Speaks For Itself
The Donaldson Home
By Lisa Stephens Rahn • Photography by Brian W. McDonald
If you frequent Dothan, Alabama, there is a good chance you’ve driven by Jennifer Donaldson’s home and never given it more than a passing glance. From the curb, its treasures are well-concealed, the thoroughly contemplated details and passion that went into the original design unapparent to passersby. And when Donaldson initially looked at the home, she wasn’t impressed either.
“When we first saw the house, it was nasty,” she recalls. Extensive water damage was to blame for much of what greeted her on that introductory visit to the HUD-owned structure; mold and an unsavory pea-yellow paint were among the defects. The home was officially condemned. But deep down, Donaldson believed there was a gem underneath all the neglect and decay. “Right when I walked in, I knew I wanted it,” she tells. “We looked at over 50 houses, and came back and made an offer.”
Built in 1962, when the now-busy street was just a dirt road, the home had a Frank Lloyd Wright feel that drew Donaldson in. It was evident that the architect, Art Saliba, put his all into the design; it was the only house he ever constructed. The cabinets were crafted and the windows were cut onsite. Saliba beat the built-in kitchen table with a chain to give it texture. “This table is the coolest thing in the world,” Donaldson gushes. “The table is my favorite thing in this room.”
The details that sold her on the house are what she wanted to pay tribute to as she brought the abode back to life. But not long after she remodeled, the hot water heater exploded and the entire house flooded. It was necessary to redo all the concrete floors, which she did with help from Timothy Brannon of Brannon’s Hard Surface Restoration.
Donaldson decided for the second redo, she would go with a clean slate, an industrial look. “The first remodel was really darker, lots of patterns, very eclectic,” she says... [subscribe to read full article and see more photos]