Date: September 7, 2018 | Story: Stephanie Maxwell Newton | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Lauren Cerrato |
Designer Larry West, Jr. had been working for this family for decades when he finally got the chance to tackle their kitchen. While the layout of the space barely needed tweaking, he went to work adding amenities that would help the homeowners enjoy one of their favorite areas of the house even more. He gave the space luxe finishings—including polished chrome appliances, warm gold hardware, mirrored cabinetry, and detailed marble flooring—to make it a kitchen that will remain timeless for years to come.
A painting commissioned by Arkansas artist George Dombek makes a statement as the focal point at one end of the kitchen.
At Home in Arkansas: You’ve been working with this family for quite some time. When did they decide to shift the focus to the kitchen’s design?
Larry West, designer: Yes, this house is 28 years old, and I’ve been working for them for about 23 years. I started out doing their Christmas and then eventually moved over to doing their interior design, as well. We’ve been talking about and planning this kitchen for probably three or four years.
Is this the first time the kitchen has been renovated?
Larry: Yes, this is its first update in decades. The style was dead-on for back in that time—it had icemakers and trash compactors, all the bells and whistles. It held up nicely and it worked well for them; it was hard for me to get them to want to change anything about it. But when I updated the bedrooms and the bathrooms upstairs, they looked at the kitchen and said, “OK, we need something to change.”
For some reason, we didn’t have the original drawings and measurements for this section of the house, so I came in and literally measured everything. The very first drafted layout that I did, they loved it so much that that’s what we went with. There wasn’t even any wavering on it.
What sort of changes did you make to the floor plan?
Larry: I didn’t want to change the roofline or anything structurally about the house. I moved the wall with the refrigerator inward about 6 feet to make more space behind it for the laundry room and to create a larger beverage bar.
There was also a breakfast table area by the windows. We took that out and instead have three islands. She loves to cook, so when they have all the kids and grandkids home, they can all be in here watching TV together while she’s cooking or they’re eating breakfast.
By moving a wall forward, you were able to expand the size of the beverage bar. How does this space get used?
Larry: Prior to the renovation, it was just a hallway. Now, her pantry, another feature she didn’t really have before, fits here as well. It is so organized and everything is easy to reach. It’s got a bar area, wine fridge, refrigerated drawers, and a coffee station. There’s also a commercial icemaker since they do entertain a lot.
The island countertops are so unique! Tell me about those.
Larry: The countertops are made of semi-precious stone from IMC by The Stone Collection in Dallas. They’re true quartz—not a manmade quartz. This comes in four or five different colors, but I wanted the clear so that we could come in and paint the cabinetry below this blue-gray and have it show through the stone to manipulate the color a bit. It just adds a little bit of depth to it.
How did you incorporate the homeowners’ style into a space that is so functional yet sophisticated?
Larry: The style of their home has evolved over time, but their tastes are very classic. One thing about having this neutral backdrop in the kitchen was it allowed us to bring in a lot of different textures, like in the backsplash. Phinality Design painted some of the walls with a technique that makes them reflective like Venetian glass. And we were able to work in a lot of the homeowners’ art that we had bought from both local artists and on buying trips to New York.
Contractor, interior and kitchen design Larry West, Jr., L West Jr Designs Accessories Phoenix Interiors, Obsessions Interiors, and Ransom Interiors Appliances, fixtures, and hardware PC Hardware Art George Dombek Cabinets Duke Custom Cabinets Mirrors West Little Rock Glass Paint Sherwin-Williams Painting (decorative) Phinality Design