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May/June 2012

ON THE COVER: From traditional to ultracontemporary, the homes featured at this year’s Riverhill Tour of Homes are varied...and stunning. From Tommy Mathis’s comfortable den on the cover to Rusty and Lisa Alexander’s amazing modern patio and infinity pool on this page, you will enjoy your own private walkthrough of some of the most beautiful homes in the Shoals. It’s our annual Home and Garden issue!

© D. YURMAN 2012

Midnight Mélange Collection

800 Airport Road Huntsville, AL 35802 256-880-1909

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inside SHOALS •••••

May/June 2012 Volume 5: Issue 3 ••• C. Allen Tomlinson Editor-In-Chief David Sims Managing Editor/Design Director Contributing Writers Sarah Gaede, Laura Anders Lee, Andy Thigpen, Allen Tomlinson Contributing Photographers Patrick Hood, Danny Mitchell Business Manager Roy Hall Marketing Coordinator/Advertising Sales Lyndsie McClure Graphic Designer Rowan Finnegan Administrative/Editorial Assistant Claire Stewart Interns Andy Thigpen, Sara Kachelman ••• No’Ala is published six times annually by No’Ala Press PO Box 2530, Florence, AL 35630 Phone: 256-766-4222 | Fax: 256-766-4106 Toll-free: 800-779-4222 Web:

Features 18 Insuring the Past 24 Giving You The Grand Tour 68 Before & (Happily Ever) After 78 Style With a Smile 82 Law and Order Everything Else 10 Contributors 12 Calendar 64 Market 90 Food for Thought 94 Twenty Questions 96 Bless Their Hearts

Standard postage paid at Florence, AL. A one-year subscription is $19.95 for delivery in the United States. Signed articles reflect only the views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors. Advertisers are solely responsible for the content of their advertisements. © 2008-2012 ATSA, All rights reserved. Send all correspondence to Allen Tomlinson, Editor, at the postal address above, or by e-mail to Letters may be edited for space and style. To advertise, contact us at: 256-766-4222, or The editor will provide writer’s guidelines upon request. Prospective authors should not submit unsolicited manuscripts; please query the editor first.

No’Ala is printed with vegetable-based inks on 100% recycled paper.

Join us on Facebook: No’Ala Mag

editor’s letter « David Sims « 9


I’ve thought a lot about what makes design good, or bad. Of course it’s all very subjective, but there are design principles (balance, proportion, rhythm, emphasis) and design elements (line, shape, texture, color) that have guided artists since the beginning of civilization. And if you familiarize yourself with these concepts, you will have a head start on transforming your own space or creating one from scratch. It can be a very rewarding experience—It doesn’t have to be a scary process at all. The “Home and Garden” issue may well be my favorite issue of the year. It’s my (sometimes only) chance to take a peek into some of the most unique and beautiful homes and gardens in the Shoals. I almost always get to spend some time with the homeowner, the designer or architect. And since I love to study people, I am fascinated at how the interior of a home often reflects the personality of the people who live there. I’m especially excited this time, because you will have a chance to tour these homes, courtesy of Riverhill School, whose parent’s association is sponsoring a tour of eight of some of the most unique homes in the Shoals. Be sure to get your tickets now—you will not want to miss this special event. To whet your appetite, we’ve included a sneak-peek feature, beginning on page 24. We’ve also decided to take a little detour from our usual homefocused issue and visit some commercial makeovers in our area. Office spaces can be a tad boring, but take a look at how three interior designers have transformed three different business environments—you might even adapt some of these ideas for your own home! We’ll also show you an entire interior renovation by one of our favorite interior designer friends who recently remodeled her downtown Florence home. Finally, I’m very proud to announce the premiere of No’Ala Huntsville. Now readers in the Rocket City can enjoy unique Huntsville-area content as well as some shared content that readers across all of north Alabama will enjoy. If you have friends or family in that area, please tell them to check us out at our Facebook page (No’Ala Huntsville) or at our website ( As always, we thank you for your warm response to No’Ala, and for making us feel at home in the Shoals. Keep reading, and keep in touch.

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contributors Sarah Gaede is on a mission. She wants to find the best ingredients for the perfect meal, which is why she writes a regular column for us. A chef, priest and yogi, Sarah will edit our fall food issue, and we’re hungry for it already.

Sarah Gaede

Patrick Hood

Sara Kachelman

Laura Anders Lee

Andy Thigpen

Patrick Hood has been snapping photos for us since before the days of digital photography. Remember those? A well-known and highly regarded commercial, portrait and artistic photographer in the Southeast, Patrick spent time for this issue showcasing the best architectural and interior design in the Shoals. Sara Kachelman is a high school student who loves to write, and told us she wanted to learn about publishing, even if it meant sweeping floors. She isn’t doing that, but we’re trying to give her an overview of magazine publishing, to help her as she writes for the Florence High School literary magazine, Signatures. Laura Anders Lee moved to the Shoals with her family from Pensacola, Florida, where she was the Director of Communications for the tourism Bureau, Visit Pensacola. A ten-year veteran of public relations and communications, she loves writing and was first published in Teen magazine when she was 14 years old. When she’s not writing, she’s busy chasing her almost two-year-old, Anders, cheering on the Tide, or spending time on the water. Andy Thigpen is a Florence native majoring in English and professional writing at the University of North Alabama. He will be graduating in December 2012 and plans to attend graduate school soon after to be a literature and writing professor. Andy stays busy finishing up his term as Life Editor of The Flor-Ala, running a local poetry and storytelling organization, and working at The Sweet Magnolia Cafe. Starting in fall, Andy will be taking up his long-time dream of scuba diving.

 1 , +  0 &  ! /"  / , ) ,  6, 2 / PUT YOUR SUNSCREEN ON! Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. One person dies of melanoma ever y hour. One blistering sunburn in childhood can double your chances of developing melanoma.

Use sunscreen with SPF of 30 or higher and apply 20-30 minutes before going outdoors. Alabama Comprehensive Cancer Control Coalition ALCompCancerCoalition


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May 1–11 “The Sanctuary Artists: The Art of Nature” Tennessee Valley Museum of Art; 511 N. Water St., Tuscumbia; $5 Adults, $3 Students; Sunday is free; 256-383-0533 or An exhibit by a group of north Alabama artists who are inspired by the Goldsmith-Schiffman Wildlife Sanctuary in Huntsville to create works that celebrate the connections we have to the land we inhabit. May 4 First Friday Court Street, downtown Florence; 5:00pm–8:00pm; 256-740-4141 or This exciting monthly event is a gathering of artists of all kinds: musicians, painters, sculptors, photographers, hand-crafted jewelry creators and more. Downtown merchants will stay open late. May 5–6 Riverhill Tour of Homes Tour begins at Riverhill School, 2826 County Rd. 30, St. Florian; 11:00am–4:00pm Saturday; 1:00pm-4:00pm Sunday; Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door; ticket includes complimentary lunch and admission to all eight houses; 256-764-8200 or Eight beautiful residences are open and on tour to raise money for the area’s only non-parochial private school. May 5 Walking Tour of Florence City Cemetery Tour begins at the Florence City Cemetery entrance at 705 College Street, next to the Animal Shelter, or entrances on Tennessee Street; 10:00am; No admission charged; 256-740-4141. The tour of the Florence City Cemetery, established in 1818, features unique headstones and monuments adorned with burial and religious symbolism. The cemetery contains graves belonging to early settlers, two former governors in the O’Neal family, along with other prominent community leaders and families. Guide is Harry Wallace.

