Date: January 6, 2015 | Story: Ashley Gill |
Designer Kevin Walsh imparts his keen, cosmopolitan sensibility to the design of a glamorous condominium in the heart of downtown Little Rock
While renovating their home in the Heights neighborhood of Little Rock in 2013, designer Kevin Walsh of Bear-Hill Interiors and his partner Brett Pitts temporarily took up residence in a condominium in the 300 Third Tower, which they had initially purchased as an investment property. With floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the capital city skyline, access to plenty of green space, and the best in dining and entertainment just steps away, the couple experienced for themselves the virtues of downtown living. Unfazed by the impermanence of the arrangement, Walsh and Pitts gave the condo a full infusion of style.
Creating a “light, bright, and airy” condo was a goal the couple agreed on from the time they first saw the space, Walsh recalls. “We decided early that we wanted to use a lot of white to keep everything bright and sunny, starting with the cabinetry in the kitchen and the Carrera marble countertops,” he says. From there Walsh drew the hue into the rest of the open-plan living area with white walls, white barstools, white upholstery on the dining room chairs, custom white draperies, white light fixtures, and a white living room sofa. Various shades of teal appear in the artwork, decorative accents, and pillows, and chocolate wood finishes create contrast in the palette. The abundance of the neutral color makes it “a very glamorous space,” he says: “[It is] open and bright during the day, and at night [it is] pretty magical, due to the beautiful skyline and terrific sunsets.”
A MOD MOOD
The sleek, all-white drama of the space is grounded by the couple’s sophisticated design sensibility. “We wanted the condo to have a vintage-modern vibe,” Walsh says; “I like rooms that have some age. I am all about the mix: old/new, high/low, East/West.” To create this dynamic mix, he selected vintage Dorothy Draper dining chairs, which—alongside Louis ghost chairs—are situated around a vintage Knoll dining table.
In the living room, a white linen track-arm sofa from Hickory Chair and a glass cocktail table from Ralph Lauren Home sit opposite a pair of mid-century club chairs that Walsh purchased in France. Colorful Chinoiserie panels hang on either side of the entertainment cabinet, further elaborating on the home’s carefully edited eclecticism.
The focal point of the master bedroom is a reproduction of a bed designed by William “Billy” Haines, an actor and interior designer in Los Angeles, who achieved great fame in the 1940s and 1950s. Flanking the bed are vintage mirrored bedside tables, topped with banded gold-and-white lamps from Shine by S.H.O., while a zebra-patterned upholstered bench sits at the foot of the bed. Walsh and Pitts are art and art glass enthusiasts, and the gallery wall in the bedroom—in addition to other art displayed throughout the home—are original works from their own diverse collection.
BIG ON VIEW
The skyline panorama was not merely the impetus for the airy color palette—it influenced many more of Walsh’s design choices. “I like to always design with views in mind. That is why we kept the furnishings low, used reflective surfaces, and tried to keep the attention on the view through furniture placement,” Walsh says. Clear and mirrored surfaces among the furnishings include the bar cart in the dining room, the Louis Ghost chairs, the cocktail table, the mirrored cube, and the bedside tables. These reflective surfaces not only create a shimmering effect—bouncing light around the various rooms—but they also “really open up a space” and provide “a great way to display collections,” as they can show multiple angles of each piece from a single viewpoint, according to Walsh. These mirrored and transparent furnishings give the accessories a streamlined look; “My style is very edited,” Walsh says, “I am attracted to clean lines, and I do not like clutter.”
The total effect is a distilled, timeless design that maintains a strong sense of character, due to the careful combination of its various elements. “I love old; I love new. Good design is good design no matter the price or age,” Walsh says. It’s clear that living with “good design” was indeed a priority for the couple, no matter how temporary the circumstances. Reflecting on the short time they were downtown dwellers, he says, “It was a perfect fit.”
Architect Rick Redding
Interior design Kevin Walsh, Bear-Hill Interiors, Little Rock, (501) 907-9272, bearhillinteriors.com
Kitchen design and installation Bill Wrape, Distinctive Kitchens and Baths, Little Rock, (501) 666-7756, kitchensofarkansas.com
Art, bedding, fabrics, furniture, and lighting Bear-Hill Interiors, Little Rock, (501) 907-9272, bearhillinteriors.com
Hardware PC Hardware, Little Rock, (501) 224-1724, pchdwe.com
Paint Sherwin-Williams, locations statewide, sherwinwilliams.com
Tile Elder Tile, Little Rock, (501) 758-4170, elderdistributing.com
Window coverings Mountjoy’s Custom Draperies, Mabelvale, (501) 455-2216