront Rescue Mission. Mobile’s homeless would attend a church service and eat a meal at the main property next door, then the men would trudge upstairs to their beds, while the women came here (now Bobby’s house) for a night of rest. As with every renovation, there were surprises along the way. Bobby’s favorite discovery was a small stained-glass window covered with a piece of plywood. That little gem would inspire the home’s most dramatic flourish, a 250-pound, 10-by-5 foot stained-glass window that once adorned a church in New Orleans. With the help of two workers,


Bobby improvised a pulley system hung from an exposed attic beam, and hoisted the window into its place above the staircase. Ironically, Bobby’s second favorite feature of the house is located underneath the same staircase, where a built-in bookcase swings out to reveal a secret bathroom. “It’s fun to tell people the bathroom is under the stairs, then watch them walk around confused,” Bobby’s girlfriend Ryann jokes. Because of its prior use as a homeless shelter, Bobby inherited a home with an unusual layout, but it allowed him more freedom to execute his vision. “There was no kitchen, there were no bedrooms; it was just lots of rooms,” he says. But that lack of structure inspired his creativity and opened up endless possibilities, such as the addition of a breakfast nook and mudroom over what was once the back porch. The kitchen, which had been four bathroom stalls and four showers, is now a sleek space, complete with the same white Italian marble countertops found in the upstairs master bath. Installing the modern tub, weighing in at 480 pounds, required a little more of Bobby’s ingenuity. “When I finally started putting in heavy stuff, like appliances, I decided to invest in a winch,” he says. The yellow gadget, attached to a beam on the upper back porch, is testament to Bobby’s resourcefulness. “I ended up having to combine a few winch systems together,” he says. As for the home’s decor, Bobby used furniture and art salvaged from industrial spaces to

temper the daintiness of his period antiques, giving a masculine edge. He has an impressive assortment of gilt-framed oil paintings scattered throughout that lend the space a distinguished air. The paint colors, finishes and furnishings are neutral and take a back seat to the unique architectural elements. Now, after finally moving into his new home at the end of 2018, Bobby stands beneath the industrial winch on the upstairs back porch, pondering whether he was ever overwhelmed by the “little” renovation project. “There were times when I woke up in the middle of the night, came over to the house and started working at, like, 2:30 in the morning,” he says, explaining that he felt a constant itch to move things along. Based on how much he learned over the course of those 18 months, Bobby also obtained his General Contractors License, a nice side benefit that has come in handy in his role at Lafayette Land Company. And, of course, he got his dream house. MB OPENING PHOTO The study in Isakson’s house faces the street and welcomes lots of natural light. OPPOSITE Isakson stands beneath the home’s industrial winch with his dog, Winston. THIS PAGE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP A downstairs bathroom, hidden by a built-in bookcase, is one of Isakson’s favorite features. The kitchen, once a row of bathroom stalls, is a bright, inviting space complete with a new breakfast nook. The master bathroom appears behind doors from Charles Phillips Antiques and features an 480-pound tub that Isakson lifted to the second floor by winch.

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HISTORY | ARCHIVES

A School’s Legacy of Service A church and school on the African-American Heritage Trail mark a place of great consequence in the history of Mobile Civil Rights. text by SCOTTY E. KIRKLAND

