Story: Katie Cooper | Photography: Rett Peek |
A mother-daughter design team updates a quaint Hillcrest kitchen to make it function for a busy family
Picturesque homes with historic architecture and charming details are what make the Little Rock neighborhood of Hillcrest a popular, sought-after area. With the beauty of these homes sometimes comes the sacrifice of space. When Melody and Judge Chris Piazza set out to renovate their Hillcrest kitchen, they shared the following wish list with Mara Lamb Malcolm and Retha Lamb of Lamb’s Interior Design: better flow, additional storage, updated surfaces, and a central gathering area.
“This is a busy family and they often entertain,” Malcolm says. “They wanted to keep the cozy feel of the kitchen—particularly the small breakfast area where they share meals with their son—but we needed to improve the flow and cohesiveness of the space.” To accomplish this, the design team reworked the space while still honoring its original integrity.
“The layout of the kitchen was our jumping off point,” Malcolm says. The design team knew they needed to better utilize the square footage of the kitchen and breakfast room in order for it to function in a more efficient fashion. “Mom is truly a space genius—she suggested we remove the wide island, and replace it with a long, narrow option,” Malcolm says of the planning process. They called on Nick Turchi from Kitchen and Bath Ideas to help execute these plans. The reconfigured island with an extended countertop now allows for additional bar seating when needed. The trio then decided to construct a large dining bar in the adjoining breakfast space. “This piece most impacted the function of the kitchen,” Malcolm says. Upholstered stools with nail-head trim are arranged around the built-in, bar-height table that mimics the kitchen cabinetry and its countertop—a unique alternative to the traditional table-and-chairs setup. “Carrying the cabinetry and surfaces into this previously distinct breakfast space not only increased the overall size of the kitchen but also created new dining options and tons of space for entertaining buffet-style or the occasional school project,” Malcolm says of the multi-use structure, which features strategically placed electrical outlets that allow for computers or blenders depending on the function.
A Roman shade featuring an Eastern-influenced print (“Luzon” from Thibaut’s Enchantment Collection) hangs above the window at the sink, bringing in personality and a color way of gray, black, white, and gold that ties in with the rest of the home. The large windowsill is the perfect spot for fresh picked Arkansas tomatoes and peaches. “This is my favorite part of the kitchen,” Malcolm says. “Arkansas produce framed with beautiful textiles against a marble backsplash—that’s as good as it gets.”
Overall, the design of the Piazza kitchen keeps with Lamb’s signature style—casual elegance. “We used upscale finishes and details that meld seamlessly with the historic architecture,” Malcolm says. White recessed cabinets line the perimeter and contrast with the original wood floors which Turchi notes were restored by sanding and restaining. Marble beveled subway tile on the backsplash adds texture and interest and also ties in with the gray veining on the quartz countertops. “Respecting the historic nature of this home was paramount. Its beauty is due in large part to its simplicity,” Malcolm concludes.
Interior design Retha Lamb and Mara Lamb Malcolm, Lamb’s Interior Design
Kitchen design Nick Turchi, Kitchen & Bath Ideas and Retha Lamb and Mara Lamb Malcolm, Lamb’s Interior Design
Cabinetry, countertops, and tile Kitchen & Bath Ideas
Hardware PC Hardware
Window coverings Lamb’s Interior Design