House Tour: Doug's Home for the Holidays

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Name: Doug Davis
Profession: Interior Designer - Dungan Nequette Architects
Location: Mountain Brook (Birmingham), Alabama
Size/Type: 2 bedroom/1 bath 1948 garden apartment, rented
Years lived in: 5.5 years

Doug is an AT reader and pro designer who got in touch with us about this perfectly timed tour of his apartment while it is decorated for the holidays. We are so happy he did! His home is elegant, relaxed and this year for his festive decor he went modern and simple.


Doug's advice on holiday decorations (along with more photos, his questionnaire and resources) are below the jump:

Photos by Doug Davis

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Doug's Holiday Decorating Advice: "I've decorated for the holidays both ways: classic and over the top, and simple and more contemporary. This year, I went with the latter and I love it. I took all my red and green 'typical' Christmas stuff to my office and went for a simple, natural palette of birch, moss and clear glass at home. I bought an inexpensive fake tree and flocked it with spray snow in my building's courtyard. Don't be afraid to break the norms of holiday decor and do something unique. Last year, I took all the art off one wall in my Living Room and hung a huge fresh wreath instead of a tree, with presents piled beneath in a big metal basket. "

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Doug's Survey:

my Style: To borrow a term from Thomas O'Brien, 'Warm Modernism'

favorite Element: Architecturally speaking, I love the pebble dash plaster walls and the simple layout of my apartment. I have several furniture pieces that I treasure, especially the Mission-style library table which belonged to my great-grandfather and the walnut Eames DCM chairs in my dining room, which were my first 'classic design' purchase.

biggest Challenge : The apartment has no trim or extraneous detail -- the flat-panel doors are steel with tiny 2" wide trim, the baseboards are low and square and there is not ceiling or window trim. I had to find ways to bring interest to each room, while still maintaining the simple, natural palette I wanted to use throughout the apartment.

what Friends Say: "This is the nicest apartment I have ever been in."

biggest Embarrassment: The cheap vinyl tile in the kitchen and the 80's ivory-colored appliances--you can't change everything in a rental!

proudest DIY: Even though this is a rental, I knew I was going to be here for a few years; so I pulled up the cheap apartment-grade carpet and painted all my hardwood floors charcoal gray and then painted the walls and trim in every room. These relatively simple and inexpensive changes totally transformed the place from standard apartment to something that felt like a real home.

biggest Indulgence: I've been spending a lot of money on art lately -- when you are decorating on a budget it's not always the first thing to get purchased, but nothing finishes a room better than an original painting or print.

best Advice: When I moved into this apartment, I had just graduated from college. I got rid of everything that looked like a 'college apartment' and started fresh. It took a few years to build up a collection of great stuff, but it's nice to be able to look back and not have a bad sofa or cheap dining set to have to work around. Taking your time and having a plan is definitely the best way to go if you can't do it all at once. I still have things left I'd like to add to my place, but because I have decorated with a plan and avoided the temptation to do everything at once, things aren't noticeably absent or out of place.

myDream Source: Oly Studio--a line that I use for client's homes, but can't quite afford for myself yet! I also want some Thomas Paul pillows for my Guest Bedroom.

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Resources:

Paint colors are Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore.

Living Room upholstery is Pottery Barn and Rowe, desk chair is Herman Miller--as are Dining Room chairs.

Seagrass rugs throughout are from Natural Area Rugs which is an awesome online resource I discovered.

Accessories and art are from a variety of sources, most notably Tracery Interiors (Rosemary Beach, Florida), At Home Furnishings, Parkside Home and Garden, Naked Art, Stray Cats Antiques and Richard Tubb Interiors (all in and around Birmingham, Alabama).

I used to buy all my frames at Pottery Barn, until I realized you could get the exact same thing (or better) from Target.

My top secret source for cool pottery and mirrors is Hobby Lobby (don't tell!)

I am fortunate to have inherited some of my best pieces from my family.

Many Thanks to Doug for sharing his home with us! Happy Holidays!

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Janel Laban is the Executive Editor of Apartment Therapy and has been working here, at the dreamiest of dream jobs, since March 2006.

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