Signature Designs

The International Interior Design Association Alabama Chapter recently presented its 2013 IDIE Awards, showcasing the exemplary work of Alabama’s interior designers.

The IIDA Alabama Chapter is a small but active statewide chapter with two city centers, in Birmingham and Huntsville, as well as a campus center at Auburn University.

This year’s awards included 54 projects representing 24 firms throughout the state. The best projects within each category are showcased here, along with the Best of Show award.

Best of Show

Children’s of Alabama – Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children, Birmingham

Project Team – Children’s of Alabama & HKS Inc.
Interior Subcontractor – HKS Inc.
General Contractor – Hoar Construction and BE&K, both of Birmingham
Interior Product Vendors – Business Interiors, DeKalb, Office Environments, Gallery Services

The Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children is a 12-story, 760, 000-square-foot expansion project for Children’s of Alabama, making it the largest single medical facility expansion project in the history of Alabama. Children’s is now the third largest pediatric hospital in the nation.

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With the expansion, Children’s has 17 operating rooms, two cardiovascular surgery rooms and additional space for future growth. As a LEED facility, the building provides natural lighting, clear air circulation and has a green roof, just to mention a few of the upgrades.

One of the design directives was to feature Alabama artists in the fine art displays throughout the facility. The art compliments the interior architecture and appeals to young patients and their families, friends and the staff.

Photo by Rion Rizzo / Creative Sources Photography Inc.

Assembly Space

Georgia Theatre Renovation, Athens, Ga.

Project Team – Davis Architects; MEP/FP: Phillips Gradick Engineering;
Structural – M2S; Civil: JJG; Theater Consultants: Schuler Shook and Talaske
General Contractor – Hobgood Construction Group
Interior Subcontractors – Steel Tech, Alright Concrete, Surig & Son,  D&B Glass, Simco Interiors, Summit Painting, Mullenix Mechanical,  Lawson HVAC, Owens Contracting
Interior Product Vendors – K&J Accessories, Schindler

Erected in 1889 as the YMCA of Athens, the Georgia Theatre was transformed into a music venue in 1977. After a fire in 2009, the theatre was left with two thick exterior brick walls intact, while the entire interior and roof was destroyed. Davis Architects worked with Wilmot Greene to create an interior design that was based on the existing Art-Deco style of the exterior.

The interior is the hallmark of the design, with intersecting curves that form the balconies and stairs, providing a seamless flow for crowd circulation during and after performances. The design creates a unique viewing experience throughout all levels of the theatre, combined with beautiful acoustics, to recreate the magic that was lost to the fire.

The addition of a rooftop restaurant and bar gives the customers one of the best views of downtown Athens and allows the opportunity to house the management offices away from the public eye.

Photo by Ivy Schuster and Art Husband

Construction Detail

Alagasco Lobby, Birmingham

Project Team – Hatcher Design Associates Inc.
General Contractor – Harris Robinson
Interior Subcontractors – Expo Display
Interior Product Vendors – Bentley Prince Street,  Bernhardt, Cumberland

Alagasco wanted to create a more interactive lobby for their sixth-floor space in the Energen Building. The company wanted a modern feel that would relate to the Center for Energy Technology building that they recently opened. The challenge was how to modernize the more traditional wood paneling and architecture that existed without making the new design seem like an after-thought.

Hatcher Design Associates asked Alagasco for images of its new CET building, as well as photos of work done by the company to incorporate into the new look. They started with a design of wire cabling that extended through a wood column and repeated on the other side. Then the designer worked branding elements in, such as the Alagasco sign under the stairs and the bright blue flame at the elevator lobby. All of these pieces are related to each other through their use of translucent panels.

The display frames on the wood panels were made so Alagasco could change the images over time, keeping the space current. Touch screens also were incorporated into the rail system to provide an interactive experience for the user. Final touches included new furniture and lighting to highlight the imagery. 