D

uring the summer of 2007, supporters gathered to dedicate the first marker of the newly established Mobile African-American Heritage Trail. The decision to begin this work at the intersection of Davis Avenue and Sengstak Street was no accident. Since 1907, 100 years earlier, this consequential corner had been the home of Most Pure Heart of Mary. The marker labeled the church and adjacent school the “spiritual beacons” of the Port City’s modern civil rights movement. These were not hollow words. Established in 1899 as a mission church, Heart of Mary has performed a noble and extraordinary service as part of the Society of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart. Commonly known as the Josephites, the order’s mission is one of service to the African-American community. From meager beginnings, the church has maintained this singular, unfaltering commitment to black Mobilians. Since its relocation in 1907, Most Pure Heart of Mary’s neoclassical, white-shining building along “the Avenue” has been a hub of civil rights activity, a gathering place of great consequence for generations. In 1909, Josephite priests and 40 of their African-American congregants established here the Knights of St. Peter Claver. It became the largest lay organization for black Catholics in the United States. In 1931, amidst criticism from the Port City’s leaders, Father John Albert offered Heart of Mary as the location of a speech by Illinois Congressman Oscar DePriest, part of an attempt to shore up Mobile’s faltering NAACP branch. During a hot August night, DePriest spoke to more than 250 people inside the church, then slept comfortably in the home of congregant James A. Franklin, a physician, while others kept an armed vigil to ward off members of the Ku Klux Klan. As one of the few all-black parochial grammar schools in the region, and the only black Catholic high school within more than a hundred miles, Heart of Mary School performed vital educational and social functions. During the 1960s,

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under the tutelage of instructors from the Dominican Order of Sinsinawa, Wisconsin, Heart of Mary’s classrooms were incubators of what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called “somebodiness,” a place where students were treated far better than they were in other places within Mobile’s segregated society. Decades after he walked the halls of the school, businessman Marion Lewis recalled the “breath of fresh air” his teachers at Heart of Mary provided: “They communicated to us, in one way or another, that we could do whatever we needed to do. We were able. We were good. We were capable. And that was 100 percent counter to what society was telling us.” Like Lewis, many of the young pupils took these lessons to heart. The list of the school’s alumnae is a veritable “who’s who” of American enterprise, business, politics and science, a lasting legacy of the school. The Archdiocese closed the high school in 1968, but Heart of Mary continues as an elementary and junior high school. During the late 1960s, many students and teachers at Heart of Mary were also participants in Mobile’s civil rights movement, particularly with the Neighborhood Organized Workers, the grassroots organization that fundamentally changed the nature of protest in the Port City. The weekly meetings of the group were held in the school cafeteria. Many no doubt saw their participation as a logical extension of their solemn oath of service to black Mobilians. In matters great and small, for more than three generations, Most Pure Heart of Mary Church and School has maintained the Josephites’ commitment, a cornerstone of faith and community through changing times. MB  Scotty E. Kirkland is author of the forthcoming book, “Jordan’s Stormy Banks: Politics and Race in Twentieth-Century Mobile.” LEFT, ABOVE Former Heart of Mary students and teachers gather with Sister Beverly Distefano (seated, left) to plan a reunion, 1978. PHOTO COURTESY ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF ARCHIVES AND HISTORY, DONATED BY ALABAMA MEDIA, PHOTO BY DAVE HAMBY, MOBILE PRESS-REGISTER

LEFT, BELOW A parent-teacher conference,1978. PHOTO COURTESY ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF ARCHIVES AND HISTORY, DONATED BY ALABAMA MEDIA, PHOTO BY FRANK CHANDLER, MOBILE PRESS-REGISTER

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HISTORY | ASK MCGEHEE

Was the first submarine built in Mobile? text by TOM MCGEHEE

Mobile will forever be linked to the history of submarines, but the first submersible vessels were attempted in Europe in the 1600s. America joined the field in 1776 when a one-man submersible vessel unsuccessfully attacked a British ship anchored in New York’s harbor. In 1861, President Lincoln’s Declaration of Blockade attempted to secure 3,500 miles of Southern shoreline and some 180 harbors. Once New Orleans had capitulated, the U.S. Navy focused on three major ports: Charleston, Savannah and Mobile.

