Category Archives: Behind The Scenes


Happy Wednesday!!

I hope everyone enjoyed our first post in our new renovation series.  Here comes round two!

Some people call the renovation process “flipping houses”… I LOATHE the term.   To me, that label implies two things. First, it suggests that a quick return on your investment is the goal. Second, it insinuates a  “quick” process, which it is not.

The process of renovating a home has to make sense financially and emotionally for me… Notice I called it a HOME. We go into every project planning to live there, or at least believing we could if necessary…my heart is completely in it.

A lot of good thing comes from these renovations. Almost every home has been vacant and some even condemned. There is a sense of fulfillment in providing life to a structure that hasn’t seen it in ages. Uncovering history and trying to restore it while improving the neighborhood are some of the major positives in this process.

So, if you think you’re up for the challenge of renovating a house, here are a few quick do’s and don’ts I try to keep in mind.



**Restore those old windows, don’t replace them.

** Keep the old school built-in china cabinets, closets, and medicine cabinets (relocate them if necessary).
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At 1215 Felder, Rett’s nursery has the original built in’s and they work perfectly for his closet!!

**Reuse the original doors and hardware where possible.

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Our door to our bar in 1215 Felder and it’s pair is the door to the pantry.  These are old doors we found.

**Keep the old bath tubs and sinks…just get them restored. Locally, I adore Bath Innovations for restoring these old beauties.

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       This old bathtub was salvaged and placed into our master bathroom in 797 Felder..

I love the look of an old claw foot tub!!

**Keep finishes historic…(next post has some great examples of our favorites).

**Never ever enclose porches just to make more heated and cooled square footage, enjoy the porch for what it really is!!

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Our fourth house, 754 Thorn Place, had the most amazing porch where we spent countless nights enjoying!

Who doesn’t love a good porch?!

**Be creative with closet space. Old homes don’t have much to offer here so use a wonderful armoire for additional storage. Plus you get to take it with you to the next house!! :)

**Replace broken glass in old windows with the old school wavy glass. Your local glass company can provide it…you just have to ask.

**Research historic paint colors before you get color happy. (again suggestions to come!!)



**Don’t use a lot of color in hard finishes.

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In 704 Felder, we used white marble and refinished the hardwoods to keep a timeless look with minimal color in this kitchen!

**Steer clear of very trendy finishes…think timeless and historic

**No vinyl siding or hardy board. Sorry. They just weren’t used 100 years ago…

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This is the finished product of 1935 Graham Street!

Once we started renovation, we uncovered the original wood and look how beautiful is!! It just needed a few coats of paint!

**One of my biggest peeves… Do not cut a decrepit chimney off at the roof. Get a mason and fix it. It isn’t that expensive.

**Don’t put tile down over original hard wood. Wood is totally fine in a bathroom, kitchen or even a laundry room. It’s original for goodness sake.

**Don’t replace old cast iron tubs with fiberglass tub/shower units. Signature Hardware  makes wonderful curved shower rods to help these old school tubs adapt as showers.

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**Block glass is just wrong…in any instance

**Don’t use carpet to cover damaged original hardwoods, repair them! You can patch and refinish to match the originals!

IMG_1425The hardwoods in our kitchen on 797 Felder.

I hope you enjoyed my top “do’s and dont’s” for the nitty gritty renovation process!!

Up next are finish selections, so stay tuned…Also, feel free to send any questions our way.



Hello sweet followers,

Recently, I have had a TON of emails and messages about renovating houses and how the process works. In an effort to answer some questions, I thought I might shine a little light on how we got into this and what we have learned over the years. This will be the first of many posts in a “Renovation Series” we have coming!  Feel free to send over any questions you may have and I will do my best to answer them in these posts.

To get to the “how to”, you need to know the “how we got here” part first…so here goes nothing… :)

The whole process began with a vacant house across the street from us, when Barrett and I first moved to Graham Street in Old Cloverdale nearly 8 years ago. My crazy supportive, afraid of nothing, loving husband was determined to buy this little house and let me renovate it. My conservative nature and fear of failing wasn’t sure this was the best idea. What if we didn’t sell it or if I made a bad decision? What if something went wrong?  I had a lot of hesitations, but needless to say, a little encouragement and support goes a long way. Since our first renovation on Graham Street, we have purchased and renovated 8 houses in 8 years and have lived in all but one. Sounds pretty CRAZY, right?

