There is a house I’ve had on my mind for a long time – a small shingle clad cottage in Birmingham, Alabama with a neatly manicured lawn and charming curb appeal. Despite its size, it feels grand and spacious thanks to the homeowner’s efforts to transform its small rooms with low ceilings into a functional, incredibly chic space. If anyone can make a small home work, it is architect Bill Ingram, the proud owner of this gem.
With a penchant for Early American architectural styles, Ingram purchased this little cottage conveniently located a few blocks from great shopping and dining areas, and worked his magic. The exterior was sheathed in cedar shake shingles that age beautifully, a third dormer was added for scale and for more natural light in the upper quarters.
As it often happens with older homes, the original floor plan was dated and had the kitchen at the back of the house. Ingram turned that space into a master bath with a walk-in closet and brought the kitchen into the main living area. He had the neat idea to create a living space that serves as kitchen, dining and entertaining area.
The oak kitchen cabinets are disguised as built-ins that look more like antique campaign dressers and blend in seamlessly with the rest of the furnishings.
The rest of the house is decorated with antiques and pieces Ingram had collected over the years.
” When you see something perfect, buy it. If you don’t have a place for it, you’re going to force yourself. But eventually you’ll wind up with a house full of things you love.” (Bill Ingram for House Beautiful)
I love the simple lines of the staircase and the natural fiber carpeting that unifies the upstairs.
To lighten up the space, Ingram used French doors wherever needed. The master bedroom feels airy and bright. A masculine canopy bed is softened with panels of RH linen curtains.
Another wonderful space is the master bathroom, where the shower opens into a pea-gravel bordered lawn. White subway tiles extend all the way to the ceiling and across, capturing and reflecting the light. The floors are white Alabama marble tiles.
I think it’s a dream home!
Photography by Simon Watson for House Beautiful.