Heavy Metal, Classical Design
Anniston, Alabama isn’t known for being a hotbed for design, but with Birmingham native and furniture designer Lucy Smith in town, things are quickly heating up.
photography by Jean Allsopp
They say that necessity is the mother of invention. They also say that the best ideas are right under our noses. Both quips held true for Lucy Smith. Moving from Birmingham to Anniston offered its own set of challenges as an interior designer—but it also presented an amazing array of opportunities.
When Lucy married Henry, she knew Anniston would become home. His family has owned a sheet metal company for generations, a business that started in 1890. On his side, the company’s focus has always been on industrial applications—buses, shelving, warehouses, and such. But along came Lucy. And once her eyes settled on the scrap pile, Interstate Sheet Metal opened a new branch to their offices: Lucy Smith Metal Furnishings.
“There’s so much waste that goes straight to the scrap yard,” Lucy says. “I looked at it one day and thought, ‘I can do something with that.’” That was four years ago. Prototypes, sketches, and a business plan later, Lucy’s designs are finally in full production mode and her exquisite, bespoke pieces are gaining notice with Birmingham’s designers and homeowners.
“The opportunities for design projects in Anniston are limited,” Lucy says. “I had some small projects here and there and a few whole houses. It was actually these projects—and designing the interiors of my own home—that helped inspire my furniture designs.”
Always on the lookout for that one-of-a-kind piece, Lucy struggled to find the items she carried in her mind’s eye—so she made them herself. Her collection includes mirrors, cocktail, end, and accent tables, sideboards, and smaller accent pieces. Her hand-forged pieces exhibit a combination of contemporary style and classical designs. I love gracing modern design concepts with touches of age old decorative ornament,” Lucy says.
Lucy uses her own home as a showroom of sorts. Her transitional style provides the perfect backdrop for her artistic furnishings. Thoughout her house, she adds touches of glamour to the neutral canvas with mirrors, metallic finishes, and seductive fabrics. Though it is designed for family (Lucy is mom to three), she doesn’t sacrifice style or quality in the living spaces. And true to her mission, she crafted many of her pieces to suit her needs and flair for unique style. In the living room, a gold-finished cocktail table and drink tables serve display and function. In her master bath, a leather and stainless bench suits dressing needs.
“Each design begins in our studio and is brought to life with attention to detail and ﬁne craftsmanship in our on site workshop,” Lucy says.
“Our century-old metal fabrication shop is amazing. Even the industrial tables have been hammered into pieces of art over the years.”
Continuously inspired by the twists in the metal heap and the ideas for custom work brought to her by designers, Lucy enjoys her independent creativity just as much as the collaboration for something new and different. “Working with designers is a lot of fun. And, this is so convenient for local designers. Because the furnishings are manufactured here, things are more affordable and there’s shorter lead time.”
Lucy Smith has found her niche amid Birmingham’s creative talent pool. “In many ways, Birmingham is more interesting than Atlanta or other larger cities,” Lucy says. “In bigger cities, everything starts looking the same. There’s very few places to find something original. Birmingham is small enough that everyone has to offer something different.”
Interiors: Lucy Smith • www.lucysmithdesigns.com • For trade inquiries regarding custom metal designs, please contact Lucy Smith: email@example.com; or Hiltz-Lauber Furnishings, Homewood, Alabama; 205.879.0039. Living Room: mirrors (sold individually) Crate and Barrel • www.crateandbarrel.com Keeping Room: art: Laura Beers • www.laurabeersart.com TV Room: rug: Paige Albright Orientals • www.paigealbrightorientals.com Dining room: art: Mary Margaret Binckley • available through ARTVENTURES; 205.914.6466 Kitchen and bath: cabinetry: Sanders Cabinetry • www.sanderscabinetry.com; 256.310.5013; Kitchen and bath tile: Robert F. Henry • 4500 1st Avenue North; Birmingham, AL 35222-1604; 205.592.8615; www.henrytileco.com
For more design from Lucy Smith, click here.