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Bobby McAlpine's Personal Residence: Photo: © Simon Upton

I have been bookmarking McALPINE projects for years, always drawn to the unique bespoke architecture and hauntingly beautiful interiors. It wasn’t until the 2017 Architectural Digest feature of the McALPINE designed home of Faith Hill and Tim McGraw that I recognized the signature style I had admired for so long. I did a deep dive into the firm, reading past interviews, sifting through project archives and adding some of their books to my library. McALPINE remains one of my greatest source of inspiration and their incredible projects epitomize soulful and intentional design.

Founded by Bobby McAlpine in 1983, the firm began crafting houses in Alabama. Now thirty years later, the McALPINE partners including Greg Tankersley and Ray Booth have evolved the firm into a fully integrated architectural and interior design house with headquarters in Montgomery, Alabama and Nashville, Tennessee and offices in Atlanta & New York.

The firm, known for unique beautifully crafted architecture, is often heavily influenced by classic tudor style. Their bespoke interiors focus on poetic layouts and soulful meaningful décor.

“Home is the place that mirror our hearts. Your physical environment keeps you in full awareness of where you are. If you can find your way to live in the house within you, then you not only create and enormous and broad offering to yourself, but also to those you love. Always responsive and receptive, we find sanctuary in a place that mirrors our soul. The best house is the house that looks like how we feel inside.”

“For many of us, the quest for home carries us through exhaustive search and compromise. Those who are highly attuned rarely succeed in bending the soul of a house they did not build to their will. A heart that is developed craves evidence of itself and the subtleties it has discovered. I dreamed of walking in the beauty and reality of my own mind. I had no place I recognized. This, in a nutshell, is why we build. When we finally find sanctuary in a physical edifice that mirrors our soul, it is ground gained and won – a flag on the moon of the heart.”

A few of my favorite highlights from an interview McAlpine did with CTC&G March 2021:

What inspired you to design your first house at age five? The world around me did not look like my own understanding of it, so I felt called to make one that did. It was just a floor plan, but as a child I was most infatuated with plans. I loved how beautifully you can organize something to set it up for three-dimensional execution. I drew it on the back of a Whitman’s candy box lid, the only unprinted surface I could find.

You often place the dining room far away from the kitchen. I tend to put it in one of the best spots in the property, the spot I want to dine in. In a restaurant I don’t chose to sit near the kitchen; you don’t want a mess hall mentality.

Why is your aim to create homes that are “portraits” of the owner? If you can find your home, physically in the world, it is essentially a larger, enveloping model of your own heart. And it is you. It allows your heart a larger containment than just your body.

Why do you like to work in contradictions? The truth seems to reside in the far left and the far right of the swing of a pendulum simultaneously, not in the middle. There is the best love affair going on between them. Take stone and thatch: the stone is a permanent thing that makes it a beautiful ruin and the thatch is the opposite—temporal, tender, vulnerable, a real heartbreaking material—in a good way. The pairing of opposites is perfection to my heart.


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