From New Orleans to Mobile A group of investors in New Orleans had been experimenting with a design for a submarine but quickly scuttled the craft in Lake Pontchartrain as the Northern Navy approached. The threesome made their way to Mobile, where they convinced the Confederate forces to fund a new venture to break the stranglehold on Southern ports. There is some controversy as to where the vessel was constructed. For many years, a machine shop at 250 Water St. was designated as the site, and a historic marker still stands beside the traffic of that thoroughfare. New research indicates that the Water Street location would have been far too public a setting for such a top-secret project. It appears more likely that the vessel was built inside the 1860 Seamen’s Bethel, which stood on Royal Street between Water and Church streets. That block would fall victim to the western lanes of the Wallace Tunnel a century later. The structure originally had no windows on its facade and offered the perfect cover for constructing something that many a Northern spy would find very interesting. While the chapel gave the appearance of abandonment, its interior was filled with men constructing a vessel that would change history.

Torpedo Boat The craft built in Mobile did not resemble a modern submarine at all. In fact, it looked like just what it was: a remodeled boiler with tapered ends. In those ends were tanks, which could be filled with seawater to submerge the vessel. A hand-cranked pump emptied them when it was time to surface. The first effort was named American Diver and was tested in

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ABOVE, TOP Conrad Wise Chapman’s oil painting of the CSS Hunley. PHOTO COURTESY DE AGOSTINI PICTURE LIBRARY ABOVE, BOTTOM The Seamen’s Bethel as it appears at the University of South Alabama. In 1860, the building served as a clandestine workshop. PHOTO COURTESY THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH ALABAMA

the waters near Fort Morgan. A sudden squall sent it to the bottom of the Gulf, but its crew survived. The second attempt was named Fish Boat, and while it had a length just shy of 40 feet, it stood barely 4 feet high. Within, eight men, packed in like sardines, turned a hand crank connected to a propeller. A hinged, retractable pipe provided the only air, while a flickering candle supplied the only light and warned of low oxygen levels. The only escape was a pair of hatches some 15 inches wide. By 1863, some 885 blockade runners had been caught, but the port of Charleston was still successfully running the blockade. By the end of that year, Fish Boat had arrived in South Carolina by rail for final testing.


Submarine or Floating Coffin? In 1863, the vessel successfully maneuvered beneath a Confederate ship only to get tangled in its anchor chains. Fish Boat sank, taking its entire crew, including Horace Hunley, the original investor from New Orleans. The Confederates were able to recover the “torpedo boat,” and as the bodies lay beneath blankets on the dock, it was renamed the Hunley, and a new crew was recruited. On the night of Feb. 18, 1864, the little Hunley slipped out of Charleston’s harbor and approached the 1,260-ton USS Housatonic. On the Hunley’s bow was a harpoonlike device attached to 90 pounds of black powder. A sailor saw the curious object approaching and thought it was a log or a porpoise. By the time he realized the danger, the harpoon had struck the side of his vessel, and the explosion split the big ship in two, sinking her in under five minutes. Thus the Housatonic became the first ship to be sunk by a submarine. Word of the sinking of the Housatonic by a “rebel torpedo craft” became international news and sent the city of Charleston into a joyous celebration. The Hunley, however, had disappeared after the explosion, and her fate and that of her crew would remain a mystery until divers discovered the wreck in 1995 and raised her in 2000. It is believed that the impact of the explosion caused the Hunley to take on water and drown the crew. It would not be until World War I that submarines were built to become weapons of destruction on the open seas. The first casualty was a German warship struck by a British torpedo in 1914. The building that housed the construction of this early submarine was moved to the campus of the University of South Alabama where it opened as Theatre USA in 1970. MB

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END PIECE | IN LIVING COLOR

Golfing at the Grand Hotel, 1951 Original photo from the History Museum of Mobile Collection, The Doy Leale McCall Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of South Alabama • Colorization by Dynamichrome Limited

According to the Grand Hotel, the Lakewood Golf Club opened in 1944 when Perry Maxwell, designer of the Tulsa Southern Hills Country Club and site of the 2001 U.S. Open, “brought his extraordinary skills to Lakewood, debuting 18 holes of golf, the first professional course to grace the area.” Did you play a round or two at the Grand in the 1950s? Let us know! Email ahartin@pmtpublishing.com.

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