My Favorite Things: Sketches

One of the things I wish I was more proficient at is sketches. Hand-rendered sketches are among my favorite things! We have some local firms that excel.


These by Christopher Architects are so perfect to me because the loose strokes of the pencil help you to experience the space in a very friendly way. The hand rendering is warm and inviting and not too serious.

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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!

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I love McAlpine-Tankersley Open Houses… Don’t You?

Friend, Greg Tankersley, shares the interiors of one of their projects from years back on this week’s blog. Here are a few of my favorite images.



I love the countertops!


The giant scales are fab.

To see the entire post click over to their blog. Thanks for sharing Greg. It’s always a fun journey.



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Roof My Rafters!

I am at the beginning stages of design with several families who are having to make lots of decisions including what roofing products they will use.
One has already chosen to go with a standing seam metal roof for their low-country style home which is a perfect solution. I don’t know what  the other will choose but I wanted to talk with you a little today about my favorite roof- slate.
When The Writer and I bought our very first home – an adorable little cottage in one of the historic old neighborhoods of our city- it had a slate roof and a love affair was born. The house was built in 1920 and, because it was slate, this was the original roof.
I know what you are thinking. “WHO can afford to use a slate roof today!”  Obviously you have to weigh the cost but if you are building a new house and if it is, as the McAlpine group would say, an inheritable house and you factor in the fact that you will NEVER have to replace that roof then it becomes a little easier to swallow.
Rachel Grace from Houzz just published a well documented piece on roofs and I am borrowing some of their pictures and info rather than reinvent the wheel. How beautiful, romantic, charming is that roof. Imagine the same house with asphalt shingles… I would rather not, thank you.

Slate quarried for roofing is a dense, sound rock that’s exceptionally tough and substantial.

Most slate roofs are expensive, running between $15 and $30 per square foot installed. This figure is at least five times more than conventional roofing materials. However, a slate roof can last 150 years or more — at least five times longer than a conventional roof.
 Slate is available in a variety of sizes, natural colors and thicknesses, allowing for architectural customization. Some homeowners choose to create a pattern with slate roof tiles by mixing slates of different earthy colors. The color of a particular slate has to do with the quarry it hails from. Hues range from dark gray to green to purple.Slate roofing is built to withstand even the worst weather, making it an excellent roofing choice for all regions across the U.S., even those that experience a wide variety of weather patterns. Large flying debris picked up by tornado- and hurricane-force winds is all that is known to possibly damage a high-quality slate roof.Slate is also a fireproof material. While the wood decking installed under slate is obviously not fireproof, fires that affect entire neighborhoods are consistently transferred from roof to roof, and homes with slate roofs are typically spared.
 Slate often outlasts buildings themselves and can be recycled. Today many slate roofs are constructed with reclaimed slate. Besides the recycling benefits, reclaimed slate is often less expensive than new slate.A slate roof’s longevity also is an environmental plus, especially because slate rarely adds toconstruction and demolition debris like conventional roofs do. Plus, slate is a 100 percent natural material. Slate often outlasts buildings themselves and can be recycled. Today many slate roofs are constructed with reclaimed slate. Besides the recycling benefits, reclaimed slate is often less expensive than new slate.A slate roof’s longevity also is an environmental plus, especially because slate rarely adds to construction and demolition debris like conventional roofs do. Plus, slate is a 100 percent natural material.
Here are some of my personal favorites:
Cindy Barganier Interiors
Slate with terra cotta chimney pots… ummm… yes!
Cindy Barganier Interiors
A residence in Birmingham, Alabama



Have I convinced you ?  Then please call  me so that I can be a part of birthing a new slate baby. You can name it. 🙂


Follow me on Pinterest.

Keep up between post on Instagram.


