Arkansas’ Best New Home Interior: Mike and Robin Cohea, Greenwood

Styling: Diane Carroll  |  

The Goal:

Build a comfortable, customized residence as a gathering place for their family of five, which includes two sons currently deployed to Afghanistan and their youngest son who resides at home. “I envisioned it as a traditional house built with classic materials,” says Robin, “a place that would welcome family and friends and where each room would feel unique and special.”


What they did:

Having worked in the construction industry for more than 20 years, Mike has a base of experience that served the couple well in designing and building their own place. Robin, an avid magazine reader and avowed home interiors fanatic, drew from her extensive ideas file and devised a preliminary floor plan that the couple then had an architect render. 

“My starting point was a grand entry way, where you would walk in the front door and see through the house,” says Robin. She connected the main living areas to the entry hallway for an easy room-to-room flow while entertaining and created an open family room and kitchen combination.

Robin kept a design notebook for each room, detailing surface treatments, furnishings, lighting and other elements. “My goal was to make each room feel like it’s our favorite, giving every space full attention and custom treatments,” she adds. In the library, that included alder wood paneling and a vintage-inspired ladder for reaching books on the top shelves. In the entry area, an arched ceiling clad in brick pavers, a limestone floor and stone doorways added substance. Similarly, in the kitchen and family room, brick accent walls and a coffered millwork ceiling carried through the traditional, cozy concept Robin had in mind. 


The biggest challenge:

“Envisioning the look and then being able to bring it to life,” she says. She used visuals to convey her ideas to the construction team. “I showed them lots and lots of pictures, which meant lots and lots of research,” adds the design aficionado, who says she relished the task.


Their favorite part:

Finishing their new home in time to host a party commemorating Robin’s parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, which coincided with her father’s 75th birthday. “We’ve been opening our doors and sharing our home with the community, family and friends ever since,” she says.


What the judges loved:

The custom details, from the “use of brick, wood and stone to add some age and substance” says Tobi Fairley, to the fact that the Coheas “paid attention to the ceilings, which are often overlooked,” adds Sandy Sutton. 

Design Resources

Appliances Metro Appliances & More, Springdale

Audio Burgess Communications, Greenwood

Brick-kitchen Acme Brick Co., Fort Smith

Brick pavers-foyer Boral Brick Inc., Lowell

Carpet Alford’s House of Carpets, Fort Smith

Lighting Lites, Etc., Fort Smith

Paint Pittsburgh Paints, locations statewide

Range hood Scamardo Metal Fabricators Inc., Fort Smith

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