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Our first renovation project, 1909 Graham Street, before renovation in 2006

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Our second renovation project, 1910 Graham Street before renovation

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Our third renovation project, 1935 Graham Street, as we purchased it. After starting construction, we found that the entire exterior was asbestos siding, but thankfully we found the original wood siding in great condition!! 

For those of you who don’t know me, I am a creative person. It is one of my few God given talents. I can not read a book front to back to save my life and please don’t make me read aloud.  I am super dyslexic and reading and writing just isn’t my thing. (It’s totally embarrassing, but I stumble over words reading children’s books to my babies and just have to laugh.)  I can draw a picture, renovate a house, draw renovation plans, select finishes or pull together fabrics all day…that’s just the way my little mind works. It’s what I do every day and what I truly love to do! Successful doctors open additional clinics, attorneys open multiple firms, successful restaurants become chains…my talent is design and renovating homes. It is something I enjoy and something we have been successful doing.

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Our fourth renovation project, 754 Thorn Place, before construction.

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Our fifth renovation project, 797 Felder Avenue before construction.  A lot of my heart (and sweat) are in this house! We brought lost our twins while living here and brought Cates home to this house, so it holds an extra special place in my heart! The renovation was featured in the March 2013 issue of Southern Living…quick link to it here.

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Our sixth renovation project, 3171 Old Farm Road before construction. This house will always be special to us because we brought our sweet baby boy, Rett, home from the hospital to this house. It is where we became a family of four! :)

I know people probably think we are so crazy to keep renovating houses and to keep moving, but CRAZY is a relative term?!?  Crazy to me is reading a book for pleasure or doing what doctors and nurses do on a daily basis.  Crazy to you might be living through (and sometimes in) a construction zone, multiple times or even moving a gazillion times!!

Renovations are a complete creative challenge! There are always unexpected, uncovered little surprises (good and bad) keeping me completely entertained and mentally challenged. I am ADDICTED to the challenge. This is why a good portion of the Ashley Gilbreath Interior Design business consists of renovation drawings!

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Our seventh renovation house, 704 Felder Avenue, before construction. This is the only renovation house that we have not actually lived in ourselves.


Our eighth and most recent renovation project, 1215 Felder Avenue, before construction. This house will also be dear to us because we renovated and moved in under 45 days… crazy I know?!?!

This post was just a little intro to our series and a little peek into how we fell in love with the whole process!

Stay tuned for tips and a little more insight next week! We will be sharing our Top 10 do’s and don’ts for the renovation process!



…trucking right along!

Hi PARISH friends!

Today, we’re sharing a fabulous install… and some behind the scenes shots sharing what a day with the AFGID girls is like! We have daily insanity and shenanigans that definitely keep us laughing, but also make us think “what the heck are we doing today?!” Last week- we had a snafu with an install and a delivery… and had to take matters into our own hands.

By golly… we were installing this stunning living room and nothing was going to stand in our way.

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That’s right… Ashley is our newest truck driver! I’m pretty sure I was doubled over laughing as I took this picture! She was nervous, but handled the truck like a pro (to Birmingham I might add!!) We had two movers join us to do the heavy lifting, so one rode shotgun with Ashley and one rode with me in my car— we had a fun day full of funny conversations!

Once Ashley parked the truck (and carefully avoided the limestone curb), the REAL fun began :)

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This stunning sofa table was actually our PARISH shop desk but it is so fabulous here, we just had to part with it! The fun green glass bottles add so much personality to this living room!

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We used three sofas to give this space a cozy and comfortable feeling! This sweet family has 3 (yes three!) boys under 5- so we continually joke that each boy has his own sofa! :)

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We used a soft greyish blue velvet for two sofas and a linen for the other along with this sweet pair of vintage stools! Who says you have to have a cocktail table? We loved these!

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This space is one of those that just make you happy… and COLOR has everything to do with it! The subtle tones of gold, coral, blue, and green are so fresh and young and completely fit the personality of this sweet family! We found/stole these fishing reels from another room- aren’t they cool?

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Thanks for joining us on the blog today! If you’re driving around town and see Ashley driving a moving truck… by all means, please yield. :) XOXO

Until next time,