The Style Files: Bobby McAlpine

{Photography by Sarah Dorio}

Bobby McAlpine is one of the most revered architects in America today. Born in an Alabama sawmill town, Bobby McAlpine designed his first house at he age of five and has not stopped since. Architect, romantic, poet, and entrepreneur, he envisions home as a timeless, graceful, and emotionally evocative place. From the time he founded the firm in 1983, he has realized this ideal in a diverse array of traditional styles and regional vernaculars for clients all over the country and abroad. Today, known simply as McALPINE, the firm now embraces a brilliant and eclectic family of architects and interior designers with offices in Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia and New York. They have been listed on Architectural Digest’s AD100 and Elle Décor’s A-List. Their designs include hundreds of residences, restaurants, private chapels, follies in a public park and on private lands, hotels, a school, a rehabilitated town, and a family compound on a private island in the Caribbean. Their extensive portfolio has been widely published in several books and many periodicals including Veranda, Architectural Digest, House Beautiful, Southern Accents, Elle Decor, Southern Living, House and Garden, Garden and Gun, Coastal Living, Milieu, and Traditional Home. Just this past fall, Bobby’s much anticipated third book, Poetry of Place was published by Rizzoli. Enjoy!

Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Bobby McAlpine: Inclusive. I love anything that is beautifully done.

PC: How has living in Atlanta influenced your aesthetic?

BM: It is big and green enough to absorb a brave new vein of work I am honing.

PC: What does your home say about you?

BM: It is an original; strong and forthright on the outside, a warm and fuzzy arc of treasure on the inside.

{Bobby McAlpine and his Tibetan Terrier, Boyfriend at Home in His Atlanta Living Room | Photography by Jonny Valiant for Southern Living}

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

BM: The movies and great hotels.

{Photography by Jonny Valiant for Southern Living}

PC: Who are your personal style icons?

BM: Edwin Lutyens, Anouska Hempel, John Saladino

{A Palm Springs Home Designed by John Saladino | Photography by Max Kim-Bee for Veranda}

PC: What trait do you most admire in a person?

BM: Transparency 

{Architecture by Bobby McAlpine | Interior Design by Betsy Brown}

PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

BM: Building!

{The Facade of Interior Designer, Rela Gleason’s Home in the Napa Valley}

PC: Who or what has been your greatest professional influence?

BM: Teaching, early in my practice. Reading poetry and writing books. Experimenting with my houses and striking the set again and again.

PC: What is your idea of living “la dolce vita”?

BM: Letting things go.

PC: What can we look forward to next from you?

BM: My newest book, Poetry of Place was just published by Rizzoli in September. In addition, I am working on a brave new vein of romantic modernism and modern classicism. My new house. A bawdy line of furnishings for Perennials through EJ Victor. Ever growing additions to my furniture lines with LEE, Holland MacRae and Elegant Earth.

Go-To Outfit: Sport coat and jeans

Style Mantra: Opposites attract

Scent: Bottega Veneta

Piece of Jewelry: My square TAG Heuer watch

Color I Never Tire Of: Green

Flower: ginger lily

Era for Design: 1920s American Architecture

Dream Project: A signature lake house

Fabric/Textile: Mohair and linen

Hostess Gift: A kitten (just kidding)

Meal: Steak au poivre, mashed potatoes, fiddle head fern

Drink: Coke Zero

Way to Unwind after a Long Day at Work: A long bath and audio book or podcast

3 Things I Love About My City: It is leafy and green with rolling hills and a great airport

Weekend Destination: Lake Martin, Alabama

Hotel: The Rosewood London

City: Paris

Museum: Rodin Museum, Paris

Artist: Michael Dines of Atlanta

Song that Always Puts Me in a Great Mood: Deee-lite “Groove is in the Heart”

Actor/Actress: Annette Bening, Joaquin Phoenix

Prized Possession: My dog “Boyfriend”

Risk Worth Taking: Building yourself a house

Greatest Extravagance: Redecorating!

Go-To Color Palette: All the colors of metals and white

Rule to Break: Always break symmetry

Movie Set Design: Rebecca

I can never have too many… Chairs

{Photography Courtesy of Bobby McAlpine Unless Otherwise Noted}

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