By Madoline Markham
Photos by Lindsey Drennan
Back when Meredith Tolleson was a student at Hoover High School, she had no idea she’d one day live just a few minutes away from her alma mater with her own family. Fast forward almost 10 years, and Meredith and her husband, Ty, were living in Crestline Park when her parents decided to move after 25 years in the home she’d grown up in. Her parents ended up building in Signature Homes’ Lake Wilborn development just down the road from Hoover High School, and Meredith got to walk through the design process with her mom.
The first time Ty came to see the new house with Meredith, they were sold on moving to the community themselves too. After walking around and spending time in the community, it felt like a little Seaside with all the pools, bike trails and other amenities. “Our lot was the last one this phase of development, it backed up to the park, and it just seemed perfect,” Meredith recalls. “So we were like, ‘Alright, let’s do it!’”
The couple ended up moving in with Meredith’s parents while the house was being built, just before the COVID-10 pandemic began. They definitely didn’t expect to all be quarantined together, but the silver lining of that time of uncertainty was that Meredith and Ty got to watch their home be built from the ground up each day. “It was such a blessing,” Meredith says. “Building during a pandemic had its scares, but the process never stopped.”
Being near the new house also allowed them to walk around homes that were being built to get ideas for paint colors and other design elements to select for their own home. They ended up choosing a floorplan that drew in copious natural light from the front and the back of the house, especially with its high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows that open up to the backyard.
From there, Meredith had a blank canvas to fill with her California farmhouse flair both for her and Ty to enjoy and to share on her lifestyle blog @thesouthernsource. Drawing inspiration from designers in California, she incorporated cane weaving, lighter colors and coastal elements into the spaces in the new home. Many of her pieces come from Collected for the Home, an online home décor shop with affordable price points Meredith owns with an interior designer friend. “We want to offer something affordable that’s between Target and Studio McGee,” Meredith says of the brand.
Meredith also tapped the power of social media with her new house. Sharing her home experience organically with her audience got her recognized by the owners of Signature Homes, and she was hired on full time to manage their social and digital marketing late last year. To follow her posts about everyday life in Alabama and affordable home decor tips, find her on Instagram @thesouthernsource.
At first, Meredith wasn’t sure how to fill the large wall behind her Gabby dining room table, but when she got a set of her grandfather’s family photos from vacations in Florida from 1960s and 1970s, she knew just what to do. She purchased these gallery wall frames from Target—a much less expensive alternative to buying a large piece of art.
When she and Ty lived in Crestline Park, Meredith fell in love with the distressed look of the fabric on these chairs, so she bought a second one for their new home and built the living room design around it, complete with a sectional in a stain-resistant performance fabric and a rug from Loloi.
Originally Meredith thought she wanted all white kitchen cabinets, but Ty convinced her to reconsider. They love the warmth of the grey color they ended up selecting with antique brass hardware. A large white island with marbled quartz countertops adds contrast to the grey cabinets and solid white quartz countertops on the perimeter.
Meredith found these two concrete lamps at market in Atlanta, and later she selected a wooden console from World Market and a simple round mirror from Target to fill out the first space guests see as they enter their home.
Meredith is always cooking up new dishes and cocktails to share with her @thesouthernsource Instagram followers and especially enjoys serving them outdoors on their Summer Classics teak furniture when the weather is warm. She found the blue and white pillows on the love seat at Target.