May 8 An Afternoon with Leah Richardson The French Basket, 1609 Darby Drive, Florence; 11am; call 256-7641237 for more information. Come for a luncheon, beginning at 11am, followed by a talk and book signing by Leah Richardson, author of Interior Wisdom. May 13 Mother’s Day May 15 The Florence Camerata presents “America Sings” St. James United Methodist Church, 610 East Cox Creek Parkway, Florence; 7:30pm; $15. May 17–20 Hairspray Shoals Community Theatre, 123 North Seminary St., Florence; 7:30pm Thursday, Friday and Saturday; 2:00pm Sunday; Adults $10, Students $8 in advance, $12/$10 at door; 256-764-1700 or May 18–19 UNA Front Porch Story Telling Festival UNA campus, Florence; Admission charged; May 19–20 Arts Alive Fine Arts & Crafts Festival Wilson Park and Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts, Florence. 9:00am–5:00pm; No admission charged; 256-760-6379 or May 19–June 15 Arts Alive Gallery Exhibition Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts, Florence; 9:00am–4:00pm, Monday–Friday; No admission charged; 256-760-6379 or

Rogersville First Saturday Downtown Rogersville, all day; No admission charged; 256-247-9449. Live music and merchants line the streets of downtown Rogersville. Shoals Symphony Spring Concert, Jazz and America Norton Auditorium, UNA; 7:00pm; Admission charged. www.una-edu/shoals-symphony. Includes An Outdoor Overture (A. Copland); The Airborne Suite (P. Creston); Moon River (H. Mancini) and An American in Paris (G. Gershwin). May 6 Charlotte’s Web Ritz Theatre, 111 W. Third St., Sheffield; 2:00pm; Admission is $5; 256-383-0533. Tennessee Valley Art Association’s children’s-theatre arm, Time Out for Theatre, presents the classic story of Charlotte’s Web; directed by Laura Ashley Foster.

May 19-20 Arts Alive

May 24–25 Boat U.S. National Championship Fishing Tournament Weigh In McFarland Park, Florence; 256-740-4141. May 28 Memorial Day June 1 First Friday Court Street, downtown Florence; 5:00pm–8:00pm; 256-740-4141 or This exciting monthly event is a gathering of artists of all kinds: musicians, painters, sculptors, photographers, hand-crafted jewelry creators and more. Downtown merchants will stay open late. June 1–2 Rogersville Heritage Days Heritage Park, Downtown Rogersville; 256-247-9449. June 1–29 Helen Keller Art Show of Alabama Tennessee Valley Museum of Art, 511 N. Water St., Tuscumbia. $5 Adults, $3 Students; Sunday is free; 256-383-0533 or An annual juried competition of works by Alabama children who are visually impaired, blind or deaf-blind. June 2 Rogersville First Saturday Downtown Rogersville, all day; No admission charged; 256-2479449. June 2–3 Frontier Day Celebration Pope’s Tavern Museum, Florence; Saturday 10:00am–4:00pm, Sunday 1:00pm–4:00pm; No admission charged; 256-760-6379 or June 3 Edsel Holden presents “It Was A Very Good Year” Shoals Theatre, 123 N. Seminary St., Florence; 2:00pm; Tickets are $15 and are available at the Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts, the Tennessee Valley Art Center, at the Shoals Theatre Box office (256-764-1700) or online at; All admission charged goes to the continued restoration of the historic Shoals Theatre. Join Edsel Holden, Edd Jones and the Edd Jones Orchestra, Donna Berryhill, Frank and Eddie Thomas, and a string section directed by Shoals Symphony Conductor Viljar Weimann for an afternoon of all of your favorites! June 3–29 Alabama in the Making: Traditional Arts of People and Places Tennessee Valley Museum of Art, 511 N. Water St., Tuscumbia; $5 Adults, $3 Students; Sunday is free; 256-383-0533 or Organized by the Alabama Folklife Association. Focusing on how folk and traditional arts that are unique to Alabama’s five culturally defined regions demonstrate and contribute to a sense of place and identity.

Continued page 14

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June 7–9, 14–15 Summer Stock at the Ritz presents 100 Years of Broadway Ritz Theatre, 111 W. Third St., Sheffield; 7:35pm; $12.50 adult, $8.00 student in advance; $14.50 adult, $9.00 student at the door; 256383-0533. Celebrate the history of Broadway and the great heritage of American theatre in this musical review. From the music of Tin Pan Alley to spectacular new shows on Broadway today, you will treasure the magic of an entire century of drama, laughter and beautiful music! June 8–July 14 (every Friday and Saturday evening) The Miracle Worker Helen Keller’s Birth Place: Ivy Green, 300 W. North Commons, Tuscumbia; $10 reserved seating, $8 general admission; 256-383-0466. A Broadway-style show (out of doors) recounts the efforts of teacher Anne Sullivan to open the world to communication to a blind and deaf child, named Helen Keller. June 11–16 Young Masters Art School Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts; 9:00am–11:00am for students entering grades 1-3; Noon to 2:00pm for students in grades 4-6; $50 for the first child in the family; $45 for second; Class size will be limited. 256-760-6379.

June 16 The Extreme Hearing Makeover McFarland Park, Florence, beginning at 10:00am; No admission; The search for the oldest working hearing aids in the Shoals ends at McFarland Park, and someone deserving will get brand new digital replacements. Door prizes, demonstrations and entertainment for the entire family. June 17 Father’s Day June 18–23 Young Masters Art School Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts; 9:00am–11:00am for students entering grades 1-3; Noon to 2:00pm for students in grades 4-6; $50 for the first child in the family; $45 for second; Class size will be limited. 256-760-6379. June 21–24 Helen Keller Festival Spring Park and downtown Tuscumbia; most events are free; 256383-0783 or Over 100 events including headliner music artists, fine arts and crafts show, parade, and Keller Kids educational activities. This annual event is one of the largest festivals in North Alabama. (Please do not bring dogs to this event.)

Providing Insurance and Financial Services

Myron Gardner, LUTCF 1819 Darby Drive, Florence, AL 35630 Bus 256-764-2234;Cell 256-335-6080 Email

Phil Wiginton 419 Cox Boulevard, Sheffield, AL, 35660 Bus 256-383-4521; Cell 256-762-5859 Email M AY /J UNE 2012 | NOALAMAG . COM | 15

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Lewis Yuille and Darrell Todd Chef Lewis and Culinary Team Sandra Johnson and Beth Cox Lewis Yuille and Mary Garner

Lewis and Angela Yuille, and Mary Leigh Gillespie

Bill Yuille and Ann Marie Beaman

Cyndi and Harold Hammond


Above: Chef Lewis Yuille Welcome Party

Below: George Lindsey UNA Film Festival



David Shields, Jennifer Highfield, and Jason Allen

Andrew Reed and Jon Reno

Cynthia Burkhead Michael Rooker

Alan Meddars and Ernest Borgnine

Harley Williams of Sugar on Top

William G. Cale, George Lindsey, Ernest Borgnine Bart Black PHOTOS BY SHANNON WELLS

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Countless pairs of heels, leather oxfords, boots and tennis shoes have crossed over the map etched in the sidewalk at the corner of Court and Tennessee Street in downtown Florence. Many pass it by unnoticed. A few may have stopped to look down and figure out exactly where on the map they were standing. Even fewer know that the map is a replica of what is possibly the oldest map of Florence in existence. And only a handful of people know that the original map—the Sannoner map—is hanging two blocks over in the hallway of one of the oldest businesses in the area. After 125 years of business, Alabama Land Services Inc. (ALS) prides itself in being the “oldest, family owned land title company” in the North Alabama area. “We’ve been here for so long, we’re probably the oldest title company in the state,” said president Chris Bobo.

Facing page: Scotty Bobo (left) and Chris Bobo of Alabama Land Services (ALS). Above: Marshall Smith, one of the original owners of ALS. Right: The original map of the City of Florence, surveyed in 1818 by Ferdinand Sannoner for the Cypress Land Company.

Judging by the records held in the basement of ALS, he’s right. Big, red books containing property information dating back to 1887 are kept in a heavy safe in the middle of a room piled high with cabinets of old abstracts and paper work. They also have one of the oldest maps of Waterloo that they still use on a regular basis. The age of their company is something that Chris loves. “That makes us special. I think we’re kind of an archive of records for the community,” Chris said. But for Chris, his father, Scotty Bobo, and the company presidents before them, the business is all in the family. That family has a history with the company.

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After seven years in the Army—which included a tour in Vietnam and moving around Asia and Europe—Scotty partnered with the then-president, Marshall Smith, who had inherited the company from his father. So why would Scotty leave the Army life for a title insurance job in Alabama? Family. “Our kids were in grammar school, and they were being moved around every 18 months to two years,” Scotty said. “We got out of the Army, post-haste,” said Cathy Bobo, Scotty’s wife, with a laugh. The rest isn’t quite history. Scotty partnered with Smith in 1971, and began pushing for changes that would redefine the company. The first one was the handling of title insurance. “Title insurance gives the customer so much more than an opinion,” Scotty said. “Title insurance is there forever. I started pushing for that early on.” According to Cathy, local lawyers didn’t like their idea as much as they did. Lawyers, in those days, got a percentage

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of the settlement after giving their opinions on a piece of real estate. “There was a lot of resistance,” she said. “The attorney’s office didn’t like that at all.” After several court cases, which went through in favor of ALS, their right to handle title insurance was upheld. Now, in addition to doing title insurance, they do closings as well. “We’ve always been innovators in this area,” Chris said. “That was where we really broke new ground. I think we were one of the first companies to do title insurance, and we were the first company to do closings in this area. They were already doing it in other parts of the state, but that was a really big thing.” Okay, but back up. What is title insurance? “When you say ‘title insurance,’ most of the public doesn’t know what you’re talking about,” Chris said. “Title insurance insures the past. We search the past to make sure that the house is okay.”