Photo by Chris Luker / CCRArchitects


Railroad Square, Birmingham

Project Team – Cohen Carnaggio Reynolds
General Contractor – G&B Enterprises
Interior Subcontractors – Ritchie & Montgomery, Jackson Mechanical
Interior Product Vendors – Architectural Specialties, DeKalb Office

The renovation of two underutilized two-story, wood-frame, turn-of-the-century buildings included selective demolition to repurpose many of the existing materials, while augmenting new materials salvaged from the April 11 tornado rampage. The corner building was originally built for Nabisco and contained a horse stable, wagon loading dock and production facility with an adjacent structure built as a warehouse.

In the first phase, the owner selected to inhabit the original stable and loading dock areas with an enrollment advisory firm occupying the remaining area on level one of the corner building and sharing common meeting and recreation areas.

Working with the owner and contractor allowed Cohen Carnaggio Reynolds to preserve the existing masonry and flooring, while recycled wood siding from old barns was used to clad walls, a reception desk and ceilings. Recycled wood also was used to create a central work counter and conference table. Recycled glass countertops were used in the break room and system glass walls saved on installation cost and allowed more visibility throughout the office.

Phase two involved the completion of the second floor into two office spaces, occupied by a real estate firm and a web and branding company.

Phase three involved the complete renovation of the second building for the University of Alabama at Birmingham printing department, a post office and a parking lot, providing a new main entrance for the building tenants. A local artist hand painted signage in keeping with the history of the building.

Photo by Blake Marvin / HKS Inc.

Furniture Installation

Children’s of Alabama – Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children,  Birmingham

Project Team – Business Interiors
General Contractor – Hoar Construction and BE&K, both of Birmingham
Interior Subscontractors – HKS Inc.
Interior Product Vendors – Abba Contract, Allermuir, Arcadia, Carolina, Davis, ESI, Fixtures, Keilhauer, KI, Knoll, Krug, Nemschoff, Nucraft, Neocase, Peter Pepper Produds and others 

The Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children for Children’s of Alabama included 10 finished floors. The expanded hospital has 380 beds in private, modern rooms, affording patients and their families a more comfortable experience. Each floor has a lounge area for families that includes laundry service, and patient rooms are a third larger than the existing ones. Each of the 10 floors was designed with a different dominant color and unique theme.

Carrying the overall building concept into the furnishings, Children’s wanted the upholstery to be fun, bright and playful.

The private offices are Knoll brand, which consist of a desk, bookcase and lateral file. 

The patient rooms contain a Nemschoff sleeper sofa in colorful and creative vinyl patterns, patient recliner/glider, overbed table and bedside cabinet.

Carolina Basic modular units, all covered in cheerful upholstery, are used in waiting areas. 

Photo by Tim Hursley

Healthcare – Large

Mission Cancer Center, Asheville, N.C.

Project Team – TRO/Jung Brennen, KLMK,  Freeman White
General Contractor – Brasfield & Gorrie
Interior Subcontractors – Office Environments,  American Art Resources
Interior Product Vendors – Milliken, SpecTrim,  Depont, Corian, Centiva, 3form, Daltile, Steelcase

Mission Hospital’s 117, 000-square-foot outpatient cancer center was designed to be a welcoming space that reflects the community’s regional architectural vernacular while providing a warm, spiritually nurturing, yet state-of-the-art cancer treatment facility.

Through the use of indigenous materials such as wood and stone, access to natural lighting, orientation to garden views and mountain vistas, the center was designed to create an architecturally contextual, sustainable environment for physical and spiritual healing. It also has been presented LEED Gold certification.

Situated on a steeply sloped site, the landscape was terraced as an integral design element that allows light to penetrate areas that ordinarily do not receive daylight.

Treatment areas on the lower level of the building—radiation therapy and PET CT—now have access to natural light from skylights, as well as views of the outside.

Organized around a “great hall” with stone fireplaces, the main level houses patient support services, a resource library, education and conference rooms, meditation spaces, café and a retail boutique and pharmacy. The second level houses pediatric and adolescent oncology, multidisciplinary clinics and research offices. The third level houses adult infusion. On the roof level, a terrace garden provides space for outdoor activities and extensive views of the mountains and the city skyline.

