Point Clear, Alabama, boasts the unique reputation of being a place that promotes laidback living—but with a certain panache. Common among its residents is a sense of a graciousness that has developed from a long-held appreciation for life’s finer offerings. The same could be said of Richard and Anita Bounds and their congenially refined home. Designed by Mobile architect L. Craig Roberts, the Boundses’ house displays a deceptively clever affinity with the past, though in fact it was constructed in 2004.
As soon as you enter the front doors, you realize that Richard and Anita know instinctively how to combine informality with the elegance of bygone days. Treasures like gilt mirrors, Chinese porcelains, centuries-old tapestries, and hand-woven rugs are juxtaposed with more rustic touches, such as salvaged heart-pine ceiling beams and floors made of repurposed brick. The homeowners attribute much of their décor’s success to David Erhardt (now deceased), who served as the interior designer on the project. He was also responsible for many of the fabric selections, along with key furniture pieces that complete the couple’s well-curated appointments.
Apart from the home’s impressive array of furnishings and architectural features, the Boundses’ collection of artwork and wall hangings contributes to the European feel of the interior. “In the entry hall, a lovely Spanish screen is positioned above an antique Italian sofa,” Craig points out. “Another noteworthy work, the painting over the living room fireplace by Sellmono depicts a French river scene.”
Given that conventional foyers are relatively small, guests to the Boundses’ residence are immediately impressed with the spaciousness of the central hall. Measuring 12 feet wide and 40 feet long, it functions not only as a connector to other rooms, but also as a fully furnished living area. Walls lined in horizontal boards further accentuate the hall’s expansive size and 12-foot ceiling. Located just inside the front doors, a gilded console and an antique gold mirror are highlighted by a collection of porcelain plates and a tea set.
The central hall is a room unto itself, and stretches the full length of the house, connecting a procession of interior rooms. “This entry hall is fashioned after the traditional ‘dog trot,’ which in old Southern dwellings was often left open at both ends, allowing fresh air to circulate throughout,” says Craig. This hall is fully enclosed, of course, but since it’s located between the front and back porches, the notion of an exposed pass-through is preserved. As further reference to this feature, Craig added functional, rectangular transoms above the cased openings that lead from the hall to the adjoining rooms. These elongated windows not only increase natural light, but also draw attention to the space’s 12-foot ceiling.
Written By: Robert C. Martin
Photographed By: Marcy Black Simpson