So, for example, say you go to buy a house. You’re all set to go, and you’re excited to live in this new house. Now say that house has a $10,000 tax lien on it from a previous owner. If you get title insurance, they work out all those kinks and bumps in the house’s past—you know, like a $10,000 dollar tax lien. “The way we do it now, it’s a lot more consumer friendly,” said Randy Nash. Randy was first employed part-time in 1972, and has been with the company ever since. He is now ALS’s Senior Title Examiner. “It’s a lot more affordable. It’s about the most streamlined, efficient way to buy and sell a house that you can do.” Chris believes that streamlined efficiency is what buying a house is about. “The whole system of capitalism is built, in part, on the ability to buy land from the bank with confidence,” Chris said. “The American system of property conveyance is one of the things that make this country great. One of the things that makes this possible is title insurance.”

Facing page: Chris Bobo stands outside of his company in downtown Florence, Alabama.

Chris’ patriotism has a history. After coming from a family that has a history of veterans, he served for seven years in the Army and the National Guard as a helicopter pilot. While on a training mission in Hattiesburg, MS., Chris and a co-pilot crashed. His fellow pilot died on impact, but Chris still managed to pull him out of the wreck before it burned up. For his bravery he was awarded the Soldier’s Medal. After leaving the military and taking over the company in 2000, Chris got involved in politics. In 2007, he served as the president of the Dixie Land Title Association (DLTA). DLTA is comprised of land title companies from all across Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. He also served on the legislation committee that got the first title insurance legislation passed in Alabama. A nice climb for someone who started as a janitor in his father’s business. But he’s not the only Bobo to have worked at ALS. “They all worked there,” Scotty said, talking about his three children and granddaughters. “Everybody’s worked there except the youngest—Chris’ daughter. She hasn’t started yet.” “Yet,” Cathy adds with a laugh. So, how does a father feel, looking on as his son runs his old company? “Excellent,” Scotty said. “It’s really neat for me that from the time he came on board, I have never heard a derogatory remark about him or the way he conducts business. And to me, that’s an accomplishment.” N

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scene Daryl Brown

Ishmael Reed Ishmael Reed Will Verrone

Ishmael Reed Pam Kingsbury

Tennessee Reed


Above: The UNA Writer’s Series Featuring Ishmael Reed and Tennessee Reed

Below: 4120 Club Spring Socials AROUND THE SHOALS


Kristy McKinney, Heather Anderson, and Julie Taylor

Jonathan McKinney, Lee Taylor, and Chris Anderson Andy Frith and Timothy Wakefield

Kyle Buchanan, and Keri Berryhill

Ben Burrows, Krista Sparks, and Lyndsie McClure

Katy Beth Lewey, and Kathryn Balch

Moni Fearn, Mario Martinez, and Casey Eggleston


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I have to admit, I’m a little intimidated walking into the Coleman home, but it has nothing to do with Lynn Coleman, who designed its interiors. Coleman is the human equivalent of soda pop—talkative, bubbly, and sweet. But then I figure it out—I think it’s because I can’t seem to find a logic behind how she creates such a lush, layered home that’s equal parts formal and casual. Surely there’s some kind of manual she follows to effortlessly mix things that seem so disparate into something so cohesive. The morning we photographed the Coleman’s home I noticed that there’s more blue in her living room, and yes, she admits that she’s freshening things up a bit. She says it’s “been a while,” and that when she’s finished she probably won’t touch it again for “several years.” I’m not sure I believe her. Left: The living room

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Left: The living room fireplace is formal and balanced, with a casual symmetry. I think it’s particularly interesting how Coleman uses books to add texture, color— even to create a pedestal for other accessories. Below: the entry way with its distinctive red studded and upholstered console table. Opposite: The guest room awaits some lucky visitors.

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If you’ve always thought that Florida-style architecture couldn’t possibly fit the shores of the Tennessee river, you’d be wrong. Although the Alexanders have built an impressive home on the banks of Wilson Lake, the most impressive thing is that the entire Alexander family (including their children) helped research and build it themselves, since few local subcontractors had experience with the technology used in its construction. It’s a contemporary home that stays true to its style, but still maintains a comfort that you’d expect from, well, a Florida resort. The Alexanders call it “warm modern.”

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Left: The great room, dining room, and custom wine cellar compete for attention when you enter the home. Custom furniture (like the dining table by local artist Robin Wade) was almost a must to meet the scale of the residence. Above: The entrance to the home features a sleek waterfall that pierces the stacked stone exterior. The house is set down into the land and away from the street, giving the family privacy, but also creating a dramatic ďŹ rst impression when visitors enter the property. Architect: Phil Kean Designs, Inc. Interior Design: Rob Turner Construction: Alexander Modern Homes

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Above: The walls of the master bedroom suite (as well as much of the home’s lake face) disappear into the structure, blurring the lines between indoors and out—screens drop down from hidden ceiling channels to provide protection from both the hot Alabama sun and its pesky mosquitos. Below left, the expansive kitchen fills the entire west side of the home with separate interior and exterior dining areas. The master bath (far right) has amenities equal to a five-star spa. Facing page: The “infinity” pool seems to vanish into the waters of Wilson Lake.

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Although the Adderholt home is tucked away into a inlet of Wilson Lake, it’s nothing like any lake house you’ve ever seen. Not even a decade old, the house has the feel of an old European estate and makes a grand statement from beginning to end—from its formal French exterior to its two-story entry hall (facing page) that features an elegant double staircase and several clerestory windows that fill the sunny-hued room with light. The home of Greg and Laura Adderholt is filled with hand-carved antiques, paintings, needleworks, and beautiful custom window treatments. Above: The dramatic living area is perfect for entertaining—featuring soaring ceilings and several cozy sitting areas.

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Facing page: Laura Adderholt admits the dining room is perhaps her favorite room in the house. Its French doors open up to a romantic water view and the antique chandelier provides just enough subdued light for many intimate dinners with friends and family. Above: Another view of the living area, featuring a handsome marble and carved wood fireplace.

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If there were a pattern to Bebe Ray’s style it would be...well, it would be patterns. And the fact that she mixes them so deftly and effortlessly is a testament to her talent. She’s also a big collector, too. Vintage textiles, furniture, china, antique paintings, and a vast collection of needlepoint art cover nearly every square foot of the home she shares with her husband Roger and daughter Jenny, who is studying at NYU but was home the morning we photographed their home. The Ray ladies were busy telling family stories and chatting like girlfriends. I finally realized that the Ray home includes not just a bounty of rich colors and quirky collections, but a lot of love and laughter as well. Above and right: The custom kitchen cabinetry is custom-finished in rich, jewel tone colors. Facing page: Bebe’s favorite sitting room has the coziness of a country cottage.

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The dining room’s collection of religious needlepoint art (above) reflects Bebe’s strong faith and love of collecting. The upstairs guest room (above) is filled with sunshine and beautiful antique quilts and coverlets. Right, the entry hall’s generous proportions make a grand statement.

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The Florence home of Billy and Sherry Smith is one of downtown Florence’s most notable homes. Set adjacent to the campus of The University of North Alabama, it has been lovingly and faithfully restored by the couple (Billy is a builder), who have filled its interiors with colorful art and textiles by a handful of local artists, including Micheal Banks, Tommy Mathis, and handmade pillows and quilts by their designer daughter Natalie Chanin. The gardens surrounding the home include many beautiful specimens of Camelia and Magnolia, and the beds are tended by Billy, who plants them with plenty of colorful annuals and perennials. Above: The living room is clean, crisp and bright, and two large sets of French doors lead to a covered porch with views of the University. Billy’s office is reached through a set of paneled pocket doors. Facing page: The entry hall with its view of North Wood Avenue. Interior Design: Rebecca Meeks, IIDA, Lambert Ezell Durham

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Left: The kitchen was one of the first things the couple renovated upon acquiring the historic home, and although the house is filled with light, it’s the sunniest spot in the house. Facing page: The mirror was original to the house and Sherry and Billy purchased it from the previous owners and restored it.

