Early 20th Century Firehouse Now Enchanting Home

If you missed part I of this post go here to read about the genius minds behind this renovation. Today it is my privilege to take you on a house tour of the old South McDonough Street Firehouse that has been loving converted into a jaw dropping home.

David Keith Braly is the architectural brain and Mark Montoya is the creator of the gorgeous Tuscan gardens out back.

I was just the happy camper who was invited to experience the whole thing first hand. Oh, and did I mention that the first floor that used to house the fire engines is now a working artist studio that turns out masterpieces featured in all of your favorite shelter magazines? Yep. Just another day in the life of. :)



The old fire engine bay.

The old fire engine bay.


Sample for a commissioned mural.

Sample for a commissioned mural.



Office area downstairs

Office area downstairs



Join me as we head upstairs.

Join me as we head upstairs.


Are you ready for this? This used to be the firemen’s dormitory.

 Living Room

Living Room

I dearly loved the Dutch detailing used in the kitchen.

David Braley




David Braley

David Braley-Cindy Barganier



David Braley

Lights designed by David and manufactured by Kevin Reilly

David Braley

Yep, fireman’s pole, made beautiful by John Phillips.


David Braley



Hand painted mural on stairway wall

Hand painted mural on stairway wall

David Braley



This is the only way to take your work to bed with you. Please may I have that urn?

David Braly

Yes, please.



Thank you for the tour.  Next up? Yearning for a garden party? I have just the place.

Meet David Braly and Mark Montoya

I have admired the work of David Keith Braly for years. David is yet another amazing artist who hails from Florence, Alabama.  Florence, what do you add to your water???

David received his undergraduate from Auburn in 1979 and taught in the school of architecture. Five years later he began painting. It is the architectural element in his paintings that makes me love them so.


Best known for the massive murals that he creates for both homes and public spaces throughout the country, David’s work is instantly recognizable.


Mural by David Braly for Saladino designed apartment complex in NYC Photo credit: Elmore DeMott

In 1989 an Atlanta interior designer commissioned him to paint his first mural for a corporate office the designer was working on. It was basically a large architectural drawing. That was 25 years ago and he hasn’t stopped yet. He had the opportunity to teach for a while in London. (Sad life, huh?) Then McAlpine Tankersley called for him to do a mural in Nashville. He took a year off to work on that assignment….which lead to another year off and another assignment….which led to “Hey! Let’s just keep on going.”

To dig deeper into his early works click on the link below.


He is now working on another commission for John Saladino. Not too shabby.


The Saladino project is a mail center in New York. I was thrilled to hang out in David’s studio last week as he and his team worked on the line drawings for what will become a border mural depicting the history of mail delivery in this country. I love the pony express rider tearing through the forest. Perhaps he is on the Old Federal Road here in Pike Road, Alabama carrying love letters to the frozen north. Or maybe I have just lived with a writer for too long?





The other half of this dynamic duo is Mark Montoya.  Mark’s father was a grower for Caffco here in Montgomery so Mark’s love for landscape architecture and garden design was a natural progression. However! He is quite the artist in his own right. He was the head of product development for Caffco from 1980-1995 working in ceramics and other mediums.

He now not only works with David on the large commissions but paints and creates wonderful living landscapes inspired by his travels to Italy and beyond.

There was no way to share everything that I wanted to share with you in one post so you will have to come back for

Part II to experience the landmark fire station that has been converted into a jaw dropping home.


Part III that will include a tour of the Italian walled gardens behind the fire house.

Lots more to come as you can tell and you don’t want to miss it.

Hope you enjoy!

River City Smoke – Off Is A Hit

We had  a really fun weekend in Columbus watching daughter Megan, aka project-housewife.com host the first annual River City Smoke-off.

Project-housewife challenged John McLemore, president of Masterbuilt and her husband’s boss, and chef Jamie Keating from Epic to a smoke off .


Rosie The Riveter for the win

They duked it out in the boxing ring all day long in order to raise money for the Trinity Women’s Clinic.

cooking for charity

The day started early as meat was prepared and grills were moved into position.

river city smoke off

river city smoke off

The teams began to arrive at noon and the smell of  ribs, stuffed duck and smokey pimento cheese was soon driving the downtown employees crazy.

Jamie Keating from Epic Restaurant

Little man had it all under control

river city smoke off

The crowd began to gather as the six o’clock hour approached and the celebrity judges took their seats.

river city smoke off

Even stitches and casts couldn’t stop the little ones from having a grand ole time.

river city smoke off

I tried to convince this cutie who to vote for.

river city smoke off

Trust me, you couldn’t go wrong.

river city smoke off

river city smoke off

Awesome job Team Project-housewife. Can’t wait for next year.

river city smoke off

Here is an overview of the day if you want more.

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