Gracious Through the Years

Story: Interview by Paulette Pearson  |   Styling: Mandy Keener  |  

At Home in Arkansas:

This home in Little Rock’s Edgehill neighborhood has a rich history.


Kevin Walsh of Bear-Hill Interiors:

It’s a historic home designed by the well-known architect Max Mayer and built in 1929—the first in the neighborhood. The homeowners [Stephen and Wendy LaFrance] actually have a book about it that’s been passed down from owner to owner, so we could see how it looked from the beginning. There are old aerial photographs of it surrounded by nothing but land.

AHIA: How did its history influence the changes you made?


KW: We added on 1,500 square feet, including the kitchen. We touched just about everything. That being said, we wanted to keep it historically correct, not make it something it wasn’t intended to be. I brought in vintage and antique pieces so it would feel collected over time and less new. I also tried to match things that already existed, like door trim and casings in the living room that correspond to the shape of the fireplace. We replaced the windows, shutters and front door, but used the exact style of the original windows. We imitated images we had of the original light fixtures in many of the rooms. Years ago, there was even hand-painted wallpaper in the dining room, as there is now.


AHIA: Speaking of that dining room wallpaper…


KW: It was at the top of Wendy’s wish list. She found this hand-painted wallpaper from Gracie, which allows you to completely customize it. Wendy loves birds, which are in the design, and I wanted a light background so the pattern would stand out.


AHIA: The room has a sense of history yet feels current. Was that a design goal?


KW: We kept the house super traditional but with a little bit of a modern edge, light and fresh and not overly decorated. It has a reflective quality, through things like mirrored surfaces and beaded accent pillows. Just like Wendy’s personality, it sparkles.


AHIA: And yet it all combines seamlessly with Stephen’s more masculine spaces.


KW: I like a cohesive look. The home’s color palette ranges from cream and blue to gray, black and white. Stephen wanted a more masculine look in his rooms, so we gave him an oak-paneled study, and it ties back in because of the black marble fireplace surround. Now they have the best of both worlds. The living and dining rooms are beautiful and feminine for formal entertaining, and the study is a great place for the guys to gather and watch TV.


AHIA: In what way is the kitchen conducive to entertaining large crowds?

KW: It has every modern amenity known to man—a six-burner range, griddle, double ovens, deep fryer, warming drawers, refrigerated drawers, even a brick wood-burning pizza oven. It also has the best candy drawer in town.


AHIA: Two words describe the master bedroom: tranquil and serene.


KW: It’s actually Stephen’s favorite room, because it’s a great place for him to rest. The wall color is Sherwin-Williams’ Silverpointe, a grayish green blue. I like a grayish tint rather than super clear colors, because it’s softer and a little more dreamy. The window treatments are a gorgeous silk, and we added molding and changed the surround on the fireplace, which was too plain before, to make it feel special.


AHIA: Overall, this project seems right up your alley.


KW: I personally love the house. It’s one of those homes that is classically traditional and glamorous at the same time. The fact that it’s so beautiful made decorating it easy.


Design Resources

Architect Polk Stanley Rowland Curzon Porter Architects, Ltd., Little Rock

Builder Wayne Moore Construction, Little Rock

Interior design, fabric, flooring, floral design, furnishings, lighting Bear-Hill Interiors, Little Rock

Landscape design Morris & Chappell Landscaping, Little Rock

Accessories Clement, Fabulous Finds, Marshall Clements, Trianon Antiques, Little Rock

Appliances Metro Builders Supply, North Little Rock

Art Boswell Mourot Fine Art, Little Rock

Countertops All Natural Stone, Little Rock

Decorative furniture finishes Bruckman Studios, Little Rock

Flooring Abbey Carpet, C&F Carpet and Flooring, Hadidi Oriental Rug Company, Little Rock

Furnishings I-40 Antique Center, Marshall Clements, Roy Dudley Antiques, Trianon Antiques, Little Rock

Hardware PC Hardware, Little Rock

Lighting Bath House Row Antiques, Hot Springs; Ellen Golden Antiques, I-40 Antique Center, Lamp Shades Etc., Little Rock

Plumbing fixtures Falk Plumbing Supply, North Little Rock

Tile Elder Distributing, North Little Rock

Window treatments Mountjoy’s Custom Draperies, Mabelvale

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