Story: Katie Cooper | Photography: Rett Peek |
A Little Rock mom creates a truly custom home in the Heights for her young family to enjoy
When undergoing a new construction or renovation project, there is always the temptation to keep close tabs on the progress and a wish to witness the sketch of a blueprint turn into a reality. When a Little Rock couple decided it was time to build a new home for their young family, this mother put her thoughts to paper and began envisioning the ideal space. “With three dogs, the amount of stuff that comes along with a toddler, and hopes of having more children, we decided we were in need of more space. We knew we wanted to stay in the same neighborhood, so we started coming up with a wish list and it took off from there. From sketching the floor plan on graph paper and working with a draftsman to finish it up to stopping by the house at least twice a day, I was hands-on throughout the entire process,” the homeowner says. And with construction happening just around the corner from their existing home, she and her husband had a front-row seat to the transformation. Read on to see just how this dedicated dreamer’s vision came to life.
Trusting the Vision
After doing plenty of research, pulling photos from Pinterest, and pouring over dozens of house plans, the homeowner, who has no formal design training, trusted her instincts and opted to take the lead on building their dream home. “My husband let me make decisions on just about everything. He could very well be the easiest person to build a house with!” she says. As the homeowner attests, going it alone leaves plenty of opportunity to second guess choices made along the way. She called on friend and designer Elaine Green for help when the project’s scale grew. “She reassured me I was making good decisions and helped me with curtains and lighting. And in the last few weeks when I started to feel very overwhelmed, she became my sounding board and kept me sane,” she describes. “She helped me finish this project strong, and I am so grateful she did.”
Room to Roam
“I knew I wanted a white house from the beginning. There is something so classic but fresh about a white house. For the exterior, I wanted it to feel like a family home and to have a simple, somewhat casual look with pretty features like window boxes, a climbing-rose-bush pergola over the garage, and a camellia-lined picket fence,” the homeowner says.
Upon entering the picturesque two-story, the open and airy style is immediately introduced through neutral furnishings, weathered-wood finishes, touches of pastel, and an ample amount of natural light peering through a wall of French doors. In the open living-dining combo, a formal living area—one of two living rooms in the home—is centered on a stone fireplace.
A Clean Approach
Like many homes, the kitchen is the central space and heart of the home. Once again, the homeowner’s personal touch turned this room into a unique dwelling. “I drew out what I wanted and made a list of special features. Tyler Turchi with Kitchen & Bath Ideas brought it together for me,” she says. The large granite-topped island with hidden storage serves as both a space for cooking and dining, while gold metallic light fixtures hang above to add drama and contrast in the neutral kitchen. “I love the kitchen. There is so much storage space. I tend to always be collecting plates and napkins that I love, so I am always in need of more storage. And the extra large island makes for a great landing space when we are entertaining,” she says. The same material, Neolith’s Calacatta in a matte finish, was used for the island countertop as well as the backsplash. Paneled doors that match the cabinetry disguise the refrigerator and other appliances while furthering the light and airy palette. “It was fun to think of clever ideas for the kitchen,” the homeowner notes. Although an all-white kitchen may seem like a daunting idea with little ones, durable finishes and slipcovered barstools keep it functional.
During the planning process the couple learned they were expecting a new arrival. With a second boy on the way, a space for the kids became a priority. A downstairs playroom, located just off the kitchen and its adjoining casual living area, is packed with cozy bean bag chairs, storage for toys, bright pillows, and a television. “A must-have was a playroom on the first floor off of our main kitchen and living space. I am a picker-upper, so there have been times I have let the playroom stay a mess. Since it is somewhat out of sight, I am able to leave it be and still get a goodnight’s rest,” she laughs. Other kid-friendly spaces include an upstairs playroom and a colorful animal-themed bedroom for their oldest son. A special nursery was lovingly created for their newest addition. Installed by both mom and big brother-to-be, removable wall decals in modern triangular shapes add a graphic element to the walls. As the boys get older they will share the upstairs hall bathroom, which features a navy vanity and shiplap walls. Through its Southern charm and special touches, this handcrafted home is a haven for adults and kids alike.
Contractor Boyce Holmes, HBH Builders
Draftsman Jason Barnett
Interior design consultant Elaine Green, Wonderful Things
Kitchen design Tyler Turchi, Kitchen & Bath Ideas
Landscape design Better Lawns & Gardens
Cabinets—kitchen Kitchen & Bath Ideas
Cabinets—bathroom Fason Cabinets
Carpet, flooring, and tile Carpet Barn
Countertops and backsplash All Natural Stone
Lighting Light Innovations
Paint Benjamin Moore
Painting Keith Holland Painting
Pool Jamey Rough, R&R Pools and Service
Tile—kitchen All Natural Stone
Windows Ridout Lumber
Window coverings Larry Ingle