Date: December 30, 2018 | Story: Stephanie Maxwell Newton | Photography: Rett Peek |
Designers Andrea Brooks and Ashley Cardiel team up to push the boundaries in a redesign of Brooks’s Fayetteville home
When El Dorado designer Andrea Brooks started looking for a place to call home in Northwest Arkansas, she didn’t envision taking on a large-scale project. “We were really looking at townhouses and condos, something more for going to visit,” Andrea explains, noting that she has one son at the University of Arkansas and one headed there next fall; plus, her mom and sister live in the area, as well. “After looking at a number of options that just didn’t feel right, my sister found a listing that had been under contract but was going back on the market the next day. As soon as I walked in the house the next morning, I said, ‘This is my house!’”
The home’s good bones were its selling point. “Though the house was built in the late ’80s, the owner had a love of classic design; high ceilings, tall moldings, and larger bedrooms reflect that,” Andrea says. Still, there were several updates to be made before she would consider it move-in ready. Andrea enlisted the help of Ashley Cardiel, a Springdale-based designer with whom she’d crossed paths several times at industry events. “I was immediately impressed with her,” Andrea says of Ashley. “She asks intelligent questions and she’s very approachable—and that made a lasting impression on me.” Andrea also remembered a project of Ashley’s she’d seen featured in At Home in Arkansas that had been completed with Taylor Wood of Woodbine Workshop. Their seamless teamwork on that project convinced Andrea she wanted the whole package for her home, and she brought Taylor on board, too.
Because there was so much about the house Andrea already loved, structural changes were minimal. First, they opened up the dining room to the kitchen for an area more conducive to casual dining and entertaining.
They also raised the height of the doorframes to help the spaces flow. There was then the issue of the home’s entrance, which is located on the opposite end of the house from the driveway—a detail that felt awkward and uninviting for visitors. “This house is located on an amazing wooded property that feels isolated even though it’s right in the middle of town,” Andrea says. “It has charming brick walkways around the property, but there was no easy way to access it for guests.” The team remedied this with two sets of French doors in the kitchen, which not only provide an easier entrance for guests, but also let in more much-desired natural light.
For the interiors, Andrea and Ashley knew they wanted to go big. “Early on in the process we agreed to be vulnerable; there would be no bad ideas,” Ashley says. “Not all of our ideas made it to the final execution, but we challenged each other to always push ourselves creatively and at least share ideas aloud.” Starting with Andrea’s art and her love of color, the duo quickly landed on the term “aristo-boho” to describe the project. “It’s the marriage of preppy, aristocratic colors and textures with the art and accessories of a more bohemian traveler,” Ashley explains.
Part of the success of the project was in seeing Andrea’s furniture and art— most of which she’s collected over time—come to life in a new way. “I’ve always been a huge proponent of collaborating on projects,” Andrea says. “In our own homes, sometimes we get in a design rut or see our collections in only one way. I work best when I can bounce ideas off someone else and see design through another creative’s lens.”
“Andrea is a force to reckon with on all things color and textile, and I tend to focus more on texture and scale in a more neutral palette, so she pushed me to grow in that,” Ashley says. “Taylor pushed the envelope and explored some finishing techniques we hadn’t necessarily seen executed before. Our strengths really complemented one another through this collaboration, and I think it was a stronger project because of that.”
“We started with the idea of a black and white tile in the entry to offset all the color of the spaces beyond, then we took it to the next level with a bold black front door,” Ashley says. Contractor Taylor Wood worked with Andrea onsite to create the pediment overhead. “He had tracing paper and we adjusted height and scale until we got it right,” Andrea says.
Be Our Guests
The table in the dining area once belonged to Andrea’s parents. Four vintage chairs, recovered in a Kravet performance fabric so they wipe clean easily, complement the heirloom. A built-in furniture piece on the far wall stores a television and kitchen appliances and also incorporates one of Andrea’s favorite design elements, a Greek key motif. Opposite this piece, two sets of French doors are painted a happy pink hue on the outside, offering an informal, welcoming entrance for visitors.
While much of the home boasts bold color choices and layers of pattern, the designers chose to tone down the palette in the kitchen, opting for Benjamin Moore’s “Marilyn’s Dress” on the walls and white cabinets. “The kitchen was a lot more about subtle details,” Ashley says, noting the veining of the Calacatta Gold marble, the edge detail on the island, lacquered brass faucet, and heavier molding on the cabinets under the island.
