Date: October 25, 2011 | Story: Interview by Tiffany Burgess | Styling: Diane Carroll |
At Home in Arkansas: You’ve been building custom homes for others since 1999. What did you envision for your own home?
Bill Parkinson of Parkinson Building Group: I’ve learned a lot from my clients’ builds, and since all of our homes are custom, I’ve been fortunate to see a variety of styles and executions, which helps when planning your own place. You get an idea of what works and what styles you can see yourself living with for a long time.
AHIA: Did you have a specific floor plan or layout in mind?
BP: This is the fifth house that my wife, Jessica, and I have built, so we brought some ideas and lessons from our past experiences. We actually used a modified version of our last home’s floor plan as a starting point. We also opted to get rid of the formal living room and create larger, more casual rooms. In our previous homes, we put a lot of emphasis on features for resale, but this time we wanted to add a few unconventional things, like built-in shelving and exposed brick, which are really a part of our style.
AHIA: You and Jessica have three children, so even though you put your own spin on the house, it also had to be practical.
BP: Yes, we definitely wanted it to have a somewhat casual feel where the entire family could enjoy being together. Our extended family also likes to hang out here, so we wanted to make sure it was a place where everyone could relax. Making the rooms larger and creating a floor plan that flows really allows everyone to enjoy being together, whether someone is cooking in the kitchen or relaxing in the den.
AHIA: You mentioned a few unconventional features throughout your new home. What inspired these elements?
BP: Some of the inspiration came from clients who incorporated similar elements like exposed beams and brick in their homes, and a lot of it came from houses we visited in both Dallas and Memphis that were built in a similar style—many with curved archways. My wife is also a big fan of designer Betty Lou Phillips and reads her books. We were fortunate to work with our own talented designer, Mona Thompson, to emphasize the architectural features with décor that’s in the same style. Whether you have a vision for a space or not, I’d definitely recommend working with a designer who can help you achieve a unified look with the home’s architecture.
AHIA: As to architectural features, the large windows throughout the house are eye catching.
BP: Our subdivision, Water View Estates, is located along a ridge in West Little Rock with amazing views. We installed large crossbeam windows in almost every room to take advantage of this. From the master bedroom, you can see part of the Arkansas River. I love that each season brings a new view. In the summer, we are tucked in with lots of green foliage, but by the end of fall, we have a new view of the river and its landscape.
AHIA: With that great view, you must spend a lot of your time outdoors.
BP: We do. In fact, our back patio is everyone’s favorite place to be. There’s a lawn for the kids to play and we added ceilings fans, a fireplace and lots of comfortable chairs so we can enjoy it almost any day of the year. It also has a pretty great view, which you see immediately when you enter the foyer and look through the living room’s back windows.
AHIA: Anything you would do differently in your next house?
BP: If I could change one thing about the house, I’d make our outdoor area larger simply because we all enjoy it so much. Other than that, it’s a perfect house for us.
Builder Parkinson Building Group, Little Rock
Architectural design Mitchell Residential Designs, Little Rock
Interior design Providence Ltd. Interior Design, Little Rock
Landscape Carden Farms LLC, Bigelow
Appliances Metro Appliances & More, locations statewide
Bedding Bear-Hill Interiors, Little Rock
Brick Antique Brick & Block, Little Rock
Cabinetry Duke Custom Cabinets Inc., Roland
Countertops Alpha Counter Tops, Russellville
Draperies Mountjoy’s Custom Draperies, Mabelvale
Fabrics Larry’s Inc., Little Rock
Furnishings Bassett Home Furnishings, Cobblestone & Vine, Hank’s & More Fine Furniture, Marshall Clements, Providence Ltd. Interior Design, Little Rock; I.O. Metro, Pottery Barn, locations statewide
Lighting Providence Ltd. Interior Design, Little Rock; TEC Electric, North Little Rock
Paint Benjamin Moore, locations statewide
Painted finishes Angelfish Studios, Little Rock
Rugs/carpet Martinous Oriental Rug Co., Inc., Little Rock; ProSource Flooring, North Little Rock
Sound system Case Control Technologies, Little Rock
Tile Acme Brick, locations statewide; ProSource Flooring, North Little Rock