When Will Casey walked in the front door of his historic Forest Park home for the first time, he immediately knew it was the one.
“This is my first home in Forest Park. I have been fond of the area for many years and have been eagerly on the lookout to purchase in the historic neighborhood. The previous homeowners kept the house in great condition, but I saw the potential for unique updates and specific renovation projects I could pursue to make it my own.”
Casey, an Albertville, Alabama native, had no qualms about taking on a home that needed updating. He has completely renovated four other homes in the Birmingham area and he heads up sales at Cottage Supply & Synergy Stone’s downtown location. He helps clients select countertops, tile and stone and then works with builders and fabricators to manage and install those parts of building projects. One glance around Casey’s impeccably designed interior spaces assures that he is an expert in his field with a keen sense of how to flawlessly incorporate bold choices to create stunning interiors.
Built in 1923, the two-story Bratton-Hamilton House was first owned by S.C. Bratton. The second owner, Mr. Hamilton, sought the home’s designation as a historic structure by the Jefferson County Historical Commission. Over the decades, subsequent homeowners undertook a variety of renovations, some in keeping with the home’s original era and others that were not.
Casey’s love for local art is apparent in every corner of the home. At the front door, guests are greeted by a unique portrait of "Little Edie" from the 1975 documentary Grey Gardens by Hank Hudson. The dots that make up Hudson’s piece represent a 21st century take on pointillism and join together to form a clear image when framed in a camera.
Other pieces around the well-appointed room include a modern black and white painting by William McLure and photography by local artist Virginia Jones. Jones captured a close-up shot of a wall at the Pizitz Building before it was renovated that hangs above Casey’s fireplace. The slab hearth is a piece of Calacatta Gold marble specially selected by Casey.
A quaint den off the main living area is Casey’s favorite room in the home. It provides the perfect spot to relax, read, watch TV and spend time with his eight-year-old Cavalier King Charles, Amos, after a long day at work. Casey enjoys sourcing items for his home from local stores like Patina, Paige Albright Orientals and Fixtures & Finishes.
“The walls were already covered in grass cloth, but the color was a tad drab,” Casey recalls. “We selected a deep hunter green to paint the cloth for a more subdued and refined feel. I eat dinner nearly every night in this room. It’s wonderfully relaxing.”
Behind the den is the home’s beautiful kitchen, which is a stylish departure from the typical neutral surfaces of many contemporary homes. Casey showcased his expertise in selecting solid surface stone for interiors by incorporating an artistic black marble called Montmartre that’s streaked with veins of gold on the countertops and backsplash of the kitchen.
“I tackled the kitchen renovation straight away once I moved in last summer. It had been over two decades since the kitchen had any updates. The former owner added wonderful custom cabinetry that stood the test of time, so I kept the main lower cabinets intact. For an impactful visual update, I removed the upper cabinets and replaced them with a stone shelf and full slab backsplash.”
Casey chose a thin brick paver underfoot to give the feeling of traditional brick without raising the height of the floor. The material carries through to a delightful nook featuring a round table for two across from a small, well-stocked bar.
The dining room is casual and elegant, with a simple table from CB2 and an eclectic mix of chairs and stools. The focal point of the room is an oversized oil and mixed media work by Casey’s Brooklyn-based college friend Whitney Wood Bailey.
A show-stopping art installation surrounds the window on the landing halfway up the home’s original staircase. The mural was inspired by the Thibaut “Fishing Village” wallpaper hung in the powder room at the bottom of the steps. Accenting the walls on both sides are brass leaf sconces by Visual Comfort.
“I met Hayden Gregg at Antiques at the Gardens through a mutual friend. He is a tremendously talented artist from Atlanta and, after seeing more of his work, I commissioned him to paint the mural. We decided to base the mural with a burlap wallcovering to give the scene an additional layer of interest and texture.”
Casey says he loves the challenge of restoring beauty to an elegant old home, while enhancing it with modern touches. He enjoys the neighborhood’s proximity to his favorite restaurants, Bottega Café and Automatic Seafood & Oysters. He frequently catches shows at nearby Red Mountain Theatre and Virginia Samford Theatre and picks up gifts at Shoppe, the garden and gift store around the corner owned by his lifelong friends, Mark Thompson and Jay Draper.
“I have always had an affinity for historic homes. Forest Park checked all the boxes of everything I was looking for. Walkability to cute shops, nearby friends and I love seeing people walking their dogs every morning. It’s the little things, right?”
Living Room: Art by Hank Hudson. Black Cowhide leather chairs from Room and Board. Rug is from Paige Albright Orientals. White Terrazzo table from CB2. Glass fireplace screen from Ballard Designs. Slab hearth by Synergy Stone. Art above mantle by Virginia Jones. Art above chest by William McLure.
Den: Ceiling light and brass lamps by Visual Comfort. Steel side tables from Room & Board. Sofa and pillows from Patina. Roe deer antlers from Lolo French Antiques. Chair by CB2. Teak stool from All Modern.
Dining Room: Art by Whitney Wood Bailey. Dining table from CB2. Chairs and stools from Shoppe. Snakeskin lamps from Circa Interiors & Antiques. Chandelier was existing and was one of the original fixtures in the home.
Photos by Mary Fehr.