Date: September 4, 2020 | Story: Stephanie Maxwell Newton | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Lauren Cerrato |
Storybook Renovations and WaterHouse Market team up to create a New Orleans-inspired abode in Conway
Walking through this home in Conway is like being transported to a historic residence in the French Quarter. From the exposed brick and lantern pendants to the antique art and stocked bar, you would never guess this was once a dilapidated house in central Arkansas. Breathing new life into such a structure is a challenge Niki Thompson of Storybook Renovations invites. Her business is built around flipping homes, all with a precise theme laid out in her head before she ever gets started. “I think of a story first, then make sure every decision lines up with that story. It just results in a really cohesive design,” she says.
For this remodel, however, she invited the homeowner along for the ride. “I flipped a house that one of his best friends purchased, and he contacted me wanting to know if I’d do a house for him. From the very beginning, he wanted it to have a New Orleans feel,” Niki says. “I went to look at the property, and I could see it had a lot of potential. The home already had some Greek Revival elements, which are common in the French Quarter,” she says. Once they got started, Niki revised the home’s layout to create a foyer, a larger kitchen, and an open floor plan, all the while keeping their New Orleans-inspired story in mind.
While Niki designs the interiors and contracts all of the labor for her projects, she works closely with Donna Benton of WaterHouse Market to source furniture and décor for staging before each open house. Donna’s business is also unique; in addition to helping clients find new and vintage furnishings, she restores antiques, upholsters, and builds original pieces in her workshop. She, like Niki, loves to incorporate a story into her projects. “After Niki helped the homeowner with the bones of the house, that’s when I stepped in to help him continue that look through every detail, right down to the dishes he uses,” she says.
Donna brought an inherited quality to the story by incorporating found art into the décor and mismatched silverware and Blue Willow china into his entertaining essentials. “I try to implement vintage and antiques into all of my work because I think that really sets it apart from an average design,” Donna says. This is evident in the master bath as well, where a worn rug, funky portrait, and wooden chair give the brand-new hammered copper tub an heirloom charm. “I always bring a wooden element to the bathroom, where everything is painted and tiled,” Donna says of the antique French chair. “And, again, that French element tied into the story we’re trying to tell with the house.”
Cajun Cook Space
Niki’s team was able to split bricks unearthed during demolition into veneers to create the backsplash in the kitchen. Dentil molding on the cabinetry enhances the home’s Greek Revival style, while lantern-style pendants play perfectly into the remodel’s French Quarter inspiration.
The homeowner’s love of entertaining and cocktails was taken into consideration when designing the kitchen. The iron shelving displaying his well-stocked bar was a find from Ballard Designs that fit the bill for storage over the built-in beer keg and tap.
The “Kaela” tub from Signature Hardware is centered in a picture window overlooking the home’s courtyard. Niki added transom windows over most doors in the house, including the shower door. She also hid the water closet behind a door resembling a linen closet to the right of the shower.
Contractor Niki Thompson, Storybook Renovations Interior design Donna Benton, WaterHouse Market and Niki Thompson, Storybook Renovations Appliances Metro Appliances & More Art, fabrics, furniture, lighting, mirrors, and window coverings WaterHouse Market Cabinetry Perry’s Custom Cabinets Countertops The Countertop Store Hardware Storybook Renovations Millwork Sturdy Home Design Paint Sherwin-Williams Painting Nicolas Zometa Tile (bathroom) ProSource of Little Rock Tile (installation) Edwardo David