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When you arrive at the home of James and Stephanie Mallette, you probably won’t be prepared for what you’ll find. To get to the home, you drive through expansive fields filled with exotic animals—it’s not unusual to see an alpaca wandering through—but this is no ordinary farmhouse. The light-filled rooms are beautifully designed, and the home is luxurious and comfortable. “Welcoming” is the best word to describe it; the house beckons you to step inside and linger for awhile.

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Opposite: The Mallette’s sun porch features an eclectic mixture of casual, upholstered and wicker furnishings in cream and chocolate browns, with creative, off-beat accessories, including a chandelier of pine cones and miniature lights. The porch has a wonderful view of the family’s large farm, with beautiful pastoral views. Above: The formal dining room is a study in rich neutral tones, with just the right pop of coral.

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It may have been a rainy, dreary day the morning we photographed the lake home of Lynn and Missy Ridgeway, but once inside we forgot the weather because the house was so warm and comfortable. This is probably the dictionary definition of what a second home should be: relaxed, comfortable, and beautiful. The home sits just inside an inlet on Wilson Lake and features three levels of living space for the Ridgeway’s large family. The color palette of creams, warm grays, and mossy greens anchor the home well into the surroundings, providing a neutral backdrop for thoughtful details that make the home special. Above: The upper level’s screened porch runs the length of the house and features a beautiful fireplace, cozy sitting area and outdoor family dining room with spectacular water views. Facing page, clockwise from top: The family room is filled with light and casual, slipcovered furniture, the kitchen and dining area, and a rustic, but grand double-doored entry. Every detail is visually appealing, but also useful; furniture is durable and casual, just right for a lake home. Interior Design: Paige Thornton, The French Basket

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Clockwise from top: The kitchen’s custom farmhouse sink and pantry, cleverly hidden behind a screen door. The bunk room provides a pop of all-American color as well as six beds to house lots of friends for a weekend sleep-over. Opposite: The outside kitchen on the lower level is the ideal space for entertaining a large crowd, or even a small, dinner alfresco.

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scene Shopping Tournament 2012 Committee

Santa’s Shoppettes

Cindy Humphries, Susan Riedel, Amanda Tatum, and Julie Wilson

It's a Shopping Thing

Julie VanVeckhoven, Suzanne Nester, Cedric Parker, Laura Hamner, and Lisa Segura

Connie Barnes, Sandra Scarborough, Suzanna Wiley, and Pat Slusher

Graham Sigal

Real Housewives of Weeden PHOTOS BY HEIDI KING

Above: Shopping Tournament to Benefit the Florence City Schools Education Foundation

Below: Friday’s Creue–“Mad Men 2012”

M ARCH 17, 2012  DOWNTOWN FLORENCE & ENGLISH VILLAGE David Jeffery and Matthew Megar


Britt and Amber Graves

Emily Hurst, Millie Elliott, and Kate Holley Ashley and Will Beadle

David and Mary Lord

Jenny Rouse and Cal Breed Katie Wakefield, and Carrie Jordan

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Lacy Casteel, Jenny Hall, Jenny Kennedy, and Sara Welch


Contemporary homes are our speciality. Whether it’s riverfront, mountain top, or valley views, this is what we do. We provide all building services— architectural, interior and exterior design, furnishings, landscape design and construction. For information about how you can experience Warm Modern Living, or to schedule a tour of our breathtaking contemporary show home on Wilson Lake, call (256) 381-5635. Let us help you design your dream home today!

Alexander Modern Homes

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If you see any similarities between the Coleman’s home and the home of artist and business owner Tommy Mathis you have a keen eye. Lynn Coleman has given Mathis plenty of decorating advice throughout the years, but as I listened to him on the morning we photographed his home, I could tell it is more of a collaboration than the typical decorator/client relationship. The recurring theme in the Mathis home is art—you can’t look an inch in any direction without seeing it. With exquisite pieces in almost every medium imagineable, Mathis has filled his home with colorful creations from across the globe, and that’s clearly the focus of his decorating style. Left and below: The living room view, facing the dining room, includes a portrait of the homeowner. Right, the living room facing the entry hall. Mathis, an artist, and his late wife, Marigail, also an artist, collected work from their travels around the globe.


Top: One of Tommy Mathis’s passions is garden design and it shows in the spaces that surround his home. Spectacular cherry trees, delicate ferns, native flowering shrubs, lush ground coverings and tailored boxwoods create multi-hued outdoor rooms that Mathis enjoys almost year-round. Above, clockwise from left: The master bedroom, living room detail, den (foreground), and kitchen. 60 | NOALAMAG . COM | M AY /J UNE 2012

We Know...’s a major lifestyle change.’s a major lifestyle change.

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Now registering for 2012-2013 More than 32 years ago, Riverhill School was founded to give its students an educational experience that promoted each child’s individual potential. Today, we still provide academic excellence and experiences that create a lifelong love of learning. Want to know more? Come and visit! You’ll find we make the difference of a lifetime. We’re registering now for our Pre-K2 through sixth grade classes. Call 256-764-8200 or visit for more information.

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market » Claire Stewart » Photos by Danny Mitchell

Feather Your Nest!

Corkcicle ($22) Sweet Deliveries (256)383-3770

Women’s Muck Boots ($25) Coldwater Seed and Supply (256) 383-2038

After you pour that first glass of chilled wine, insert the corkcicle, and keep it at the perfect temperature!

12x12 Nest Painting ($49.99) David Christopher’s (256) 764-7008

Canton Garden Stool ($375) The French Basket (256) 764-1237

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Recycled Paint Can Chairs ($99) Market Interiors (256) 710-5187

Ready-to-Sew DIY Indigo Star Quilt Kit ($435) Alabama Chanin Oval Jr by Primo Grills ($750) Bama Pools (256) 764-3228

Chocolate Chrome Floor Lamp ($225) SBS Lighting (256) 764-8481

Handmade Potholders ($9 each) (Fabric from Thread) Shelly Spidel (256) 627-6597

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market » Claire Stewart » Photos by Danny Mitchell Antique Quilt ($125) Firenze (256) 760-1903

Wooden Frame ($75) The Yellow Door (256) 766-6950

A great idea for casual entertaining!

Cake Disposable Placemats (Pad of 50, $19.90) Printers and Stationers, Inc. (256) 764-8061

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Birch Candle Holders ($25 each) Lola’s Gifts & Flowers (256) 383-2299

Amber Glass Lamp ($199) Southern Shades (256) 757-0045

Handmade Apron ($34.95) Fiddledee D! (256) 383-9797

Blue Honeycomb Pillows ($225 each) Halsey House (256) 764-9294

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“I haven’t had to buy much for the house— I’ve been carrying around most everything in here for years.” Anne Leslie Warren Tompkins

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When you first walk into Jimmy and Anne Leslie Tompkins’ house, it looks like they’ve been there for their entire lives. There are paintings from his mother, a rocking chair from her infancy, his childhood toys, her parents’ old furniture, an antique table from a family friend and a clock from his greatgrandmother. Anne Leslie made sure those keepsakes had a special spot in their College Place home when they moved in with their twin two-year-old boys a year ago. “I haven’t had to buy much for the house—I’ve been carrying around most everything in here for years,” said Anne Leslie. “I like for things to have a history, and I want my children to have a strong sense of our extended family and to know the provenance of their belongings whenever possible.” Influenced by her father, an educator and history lover, Anne Leslie is passionate about history, family and giving her children roots. By combining her family treasures with her sophisticated sense of style, Anne Leslie has made her family’s 1940s home both stylish and sentimental. “I love to mix a little modern with the traditional,” said Anne Leslie. When the couple decided to have children, Anne Leslie began wrapping up her successful design career in New York, where she had her own business after being the head designer for world-renowned Adam Tihany, a top hotel and restaurant designer. She started focusing on moving her business, Warren Tompkins Design Group, south. Anne Leslie, who had grown up in Florence, and Jimmy, who had grown up in Tuscumbia, wanted to raise their young boys in their hometown. “Jimmy had the opportunity to move back here, and we took that opportunity,” said Anne Leslie. “I’m extremely close to my family, and I wanted my children to be near them. It’s a nice place to raise a family with a relaxed pace that still has arts and culture.” After working on such projects as the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, a restaurant for Michael Jordan and tony Park Avenue and Central Park West apartments, renovating a 1940s house in Florence was second-nature to Anne Leslie. “I was so used to designing rooms for my clients’ tastes, it was fun to figure out what I wanted,” said Anne Leslie. But through the renovation process she still kept her most important clients in mind, her husband and her children.

