This Alabama Home Is Filled With Passed-Down Pieces That Bring Meaningful Style to Every Room

Designer Caroline Gidiere brought this Birmingham family's vision to life.

Living room with artwork
The two-story, open-plan living room needed grounding, so designer Caroline Gidiere expanded the existing built-ins to anchor the space. Black paint on the interior of the shelves originally hid a TV, but the family moved it to the den and hung artwork by Jennifer Daily. Photo: Laurey W. Glenn; Styling by Lindsey Ellis Beatty

Kat Rogers had a new fiancé, a new house, a huge dinner party less than two months away, and an empty dining room. Thankfully, when it came to pulling together the home in a pinch, she also had a leg up (or two): An aunt who was downsizing had graciously offered her dibs on a trove of family antiques, plus one of Birmingham's most sought-after designers, Caroline Gidiere, is her good friend.

"Kat was really drawn to her grandmother's pieces, which had meaning," Gidiere says. "They are very close, so she wanted to find a place for beloved items." The friends selected all the ingredients for the dining room, and Kat set Gidiere loose on the space.

"Caroline knew me and my family and how we lived," Kat says of the blended crew of four kids she shares with her husband, Eric. "I was ready to let her do her thing."

Kat and Eric Rogers
Kat and Eric Rogers. Laurey W. Glenn; Styling by Lindsey Ellis Beatty

Gidiere surrounded the antique furniture with colors and patterns, refreshing seat covers and swathing the room in a floral wallpaper before popping in contemporary touches here and there to reflect Kat's playful personality. The Space and the dinner party were dreamy. After the wedding, the friends spent the next year or two repeating the same MO room by room through the rest of the house. Kat would ask Gidiere what to do in the foyer; Gidiere would respond with, "We need a chest of drawers and two chairs." Kat would text a family member, and voilà! The furniture, full of memories and history, would appear for Gidiere to zhuzh with upbeat hues and vivacious prints.

It's fun to see my grandmother's pieces used and loved. It makes my heart happy, and I would not want to go out and replace them.

The surge of love for "brown furniture" and traditional decor among younger generations has a name: grandmillennial. "It makes sense on so many levels right now," Gidiere says, citing the recent pandemic for drawing people back to their roots in their style preferences (and away from custom work, which requires longer lead times than ever before).

That's certainly the case for Kat, who relishes the heritage she sees in every room. "Each piece matters more to me because it mattered to them. If they loved it, then I want to use it," she says.

Home exterior
Laurey W. Glenn; Styling by Lindsey Ellis Beatty

Introduce Old Friends

"When antiques have really good lines, it's easy to play off them," Gidiere says. Case in point: The chest of drawers with gorgeous inlay work looks totally at home with a French mirror, Central Asian-inspired floral prints, and a mid-century-style floral white chandelier from Visual Comfort. "For everything that's super traditional, there's a foil that's not," she says.

Laurey W. Glenn; Styling by Lindsey Ellis Beatty

Be a Great Judge of Character

After squaring up a nineties-era angular layout in the kitchen, Gidiere synced the finishing touches with the character of the antiques everywhere else, adding beaded board as a backsplash, brackets underneath the upper cabinets, and latch-style hardware. A new built-in bar area enables the couple's love of entertaining. "While Kat does host big parties, she's also not afraid to just crack open a bag of pretzels and toss it on the counter," notes Gidiere.

Laurey W. Glenn; Styling by Lindsey Ellis Beatty

Show your True Colors

Virtually everything in the dining room (including the draperies) was handed down from members of Kat's family. The scenic wallpaper and repetition of blues tie it all together. "The chandelier was last," Gidiere says. "The custom color matches the curtains and the shade in the rug." But she's not following a formula, just her gut. "I play around—using some lamps that are a little more modern and others that are old-school and choosing furniture with straight skirts, ruffled skirts, carved legs, and straight legs," she says.

Dining room
Laurey W. Glenn; Styling by Lindsey Ellis Beatty

Give a Showstopper Its Due

Everything in the "adult den"—a refuge just a few feet away from the primary bedroom—revolves around the screen Kat pulled out of storage at her mom's house. Gidiere grabbed a shade of blue from this piece and enveloped the room in it from the painted ceiling to the grass cloth walls and the armless sectional. "It creates a vibe," she says. "It's really beautiful in the evening with all the lamps on." And despite the room's name, the sofa's performance velvet and a wipe-clean ottoman make it easy for the couple to invite their four kids, ages 4 to 13, in for a movie night.

Living room
Laurey W. Glenn; Styling by Lindsey Ellis Beatty

Plan a Pattern Takeover

"I often say that more is less when it comes to prints," Gidiere notes. "As you use more, it tends to kind of go away." For Kat's younger daughter's room, the designer was drawn to a sophisticated wallpaper with a playful spark, Lee Jofa's Indian Zag. In the primary bedroom a color hunt led her to the Brunschwig & Fils wallpaper—she was looking for something to complement the armchairs, which still have their original turquoise upholstery.

Children's bedroom
Laurey W. Glenn; Styling by Lindsey Ellis Beatty
Laurey W. Glenn; Styling by Lindsey Ellis Beatty

Let the Classics Lead

On a screened porch, Gidiere set about freshening up Kat's antique iron furniture, swapping out a wood tabletop for a modern glass one and surrounding the setup with warm woven accents, including a rug from Frank's Cane and Rush Supply. When selecting upholstery, she turned to another vintage gem to inform her prints. "Chrysanthemum by Tillett is a really old pattern—Jackie O. loved it," says Gidiere, who paired the floral with soothing blue cushions.

Screened porch
Laurey W. Glenn; Styling by Lindsey Ellis Beatty
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