Danielle and Bart Yancey weren’t looking to move. The couple, originally from Dothan and Birmingham, Alabama spent several years renovating a stately Mediterranean-style home on Shades Crest Road in Vestavia Hills. The home, featured on the Bravo reality TV series “Jersey Belle,” featured carefully curated lighting fixtures, exposed beams, and a unique white mortared exterior.
“While we weren’t thinking of selling or buying another house, we did always have a wish list in our minds of things we would love to have: one level, a pool, a courtyard,” shares Yancey. “Bart just happened to click on a link for this house one day and it fit all the boxes we thought we would want. I said, ‘Where is this? It’s so interesting. Let’s just look at it. We thought about it for a while and, six months later, we were moving in. It was a happy surprise.”
The unique one-level brick Mid-Century Modern Mountain Brook home, designed by architect Fritz Woehle and built in 1963, sits back from Pump House Road, nestled in trees. It was owned by generations of the Ireland family before the Yanceys purchased it. The front entrance features a long row of brick arches, a design element repeated elsewhere on the property, that frame a wall of windows on the home’s front facade.
“I loved our other house,” says Yancey. “Every touch was designed in a rustic chic style. This house is the complete opposite. It’s brought out a lot more fun, a lot more color. With the pool and the style of the home, I could take a lot of risks with the décor here.”
Yancey, who graduated from Auburn University with a degree in apparel merchandising, learned a tremendous amount about design as a buyer with Parisian, Inc. and as a fashion consultant. She explores design and fashion on her blog The D/TALES, helps style people for special occasions, assists friends with decorating and enjoys hosting parties and charity events at the home.
“When I walked in this house, I envisioned Palm Springs. Modern Glam, Hollywood Regency. It was just so stunning with the marble floors and big commercial floor-to-ceiling glass windows. The architecture kind of brings in a mixed vibe with the antique doors that allowed me to play with many French elements. It was hard to decorate with all the windows. You see all the nature outside and it’s just so beautiful on its own.”
Guests are welcomed into the grand entry through grand brown and gold antique double doors from New Orleans in the original main living room that open up to the courtyard. Alabama White marble graces the floors throughout. The entry features soaring 14-foot ceilings that hold one of the home’s original ornate chandeliers and also serves as an unconventional dining space, with a modern white and gold round pedestal table and four grey velvet and gold chairs.
“I pulled black and gold from the front doors to use throughout the house,” Yancey shares. “I’ve incorporated a mixture of different styles, colors and textures. There are lacquered pieces, marble, acrylic, lots of mixed metals. I love to combine antiques and new pieces along with brass, gold and silver. It all comes together as part of the Hollywood Glam style.”
The dining table in the entry holds books, bowls, vases and a statement-making large white ceramic hand sculpture holding a bowl with a large disco ball inside. A low fireplace topped by a mirror that stretches up to the ceiling, consoles and art echo the black and gold color scheme.
“I bought a disco ball at an antique store called The Nest in Homewood. I didn’t know what I was going to do with it. I sat it on the glass and gold coffee table in the bar and and it has remained there since. I bought another large disco ball at HomeGoods and found a place for it on the marble entry table of the house in a tall white ceramic hand sculpture and bowl under the French antique chandelier. It set the tone for everything and made me start moving in the direction of adding lots of fun and quirky elements. There are small ones, big ones, they’re everywhere. I put disco ball ornaments on our Christmas trees when we were on the Samford Legacy League Christmas Home Tour, there are miniature ones in bowls around the house, we even have disco ball cocktail picks on the bar.”
“The light comes in at certain times and reflects little specs on the floor, the ceiling, the walls. I call them disco dots. In the morning, the disco ball in the bar lights up the whole room with disco dots. The one in the entry hits in the afternoon. When you walk through and see the dots, it makes you pause. It makes you smile. It just brings me happiness, it’s so magical and pretty.”
A painting by Beth Bradley captures Yancey with one of the couple’s beloved dogs, Trooper. “All of our dogs are rescues,” she shares. “Willie was rescued from Hurricane Katrina. He lived to almost 15 and passed away just over two years ago. Sweet Pea is a Weimaraner mix who was rescued from a litter of puppies left on the side of the road with their mommy. We’ve had her since she was a baby.”
“Trooper is our crazy boy. I found him on the side of a country road leaving my sister’s wedding. He was in pretty rough shape. He had no hair because he was malnourished and demodectic mange had taken over his body. He had no immunity and hadn’t been fed in a while. He’s still a work in progress and he’s rotten, but we love him.”
