Room Refresher

Story: Tiffany Burgess  |  

After living in their West Little Rock home for nearly 10 years, Wayne and Clair Alley were ready for a new look in the most-used area of their home—a blended-space living room and kitchen. With two of their four children away at college, the couple knew the updates should be practical, encourage spending time together, and offer plenty of seating for friends and extended family. They turned to Little Rock-based designer Tobi Fairley to create a contemporary retreat. Here’s how she pulled the look together.



1. Fairley began with a paisley print for the draperies and then selected coordinating patterns in similar colors to create a refreshing, serene environment. “I wanted the space to be an inviting and relaxing area with little visual noise,” she says.


2. Replacing the existing ceramic tile with traditional hardwoods grounded the design and unified the living area with the kitchen. A soft rug adds a cozy touch.


3. A loveseat and a sofa in coordinating hues invite the family to relax with the Sunday paper or share the details of the day. A pair of blue swivel chairs turns to face the TV or the conversation area—depending on where the action is happening.


4. A crisp khaki color (Sherwin-Williams’ Relaxed Khaki 6149; trim is Sherwin-Williams’ Panda White 6147) covers the walls and serves as a neutral backdrop for the fabric and furnishings in varying shades of blue and green.


5. No piece is more versatile than the mobile ottoman, which serves as a coffee table (thanks to a tray insert), footrest and extra seating for large gatherings.


6. Removing a bulky entertainment center opened up space for additional seating. Relocating the television to the other end of the room kept the conversation area free of distractions.




1. A custom banquette, built by Winfield Cabinets, eliminated the need for a large, formal dining table and builds on the relaxed feel of the rooms. “The kids always fight over who gets to sit in the booth,” says Clair.


2. Fairley added a row of glass-front cabinets to the top of existing wall units to heighten the visual appeal and provide additional storage. Keeping some of the existing cabinetry and many of the appliances netted budget savings.


3. Glazed ceramic tiles from Walker Zanger updated the backsplash and added a touch of polished sheen to the décor.


4. The one change to the layout was removing an awkwardly shaped island in favor of a rectangular, symmetrical version. This created a better traffic flow and gave the Alleys more counter space.


5. Fairley swapped dated fixtures for large, contemporary drum shade pendants.



Fairley had the cabinetry around the desk area enhanced to create a larger workspace as well as additional pantry and storage areas. Adding glass doors dressed up the open shelves. (Cabinetry base color is Sherwin-Williams’ Wool Skein 6148, plus a faux-finish glaze.)


Design Resources

Interior design Tobi Fairley Interior Design, Little Rock

Banquette Howard’s Upholstery Shop, Little Rock

Cabinetry glaze Janet Canalichio, Little Rock

Cabinetry renovation Winfield Cabinets, Benton

Countertops Arkansas Stone Importers, Little Rock

Floors Foster Attison Flooring, North Little Rock

Tile Knoedl Tile Company, Little Rock

Window treatments Mountjoy’s Custom Draperies, Mabelvale

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