Story: Stephanie Maxwell Newton | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Lauren Cerrato |
Designer Jill White shares the black-and-white and loved all over beauty of her Little Rock home
Jill White’s interest in interior design started at an early age, and for it, she has grandparents on both sides of the family to thank. Growing up on a farm in rural Arkansas, Jill spent a lot of time at her paternal grandfather’s hardware store, Altheimer Lumber Company. “I’ve been around builders my whole life,” Jill says. “My first job was at my grandfather’s hardware store. Every summer my sister and I worked there. We answered phones and mixed paint. I’ve always been around that scene and interested in it.” These days, Jill’s the one on construction sites, checking boxes off her list on a new build that might include scalloped millwork in a daughter’s bathroom or the perfect black-and-white tile for a master bath.
In talking about her career path into interior design, Jill also references her grandmother on her mother’s side. “She had the coolest house when I was growing up,” Jill says. “I credit my grandmother with my style and knowing about good design. I remember going into her house and always thinking, ‘This is different.’” For high school graduation, this grandmother gave Jill her first piece of art. Though she laughs now about how her tastes have grown since then, Jill appreciates that her grandmother instilled in her an appreciation of paintings and color. “She has style. She travels and buys antiques and art, and I got my interest in those from her,” she adds.
Once you step foot in her west Little Rock new construction home, there’s no denying the influence of Jill’s past on her present success. She had this home built in 2014, right around the time she was officially launching her interior design business, Jill White Designs. The home contains many of her favorite design details, including an open floor plan, contemporary style mixed with collected finds, and lots of black and bright accents against a white backdrop. “Some people are over white walls and white kitchens, but I am not,” she laughs. “I still love them, and I think it makes your art and accessories pop more. I just wanted a clean palette so I could put in my fun stuff.”
All About the Art
The gallery wall at the center of the living room sets the tone for the black-and-white-and-bright-all-over aesthetic seen throughout the rest of her home. A white console, white lamp, and black-piped white chairs blend with the walls to let louder statement pieces, like her gallery wall and Stray Dog striped pendant light, really stand out. The coffee table is a piece from her great-grandmother’s house, which her stylish grandmother picked out. “I love it because it was hers,” Jill says.
Jill’s gallery wall features work by her daughter in addition to other favorite artists. The designer also loves to decorate with books and plants. “Every room has a touch of live green. That’s a huge thing for me,” she says. The consistent black-and-white backdrop in Jill’s design helps these brighter accents stand out.
The dining room is just about the only room in Jill’s home without a piece (or several) of bright artwork. Instead, a gilded mirror—another family antique—hangs over the console. The gold in both pieces elevates the formality of this room, while the quieter palette gives the eye a rest from the livelier living spaces. Jill’s love of plants makes an appearance as the print of a pillow peeking out of one dining chair.
Since Jill was involved in the construction of her home, she was able to make sure it included not only beautiful but also functional details. In the kitchen, a cutting board extends over the drawer that contains the trashcan, allowing scraps to be emptied directly into the receptacle. To the left of the refrigerator is an appliance garage. “Every one of my clients gets one of those,” Jill points out. “No one wants coffeemakers, blenders, and mixers on their counter. You want everything to be clean. There’s electrical built in, and everything is plugged in; it’s just out of the way.”
The black-and-white motif shows up again and again in Jill’s design, especially in the family room, where Jill and her family spend most of their time hanging out. The art above the fireplace is by Alabama artist Susan Godwin.
Another element consistent throughout Jill’s design is the use of natural finishes and rich textures. A rattan chair, pom-accented throw, and embroidered pillow give the room a bohemian flair, but the orderly lines of the hexagonal mirror and headboard keep it from feeling chaotic.
Above: Springdale’s Allison Hobbs is one of Jill’s favorite local artists, as evidenced by the collection of the artist’s work hung around the house. Jill had Allison add a layer of abstract black paint on the cushion of this chair in her bedroom. “I’m kind of obsessed with Allison!” she laughs.
Another of Jill’s beloved antiques can be found in the master bath; she had a French chair of her grandmother’s recovered in a favorite Lindsay Cowles fabric. The artwork above the porcelain-tile surrounded tub is by Little Rock artists Emily Cobb and Rachael Oberste.
Styled for Stella
While Jill’s house features a mostly monochromatic scheme, she thought a bright wallpapered accent wall in her daughter Stella’s room was an appropriate punch of color to represent the 5-year-old’s fun personality.
Above: Stella’s craft room was formerly Jill’s office. She converted it to a play space so Stella would have more room to be creative. “She loves to draw, read, and do crafty things, so it’s worked out really well,” Jill says.
Cool & Collected
Jill’s boho vibe comes out again in the guest bedroom where a peacock chair sits alongside a vintage headboard found at a Bentonville antique store. Understated bedding, aside from a pair of Dalmatian-spotted pillows and a bright lumbar pillow, allows these two vintage finds to shine.
Interior Designer Jill White, Jill White Designs Contractor Brenda Hartness, Hartness Construction Accessories, bedding, fabrics, fixtures, rugs, and wallpaper Jill White Designs Applicances Metro Appliances & More Art Allison Hobbs Art, Brandi Rogers, Dot Design by Rachael Oberste, Emily Cobb, and Lauren Meredith Art Cabinetry Capitol Custom Cabinets Carpet, flooring, and tile Carpet Barn Countertops Casa Blanca Granite, Marble & Tile Furniture Bassett, Cantrell Furniture Design Center, De Madera Trading Company, Jill White Designs, and Painted Tree Marketplace Hardware Jill White Designs and PC Hardware Lighting Jill White Designs and Light Innovations Millwork Ridout Lumber Mirrors Staley Glass Upholstery Cynthia East Fabrics and Jill White Designs Wallpaper (installation) Becky and Butch Hardin Windows Jill White Designs and Pinnacle Blinds Window coverings Cynthia East Fabrics