Photo by Sherwood Cox Photography

Healthcare – Small

Chace Lake Family Dentistry, Hoover

Project Team – Heidi Core Interior Design LLC,  Blackmon Rodgers Architects LLC, Patterson Dental
General Contractor – Koski Construction Co.
Interior Subcontractors – Southern Woodsmith, Issis & Sons, Bonham & Buckner Plumbing Co., Dudley Williams Electric
Interior Product Vendors – Business Interiors, Deep South Iron, Illuminations Contract and Lighting Solutions, Gallery Services

This new dental facility is located in an independent building totaling 3, 692 square feet on the first floor clinic level. The goal of the designers was to create an environment resembling a rustic lodge that welcomes dental patients of all ages in a home-like setting, reflecting the young dentist’s Southern upbringing. The dentist is surrounded with things he grew up with in Alabama, items from his travels abroad and objects that hint at his strong faith.

The reception waiting room underscores the rustic lodge feel with a large double-height, stacked stone fireplace, reclaimed wood ceiling beams, rustic multi-tiered chandelier and oversized lounge seating. To reflect the client’s faith, the designers included in the eclectic seating mix a church pew from his childhood. An enlarged photo above the fireplace mantel, of the “Christ the Redeemer” statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro, is from his personal travels.

An interior design challenge was dramatizing the double height elevation at the check-in desk. The design team opened up the staircase to the second floor and added a balcony to break up the large expanse of double-height sheetrock. They also cantilevered a reclaimed wood canopy beyond the front desk and attached it to the sheetrock with exposed iron cables and fasteners that match the exposed fasteners within the beams. The wood canopies were repeated throughout the patient wing to add warmth, break up the long corridor and promote design continuity from the front to the back of the building.


Asian Rim, Birmingham

Project Team – TurnerBatson
General Contractor – Maxus – Pelham
Interior Subcontractors – Southern Woodworks, Commercial Flooring
Interior Product Vendors – HSF Contract Flooring, Maharam,  Premier Surfaces, Momentum Textiles, Interceramic

When the owner of the restaurant Asian Rim approached TurnerBatson with a new concept for a Pan Asian menu restaurant, the project was an opportunity to develop an image they could use in continued expansions.

Since the restaurant doesn’t specialize in one nationality of food, it was important to represent the Pacific Rim countries generally. The “wave” is the logo of the company and served as the direction in lieu of more traditional themes.

This set the color aesthetic of the space with deep teal and blue water colors, natural woods to represent shipping docks and boats, pendant lighting to represent fishing baskets and floors of bamboo, which is native to these environments.

The wave theme is reflected in a custom wallcovering by Design Tex that is used in several areas.

Photo by Teri Fotheringham Photography 2013


Ecotech Institute, Denver, Colo.

Project Team – Education Corporation of America
General Contractor – Rives Construction Co. Inc.
Interior Subcontractors – Bruce Office Supply, John Murphy Millwork, Floorz, Commercial Flooring Services, Heggem Lundquist, High Country Coatings, Pagett Electric
Interior Product Vendors – Interface Flor, USF Contract, Estrie, Ellipitar, Crossville, 3form, Global, Labvolt, Maharam, Momentum, Gallery Services, Armstrong Ceilings, Stylex, Vanerum Stelter, B2BMedia

Launched in 2011, Ecotech Institute is a private technical college focused on preparing graduates for careers in the fields of renewable energy, sustainability and energy efficiency. The former indoor amusement park was converted into a $5.8 million LEED Gold certified learning facility. The 62, 125 square feet of finished interior space houses classrooms, offices and state-of-the-art technical labs.

Because Ecotech is centered on sustainability, the design concept was to inspire students and promote renewable energy sources through the use of sustainable materials and organic forms, as well as colors from natural elements.

The building generates over 65, 000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually from onsite, renewable energy sources.

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