A few Sundays ago I headed to an outdoor chaise with a pitcher of ice tea, a stack of magazines, and Art of the House, the second book created by architect and Southern citizen Bobby McAlpine (McAlpine Tankersley Architecture) — with interiors sorceress Susan Ferrier.
I made short work of travel pages and décor magazines filled with such a muchness of kitchen acreage, ballyhooed bookshelves styled with seven books and three carts of mass market dreck, and designers spouting sure-to-nab-a-share listicles. Basta.
Art of the House, Reflections on Design was a departure from the ordinary and utterly unlike McAlpine’s first, The Home within Us.
Art is an intimate, artistic glimpse into five Lake Martin houses designed and decorated by McAlpine and Ferrier, respectively. The poetic copy mentions alchemy and sensory pleasures, where, “Placing one object next to another is a little like prayer…” Genius dwells in every selection and placement. The photography is glorious, lush, enticing. In my mind’s eye, I run my fingertips over velvet, cool antique silver, a rusty urn, a silken feather, a rustic bench.
I covet a certain coiled fiddle-leaf sconce. A framed bird’s nest is equally precious. I imagine running in from the boat, pausing before an antique foxed kitchen mirror to check if my nose burned … and, at night, admiring my reflection in that same mirror in a room where whispers, candlelight, and a Fortuny Delphos gown would not be amiss. Jeeves, caviar on my scrambled eggs, please.
Is it a leap to imagine that this distinctively Southern lake destination may have been McAlpine’s early love, his crucible — a laboratory for space, light, textures and a life first imagined during his sawmill town creation story? My McAlpine timeline is sketchy, but I believe he’s been attached to this stretch of lake shoreline for a long time.
Art of the House is a beauty. It’s a sumptuous, ravishing pleasure to open its doors, savor colors and textures, and stroll through its rooms to linger on what I fancy. And I fancy all of it.
Thanks for the review, Deborah. Stalk us anytime.
Greg Tankersley for McAlpine Tankersley
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