The Carletons settle in Mountain Brook
WRITTEN BY GREGG L. PARKER
PHOTOGRAPHS BY JOSHUA BERRY
After living in Madison for six years, Larry and Mary Carleton were exhausted from
moving five times. “Our friends wouldn’t even pick up the phone any more, but Two Men
and a Truck were our best friends,” Mary joked.
They decided to find a builder to create their last-and-best home. Mary remembered a
story in ‘Madison Living’ magazine that featured Rachel Brown Homes. “I was in love
with that house on Mill Road that Rachel created. I contacted her immediately. Rachel
was a powerhouse of energy with a no-nonsense attitude to find a lot to build our dream
The Carletons collaborated with Brown and a draftsman to finalize a home plan in July
2017. “We broke ground in October 2017. Rachel walked through all the difficult choices
with us and maintained a can-do attitude unparalleled to any builder we’ve met,” Mary
said. “By May 2018, Rachel had built our beautiful home and kept expenses in line. We
now have closed a door on a professional relationship but enjoy a fun friendship with
Old South style
Their house in Mountain Brook subdivision has an architectural style reminiscent of
homes in Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia. The exterior features
Cypress Point brick, along with Peppercorn and Chelsea Gray siding. Pebble Hill
designed the propane gas lanterns that spread a soft aura like those homes in the Low
Country on the home’s porch and entryway.
The lanterns are Mary’s favorite feature. “After living in Charleston, it was abundantly
clear that the gas lantern was a symbol of hospitality. We wanted to bring this hospitality
to our home and neighborhood,” she said. “The perpetually-burning lantern is a
welcome reminder that all are welcome at the Carleton home!”
Claiming his “cave”
The three-bedroom house has four bathrooms and a total of 3,039 square feet. Don’t
forget to add in 533 square feet for the bonus room – also known as Larry’s man cave.
For the man cave, Michael Johnson with Mozaic Audio Video & Integration of Madison
designed the AV & Smart Home System. “Larry views sports, sports and more sports
with a 75-inch television and four 50-inch TVs flanking,” Mary said.
The house is being converted to a “smart home,” with surround sound speakers and
app-compatible features, like security cameras and lighting.
Hardwood and tile cover the floors. Adhering to Craftsman tradition, trim and crown
molding are painted bright white. Mary and Larry chose paint hues from Sherwin
Williams, including Tony Taupe in the living area, Gray Frost in master bedroom and
Rain for master bath.
Each room has function
“Our home does not feature an open floor plan, as is the current trend in homes. Our
living room is completely separate from the kitchen/dining area,” Mary said.
In the kitchen, Shaker-style cabinets are Dover White. The backsplash uses brick
contrasted with ceramic tiles in cream. They selected Napoli granite for the countertops,
while faucets use a striking finish of Venetian bronze. Black, stainless-steel appliances
and a Hickory island and hood vent complete the plan.
A relaxing oasis awaits in the master bath, with double showerheads in the walk-in
shower of slate gray tiles, matching the room’s floor finish. Sea-green tiles line the
shower floor. Again from Sherwin Williams, the Carletons chose Rain as color
foundation, along with a white granite countertop by Viscount.
A peaceful oasis
“The yard is my refuge,”; Mary said. “I love flowers and don’t mind doing the work to
create an outdoor oasis. Larry, however, will stick to mowing and enjoy the fruits of my
“The front porch is the most important room in the house. I can watch the grandkids on
the big front yard, see my neighbors and enjoy the afternoon sunshine,”; Mary said.
“Mountain Brook neighbors are the best in Madison – super friendly and always willing
to share their time while walking their dogs.”
The Carletons plan to transform their pie-shaped backyard into an English garden with
Larry works as safety manager for Redstone Test Center of Five Stones Research
Corporation. A “perpetual volunteer,” Mary serves as religious education coordinator at
Bicentennial Chapel on Redstone Arsenal and volunteer coordinator of Redstone
Arsenal Military and Civilians Club.
“Our home has a lot of military patronage. Both our fathers served in the military, and
Larry served 24 years. Our American pride runs deep here,” Mary said.
Their daughter Kaitlin and husband Shane Kiley live in Madison. Son Sean recently
graduated from a master's program at New York University. Cassidy attends Calhoun
Community College and will transfer to Athens State University.
Larry and Mary’s grandchildren are Thomas, Aubrey Anne and Laila Grace.