“I believe that your home tells a story, and I design spaces that tell this story in an intentional and beautiful way,” says Ragan Wesson, a Birmingham interiors expert who designs homes that are unique and affordable. The concept of storytelling is central in Ragan’s work. When it came to creating a home for her family, the goal was to utilize sentimental and meaningful items that tell her story. “A lot of the pieces in my home were inherited or purchased at a thrift store or an antique mall, and there is a story behind almost everything I own,” she explains. “I started with a clean, simple canvas of neutral and earthy tones to make the house warm and inviting and layer pieces on top.” 

The designer demonstrates her knack for storytelling and showcases her interior design method with the 1950s ranch-style home she and her husband purchased last fall. As a family of four, they were delighted to find a home in a choice Homewood neighborhood, and they got to work immediately with easy fixes: freshening up the interiors, scraping the popcorn ceilings, replacing light fixtures and painting while maintaining the home’s original character. Thanks to large rooms and a livable layout, the house only required decorative upgrades. When it came time for furnishings, Ragan selected pieces from her collection that she has been building for many years.

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Dining room table and chairs in Ragan Wesson's Birmingham home

Interior designer Ragan Wesson believes that good interiors can be achievable and affordable. Her favorite trick is finding reasonably priced pieces to pair with family heirlooms. A large table, which Ragan found on Facebook Marketplace, fills the oversized dining room in her family home.

Antique desk in Ragan Wesson's Birmingham home

The dining room serves more than one purpose — it hosts large family gatherings and doubles as a workstation. Ragan turned to friend and local antique hunter, Makenzi Tew, for the desk in the dining room.

“I like to help people think of ways to repurpose pieces that are sentimental. These pieces bring a touch of history and can be paired with modern pieces to keep them fresh.” In the main living area, a buffet that belonged to her great-grandfather was repurposed into an entertainment console. Her childhood twin beds now live in her older daughter’s room, and a cabinet from her great-great-grandfather occupies her youngest daughter’s room. Ragan built the breakfast area around a table that has been in the family for years, and small pieces from antique malls and thrifting trips are peppered into every space. Custom upholstery and locally sourced rugs are the final touches. With a new coat of paint and thoughtfully chosen furnishings, the result is livable interiors with a collection of treasured pieces that give a glimpse into the story of the Wesson family. 

Breakfast room with views of great room

The kitchen and breakfast room opens to the great room, where the family spends most of their time. The breakfast table is a family heirloom that was refinished and paired with modern chairs.

Main living room with bookshelves of personal items in Ragan Wesson's Birmingham home

In addition to the main living room, the house boasts a formal living room with a set of bookshelves that hold personal items, including books that Ragan and her husband love to read and their collection of blue and white pieces. “I tell all clients to put bookshelves in their house because it is an easy way to tell a story,” Ragan shares.

Fireplace in formal living room

The fireplace in the formal living room is original to the home, and it showcases the character of the space without looking dated.

Child's bedroom in Ragan Wesson's Birmingham home

Her older daughter sleeps in the twin beds from Ragan’s childhood home. Behind the beds, Ragan hung drapery to give the allusion of more windows in the space. The DIY project softens the design. Much of the upholstery work in the house was done by Ragan’s mother, the owner of Brock Custom Interiors.

Rocking horse from Sozo Trading Co.

Our favorite feature in the nursery is neither the iron crib nor the China cabinet from Ragan’s great-great-grandfather, but the rocking horse she discovered at Sozo Trading Co., a local thrift store.

Master bedroom in Ragan Wesson's Birmingham home

Would you believe that Ragan found the side table in her master bedroom on the side of the road? She loaded it into her car, and it perfectly fits the décor without needing even a paint job. “I am always on the hunt, and if I see something I love, I buy it or get it. When I am looking, I always stick to a color scheme or a theme,” Ragan says of looking for pieces to add to her growing collection.

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In addition to using interior design to tell homeowners’ stories, Ragan is enthusiastic about demystifying the world of interior design. “There seems to be a lot of mystery around interior design, and I am working very hard to refine my process so clients know exactly what the timeline and budget for a project will look like,” the designer explains. Because Ragan didn’t receive formal training for interior design, she has a fresh perspective of the industry. Her interiors anchor her to the past and present of her family, and the chosen pieces tell their story. Her choices reflect her style and helped her better her interior design process — now, she is ready to bring this level of design into other homes that have a story to tell. 

See more Ragan Wesson Interiors projects HERE. All photography by Shelby Young.

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