Story: Jennifer Bonds | Styling: Mandy Keener |
A cohesive color scheme, smart design plan and fun flourishes transform a small Heights bungalow into a space that lives large
The exterior of this charming post-war cottage is a hint of what is to come inside: a classic home that has been refreshed to function in today’s more casual style. To give the home its new life, owner Donna Barnett enlisted the help of her friend Kevin Walsh of Bear-Hill Interiors. “The house is a typical Heights bungalow,” says Walsh. “It has great appeal, and we just needed to update the plan and add a more suitable master suite.”
In a “shotgun house” fashion, the front door originally opened to the living room, with the dining room beyond and then—through a small door—the kitchen. “The house had good bones,” says Walsh, “but we wanted to give it a more open floor plan for entertaining by creating larger spaces with lots of natural light.”
To do so, Walsh called for a cased passageway between the living and dining rooms and opened the kitchen completely, stealing some square footage from an awkwardly placed master bedroom. Next, he created a new master suite behind the kitchen in what was previously a family room addition. “Now, instead of numerous small rooms, it feels as if you are in a large home,” he notes.
To help the open spaces feel cohesive, a soft palette of blues, greens, and grays permeates throughout the home. The original hardwood floors were refinished in a lighter shade—a smart choice for a home with two dogs and two cats—and the walls in the open rooms are painted the same pale gray. “In small spaces, it is important not to stop the eye,” says Walsh of the careful color scheme.
In the dining area, a vintage table and chairs wear a new paint treatment by Angelfish Studios, and sit beneath a dramatic capiz-shell chandelier. Aqua blue draperies are continued from the living room for a familiar repetition that cadences throughout the space. A mother of three young-adult sons, Barnett went for a decidedly more feminine feel in this home. “She has a casual personality, and is always in a good mood, so I wanted to keep things light, airy and bright,” Walsh says of his client.
The kitchen joins the dining space at the peninsula, where Lucite stools provide a modern touch. In designing the cabinets, Walsh and Barnett worked with Doug Duke of Duke Custom Cabinets to be sure that no inch of space went to waste. “She really did her homework, starting by taking inventory of everything in her kitchen and figuring out how she wanted it to work,” says Walsh of Barnett’s integrated role. “When you’re working with limited square footage and storage, it’s necessary to edit everything down and only use what you absolutely need.”
The result is a kitchen equipped with different zones, each created for a specific purpose. For example, the island is the baking zone: its cabinetry holds baking supplies and includes electrical outlets for small appliances. For prep work a second sink comes in handy and keeps the main sink ready for dishes. What’s more, the peninsula hides a printer and file cabinets, and with the addition of a laptop, is a fully functional work area.
When it’s time to relax at the end of the day, Barnett can head through a set of vintage doors to the new master suite, which occupies what was once a family room. Here, she also has access to the backyard thanks to a set of French doors, which allow abundant natural light into the room. The same palette of grays carries over from the front of the home by way of an upholstered bed by Lee Industries and custom draperies. A pair of slipper chairs Barnett owned was recovered in a vibrant green, and two ceramic lamps were commissioned to coordinate.
Her adjoining bath is clad in marble and features a double vanity, a walk-in shower with glass doors and a unique sunken tub. To provide a burst of color against the neutral backdrop, Walsh added feminine, orchid-hued silk shades. The sconces and cabinet hardware are a mix of polished nickel and Lucite, a reference to the bar stools in the kitchen, as well as an allusion to the repetition of color, materials and finishes throughout the home.
In a similar manner, the guest bedroom features a Moroccan-style lantern inspired by a deeper version of the home’s blue and neutral palette. Simple bedding and sleek accessories keep the look clean. The hall bath—which serves the homeowner’s sons and guests—has a more masculine feel, with a graphic wall covering from Schumacher and a floor-to-ceiling linen shower curtain. By keeping the color palette restrained, maximizing each square inch and repeating unifying design elements throughout the home, what once felt like a small home now lives quite large.
Interior design Kevin Walsh, Bear-Hill Interiors, (501) 907-9272, bearhillinteriors.com
Accessories, bedding, fabrics, furniture, lighting, rugs and wallpaper Bear-Hill Interiors, Little Rock, (501) 907-9272, bearhillinteriors.com
Appliances Metro Appliances & More, Jonesboro, (870) 933-7800, North Little Rock, (501) 758-1988, Springdale, (479) 750-2200, metroappliancesandmore.com
Cabinets—kitchen Duke Custom Cabinets, Roland, (501) 868-8111, dukecustomcabinets.com
Countertops—kitchen Arkansas Granite & More, Benton, (501) 315-4500, argrmore.com
Draperies Mountjoy’s Custom Draperies, Mabelvale, (501) 455-2216
Fixtures—kitchen Falk Plumbing Supply, North Little Rock, (501) 613-0953, falksupplylittlerock.com
Fresh floral Tipton Hurst, Conway, (501) 329-6663, Little Rock, (501) 666-3333, North Little Rock, (501) 753-0709, tiptonhurst.com
Painting—decorative Angelfish Studios, Little Rock, (501) 960-4826, angelfishstudios.net
Tile—kitchen and backsplash Elder Distributing, North Little Rock, (501) 758-4170, elderdistributing.com