Thursday, June 3, 2010

Inspirational Architects: Bates Corkern Studio


Last year, I posted a picture of one of my favorite inspiration houses – a beautiful Baton Rouge, Louisiana gem designed by legendary architect A. Hays Town (seen above). There is something about this house that really appeals to me; the combination of the style, the lines, the proportions,and the materials is perfect. In my post, I asked if there were any readers who knew more about the house. Within a few days I had a lovely email from architect Jeremy Corkern; A. Hays Town was Jeremy’s dear friend and mentor.

It was fascinating to learn more about this charming house from Jeremy. He told me that the slate roof was reclaimed from an old building in the French Quarter, and that the house is brick but with a ‘mortar wash’ – the bricks were laid loose and the mortar was allowed to ooze out, then it was rubbed into the brick surface with a burlap bag. It is labor intensive, but as you can see the effect is quite beautiful.

Jeremy and I have developed an easy email dialogue over the past year, yet despite this I had no idea of Jeremy’s stature in the architectural community until I read not one but several articles on the work of his firm – homes that he and his business partner, Thomas Paul Bates, designed have been prominently featured in Southern Accents, Cottage Living, House Beautiful, and Veranda (click on any of the magazine names to see the associated article). In fact, one of the feature homes in the June/July 2010 Veranda was a house designed by the Bates Corkern Studio.


Jeremy recently let me know that website for his Birmingham based firm, Bates Corkern Studio, was recently launched. It is quite an important task to create a web site for an architectural or design firm; the site must represent the core of the aesthetic and philosophy of the firm. The site for Bates Corkern Studio is one of my favorites, because it gives a lovely hint of the houses in the portfolio – the ‘soul’ of the houses – without fully revealing every detail of the houses. Each featured house has a title (the one above is called ‘Shade of Pale’), which to me is like establishing the narrative of the house, and letting the reader make their own impressions based on the striking images. The web site is also very easy to navigate, and is tailored and elegant.

This beautiful 1920s home (seen above), renovated by Jeremy Corkern and Thomas Paul Bates, was featured in House Beautiful last year (click here to see the article). The house really resonated with me, and captures the essence of what I love in architecture and design: formal without being imposing, elegant without being ostentatious.


A picture from the interior of the house. I am going to show this picture to my designer – the floors are exactly the color I hope to achieve in my new house. The interiors of this house were by Betsy Brown.


A stunning exterior picture from the Bates Corkern Studio porfolio. When looking through their portfolio, I immediately noticed the number of cedar shingle roofs in their designs. When I inquired, Jeremy noted that cedar immediately sets a house at ease, and gives it that relaxed elegant look that seems to be a signature of his firm’s style.


I could look at this picture for hours, just to take in all of the exquisite details. The architectural details of the room are so pure – with the ample light from the windows, the stone floors, the uniquely designed window, and the huge hearth. Working in concert with the architecture is the beautiful interior design. Note the floor lamps on either side of the sofa…love the translucent shades.


Same room, different angle. I love the simple beams over the doors, and that painting in between the doors is exquisite. The title of this home is ‘suspended in light’ – what could be more appealing than a home designed around the light?


In the introductory page of the firm’s web site, they say

‘We dwell in our homes and our homes dwell in us. It lingers with us when we leave. Beckons when we are weary. It is the place that gives us comfort and ease. Home is the one place where we can simply be. Where we can find our way in the dark. Where we can identify the sounds of our children’s feet on the floorboards, trace the same patch of sunlight across the dining room wall – from spring through the coming winter”.

I remembered this quote when I saw the picture above (from the ‘Shade of Pale’ house). I had never quite thought of it that way, but don’t we all have that patch of sunlight in our homes that becomes like a familiar friend through the seasons?


When you have a moment, take some time to look through the portfolio of Bates Corkern Studio. It is a feast for the eyes, and full of inspirational images, and lyrical architecture and design.


I love this view through the rooms to the vantage point out to the garden. It is particularly gratifying when the view has a lantern at the end! Architecture by Bates Corkern Studio, interiors by Liz Hand Woods.


Any house that designs a space specifically for a piano really speaks to me. And to think this is a vacation home (this is the home that was featured in the recent Veranda; image via Veranda). Architecture by Bates Corkern Studio, interiors by Liz Hand Woods.


This is a beautiful, beautiful kitchen. I really like how the countertop material wraps around to the side of the island. I wonder what material this is? Image via Veranda, architecture by Bates Corkern Studio, interiors by Liz Hand Woods.


A freestanding tub in an alcove surrounded by light on three sides, from the Bates Corkern Studio portfolio. Image via Southern Accents.


My favorite lantern, the Nierman Weeks Mitzner lantern, in another space that perfectly captures the light. Architecture by Bates Corkern Studio. Image via Southern Accents.


Brick on the interior walls reminds me so much of A. Hays Town’s work. An interior window and a floating staircase complete the feeling of lightness and sculptural beauty in this space.


A detail example of architectural design in a house designed by Bates Corkern Studio. I love the sculptural take on paneling in this space.

To learn more about Bates Corkern Studio’s architectural services and portfolio, please visit their website at http://www.batescorkern.com/. I am sure that my readers will find it as inspiring as me – the perfect combination of architecture, environment, and interiors. Enjoy!

All images, except where noted, are from the Bates Corkern website.

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  1. Beautiful. Thanks for the introduction. Off to check out their site now....