Across from the kitchen, a bathroom found new life as a high-style butler’s pantry. By removing a shower and closing off the water closet, the design team was able to convert the other half of this space into a wet bar and storage. Chinoiserie-inspired glass-front cabinets and a saturated, high-lacquer berry hue create what Ashley calls a “jewel-box experience” for guests passing through on their way to the new powder bath.
“It’s maximalism done right. There are layers of thoughtful design details everywhere you look, but it lands just shy of feeling overworked.”
— Ashley Cardiel, designer
In the living room, a rustic fireplace was replaced with a marble surround that echoes the black-and-white entryway and a mantel that suits the style of the house. While Andrea was able to use much of her existing furniture and collections in this new house, she and Ashley did so in sometimes unexpected ways; for example, the orange mirror in one corner used to hang in her son’s room. “Not everything in that space is high-brow, but it shows that early on, if you commit to things you love and stay true to yourself, over time you will end up with a beautiful collection,” Ashley says.
“When I first met her, I remember thinking she was so high-energy and bubbly—I was like, I want to hang out with her! And I looked up to her tremendously,” Ashley says of Andrea. “When she called and I realized she was looking to hire me, I was so honored.”
Previous homeowners enclosed one bay of the three-car garage, and Andrea decided to dedicate this room to her music-loving husband, Jay. “We’ve always thought of ‘Wonderwall’ by Oasis as our song, so I had a local graphic designer come up with art to create this mural on the wall.” Union Jack pillows and books about favorite musicians continue the trend.
Growing from Green
Malachite-patterned window coverings from Andrea’s previous house were the starting point for the design of the master suite. From there, the duo incorporated a Timorous Beasties wallpaper they bonded over early in the design process behind the bed and enveloped the room in black for drama. “Ashley helped push me to paint the white on the closets as kind of a nod to Dorothy Draper,” Andrea recalls. “In cases like that, it’s nice to have someone push you when you start getting design fatigue.” Framed butterfly installations over the closets, handpainted lamps from Liz Marsh Designs, and pops of red add another thoughtful layer to the suite.
Bold Master Bath
The master bathroom originally featured an oversized whirlpool bath and small closet, but no shower. With the makeover, the design team was able to add a luxurious shower while still incorporating a sizable vanity and water closet. The finishes were based off Andrea’s desire for a striking black-and-white effect, plus the mix of traditional elements, like mirrored paneling, with more modern choices, such as the Art Deco-inspired sconces and a free-standing tub. A Greek key motif painstakingly laid in tile in the shower is repeated in the cabinetry hardware.
“I love dark, moody walls for a bedroom, so I wanted that feel for our guests,” Andrea says of their decision to paint the guest room Farrow & Ball’s “Hague Blue.” The art over the bed was purchased in Savannah, Georgia, for Andrea and Jay’s 20th wedding anniversary.
Contractor Taylor Wood, Woodbine Workshop Interior design Andrea Brooks, Andrea Brooks Interiors and Ashley Cardiel, Ashley Cardiel Interiors Accessories Andrea Brooks Interiors and Bear Hill Interiors Appliances Metro Appliances & More Art Backwoods Art & Frame, Sandy Bennett, and South Arkansas Arts Center Cabinetry Ingui Art Countertops Pacific Shore Stones Countertops (fabrication) Abstract Granite Fabrics and window coverings Laura’s Draperies and Blinds Floral arrangements Zuzu’s Petals Fixtures Ferguson Plumbing Supply Flooring Wood Floor Gallery Framing Art Emporium and Backwoods Art & Frame Fireplace Hearth & Home Graphic design (mural) Brittany Phillips Design Hardware Meek’s Lumber & Hardware Lighting Lighting Emporium Millwork Quality Millwork, Rick Nickell, and White River Hardwoods Paint Benjamin Moore, Farrow & Ball, Fine Paints of Europe, and Spectrum Paint Painting Schneider Painting Rugs Hadidi Oriental Rug Co. Tile Ashley Cardiel Interiors and Townzen Tile and Laminates Wall coverings Ashley Cardiel Interiors Wallpaper (installation) T.S. Melton Windows Encore Flooring and Building Products