Facing page: The living room and entry. Top right: The living room fireplace. Right: An antique cabinet filled with family heirlooms and some of Tompkin’s many collections. Inset, above: The living room, before renovation.

“Jimmy likes a dark, cozy space, so I designed the den with him in mind,” said Anne Leslie. She stripped the 1970s paneling

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from the walls to find the original 1940s paneling underneath. She painted the walls Alexandria Beige, but kept the ceilings, with their exposed beams, light. The room has a flat-screen TV on the brick fireplace, leather furniture, an antique clock Jimmy’s great-grandmother received from a hospital in Mobile and a collection of exquisite paintings which she displayed within a large frame that one of her clients in New York had discarded. The room is decorated in warm colors to suit Jimmy’s taste. Anne Leslie designed the living room next door more for herself. It’s light and airy with a mix of traditional antiques with contemporary art and a modern coffee table. Anne Leslie liked the home’s original sconces and mantel and simply accented them with one of her favorite paintings and two ceramic vases. The room provides a clean and soothing space after a day chasing the twins.

“I could see the potential of this house when I first walked in the door.”

Above: Before and after photos of the kitchen’s breakfast area and butler’s pantry. Right, the kitchen as it looks today. Above: The kitchen prior to renovation.

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The neighboring kitchen, butler’s pantry and powder room have all the modern materials of today’s dream home with travertine, marble, stainless steel and ledger stone. But the modern is grounded by an antique table, given to Anne Leslie by a dear family friend, with mismatched barley-twisted chairs and decorative English corbels at the entryway. The space is functional and inviting.

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411 South Montgomery Ave. Sheffield, AL 35660 - 256.248.1997 M AY /J UNE 2012 | NOALAMAG . COM | 73

The adjacent dining room is a tribute to 1940s elegance with its original mirrored paneling and crystal wall sconces. Anne Leslie hung her own chandelier that she’s had for years, and she put in an antique rug and round table. The room’s two entranceways are graced with arches, punctuated with intricate plaster medallions. Also downstairs is the twins’ playroom, which is both whimsical and practical. A large shelf with cubbies holds a myriad of toys and games, with a basket by the back door for muddy shoes. Carpet was installed for the boys’ comfort, and the furniture is indestructible. In the corner, Anne Leslie created a big-top atmosphere complete with a tent and paintings of circus animals, which she commissioned from her brother’s wife’s sister. But like in the rest of the house, Anne Leslie hung a few pieces of her own art collection in the playroom. “I want my children to grow up with a liberal arts education, so I mixed in adult art as well. I love art history and wanted my boys to be exposed to it at an early age.”

The den (after) The den (before)

The children’s playroom

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Upstairs are the boys’ bedrooms and master bedroom. The boys’ rooms are across the hall from one another but are hardly mirror images. “With my sons being twins, I wanted them to feel equal but also individual,” said Anne Leslie. “Both have something sentimental and special.” Each room is painted a powder blue, but they have artwork and furniture from various family members. While one has a rocking chair that Anne Leslie’s mother once rocked her to sleep in, the other has several paintings from his father’s late mother. Down the hall is the master bedroom, which combines Anne Leslie’s and Jimmy’s Yin and Yang tastes. By night, Jimmy can pull the curtains and have the cozy, dark space he prefers. But by day, Anne Leslie can let in the sunlight from three walls of windows. The room is painted the same Alexandria Beige as several of the rooms downstairs, but the cream-colored area rug and painted ceil-

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ing lighten the space. Above the bed is a collage of New York’s Central Park. The work of art was created as a study by an artist working for one of Anne Leslie’s clients. It was to be thrown away, but Anne Leslie saw its potential as a standalone piece. On the opposite wall is a grand antique armoire. “This piece I found at auction during my first design job when I owned a shop in Franklin, Tennessee,” recalled Anne Leslie. “It was perfect to have in New York with all the storage.” Since the master bathroom was smaller, Anne Leslie cleverly installed a second sink in the bedroom, convenient for applying makeup or brushing teeth. The bedroom’s spacious sitting area overlooks the backyard, creating the perfect nook for reading the morning paper or bedtime stories. Anne Leslie has plans one day to convert the sitting area to a larger bathroom, but for now, it fits her family’s needs. “I could see the potential of this house when I first walked in the door,” said Anne Leslie. “We waited a long time to have kids, so now we’re enjoying them and our more relaxed lifestyle.” N

Left: The bedroom’s spacious sitting area. Below: The antique armoire that has moved with Tompkins since she owned her Franklin, Tennessee shop. Inset: The bedroom’s sitting area before its transformation.

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r. Candice Johnson and Dr. Laura Mahan have a lot in common. They both attended Auburn University before going to UAB for dental school. They both married their high school sweethearts and each has three children, two boys and a girl. As best friends and business partners at Johnson and Mahan Dental Care, they seem to click on everything. So when it came to building their new office on Cox Creek Parkway, it’s no surprise they were insynch on the design. “We wanted our patients to feel at home, from the moment they walked into the door,” said Candice. “We’re not your average practice. We get to know our patients and get to know their families before diving into their mouths.” “We were outgrowing our old office,” added Laura. “We looked at trying to expand, and it really wasn’t an option. So we decided to look for land and build. We were young and had a long career ahead of us, and we were ready to make an investment.” To help them accomplish this goal, while also balancing the functionality and layout of the office, they contacted close friend and designer Jenny Hill, who is also the manager of the French Basket. Jenny had helped them both design their homes,

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and while she had never worked on a commercial project, Candice and Laura could think of no one better for the job. “Because I had helped them with their houses, I knew them and their personalities,” said Jenny. “They are young, hip moms, and we wanted their office to look like them inside and out.” Jenny worked with local architect Calvin Durham on the building’s design, and Laura and Candice were able to get floor plans from their dental supplier Sullivan and Shein.


Facing page: One of several examination rooms which feature soft, colorful window treatments, and cabinetry that is customized to the unique needs of a dental practice. This page: the reception area has a residential look and feel that the dental partners believe helps make their patients feel more at ease. A children’s area is tucked away at one end and is stocked with books and toys.

“A lot of people are apprehensive about going to the dentist, and we wanted them to feel relaxed,” said Jenny. “We used a clean, soothing color palette throughout the office, and we selected nice and relaxed furniture. It has a traditional feel but it’s a little eclectic with a touch of modern.” The office looks more like a home than a dentist office, and other dentists from the area have even dropped by to take notes of their own. In the waiting room, large color photos of the dentists’ families hang on the wall. A bookshelf houses baskets filled with toys, games and books, inviting children to sit

and play. A large armoire that you’d find in a living room holds the television, and unique lamps and light fixtures add a fun element to the room. In the exam rooms, custom cabinets not only give the space a home-like feel, perfect-sized compartments conveniently hold mouthwash and other supplies that the staff can quickly reach. Jenny also worked with Candice and Laura to create their own personal office space. Their old office was not only small, it was used as a kitchen and a staff gathering area. They wanted a quiet place to review their patients’ files, discuss business

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“We were young and had a long career ahead of us, and we were ready to make an investment” —Dr. Laura Mahan

matters and catch their breath during a busy day. Their new office has fresh, bright fabric on the windows, two comfy chairs with pillows, a private bathroom and matching work spaces with a “J” and “M” embroidered chair for each. “We really wanted to create a retreat for them to come in and shut the door and relax,” said Jenny. “They have a place to work, and a place to bring their children after school or when they get sick.” Candice and Laura will celebrate the first anniversary of their new office in May, and there’s no doubt they’ll look back on how it all started with a friendship in college that led to their opening a practice together in 2005. Laura, a native of Florence, had convinced Candice to move from Montgomery and go into business with her. “I always knew I wanted to come back here,” said Laura. “We joked at school about having our own dental office one day.” “It was a big change coming to Florence, but now I can’t imagine living anywhere else,” said Candice. “It’s amazing how God has guided our steps. And today our friendship is stronger than ever.” And by the looks of their offices and the smiles of their patients, their dental practice is as strong as ever, too. N

Facing page: The reception’s work area is a circular hub, with hand-poured concrete counter tops. The floor covering is a commercial carpet with a warm, green color in a circular design that echoes the shape of the counters. Above: The hallways are filled with thick canvas portraits of the partner’s smiling children. Right: The partner’s office seems more like a family room than a traditional work space. Comfy, slipcovered furniture and floral window treatments give the space a relaxed work atmosphere.

