In the heart of Birmingham, Alabama, resident John Hagefstration has an extraordinary home that not only reflects his passion for photography, but also embraces the rich history of the area. With this house, located in the historic Redmont district, interior designer Betsy Brown managed to create an enchanting mix of French design and industrial elements. It is the result of a meticulous renovation that began in 2021.
The house, originally built in 2007, is set amid an architectural gem from the early 20th century. The Redmont district, developed between 1911 and 1935, is home to a magnificent collection of houses ranging from Tudor and Spanish to English Cottage and Renaissance Revivals. John's House, with its French influences, is a harmonious addition to this varied architectural legacy. What makes this house truly unique is not only the attention to design, but also the inspirations behind each choice. The owner's love of photography and the impressive Sloss Furnace, a National Historic Monument in Birmingham, have added a raw depth to the design. The house exudes an atmosphere of collecting and enjoyment, with spaces designed to evolve as the owner's collections grow. Betsy Brown, the talented interior designer behind this project, shares her vision of creating a home that is a joy for the collector-owner. The layout of the house is thoughtful, with a spacious living hall at entry, a kitchen and sitting area, and a master bedroom on the main level.A stone staircase leads to a library, additional sitting areas with fireplace, and three bedrooms on the lower level, one of which has been converted into John's photography office. The lower level houses a wine cellar, bar, prep kitchen and gym, making the house both elegant and functional.
The colour palette reflects Birmingham's stunning skyline
The house's colour palette reflects Birmingham's beautiful skyline, with the rusty hues of Sloss Furnace juxtaposed with the lush green of the surrounding trees. This natural inspiration led to the use of materials such as cypress floors and raw pecky cypress panels, which defined the warm, earthy tones of the house.
The challenge of finding the perfect colour for the cypress floors is illustrative of the dedication to detail in this project.The process, which took weeks and required involvement of about 30 colour samples, resulted in a floor that perfectly matches the vintage mid-century furniture that adorns the house. Each element in the house has its own story, from custom-made furniture to vintage finds and artworks carefully selected from John's impressive collection.Betsy Brown was drawn to this project because of her collaboration with the owner and her experience in transforming spaces such as the office in the historic Birmingham Federal Reserve Bank building. This house is more than a place to stay; it is a tribute to history, art and the love of collecting.It shows how careful vision, inspiration from the environment and collaboration between passionate individuals can result in a house that is not only beautiful, but also a reflection of the soul of its owner and the community in which it stands. Photography by Haris Kenjar
Text by Elke Aerts