Date: June 3, 2019 | Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Hope Johnstone |
Filled with a mix of new and cherished pieces, this west Little Rock new construction home was a collaborative family affair
This wasn’t Diane Irby’s first home to build. Twenty years ago she built a home on a peaceful property in Ferndale. After selling that house and temporarily relocating to a west Little Rock residence, she began to gather inspiration to build once again. At the same time she assembled a team to help, helmed by her daughter, artist Lori DeYmaz, her son-in-law, builder and president of Graham Smith Construction, Zack DeYmaz, and designer Sha Davari of Little Rock’s Art of Design.
Each member of the group brought something different to the table: Lori, an artist’s eye; Zack, a contractor’s expertise; and Sha, the ability to mix styles and add personality. The trio sought to create a home where Diane could entertain and host friends and family, including her six grown children. Lori, Zack, and Diane spent many nights sipping gin and tonics, sketching plans, erasing ideas, and then having revelations that led to the final floor plan. “When we started on the plans, we drew my back porch first. I love being outdoors, and growing up in South Mississippi, we were on the porch a lot,” Diane says.
Aside from the porch, she knew she wanted a comfortable dining room to accommodate her large family, a kitchen with a place for everything (Diane even took her family-size cast-iron skillet to Duke Custom Cabinets to make sure there would be room for it in the cabinetry), a bath that felt like an escape from the world, and a music room for one of her favorite pastimes. Construction began in 2018 and moved along as normal until Diane learned two of her sons were planning to come home for Christmas. “She came to me and said Zack, we gotta get this house finished! We did, and she moved in three weeks before Christmas,” he recalls.
The plans and construction weren’t the only collaboration on the home. Diane and Lori worked closely with Sha to make the interiors comfortable and reflective of Diane’s personality. “I love antiques, but overall we wanted this house to be transitional,” Diane says. “I love the juxtaposition of old and new, and I like mixing it up and making it my own.”
A Spin on Traditional
A piece of Lori’s artwork was the inspiration for the living room’s palette. “One day I popped over to Lori’s house and that piece was leaning against the wall,” Diane recalls. “She had just painted it, and I said Oh my gosh, I love that piece! Don’t do anything else to it; I want it just the way it is.” The rug and all of the upholstered pieces are new finds from Art of Design, while the mirrors and light fixture were pieces Diane fell in love with after seeing them in Sha’s room design for the Arkansas Symphony Designer House. Sha notes the pair of narrow coffee tables allows for a walkway and doesn’t overwhelm the room.
An antique rug and a generous-sized table Diane had owned for more than 20 years were must-use pieces in the dining room. Sha paired them with comfortable upholstered chairs to soften the space and invite guests, including Diane’s six children, to linger during visits. Diane originally had a different fixture hanging over the table, “but I never felt like it was right,” she says. She spotted this one at Art of Design, and Sha agreed it was the perfect scale and blend of modern and traditional. Graphic black-and-white prints by Arkansas artist Michelle Moore echo the floral and branch motif on the chandelier.
Center of It All
The kitchen is a true hub of the home, with the living room, entry hall, outdoor area, bar, and music room all connecting to it. “Initially, the living room was more a part of this space,” Lori says. However, following one of the team’s nighttime drawing sessions, Lori had an epiphany to make it a point on a triangle, where multiple spaces would intersect. An accordion-style window opens to the back patio allowing conversation, food, and drink to flow freely between the two areas. Panels cover the appliances to provide the seamless look of cabinetry, while everything from pullouts for blenders and mixers to charging stations were incorporated into the cabinetry design.
“I love to take baths,” Diane says. “It’s my sanctuary.” Soos Stained Glass created an eye-catching decorative window that adds style and provides privacy while also allowing light into the room. “My favorite thing about this room is how it’s symmetrical from the entrance,” Zack says. “The tub is dead center, and it’s the first thing you see when you walk in here. When the sconces are dimmed at night, it has a very cool ambience.”
Lori used her talents as an artist to perfect the stain on the master bath’s cabinetry, spending countless hours creating custom blends to get the color they desired. “Lori is really good with colors, and my strong suit is more furniture placement, so I think we work well together because we don’t have the same strengths,” Diane says. Originally they had considered individual mirrors over the vanity sinks, but the placement did not feel right over Diane’s vanity, which has extended counterspace at the seating area. Sha and her team suggested using wall mirrors and taking them all the way to the ceiling to unify the spaces. A crystal chandelier speaks to the home’s mix of modern and traditional.
“My daddy had lots of hobbies,” Diane says fondly. “He had three girls, and he made beds that were almost exactly the same for all three of us. It was a real labor of love for him, so it was important to me to use the one he made me here.” Other pieces, including the rug and artwork, are heirlooms handed down from Diane’s parents. A lumbar pillow in fabric made from Lori’s art along with custom bedding from Laura’s Draperies & Blinds soften the room.
“When we started on the plans, we drew my back porch first. I love being outdoors, and growing up in South Mississippi, we were on the porch a lot.”
—Diane Irby, homeowner
A fireplace and room for a crowd were top priorities in planning the home’s back porch. “It’s all about entertaining; I wanted it to feel very comfortable,” Diane says. Sha found outdoor furniture that complemented the home’s overall design. “Diane really likes all of the chairs in her house to swivel,” Sha says. “We joke that every chair in the house had to move; these chairs don’t swivel but they do rock,” she says. A dining table and outdoor kitchen area fill the opposite end of the porch, providing plenty of room for Diane and her guests to prepare meals and enjoy them in the peaceful setting.
Builder Zack DeYmaz, Graham Smith Construction Draftsman Nathan Alderson, Graham Smith Construction Interior design Sha Davari, Art of Design Appliances Metro Appliances & More Art Art of Design, Lori DeYmaz Art, Providence Design, and The Art Group Gallery Bedding Art of Design and Laura’s Draperies & Blinds Cabinetry Duke Custom Cabinets Carpet and flooring Lumber One Home Center Countertops Triton Stone Group Countertops (installation) A1 Granite Installation Fabrics Laura’s Draperies & Blinds and Lori DeYmaz Art Fireplace Congo Fireplace & Patio Furniture, lighting, and rugs Art of Design Ironwork Iron World Designs Millwork Edgar’s Wood Works Mirrors Art of Design and Jones Glass Paint Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams Painting (decorative) MD Art Painting JB Painting Re-upholstery and window coverings Laura’s Draperies & Blinds Tile Lumber One Home Center and The Tile Shop Wallpaper Lori DeYmaz Art Windows (stained glass) Soos Stained Glass