Date: March 27, 2019 | Story: Stephanie Maxwell Newton | Photography: Rett Peek |
Designer Casey Sarkin helps a longtime friend push the boundaries of her personal style in a new construction Northwest Arkansas home
For decades, the owners of this home in Northwest Arkansas had their eye on the lot where they would eventually build. However, in all that time, there was always one small problem: It was never for sale. “We’d been driving up here since we were about 29 years old,” the homeowner says. “We’ve always loved this lot, but the people who owned it didn’t want to sell it. One day, we drove by and there was a ‘for sale’ sign nailed to the tree. We bought it that day,” she says.
After securing the lot, the owners called on close friend Casey Sarkin of Casey Sarkin Interior Design to help them design a home that felt intentional, focused, and different. “She came to me and said, I always end up doing this certain style, and I want to venture way off from that,” Casey says, noting the couple’s previous homes were more traditional and beach-inspired. “This house has elements of a traditional Southern home—the clapboard, which we now call shiplap; the oak, except we used white oak,” Casey says. “We mixed those pieces of the design with more modern elements in the doors, hardware, and lighting.”
Though she desired this home to feel aesthetically different than her previous ones, the homeowner still wanted its style to reflect her personality. “She likes very avant-garde, out-there things, so we tried to bring some of that to every part of the house,” Casey says. “Casey hears me say this all the time: Where’s my weird factor? I have to have something weird,” the homeowner laughs. She points to the blue antelope-print stair runner in the entry, a hand-painted design in a hallway off the kitchen, and her personal art collection as elements that offer some of the unexpected.
“This house was artfully edited, and it was a complete collaboration,” Casey says. “I’ll lead her this way, then she’ll lead me back that way, then the thing is, we end up somewhere in the middle.”
Designer Casey Sarkin and the homeowner worked together to come up with a concept for a pass-through that leads from the entry to the home office. “We wanted something feminine and unique leading into this more masculine space,” Casey says.
The kitchen is a perfect illustration of the homeowner’s departure from her previously more traditional style. “I wanted everything clean, modern, and more transitional. No fluff, no fuss,” she says. Here, an inset range hood and waterfall countertop play to the contemporary side of the design, while white oak, seen throughout the flooring, island, and decorative beams, adds warmth to an otherwise all-white palette.
Indoor, Outdoor Ease
In keeping with their promise to be very intentional in building this home, the homeowners decided to forego a formal living room, having rarely used it at their previous house. The home centers around one space that holds the kitchen, a casual dining table, and a living room, a space ideal for entertaining but made even more so by the four sets of French doors that lead to an outdoor living space and offer a panoramic view of the valley behind the house. “We worked really hard to coordinate the view through these doors right when you walk in the front door,” Casey says.
Her Happy Place
When designing the outdoor living area, Casey’s main consideration was how best to highlight the home’s view. “We chose peacock pavers in Rice White so that they were a continuation of the white brick exterior,” she says, noting the consistent palette helps further the notion that this is an extension of the interiors. Outdoor furnishings by Lee Industries provide comfortable seating on either side of a stylish swing. “In the summer, they’re out here all the time, and in the winter, they have blankets and are bundled up,” Casey says. “Sometimes I come over and [the homeowner] doesn’t answer to doorbell, so I know to go on inside and straight to the back, because she’s always out here. It’s just her happy place.”
The beach feel that was pervasive throughout the homeowner’s previous house makes small appearances in the master bedroom. A chandelier made of shells and white-washed wood overhead are subtle nods to this scheme, a style the homeowner still very much loves. Windows facing the back of the property offer sweeping views of the valley below, an everyday reminder of the serendipity that led the family to finally land on
their dream lot.
The home’s white palette continues into the master bathroom, where vanities on either side of the tub are accented with hexagonal mirrors and contemporary sconces. In terms of functionality, the space is a dream come true for the homeowners. “I’d always wanted big floor-to-ceiling windows with a big soaking tub,” she says. “We wanted tons of storage, so they built a linen cabinet that goes way deep.” His-and-hers closets off the master bath checked another box on their list of must-haves.
Girly with an Edge
In the homeowners’ college-aged daughter’s bedroom, the starting point for design was a Lindsay Cowles wallpaper. “We wanted it to be super feminine but kind of edgy,” Casey says. “It can be hard to do edgy and soft at the same time, so we used this wallpaper and softened everything else in the room.” An open black canopy bed paired with pink mohair ottomans reiterates this choice.
While the open floor plan downstairs is perfect for the empty nesters’ current lifestyle, they wanted to make sure their kids had a place to hang out when they came home and, eventually, a place for grandkids when that day comes. Upstairs, in addition to rooms for each of their children, there is a cozy media room and adjoining bunk room featuring two hanging twin beds. The same shiplap treatment seen in the entry is repeated in the bunk room, which, with the rope accents, circular window, and color palette, gives the space a nautical air.
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