24 Aug Treasure trove
When you ask artist Tommy Mathis to describe his home in Florence, Alabama, he says, “It’s a modest house, but it’s a treasure chest.” So true.
Every room reveals another surprise. Whether a burst of color on the walls, collections of favorite objects on tables or sculptures.
There are no empty tabletops. Too many well loved pieces to enjoy.
If you come in the back door, this is what you’ll find. His den is full of art he and his late wife, Marigail collected over many years traveling the world.
His latest fascination is with the masks you see across the top of the walls, many from Africa.
The couple made many trips to Provence and Marigail, also an artist, captured the feel of an ancient village in an explosion of color that jumps off the wall in this room.
Although Mathis is known for his colorful paintings featured in many galleries and shows over the years throughout the southeast, you will find just a few scattered around his residence. He prefers to have other artists’ work on his walls. Among them, paintings by Noel Shinn, Murat Kaboulov, Hilda Mitchell and Clifford Bailey.
The dining room table is full of busts collected from Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, Belgium, and New York.
If you can imagine living in a gallery of everything you love, you would be Tommy Mathis.
Every nook, and hallway has something that catches your eye and means something to him. And in case you’re wondering about the paint color of his walls like I did, it’s battleship gray. And it’s high gloss.
The master bedroom, like the main living room, features work by Peter Lik, considered the new Ansel Adams.
It is spectacular. Mathis explained to me that the paper used by Lik is sixty percent silver which gives the photograph the intensity, and ability to change depending on the time of day.
Mathis had his own gallery for years in Florence but now works out of his home when he is inspired.
It is in complete contrast to the rest of the house, with white walls and a very quiet space at one end.
But before you think this is the end, just wait. The gardens are another gallery. And Mathis designed them.
Numerous trips to Europe inspired this outdoor oasis.
The garden is a retreat for Mathis and a place to entertain with complete privacy, thanks to brick walls and mature trees and shrubs.
The most special part of the garden is a female copper statue Mathis commissioned after his beloved wife passed away six years ago; the artist, Lucas Stokes. The woman is holding sunflowers, which Marigail loved.
A joyful piece of art that’s a tribute to a lovely woman I was lucky to know. A woman with great style, taste and joie de vivre.
Such a jewel of a home that reflects the owner’s passion. My deep thanks to Tommy Mathis for sharing his home and his talent.