  2. Incredibly beautiful, a feast for eyes, indeed! Thanks for sharing!

  3. I never seen such beautiful homes.

  4. I'd feel wonderfully at home there! All very calm and soothing to the eye, sets a wonderful mood. Lovely.

  5. What is the loopty-doopy-thingy of iron over the frontdoor called?

    I'm using a rescued rusted galvanized steel culvert cover as a loopty-doopy-thingy over a conservatory door.

    Sounds horrible looks fabulous. Conservatory made of beams rescued from a century old Atlanta factory.

    Amazing how you keep finding these great talents. And, oh my, that wash on the bricks and...and...and...

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  6. Lovely post! We have cedar shingles and they make the house. It always makes me sad to see people replace them with those terrible tiles. Cedar roofs can be refurbished beautifully and add so much character to the home.

    That tub is lovely too!


  7. Maurie@GraciousInteriors.blogspotJune 2, 2010 at 11:26 AM

    These lines of the quote really spoke to my poetic soul:‘...Home is...where we can find our way in the dark. Where we can...trace the same patch of sunlight across the dining room wall – from spring through the coming winter”. I am going to reference it in my next blog! I will give you and Bates Cochran Studio credit! One caution about piano spaces, we designed one into our living room...but, in spite of measuring and remeasuring...the piano always felt too cramped. I ended up moving the piano to the sun room where it has plenty of breathing space. Instead I put a large English bookcase in the space which breathes just fine there. ;)

  8. I love Paul and Jeremy's work. Betsy Brown's beautiful house is across the street from my house and it's a nice sight to see every time I come or go! Very talented pair, glad you are introducing them to blogland. There's another home of theirs near me I think you'd love...I'll send you a pic...

  9. Go to the website under the 'firm' section and read the rest of the quote - the part I left out is even prettier than the part I included!

  10. I enjoy the cedar roof and brick surfaces. Don't see how you can go wrong with either. Insides are so modern with "old" materials. Not "all moderned up" but modern none the less. That fireplace in the beach house (veranda pdf p.5) is stunning. The horizontals of the walls say old beach house AND International. Anyway, rustic outsides and modern/rustic insides work for me.

    Hats off to Bates Corkern for making it work.

  11. Hi Holly! My name is Mignon Town and I have been following your design blog for some time now. My sister, Nanette, told me one day that I needed to look at it and it turned out that I had already discovered it myself! We both knew a good thing when we saw it!

    I especially loved this entry because my Great Grandfather is A. Hays Town. This house is beautiful. I would love the link to read the first post you did on it.

    The Bates Corkern house is fabulous! Jeremy is very talented. It's always nice to hear that "Great" was able to mentor such talented younger architects.

    Thanks for the constant enjoyment in your blog! I always look forward to the next post!

    Mignon Town

  12. Holly, I loved every inch of this post!
    Thinking the color you want for your floor boards is the way to go!
    And, that quote, at the start of the firm's webpage that you posted...the next time my friends tease me about what a "home body" I have become...I will read them that quote!

  13. Wow, each space is so beautiful!! Jeremy's work is so wonderful. I love that free-standing tub in an alcove, and that hallway with the pretty lantern is amazing! Thanks for sharing this.

  14. This is my favorite post to read tonight. Loved, loved all of this. Went to the Bates Corkern website and literally drooled. Bookmarked his page. thanks so much!

  15. Amazing home , and I love those floors. All of the images are delightful.

    Art by Karena

  16. I feel the urge to illustrate that first image and to live in it too!
    My imagination takes me inside.....

  17. Such a talented pair! Love homes like these that are grand but not stuffy. The hallway with the lantern is gorgeous and so true about the sunlight patch.

  18. Thank you for introducing me to this work. I've long been a fan of A. Hays Town, and Bates Corkern's work carries on that vernacular tradition so eloquently.

  19. These designs are all so beautiful and inspiring. I also love the house in the first image, it's so simple and beautiful. The roof is just like a perfectly fitted hat!

  20. Inspiring and the stuff dreams are made of.
    What a great comment from the grand daughter of A. Hays Town!
    xo xo

  21. Judging by all the architecture you like, it makes me that much more eager to see your new house when it's built!

  22. An ethereal journey!! A fabulous website by Bates Corkern Studio! Thanks. Franki

  23. I have loved this house every since I first saw it on your blog. So so happy to learn more about it!!

  24. I was really taken in by it all - but the arched doorway shot really got me. Thank you for sharing this special work!!!

  25. Of corse I adore the work. I also realize Auburn is breeding this brilliance...but I see McAlpine in everything. The architecture, interiors, furniture, fabrics. Their works in Florida and the country cabins. Their web sight and even the poetic quotes of "Home"....The film "Single White Female" comes to mind.
    Don't get me wrong. I'm glad good taste has been seeded and for it to come out of Alabama (my family is from Auburn) I'm tickled pink.
    I would just like to see more individual twists on the style.
    The balls in the fireplace are what made me write this. Toss anything in the fireplace but the balls are like a McAlpine trademark.

  26. Do you happen to know the artist of the large cream and gold toned painting between the two doors? It's such a gorgeous piece.

  27. The Betsy Brown floors move me as does this post. Thank you for posting.

  28. These images are just amazing. I can't wait to check out this portfolio. Thanks for sharing. Hope you are having a great summer.

  29. This is such a beautiful post....I'm picking my jaw up off the floor.

  30. Nice. I love the matt-finished grand piano.


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