Text by Karen Callaway
This homeowner can remember the exact day she fell in love with all things blue and white. She was living in Des Moines, Iowa, and feeling homesick for her Southern roots when she popped in to see a friend for a little cheering up. The home’s breezy blue-and-white decorating scheme spoke to her own sense of style, and she was immediately smitten.
She eventually found her way back home to a beautiful mountaintop cottage in a charming historic area in Alabama. For many years, the residences along this tree-lined ridge had served as summer retreats for those wishing to escape the heat of the city below. Thanks to expansive windows that once drew cooling breezes, the home’s interiors are open, airy, and washed in sunlight—the perfect milieu for the homeowner’s preferred color palette. She chose a soft blue hue for most of the walls set off by crisp white trim and molding.
Walking through this lovely home is akin to taking a stroll down memory lane for the gracious homeowner. Each thoughtfully curated accessory has a story behind it, whether it’s a family heirloom, a gift from a dear friend, or just something that struck her fancy. “I don’t intentionally decorate,” she says. “I just put things together that I like.” An eclectic collection could be the recipe for disorder, but with the blue-and-white theme as a continuous thread, the result is pure enchantment.
With help from her son, as well as local carpenter Michael Millstead, she has added many special touches throughout the house, from inlaid delft tiles in the butler’s pantry to custom-built shelves and a quaint screen-door entry in the food pantry. The “nursery” holds three mismatched white iron beds—one for each of her granddaughters—while in another bedroom, a window is framed with a vintage towel and strands of crystal prisms that “create myriad rainbows that dance across the room.”
This homeowner began with a simple vision for her home: to make a cozy, peaceful gathering place for her family and friends. By mingling her favorite blue-and-white accessories with sentimental treasures collected through the years, she’s accomplished just that.