A basic backyard transformed into a poolside living space serves as an open-air extension of this gracious Alabama abode.
Step outside the Alison family’s home in downtown Huntsville’s historic Twickenham district, and you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported to a luxurious getaway. Crystal-clear water is framed by impressive stonework and verdant landscaping. Warm neutrals and fresh blues lend a serene ambience, while soft-hued florals and natural accents provide subtle interest without detracting from the surrounding beauty.
The Alisons decided to build a pool for their four teenagers to enjoy in what was originally an unassuming, small-scale backyard. Once designer Beverly Farrington of Accents of the South joined the project, the space quickly grew into a full-fledged entertaining area for family and friends of all ages.
“The Alisons wanted the pool area to be an extension of the home,” says Beverly. “Our goal was to create a comfortable and functional space that remained sophisticated in style and complemented an attractive landscape. We wanted to create the ultimate room with a view.”
The main deck, complete with plush lounge chairs and a quaint seating area, gives way to a pavilion on the west end of the yard, equipped with a kitchen flanked by dining and living spaces. Above a spa in the center of the pool, a stunning espaliered vine forms an organic focal point.
Continuing from there, the team made use of other natural elements that would enhance the landscaping, rather than take away from it. “Though the pool itself takes up much of the backyard, we kept the area feeling soft by combining lush green plantings with sleek limestone pavers to ease the hard edges,” Beverly explains. “Boxwood hedges in concrete planters and teak in the furnishings play to the natural elegance we were hoping to achieve.”
In the outdoor kitchen, shiplap cabinetry and stained concrete counters create a simple yet refined sensibility, and copper lighting adds dimension and warmth. The designer expertly amplified the effects of the calming blue water throughout the alfresco living and dining areas with decorative mirrors and by repeating the hue in pillows and linens meant to accentuate the airy, tranquil atmosphere.
Beverly says the whole area exudes a welcoming feeling that is, at its heart, distinctly Southern. “It’s an inviting space that allows the family to entertain and extend their Southern hospitality,” she continues.
And for the Alisons, having a place to share laid-back fellowship has been the greatest reward of the project. “We turned a small backyard that we hardly used into a place that we love to look at and love to enjoy,” says homeowner Christy Alison. “It’s a very relaxing space. My husband jokes that it is our vacation home.”
Making use of the expansive backyard, the outdoor kitchen and main dining pavilion flow seamlessly into open-air lounging and dining spaces that accommodate large groups when the family entertains. The grill was a fixture of the original yard, and the Alisons continue to enjoy summer cookouts in their newly enhanced surroundings. Beverly selected a rustic but refined mix of furnishings and softened the pieces with custom accent pillows. Tall, narrow trees form a natural privacy hedge and further the feel of a secluded oasis.
By Elizabeth Bonner Czapski
Styling by Beverly Farrington
Photography by Marcy Simpson