By Anna Grace Moore | Photos by Lauren Ustad
The ties within community are what bind people together. This draw for fellowship is what brought Ashley and Alex Seligson back home to Ashley’s stomping grounds, Birmingham, after years living in Colorado and beyond.
Alex has lived in 17 different cities but has lived with Ashley in Mountain Brook for the last 15 years–longer than anywhere else he’s lived, and he loves it. Why? The people. The beautiful topography. The bonds he and his neighbors share. No where else has what Mountain Brook residents cherish everyday.
“We fell in love with the community,” Alex explains. “Everybody has space but [partakes] in community-based projects. People take care of each other.”
It’s this sense of belonging that inspired Ashley to create Little Hands Serving Hearts, which is a nonprofit organization that helps children get involved in community service projects. There’s no minimum age to volunteer, so children get to experience giving back to the community that has poured into them.
“We have always said the secret to living is giving,” Ashley says. “We try to live by [this] and instill it in our children. Where we live and where they’re growing up–that’s not normal. We’re extremely blessed.”
These abundant blessings Ashley and Alex say are what allow them to live in such a wonderful community. Their home, which is rich in Coloradian design and nestled in a nature-filled neighborhood, is but one blessing they say they’ve tried to use to bless other people.
“We always talk about no matter who you are, you always have something to give,” Ashley shares. “We always talk about our three T’s: time, talent and treasure. You can give time, treasure–that can be the old toy in the closet. We all have God-given talents.”
The three T’s, Ashley explains, are the focal point of Little Hands Serving Hearts. Even if children may feel young or that they don’t have a lot to give, they always have intangible ways to bless others in need. By blessing others, servant hearted folks build community–one such as Mountain Brook.
“It’s good to get kids involved at an early age because a lot of times kids grow up in a bubble,” Alex says. “[Working with Little Hearts Serving Hands] exposes them to adverse conditions, and they get used to volunteering. The hope is that they will continue this trend for the rest of their lives.”
To learn more or get involved with Little Hands Serving Hearts, visit littlehandsservinghearts.org.
The Face of the Home
While the couple loves the traditional and sophisticated European look of many Mountain Brook homes, Alex yearned for more of a rustic vibe that reminded him of Colorado–where he and Ashley called home for several years. They added cedar shakes and cedar shingles to give their house a homely nature.
This Restoration Hardware dining room table draws all eyes as its tabletop, which is honed Italian Carrara marble, contributes to the stately mood of the room. It seats 12, which is perfect for family meals.
Art by Spel
This beautiful abstract has a heart-wrenching story behind it. An artist going by the name, “Spel,” was, according to Alex, wrongly accused of a crime of which he is serving life without parole. Pro bono attorneys picked up Spel’s case and have been fighting for him, while he paints to raise money for his cause. Paul Seligson, Alex’s father who is an artist, fell in love with Spel’s paintings and has since befriended him. Paul actively shares Spel’s artwork to support his cause. Ashley and Alex now have seven of Spel’s paintings themselves. To learn more information about Spel’s journey or to view and purchase his artwork, visit freespel.com.
The rock crystal chandelier adorning the dining room ceiling was actually something Ashley and Alex kept from the original house’s blueprint. While an antique, the chandelier received a fresh coat of gold paint and has never looked better, Alex says.
The kitchen now looks completely different from when the couple first purchased the house 15 years ago. The closet was previously where the refrigerator was. The laundry nook was out in the open. The couple expanded the kitchen, adding a mudroom for the kids. They also moved the laundry room out of the kitchen and into its own space to make room for an extra large refrigerator, two stoves and an island. Ashley loves to cook and being a big entertainer herself, she needed lots of room for the kitchen to remain both functional and beautiful, too.
Ashley spends a lot of her time here, planning events for Little Hands Serving Hearts.
The living room underwent a drastic remodel. The once teal walls are now shades of Earth tones. Ashley and Alex also raised the ceiling, adding a coffered design to pay homage to the traditional “Mountain Brook” aesthetic. They also cut into the brick and expanded the living room to add more windows to allow natural light to flow into the room that previously felt dark and dreary. Jill Rouse of Jill Rouse Designs helped add some unique architectural features that helped blend both the traditional and rustic elements that the couple desired.
More than Meets the Eye
The bar’s backsplash is made of old wine corks.
Unlike most bedroom suites, the master bedroom had a fireplace in the corner that Ashley and Alex kept from the original house. After visiting Colorado, the couple opted to use white logs in their fires because the logs remind them of aspen trees.
Hues of Blues
Jill added splashes of color to liven the room. Little bits of color, she says, can transform any room into one that fits a homeowner’s personality best. To work with Jill, those interested can visit jillrousedesigns.com.
Nestled in Nature
The couple took down the fence that the previous owners had blocking the view of the creek. Now, they can view the topography of the hills and the busy creek from almost any room in the house.
By the Poolside
The family’s pool is the perfect place for fellowship in the summertime. As of press time, the Seglisons are actually looking to sell this stately home and are looking forward to their next project. To view the home or learn more about purchasing, email Ashley Holt at firstname.lastname@example.org.