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Interior Design: Jenny Hill, The French Basket Architect: Calvin Durham, Lambert, Ezell, Durham

“We wanted our patients to feel at home, from the moment they walked into the door” —Dr. Candace Johnson

General Contractor: Carbine Construction Signature Cabinets and Doors: Millwork Concrete Countertops and Sinks: Dale Dobbs Custom Photography: Jennifer Tidwell, Jennifer Photography M AY /J UNE 2012 | NOALAMAG . COM | 81


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Two Florence law firms have recently invested in historic properties on East Tennessee Street downtown. Two buildings from the late 19th century now have new life, thanks to the vision of these business owners.


he law office of Jones, Trousdale, Ryan and Ryan is filled with history. First built as the Tennessee Valley Bank back in 1890, the old bank name is still etched in limestone on the building’s facade on Tennessee Street, between Court and Seminary. Over the years, the building has housed an insurance company, a finance company, a CPA and even another law office a century ago. Most recently it became home to Jones, Trousdale, Ryan and Ryan, P.C. Preston Trousdale, Jr., moved his practice into the building in 2005, and with help from his wife, designer Susan Trousdale, he renovated the space into an elegant law office, while centering the design on the building’s history. “During the renovation, we wanted to keep the office comfortable, traditional and in keeping with the age of the building,” said Susan. During the process, the couple discovered several historic treasures which are now displayed in the building. “We found historic photos from Landrum Gallery that used to be next door,” said Preston. “We got in the library and picked photographs of interest. We happened across one that has my daddy’s daddy from his days on and around the old Muscle Shoals Canal.” In the oversized black and white photograph, circa 1905, framed in the reception area, Preston’s grandfather, a Lauderdale County farmer and gin operator, is pictured at Lock 6, standing next to the locomotive which ran along the Muscle Shoals Canal. Other shots in the room depict scenes of the Wilson Dam construction, the Florence Post Office and downtown Florence from decades past. Preston also has in his office a book called Alabama General Acts with a stamp indicating the book belonged to a lawyer in 1915 who was practicing in the same building. The book was an office-warming gift from fellow attorney Chuck Kelley. While the building has been updated by various tenants over the years, traces of the previous occupants can be found throughout. The logo of an insurance company is stamped on the frosted glass in an upstairs office. And the original bank vault is still located on the ground floor.

Facing page and below, right: The office’s reception area features a quartet of traditional, upholstered chairs with contemporary lines. The warm, rich colors and neutrals and high, beamed ceilings reflect the rich traditions of the original bank building (above). A substantial cabinet becomes the focal piece in the downtown Florence landmark.

“The previous owner had done most of the heavy lifting with the updating, but there was still work to do when we moved in,” said Preston. “The staircase was narrow, there were lots of walls throughout the building and lots of small, closed-in rooms. We came in and opened up the space and reconfigured the staircase to allow for more natural light. We added the kitchen in the mezzanine and the conference room downstairs

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and installed new windows across the front of the building and designed and put in a new entry. We also replicated the frosted glass found upstairs in the conference room to allow for more natural light there as well.” The film-strip design of the frosted windows not only allows in light, it’s a beautiful design element that draws attention to the other features in the building, such as the high ceilings and the rich woodwork. “I love the high ceilings and the architecture on the exterior,” said Susan. “I also like the narrowness of the building. And the location is just wonderful.” Preston can walk to work from his home and easily walk to either the state or federal courthouse. Practicing principally in the area of litigation, much of the firm’s work is done in the courtroom. While the location is convenient, Preston’s favorite part about the building is his office. “He loves the views out the window, the high ceilings and the exposed brick in his work area,” said Susan. “His library is located in his office, and he can move between a conference/work table to his desk and computer station. His office is a mess, but he knows where everything is!”


Susan furnished and decorated the offices with a simple, yet tasteful appointment of oriental carpets, antique furniture, upholstered chairs and ornate vases. Personal touches include family photographs and New Yorker’s Book of Lawyer Jokes. The result is a comfortable yet refined space, reflecting the work of the firm while honoring the history of the building with its original design and architecture. “Though Preston really has no interest in interior design or furnishing, he does enjoy the building and construction, and we had fun working together,” said Susan. “But, it’s still a work in progress.”

Opposite: Trousdale’s love of hunting is evident throughout his personal office, where many trophies are displayed. The original brick walls were exposed again to bring even more warmth into the space. Simple window treatments highlight the unique details of the tall, slender windows. 84 | NOALAMAG . COM | M AY /J UNE 2012

Peace of Mind Another reason families choose ElderCare Services ElderCare Services provides in-home care that enables you to relax, knowing your family member is being cared for in the comfort and familiarity of their own home. Since 1996, we have been a trusted resource for those who need a little care...or a lot. Call Jean Gay Mussleman or Dee Mussleman for details.

210 E. College Street, Florence AL 35630 256-740-8249

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en years ago, the old brick cotton exchange was on the verge of being condemned. The entire back of the building had so much water damage, it was ready to collapse. But thanks to local attorney Robert Bunch and his law partner Joey James, the historic treasure was saved. The building now houses the offices of Bunch and James and is a throwback to 19th century craftsmanship and grandeur. “I grew up in Florence and often went with my grandfather to the building, which housed the Pittsburgh Paint store at the time,” recalled Joey. “Since a child, it’s always been my favorite building. I have a love and an interest in local history, so when the building became available, Rob and I discussed it, and we both committed to historically saving the building.” “I spent six months researching what banks and law firms would have looked like in 1880, when the cotton exchange was built, and that’s what we’ve attempted to replicate,” Joey added. “I looked through books and books of photos of firms in New York and London. Everything we selected, from the brick to the tile to the frosted glass, came from that research.” Today, the building is a showpiece for historic renovation and ideal offices for the Bunch & James team. The two-story entranceway is breathtaking, with a grand staircase, massive oak beams, rich wood paneling and a beautiful chandelier with ceiling medallion. “Rob left town, and while he was gone, I cut a big hole in the second story floor,” laughed Joey. “That space turned into the staircase. I wanted to show off the beams.” The beams are original as are the arches, which were transformed into windows, once the openings where cotton was offloaded from the riverbank. In 1910, the building was converted into retail space and several features were added. Joey and Rob kept the 1910 façade, the pressed-tin ceilings and the windows on the north, east and south side of the

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building. The windows are all handmade still with their old weights and rope. In order to be consistent with the period, Joey searched for historic items and design elements to be used throughout the building. To restore the damage to the back wall, they ordered 60,000 antique bricks from Chicago. For the new entrance on the west side, they looked to an 1880s railroad station in Knoxville, Tennessee as inspiration. The frosted glass on the interior doors was replicated from an 1878 design. Joey even found bookcases from a public school library in Birmingham from the turn of the century and used them for the company’s conference room. “We’ve spent five years renovating the building,” said Joey. “It’s a labor of love and a work in progress.” A few tasks are left on their to-do list. Besides seeking historical registration, the two are converting several rooms upstairs into loft apartments, which should be complete by the end of the year. The lofts feature original heart pine floors, large windows overlooking downtown and high ceilings with original beams and pipes exposed. From top to bottom, Rob and Joey have not overlooked a single detail in the historic renovation, and they pride


Left: The entrance to Bunch and James, off Tennessee Street in downtown Florence. Above and facing: A grand staircase and chandelier in the foyer leads to additional office space upstairs, and an area that will be developed into apartments. M AY /J UNE 2012 | NOALAMAG . COM | 87

themselves on using local talent as well. Greg Hart, a local wood artisan, built the entire staircase, designed the wood inlay and restored the original hardwood floors upstairs. Charles McMahill, a skilled master carpenter, installed all of the wood paneling, joinery and new windows, and local architect Robert Whitten helped with the overall renovation and design. “We had to get some materials out of market since they were custom-made to fit the building’s history, but all of the labor was done locally,” said Joey. “We are committed to this community.” N

The firm uses rich wood and exposed brick throughout the office to create a rich and historic feel. Left: The firm’s conference room.

