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Source: Southern Living
Date: November, 2006
Byline: Derick Belden

A House Inspired by Our American Past



Southern Living marks its 40th anniversary this year. In recognition of this milestone, we wanted to build a home that was inspired by our past but lives for today. To accomplish this, we partnered with The American Village in Montevallo, Alabama, to build The President’s House.

Comfortable Surroundings

After a fantastic meal, there’s nothing like relaxing in an inviting room to make a great holiday complete. In this house, the family room serves that function. The deep sofa and two comfy chairs offer plenty of seating. The grouping helps to break up the large room into more intimate, usable areas. A table and chairs, such as the one in the bay behind the sofa, is a great addition to any family room. It provides a great place for family members to play a game or work a puzzle together in lieu of flipping on the TV.

One of the most unique features in the room is the double mantel. It made for a difficult decorating challenge, but keeping it simple did the trick. On the lower shelf, the focal point is a symmetrical collection of books. The top shelf holds five hydrangea-covered containers filled with roses to help bring down the eye from the painting framed with trim. (See the box at right for easy directions to make your own.) The flowers are fresh for the holiday, but the same look could easily be done with dried materials.

Gather for Dinner

The dining room takes its cues from traditional design while offering a fresh look. The circular table, perfect for easy conversation, is surrounded with upholstered chairs to make a holiday meal more comfortable. The walls are a neutral cream; they are made more elegant with the addition of a subtle stencil design. Warmth comes in the way of sumptuous tobacco-colored silk draperies, red upholstery, and an Oriental rug. Finally, the dramatic chocolate-and-red painting punctuates the wall above the fireplace and pulls together the entire room.

These two rooms are just a preview. The entire home and garden will be featured in an upcoming 2007 issue of Southern Living. We also invite you to come for a visit.

The American Village

It is dedicated to teaching schoolchildren and visitors American history and government. On campus, you’ll find versions of Mount Vernon, the Oval Office, and Williamsburg’s Bruton Parish Chapel, so it was only fitting we choose a historic structure as inspiration. Our model was George Washington’s Presidential residence in Philadelphia. This project has similar architectural details, but the updated floor plan includes baths, a master suite, and a modern kitchen.


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