1840s Birmingham farmhouse goes contemporary inside

Cathy Frank of Birmingham is straightforward about her style: She likes contemporary things.

So when a job opportunity led her and her husband, Stephen Smith, to move back to Birmingham after a decade in Chicago and the couple found an old 19th century farmhouse in 2016, they knew they wanted to update the interior. The house was built in 1840 but Cathy has a more contemporary aesthetic. Still, there were limits to what they could do.

White walls in Cathy Frank and Stephen Smith's Birmingham foyer provide the perfect backdrop for their art.

“We couldn’t change much on the outside, because of historic restrictions, but we could gut the inside,” said Cathy.

To create just the right look, the couple turned to contractor Ben Heller and interior designer Carrie Long of Carrie Long Interiors. The two crafted a home that looks modern, bright and artsy but not so contemporary it clashes with the exterior.