Story: Katie Cox | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Angela Alexander |
Andy Warhol once said, “Everything is beautiful. Pop is everything.” On a quiet street in Little Rock’s Heights neighborhood, this mantra rings loud and clear. Amy and Ray Peeples are lovers of fashion, art, and color. With Amy being a former art teacher and Ray’s personal interest in home design, the creative pair had a strong vision for what they wanted when construction began on their new home. “We didn’t have an architect.” Ray says of the process. “We had a draftsman. They would send us floor plans and we would mark them up and make changes. We did that five or six times before it felt right.” As the project continued, Amy and Ray realized they needed help honing in their ideas. “We were expecting our third child, living with my in-laws, and building a house,” Amy says. The couple called on friend and designer Sarah Finley of Finley Design Group to transform their newly constructed blank slate into a high-style eclectic showpiece that welcomes the unexpected and inspires the imagination. See how Amy and Ray worked with Finley to create a home that represents their vibrant personalities but is also usable and comfortable.
Turn Finds into Treasures
Amidst a variety of standout pieces in the dining room, a flea market experiment hangs center stage. “I wanted to try paint dipping, but I wasn’t willing to test it on a thousand-dollar portrait. I tried the technique on this flea market piece and fell in love with it,” Amy says. She created the two-tone effect on the matador portrait by literally dipping the piece, frame and all, in bright coral paint.
Embrace the Unexpected
Spotted Thibaut wallpaper hangs above a traditional chair rail mixing fun with formality in the dramatic dining room. “Ray let me do whatever I wanted,” Amy says with a smile. A nine-foot wooden table on a large green rug anchors the space, while a chandelier and blue velvet draperies add interest and whimsy.
Usability of the entire house was a priority for Amy and Ray. Upon entering the home, guests are immediately introduced to not only the vibrant color palette but also the couple’s fresh take on family living. The large foyer adds livable space and showcases abstract art, an heirloom piano, and a lime green desk with a fur-topped bench. “My daughter plays on this piano while my other daughter sits in here and colors. Every inch of this house gets used; every room is safe and kid-friendly; and no room is off limits,” Amy says.
Make Space for Everyone
The home’s floor plan is designed to be conducive to both entertaining and everyday life. “We designed it so that we could have a lot of parties and events and give the feeling like you are in one room,” Amy says. “But, if you want to sit and talk elsewhere and still be in the mix, you can.” With a kitchen and large island facing the living room and separate rooms for the dining area, study, and foyer, the first floor is open but still has designated spaces. “With three kids, they can be anywhere downstairs and I know what they are doing and what they are into,” Amy adds.
Don’t Be Afraid To Change Plans
The pink chairs that belonged to Amy’s grandmother were originally going to be reupholstered with suit fabric to create a men’s study vibe. Instead, the team further celebrated the juxtaposition of masculine and feminine by keeping the pink covering and adding dainty pillows, a zebra rug, and pops of neon yellow accents. “I love this room. It’s my favorite. This room can be quiet, and I can sit in here and be on my computer and feel like I have my space.” Amy adds.
“I think the painter thought we were insane,” Ray says of the bold paint finish in the study. Taking inspiration from an image Amy found of a red-lacquered study, the bookshelves were coated floor-to-ceiling in high-gloss “Dress Blues” by Sherwin-Williams. “We told them we wanted it dark blue and shiny enough that you could see your reflection in it,” Ray laughs. Family treasures, books, and collectibles fill each shelf to add personalization.
Play with History
With many pieces passed down from family members, the home’s furniture tells stories of the past, while more recently acquired pieces offer insight into Amy’s eye for treasures. Upstairs in their oldest daughter’s room, twin beds handed down from Ray’s sister were repainted in glossy red to complement an antique desk, another piece from Amy’s grandmother that was updated with new hardware and gray paint. Family heirlooms add personality and history and evoke the lived-in feel the couple was aiming to bring into their modern home.
Don’t Miss the Details
The adjoining bathroom is wallpapered in a playful pink that caps off this little girl’s suite and also ties back to the bedding, which features mixed patterns of gingham, paisley, and floral. From natural coral adorned with jewelry to bright teal knobs from Anthropologie on the cabinets, no detail was left untouched. “Most of time when people build a house, they don’t have time to take care of details. Because of our friendship—and because of Ray being so involved, as well—it took pressure off of the big decisions and allowed Amy the freedom to make it home,” Finley says.
Create a Retreat (That’s Just Your Style!)
The master bedroom, tucked away at the end of the second story hall, has a serene, masculine quality in a lighter and more airy palette than the rest of the home. “This is mom’s space. My sanctuary space. White and quiet,” Amy says. Trophies from Africa hang above an upholstered bed full of luxurious pillows in soft fabrics and embroidered textures. A pair of Flemish wing chairs borders a ghost console table and abstract prints by Lindsey Meyer, while wood tones, natural hides, and fur add warmth to the cool color palette. “Amy and Ray have style. They want to live in style. They didn’t need a ton of help. It was so fun to not only be with friends but also work with someone willing to take risks, see the vision, and be part of the creative process,” Finley says.
Contractor Boyce Holmes, HBH Builders, Little Rock, (501) 804-3223
Interior design Sarah Finley, Finley Design Group, Little Rock, (501) 258-6846
Kitchen design Tyler Turchi, Kitchen & Bath Ideas, (501) 812-0200, kitchenandbathideas.biz
Landscape design Better Lawns and Gardens, Little Rock, (501) 454-9803, betterlawnsar.com; Simon Robinson, Little Rock, (501) 951-3869
Appliances Metro Appliances & More, Jonesboro, (870) 933-7800, North Little Rock, (501) 758-1988, Springdale, (479) 750-2200, metroappliancesandmore.com
Bedding, furniture, mirrors, and rugs Finley Design Group, Little Rock, (501) 258-6846
Cabinets—kitchen Kitchen & Bath Ideas, (501) 812-0200, kitchenandbathideas.biz
Flooring—carpet, hardwood, and tile Carpet Barn, Hot Springs Village, (501) 984-4141, North Little Rock, (501) 771-2122, Pine Bluff, (870) 536-2123, carpetbarn.net
Countertops Pacific Shore Stones, Mabelvale, (501) 455-3600, pacificshorestones.com
Fabrics Cobblestone & Vine, Little Rock, (501) 664-4249, West Little Rock, (501) 219-3676, cobblestoneandvine.com; Finley Design Group, Little Rock, (501) 258-6846
Fireplace Congo Fireplace & Patio, Benton, (501) 316-4328, congofp.com
Fixtures and hardware PC Hardware, Little Rock, (501) 224-1724, pchdwe.com
Lighting Finley Design Group, Little Rock, (501) 258-6846; Light Innovations, Little Rock, (501) 223-9026, light-innovations.com
Paint Benjamin Moore, locations statewide, benjaminmoore.com; Sherwin-Williams, location statewide, sherwinwilliams.com
Painting Hurtado Painting, LLC, Jacksonville, (501) 612-6518
Wallpaper Designer Effects, Little Rock, (501) 661-4070, designereffects.net
Window coverings Cynthia East Fabrics, Little Rock, (501) 663-0460, cynthiaeastfabrics.com; Designer Effects, Little Rock, (501) 661-4070, designereffects.net