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Excitement Is In The Air As We Prepare For My Fabric Photoshoot

We have been scouting locations for a photo shoot for my new fabric line that will hit the market the first of January but in my heart there was really only one place that would do. We paid a visit today with the Governor’s representative and discussed the possibilities. Not only does it thrill me to simply walk the grounds but tears fill my eyes as I remember the kindness of Mr. Red Blount. He made his fortunes the old fashion way- hard, hard work and long hours. Then he spent his latter years giving back. And, oh, how he gave. Without this precious man there would be no Shakespeare Theater in Montgomery. The Montgomery Museum of Art certainly would not be what it is today. There would be no Blount Park and now the state is the guardian of the incredible home, conservatory and chapel that Mr. and Mrs. Blount built and their children donated for the State’s use.

As you drive onto the estate you cross this charming bridge/

Looking to your right you see this lovely bridge.

The trees still had some pretty color.

There were no trees at all on this property when the Blounts bought it. Don’t you love people with vision?

Just being on the property made me happy.

From the motor court you walk down a couple of steps into a formal garden.

And then… the pièce de résistance…. the conservatory

Be still my soul.

Bobby McAlpine, you out did yourself. Josh Moates of Kim Box Photography tells me the light in there is amazing.

Then you walk inside… and lose your breath.

David Braly did some amazing work also in the painting of the walls in the stair hall.

The pool and pool house are beyond the conservatory.

I really hope we can make this work. I can’t quite figure it out in my head yet but I have some talented friends that I am sure will help me.

Thank you Blount family for making my city beautiful. We appreciate you.

If you would like to say, “That was fun!” at the end of your project contact me at

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Congratulations are in order for  my friends Greg Tankersley and John Sease whose architectural firm,  

McAlpine Tankersley,

was named to Architectural Digest’s AD100 list.

“First published in 1990, the AD100 is known as “the list that Matters,” and features an international fellowship of trailblazers and standard bearers whose work is imaginative, intelligent and inspiring.”

What an incredible honor.

Pictured here are architects  Chris Tippett, Greg Tankersley and John Sease with Architectural Digest’s Margaret Russell.

The party was held at the Guggenheim Museum and included an A-list in the world of design.

Among those in the design world honored were: Martha Stewart, White House decorator Michael Smith, and architect, author and dean of the Yale School of Architecture Robert A.M. Stern, whose firm boasts the George W. Bush Presidential Center as one of its latest projects.

According to Deborah Hayes Moore in Southern Hospitality: “Other design world luminaries in attendance included interior, garden and furniture designer and author Bunny Williams; Martyn Lawrence Bullard, a favorite interior designer to Elton John, Cher and Sharon and Ozzy Osborne; and Mario Buatta, a fixture in the world of residential design, who was long known as the “Prince of Chintz.” Observing his 50th year in business in 2011, Buatta is developing something akin to a Southern drawl as he works on several current projects in Alabama, South Carolina, Texas and Florida.”

Pictured with Greg is his equally talented wife and fellow architect Mary Robin Jurkiewicz. They are standing in front of one of the white custom columns that bore the names of the honorees. (I’m sorry this picture is so grainey. The original was so small you couldn’t see it.)

 I am so excited for y’all and so happy that once again the spotlight shines on some of the talented folks that

Auburn’s design schools produce every year.

Well deserved.

And if you would like to say,”That was fun!” at the end of your project contact me at


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House Tours

The only thing that makes a weekend at the lake more perfect than normal is the opportunity to visit Bobby McAlpine’s newly finished private residence. From the massive black planters filled with boxwood balls out front to the mirror frames constructed from corrugated cardboard (that’s right) each room offered something that made you stop and reflect.

I loved this not so kid friendly table in the entry hall. The top was formed by layers of black river rock; An orchid  in front of the black art photo the only pop of “color”.

I don’t know who had the patience to make this mirror but I have to tell you that the chair I had to make in school out of corrugated cardboard looked NOTHING like this. LOL

Thanks for sharing Bobby.

 Auburn turns out some fine designers.

And if you want to say, “That was fun!” at the end of your project contact me at


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