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For invitations and party supplies for garden parties, weddings, showers and every kind of celebration, your party source is

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food for thought » Sarah Gaede THIS IS THE PERFECT TIME OF YEAR FOR COCKTAILS ON THE FRONT PORCH, or on the sun porch with all the windows open and a fan circling gently overhead. It’s a southern thing, from before the days of air conditioning, when chatting with friends and watching the world go by was entertainment enough. All you need to make your happiness complete is a cooling beverage and a little something to nibble on. My paternal grandparents lived in Darlington, South Carolina, one of the hottest places in the universe, especially during our annual August visitation. After our morning tour of the market with Grandma to pick out the vegetables for dinner (served in the middle of the day as God intended) we would sit on the front porch to receive relatives, shell peas, and swig down our daily ice-cold nickel Cokes. There were always boiled peanuts, which for some reason I eschewed until I was grown, to bridge the gap between eggs, sausage, biscuits and yellow grits at breakfast; and the full spread at noon. We gathered on the porch again after supper, to swing (in the ubiquitous Southern porch fixture) to the dulcet strains of “Does your chewing gum lose its flavor on the bedpost overnight?” taught to us by our naughty first-cousin-once-removed Poke. Our goal was to swing hard enough to go flying off the porch, but we never did. (Although my father did suffer the indignity of having the chain break on Granny’s porch swing and dump him out at the same time he was being stung by a wasp. That might be why I prefer my porches to have screens.)

A Pimento Cheese Primer I’ve progressed in my tastes since those long-ago times. I grew to love boiled peanuts, although I don’t eat them very often because the salt makes me puff up. And of course the world of adult beverages has expanded my drink horizons. But I still like to keep it simple. For instance, my preferred beach libation/snack combo is rum and tonic (Schweppes only) with lime, and Crunchy Cheetos. Recently, my friend Lynn came over after yoga for a glass of Lillet, a yummy aperitif that is worth seeking out. We needed a little something to hold us until supper and soak up the alcohol. I just happened to have some homemade pimento cheese and saltines on hand. Perfection! Pimento cheese is something else I didn’t eat until I was grown, probably because my mother made it with Miracle Whip, which I will not let past my lips. The best pimento cheese is the simplest. My recipe springs from the one in Frank Stitt’s Southern Table, and features roasted red bell peppers. Although Stitt makes his own mayonnaise, PC keeps better if

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Pimento cheese is something else I didn’t eat until I was grown, probably because my mother made it with Miracle Whip, which I will not let past my lips.

you use mayonnaise from a jar. I won’t stop you if you use Duke’s, but I prefer classic Hellman’s. If you don’t have the energy to grate cheese, serve Mook’s cheese straws, which are perfectly acceptable and work just fine as an alcohol sponge.

Frank Stitt-ish Pimento Cheese • 1 pound sharp yellow cheddar (I like Cracker Barrel) • 3-ounce block Philadelphia cream cheese, softened • 3 large red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped (Google how-to) or equivalent roasted red peppers from a jar • 1/2 cup Hellman’s mayonnaise • 1 teaspoon sugar • Freshly ground black pepper to taste • Splash of hot sauce (Tabasco, Cholula or Frank’s are good) • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper Grate cheese by hand. Transfer to a bowl, add cream cheese and remaining ingredients and squish with hands until well-combined. Refrigerate, preferably overnight until flavors blend, although you probably won’t be able to wait that long. Great on saltines, celery sticks, and whole-grain bread. Or on hot dogs or hamburgers. Or straight out of the container. You will eat it up long before it reaches the expiration date. Note: Freshly roasted red peppers are the best, but even jarred roasted red peppers are far better than those little pieces of jarred pimento. Here are some wonderful cooling drinks, ending with the most potent. For a simple summer glass of wine, Jennifer at the Wine Seller recommends chilled Domaine de Nizas rosé, or Vinho Verde Capé Roca served over ice with a wedge of lime. Keep a bottle of each chilled at all times, right next to the PC.

Peaches-on-the-Porch • 1 liter white wine—an off-dry Gewürztraminer would be nice • 4 fresh peaches, peeled and sliced • 1/4 cup sugar • 1 lemon, sliced thin and seeded At least 8 hours before serving, mix everything together in a pitcher and refrigerate. Serve over ice. Splash a little club soda in to make it go further.

Sparkling Spiked Lemonade • 1 cup gin, chilled (along the Bombay/Tanqueray line) • 1/2 cup frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed • 1 bottle Prosecco or other sparkling white wine, chilled Combine gin and lemonade concentrate in a pitcher; chill until ready to serve. Just before serving, add sparkling wine to gin mixture; stir gently. Serve in champagne flutes or martini glasses.

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scene Julie Muhlendorf, Liz Muhlendorf, and Steve Holt Jackie Hendrix and Rick Sharp

Scott & Kristal Riddle, and L. Randle

Rick Sharp and Jan Ingle

John & Teresa Glenn

Shirley Coker, Quinton Hanson, Jan and Brian Ingle Susie Rickard and Susan Goode


Above: Shoals Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting

Below: Balm In Gilead Prayer Breakfast



Robert and Janice Turner Benjamin Reed and Pete Key

Anthony Brooks May Bolden

Christina Anderson and Shanaah Cole

Andy Keyes and Richard Gillespie Mechelle and Benjamin Reed


News, classical music and more 88.7 FM Muscle Shoals • 100.7 FM Huntsville M AY /J UNE 2012 | NOALAMAG . COM | 93

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20 questions » Claire Stewart

Twenty Questions for Kaye Hillis, Master Gardener My advice to a first time gardener is… …Start slow, with a small garden space, and choose easy to care for plants that don’t require extra work. Check out the gardening books from the library, or purchase your favorite from a bookstore. Visit the local garden centers, and ask them questions; read the tag that comes with the plant to see what type of needs: sun, shade, water. Then enjoy your first year, and expand to a larger space with your new confidence. The most unruly plant I have ever planted was… …Bee Balm. I know that it is a great host plant for butterflies, but it was very invasive. The more I pulled, the more it grew. My favorite thing about gardening in Alabama is… …Weather changes, being in zone B, more likely to be able to grow plants that will not grow in the upper north, east or west. The saying around here is, wait three days and the weather will change for you, or against you.

Gardening is not just pretty flowers… …but the thought of going outside and seeing your first flower emerge after a long cold winter, or picking that first tomato of the season. I love to be able to go outside and pick a bouquet just the way I need to display in my house, or give to someone in need. The most beautiful garden I have ever seen… …was in June of 2007, when we visited Monet’s gardens in Giverny France. Even though the weather was warm, the many types of colorful plants took your mind off of it. As you walked around each garden I can see why he loved to paint colorful flowers.

Bee Balm

My least favorite thing about Alabama gardening is… …the long, long hot summers that seem to start too early, plus the lack of rainfall. Nothing is better for your plants than rain water; our city water does not hold up to it. If I were a plant, I would be a… …white daisy, because they always look like the sun is shining, and they are easy to grow here. I had daisies in my wedding bouquet. This unnaturally warm winter we have had… …will probably hurt our fruit crop, as they need a certain amount of “chilling” time each year to produce quality fruit, plus our trees will bud out earlier than needed, plus some of our bulbs, and the perennials will sprout up. Gardens in the Shoals… …have got to be the best around; we have such a variety of

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ferns, daylilies, roses, hydrangeas, and local tours at the right time to view them.

The worst gardening mistake I ever made was… …I needed to kill some weeds, so I just sprayed some weed killer. Well it was a windy day, and yes, I killed the weeds, flowers, grass, and everything else around. I learned the hard way, you must read the label. For those who are not familiar with the term, a Master Gardener is… …someone who receives intensive training from the local State Extension Office. We are required to attend classes on different subjects, from professionals, and then have 50 volunteered hours the first year; then after that, just 25 hours volunteer time. Our mission is to teach and educate the public the right way to do things, starting with a soil test, then how to design your garden space, how to take care of your plants, and still have the fun in gardening. If the climate and conditions were right I would love to be able to grow… …rhododendrons like they do in the cooler climates, I know some people have success with them here, but so far I have not.

