By LAURA CANTERBURY
We have all heard about the fabulous house at 2965 Briarcliff Road on the choice lot with more than five acres and, yes, a three-hole golf course. The Thomas E. Jernigan home is for sale and is currently available for tours for the Decorators’ ShowHouse April 30-May 15. I think it would be worth the visit just to see the amazing views from up there. Every house has a beginning, and the fabulous house on Briarcliff is no exception.
The home was built in 1966, the sock hop days where the average income per year was $7,000. You could buy a new house for $14,000, and the price at the pump was 32 cents. It was the year of the Beatles and, as all Alabama fans remember, the year of the uncrowned champions where the march to the title ended at the Sugar Bowl game.
George M. Rust designed and built the Briarcliff house that year and lived there with his wife, Helen, until 1978. Rust, a mechanical engineer who graduated from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, spent many afternoons surveying the property with his son, Hank, who remembers the chigger bites more than the surveying. Rust spent the 12 years prior designing and working on the layout of this house. Brice Construction began the building on the house, which took one year of construction. The cost of building the home was approximately $1.6 million in 1966.
There was always heavy security during the construction process around the perimeter of the property, especially at night. When the house was completed, it was the largest in the state of Alabama at the time. It was Six Flags over Briarcliff, as cars and buses paraded by to get a glimpse from the road. The house was more visible back then than it is today. It hosted many dignitaries, such as governors, senators and even then California governor Ronald Regan. With so much history, you don’t want to miss it on the Showhouse Tour.
The house was fully renovated eight years ago. It now includes five bedrooms, six full baths, four half baths, three-hole golf course (Bent Grass Greens), a brick driveway, fountain, spa with steam shower, pool with rock waterfall, playground, exercise room, media room, game room, music room, security system with cameras, custom marble and hardwood flooring, five Italian marble fireplaces, recessed dome ceiling with lighting in dining room and a covered porch overlooking golf course. The fully renovated kitchen boosts top-of-the-line appliances, granite, custom built-ins and an extra large pantry. The master bedroom and two-car garage are both on the main level.
The 25 decorated areas of the 2011 Decorators’ ShowHouse are open daily April 30-May 15. Tickets are $15 or $20 for groups of 20 or more. Proceeds benefit the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. Shuttle transportation is available from Mountain Brook Community Church on Highway 280, and tickets are available at select Birmingham retail stores. For more information on visiting the ShowHouse, visit www.showhouse-al.com. For more information on purchasing the house, contact Stephanie Robinson at RealtySouth at 870-5420.