To the right of the entry is the main living room, which features another original chandelier hanging above a pink Oriental-style rug. “We call it the pink room,” Yancey says. “Pink is my favorite color. I added pops of it all over the house.” Twin charcoal velvet sofas anchor the seating area in front of a marble-surrounded fireplace with antique chairs, faux fur-covered stools and an assortment of side tables grouped around three small mirrored tables. Four large, antique gold-framed mirrors line the wall and interesting elements fill the airy, luminescent space.
“The fireplaces are all original,” Yancey explains. “There are five in the home plus one in the pool house. The hearth and mantle details are all so pretty—they are décor in themselves. We put in fire balls and fire glass from Brandino Brass.”
Etched in the marble floor between the living room and back hall are the years 1963 and 1985, drawing the line between the original footprint of the home and the addition of a wing including the bar, sitting room, master bedroom and wine cellar 22 years later.
The walls of the quaint powder room on the right are clad in a bold banana leaf botanical wall paper. A whimsical framed button on the wall instructs guests to Press for champagne. “You can never have enough bubbly!” exclaims Yancey.
At the end of the hall is the show-stopping bar where the couple loves to entertain or relax at the end of a stressful day. “The bar is playful and fun,” says Yancey. “We love to spend time in here.” White cabinetry frames the curved black granite bar surface and mirrored backsplash with white retro-style stools. Elements like oversized gold lips add character and charm to the space. An emerald green velvet curved sectional from West Elm defines the seating area, set off by a bold black and white geometrically-patterned rug and a silver modern light fixture above by Jonathan Adler.
Beyond the bar is the second living room the couple refers to as the blue room. “I brought in touches of blue and aqua to replicate the reflection from the water of the pool outside the window,” says Yancey.
A grey sectional and collected chairs are centered around a blue and white rug. A columned fireplace holds antique lanterns made from lamp posts from Paris streets and a painting of the ocean that ties in with the room’s other turquoise elements. A door in the corner opens to reveal an elevator that leads to the home’s wine cellar.
Above the TV is a bright, fun portrait of the couple’s three dogs by Birmingham artist John Lytle Wilson, one of three pieces of art created during the annual Picasso Pets fundraiser benefitting Hand in Paw, where Yancey has served on the board.
“They dip the dogs’ paws in paint and have them walk across the canvas,” Yancey shares. “Then the artist takes the canvas and finishes it into a painting. This one has our sweet Willie before he passed away. Each piece has its own style and they are my favorite things.”
Behind the living area is the couple’s decadent master suite, where the ceilings climb to 20 feet. Black and white patterned curtains reach up and provide a backdrop for the acrylic and brass four-poster ivory velvet upholstered bed by Bernhardt. Black velvet sofas, pink chairs and beside tables plus unique art by local artist, Emmy Grier, complement the Chanel-inspired room.
“The master was probably the biggest challenge,” Yancey says. “It’s such a vast space with the height of the room and the sky lights. It was hard to decide where to put the bed, how to add window treatments to the huge arched windows. Once we conquered those obstacles, the rest came together.”
Behind the master is an opulent pink & white marbled and mirrored master bath with a dressing area and a large tub. A door leads to Yancey’s spacious and enviable closet, lined with clothes, purses and an impressive shoe collection.
The left side of the home features a kitchen open to a cozy eating nook, with a small bedroom and bathroom above. Two guest bedrooms on the main level are primed for overnight visitors in themes of turquoise with silver and pink with gold. A white full bath evokes modern sophistication with a free-standing tub and black and white images of style icon Audrey Hepburn.
The wall of windows along the back of the home beckon visitors outside to the carefully manicured courtyard, where bricked arches and walls mimic the front of the home. A covered walkway leads to the pool house, where guests can find another fun "Cabana Service" button.
“There are Greek key elements throughout the house and grounds. The back courtyard features antique gates embellished with the design and a marble urn bears it as a border.” Yancey selected upholstery and other elements to decorate the home that repeat the motif.
The magnificently hardscaped pool reflects the turquoise hues found throughout the inside of the home. Fun black and white French-inspired elements are repeated in the lounge chairs, umbrellas and pillows on the pool deck.
“This is our favorite spot in the whole house,” Yancey says of the covered patio across the courtyard from the pool. “We hardly ever sit down at a table inside. We come out here after work to enjoy a drink. We bring dinner out here and talk or watch some TV. It’s such a great spot to slow down and enjoy being outside.”
Yancey has a hard time imagining ever leaving the home, but she never says never.