Press Article

A meandering road trip through France and creative teamwork produce an Alabama farmhouse that cultivates beauty from simple details.

“Southern Charm” — Traditional Home, 2019

In this press article, we see how Troy Rhone Gardens fulfilled a client’s dream to interpret the French countryside lifestyle in Alabama. Troy’s team created a vintage garden that melds 18th-century country life in Normandy with the American South.

Before starting on the house or garden, the homeowner meandered for weeks over hundreds of miles in rural France, taking photographs and collecting inspiration. When she returned to Alabama, her goal was to create a house and garden that evoked a timeless authenticity with purposeful spaces. To accomplish this, she engaged architect Louis Nequette to design a manor home around a courtyard with a barrel-vaulted dining hall for entertaining.

“There’s an elegance in the simplicity of country houses.”
—homeowner Beth Stukes

Sourcing the right materials for the home was extremely important to achieve the authentic French aesthetic, and builder Hufham Farris used the ideal reclaimed wood from Pennsylvania barns for the beams and floors. They tapped into building principles that were authentic 100 years ago and will still be authentic 100 years from now.

Creating the Vintage Garden — Both Elegant & Functional

The homeowner loves to entertain, so the garden design is really an extension of her indoor entertaining spaces. Troy Rhone worked closely with Louis Nequette to create casual yet structured outside areas. The gardens include many elegant touches like a classic French fountain and structured borders. For romantic evenings, Troy planned for café lights to turn on at dusk automatically.

In the true 18th century French style, Troy designed the garden walls with enlarged stonework. The masons crafted the garden stonework to precisely match the homeowner’s photographs from her visit to Normandy.

Each area of the garden is designed with the guests’ comfort in mind as well. Large stone tables are perfect for guests to dine outside, with nearby access to a covered grill area. Visitors in the guesthouse can enjoy verbena-filled boxwood parterres and listen to the peaceful splashing of the antique fountain from their windows. Formal lawn spaces invite visitors to meander among fragrant rose gardens.

For practical purposes, there is ample parking on the inner courtyard lawn, marked by delicate and supportive hidden grids. This clever accommodation for cars avoids damaging the grass. And for overflow parking, there is a second gravel court that lets visitors park under the canopy of elm trees.

When the homeowner is enjoying solitary time, there is a working garden complete with flower beds for cut arrangements and vegetable beds to provide fresh food. We even included a fruit orchard and a place to plant Japanese maples—a favorite gift the homeowner gives to her guests. All of the plants are resilient and beautiful, to match the garden’s 18th-century Normany theme.

Download the full article from Traditional Home 2019.

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