The time I spend in my garden each week… …depends on many things, time of year, and what else I have to do. On the average I could spend one to two hours a day, six days a week, but this is on established yards, and flower beds. The first part of the growing season requires a little more. Many people are trying to stray away from pesticides and fungicides and move towards organic gardening. My take on that is… …to stay away from pesticides and fungicides, and move more toward the organic way, because the run-off from these are causing pollution in our drinking water. It is much healthier to grow naturally, using the right natural spray on your plants. The most difficult plant I ever grew was… …a bougainvillea. I kept trying, and finally with trial and error I can say they are now my favorite in the summer. The worst insect in Alabama has got to be… …the Japanese beetle, and the tomato hornworm. I have experienced both, and they are hard to control, but I am succeeding. For those who only have a small area to grow a garden… …Small gardeners should start with containers; you can grow anything from flowers to vegetables with hardly any space. You can move them around to suit your preference, or where you need color at that time. Indoor gardening is… …perfect for me! I have many types of African violets, palm ferns, and it is healthy for the air that we breathe. When our boys were young and kept being sick, my pediatrician suggested house plants, and it helped. When choosing colors for your garden… …remember that color expresses emotion, so it is easy to use too much of one color. Plan on accent plants, and work with your foundation plants, (shrubs). You want to attract your eye to it, not away from it. Color can call attention to an unsightly object in your yard, and make it attractive. For example, around a telephone pole, or around, but not too close, to a fire hydrant. Landscaping in relationship to home value… …Remember that your yard is the first thing anybody sees when they visit, so keep your lawn trimmed, flower beds neat as you can, because if people don’t keep their yards tidy, can you imagine the inside of the home? Also, it provides exercise, and you can save money if you do it yourself, plus you will receive personal rewards for the job well-done. Maybe your neighbors will “catch” the landscaping bug too. Kaye Hillis has been a Master Gardener since 2006 and teaches classes for gardeners in the area.

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bless their hearts » Allen Tomlinson

My name is Allen, and I’m addicted…to tools. I know you can’t tell it by looking at me, and if you’ve spent any time around me at all it’s hard to believe I know how to use any of these tools. I don’t. Being addicted to tools and being able to use them are totally unrelated concepts. For me, it’s all about…well, convenience. My father was a forester, and in his spare time, late in life, he developed a love (and the skills) for woodworking. He built beautiful things, cabinets and desks and all sorts of useful things made of wood, and because he had the interest and the time, he collected all of the tools he needed. Maybe that was the start of it, for me; if I ever needed a metric screwdriver that you could also use as a power drill, can opener and flashlight-in-one, I’m sure Dad had one. But I don’t collect tools because I love the tools. I don’t collect them because of all of the neat things you can do with them. I collect tools because I can’t find the tools I already have, and my response, when I’m in the moment and have a need, is to go buy new ones. Here’s an example. We recently commissioned an artist to build a king sized cherry canopy bed. Our old bed was platform style, which meant the mattress sat on a wooden platform and did not require a box spring. A new, custommade king sized bed from Appalachian cherry can be a somewhat pricey investment, and I didn’t really want to purchase box springs on top of all of that, so we decided to convert the new bed to a platform by cutting plywood to make a base. I very smartly got the hardware store to cut the plywood sheets

for me, but I made a fairly simple measuring mistake and ended up with plywood panels that were way too long and not nearly wide enough. (I’m sure this is because I couldn’t find my tape measure and didn’t have time to go buy a new one; incidentally, two days after the mistake with the plywood, I found a stash of three tape measures hidden in a drawer in the kitchen, a place I could have sworn I looked before.) So, what do you do when you have made a measuring mistake? Well, you certainly don’t take the plywood back to Lowe’s and ask them to cut it again; that would be too embarrassing. So instead, I figured out how I could recut the wood so that the pieces we ended up with would work. Only I could not find my power saw to save my life. I was certain that it was in the carport closet, where I thought I had put it the last time I had to do something handy, but we actually have three carport closets, all stuffed full of tools, and I opened each door and stood there, desperately scanning the piles and piles of stuff, looking for my saw. There were seven yard rakes, from back before I conveniently developed an allergy to something in the grass, four or five shovels from the year I thought I was going to have a flower garden, about twenty paint rollers, all rusted and no longer usable, and two drills I had needed so badly a week before but couldn’t find, so I bought a new one. (Wonder where it is?) There were also about ten boxes of stuff we had moved from the last house, seven years ago, and never unpacked—I opened the top of one of the boxes and saw that it was full of old tennis shoes, like maybe a dozen pairs. I found my favorite bucket, the one I used to use when I had time to wash my own car, and a couple of bottles of car washing detergent that had almost solidified, they were so old; the last time I had an urge to wash my car I wasn’t able to find any of this stuff.

BEING ADDICTED TO TOOLS AND BEING ABLE TO USE THEM ARE TOTALLY UNRELATED CONCEPTS. FOR ME, IT’S ALL ABOUT… WELL, CONVENIENCE. But no power saw. And that’s a shame, really, because the power saw I was looking for had seen me through many, many horrible home projects gone wrong, and I felt as if we were bonded, somehow. I had a little wave of nostalgia, standing there with my hand on the wide-open closet

door, thinking about how badly I had mangled a little coffee table we had attempted to make from scratch; it took four trips to Home Depot to buy replacement legs because I was unable to cut them properly. (When the project was finished, it looked really good, and I discovered that a ceramic tile coaster under one of the legs made the thing sit still and not rock.) I’m an addict, as I have admitted, but I am not without remorse. Because I wasn’t able to find my power saw immediately, I decided to go to the office and see if I could find it there. I wandered through the warehouse, the likeliest place for an errant power saw, and found two or three more tape measures, an electric drill in a plastic carrying case but no drill bits, and seventeen—I’m not kidding— computer monitors, dating back to the early 1990s, that we don’t know how to throw away and hang on to because (a) we are terrified that we will further pollute the groundwater because of the horrible things inside these monitors, and (b) we are sure that the insides of these things are made of solid gold and could be sold off for a lot of money. But no power saw. It was obviously a sign. So—off to Lowe’s. I didn’t mind showing my face there for the second or third time that day—that’s actually normal when I’m undertaking a project, and I wasn’t bringing anything back or asking someone to undo something I had accidentally done. I was just a man, browsing through the power tools, looking for the perfect electric saw. So, you know how this ends, don’t you? I found a hot orange model, on sale, with sexy pictures on the box of it looking so attractive, with racing stripes and everything. I got it home and attempted to cut the plywood so we could actually use the platform bed that night—had we not had the prospect of sleeping on a mattress on the floor, I might have taken a little more time to find the four power saws that turned up within the next week, all in places I swear I looked before I bought the orange one. Did I mention that I couldn’t get the blade to work quite right with my new power saw, and that every time I started sawing the blade just stop turning, and that I finally had to finish cutting the plywood with a very old hand saw that I happened to find in one of the carport closets? I could probably return this newest tool, but I am sure I will need it again some day, and, honestly, I don’t remember where I put it. With all of this said, I do have some advice for anyone who might suffer from my same addiction. The very best tool I have, amongst the hundreds and hundreds of duplicate instruments I have collected through the years, is my cell phone. I have an electrician, a plumber and a handyman on speed dial; believe me, that’s a lot cheaper than having me do a project myself. N

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DeWayne Griffin, 303 N. Pine Street, Florence 256-718-4212

Debbie Poole, 303 N. Pine Street, Florence 256-718-4237

For more than seven decades, we’ve been helping people in the Shoals area with their homeowner dreams. It’s the way we got our start, as a mortgage lender. Do you have plans for a new

Brenda Crittenden, 1027 E. Avalon, Muscle Shoals 256-718-4241

house in your future? We know how to help you because we’ve been helping people like you for more than 70 years. Come visit your First Southern Banker and see what we can do for you!


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Beautiful garden. Horrible allergies.

This is the most beautiful time of year— unless you have allergies. If you do, come see us at Milner-Rushing. We’ve been the name you can trust for all of your pharmacy and home health needs since 1853. 869 Florence Blvd. Florence, AL 35630 256-764-4700

202 W. Avalon Ave. Muscle Shoals, AL 35661 256-386-5220

2602 Hough Rd. Florence, AL 35630 256-740-5515

No'Ala Shoals May/June 2012  

Home and Garden

No'Ala Shoals May/June 2012  

Home and Garden