A Wish for Whimsy

Story: Taylor Bowers  |   Styling: Mandy Keener  |  

As an illustrator of children’s books, Melanie Siegel is a pro at creating colorful, whimsical images. When she and her husband, Bill, began the process of building a home in The Village at Hendrix in Conway, they envisioned a kitchen full of the color and whimsy that are Melanie’s hallmarks. With the help of builders Bret and Jennifer Franks of Bret Franks Construction, Melanie now has a space filled with the elements she loves.


“I work in the children’s industry,” says Melanie, relating her illustration style to her penchant for lighthearted, colorful design. “I don’t draw anything too serious,” she adds, “it has to be fun.” Fun is how she describes her kitchen, from the brightly tiled backsplash to the numbered clay knobs on the cabinets and the lettered pulls on the drawers. “I like surprises, and I love numbers and letters,” Melanie explains.

The catalyst for the entire design, Melanie says, was the backsplash, which features tile she and her husband found and personally installed. “When I saw that tile, I knew that was it,” she says. “It determined everything in the kitchen, and the colors spread throughout the house.” She chose soft gray cabinets and simple white walls to create a subtle contrast to the tile’s mix of hues, which include bright orange, aqua and green.


Melanie is also fond of airy, inviting spaces, which influenced the glass cabinets and open shelving in the kitchen island. “It helps the kitchen look larger, and the glass gives it a nice sparkle,” she says. Though she first planned to use vintage glass with inset chicken wire, she discovered more affordable safety glass—something she says the glass company had never used in a kitchen. “I took a chance, and I’m so happy with it,” says Melanie.


The couple’s new home is also Energy Star rated, with energy-efficient appliances in the kitchen as well as green building practices the Frankses implemented throughout the home’s construction. The kitchen has already proved to be a functional space capable of handling a family gathering, with Melanie and Bill hosting Thanksgiving just five days after moving in. “We had 13 people for dinner, and the space really showed its efficiency,” says Melanie.


Designing much of the kitchen provided Melanie with more than a chance to expend her artistic skills—she learned that she truly enjoys home design. “I learned to believe in myself and take chances,” she says, “and that’s inspiring.”


Design Resources

Builder Bret Franks Construction, Inc., Little Rock, (501) 680-1238, bretfranks.com

Cabinetry James Hardman, North Little Rock, (501) 960-8231

Draftsman Clint Aguiar, Little Rock, (501) 951-1285


Countertops The Little Rock Flooring Company, Little Rock, (501) 868-3633, littlerockflooringcompany.com 

Fabrics Hancock Fabrics, locations statewide, hancockfabrics.com; The Warp and Woof, Conway, (501) 932-0300, warpandwoof-fabrics.com

Flooring installation, windows Lumber One, Mayflower, (501) 470-1122; Stuttgart, (870) 673-3601; lumberonehomecenter.com

Glass Custom Glass, Conway, (501) 328-0088, customglass501.com

Leather straps—mudroom Conway Farm and Home Supply, Inc., Conway, (501) 329-6395

Lighting ProBuilder Supply, LLC, Little Rock, (501) 945-0113, probuildersupplyllc.com

Paint Sherwin-Williams, locations statewide, sherwin-williams.com


Efficiency Expert: A well-organized Fayetteville kitchen combines cooking, entertaining and work areas within one stylish space

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