Designer Heather Chadduck Hillegas blends modern aesthetics and iconic architecture for a comfortable family retreat at Eden Isle
When it comes to lakeside homes, few Arkansas communities carry the history and ambience that seems to flow naturally at Eden Isle. Located on the banks of Greers Ferry Lake, the small resort has a distinct appearance that radiates from the communal feel of the on-site Red Apple Inn through to condos and, of course, the homes. This character can be attributed in part to inspiration from renowned Arkansas architect E. Fay Jones and many of his colleagues who adhered to his style, which included features such as natural stone, an abundance of light, and breathtaking views of the landscape thanks to numerous windows.
Martha and Chris Robertson are fortunate to own a residence in the Eden Isle community that has all of these elements. Designed by the late Frank McGary, a native of Heber Springs who was inspired by Jones’s style and was very instrumental in developing Eden Isle, the home is iconic of both the resort community and the era in which it was built. However, it was in need of modernization to make it comfortable and livable for the couple and their sons who frequently spend weekends at the lakeside getaway.
As luck would have it, Martha saw a 2012 issue of At Home in Arkansas that featured a similar home in Eden Isle. The house had been completely updated by designer Heather Chadduck Hillegas of Heather Chadduck Interiors and Decoration. “They called me and said they had seen the story and wondered if I might be able to help with their lake house,” Hillegas recalls.
Hillegas, who grew up spending time at Eden Isle and was delighted to work on another project in the community, felt it was important to update the space for the Robertsons’ needs without detracting from the original design and architecture. With this thought in mind, she embraced existing features while lightening the home’s rooms to be both inviting and on-trend. A telltale sign of its architect as well as its authenticity in the area, the home features natural rock, beginning with a feature wall and complementary flooring at the front entry and carrying through to other areas of the home, including a guest bath and the back den. Hillegas left all of this intact and used it to the design’s benefit to create a serene, organic feel. The house—which has three bedrooms and three baths along with a bunkroom—also features what Hillegas refers to as a “reverse board-and-batten treatment” on the walls. Several of the rooms in the home include this paneling detail—another that is emblematic of the home’s era and location—and Hillegas chose to add it in places where it could provide character while keeping with the original design.
In the way of furnishings, the designer notes that “we chose only our very favorite things for this house” to create a pared-down design. “I like for lake houses to feel casual, organized, and uncluttered,” she adds. The look is appreciated by her clients who can drop in to enjoy the space for a weekend without feeling encumbered by an overabundance of accessories or pieces that require upkeep. Additionally, Hillegas chose to infuse the home’s palette with colors that she says “the water and sky respond to,” thus allowing the view to take center stage. “The view is really like something you would see in the Virgin Islands,” the designer says of the sweeping vista of Greers Ferry Lake and Sugarloaf Mountain in the distance. Cream, stone, and blue hues flow throughout the home to complement rather than compete with the lush palette that can be seen outside the home.
With so many amenities one might assume the Robertsons never leave the house when they’re at the getaway; however, as Chris notes, it’s the neighborhood they love the most. “It’s such a laidback community. We enjoy going out on the party barge or sailboat, and we have so many friends here. We’ll go house to house to visit,” he says. “Everything about Eden Isle has a timeless intrigue to it with features that are really limitless.”
Contractor Tony Meredith, Construction Arts of Little Rock
Interior design Heather Chadduck Hillegas, Heather Chadduck Interiors and Decoration, LLC
Accessories, art, bedding, fabrics, fixtures, lighting, mirrors, rugs, wallpaper, and window treatments Heather Chadduck Interiors and Decoration, LLC
Furniture Bear Hill Interiors and Heather Chadduck Interiors and Decoration, LLC
Paint Farrow & Ball and Sherwin-Williams
Window treatments Linda McNeill