Date: December 30, 2021 | Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Steph Smith |
A lifetime of travel and collecting take root in a couple’s new-construction home
Moving was not on the radar for this west Little Rock couple. However, when someone knocked on the door of their former home and made an offer, they thought it might not be a bad idea to downsize. “Everything happened very quickly, and we had to have a place to go,” recalls one of the owners. Not finding any existing properties to suit their needs and style, they came across a home that had just been started by contractor Mary Jane Herr, allowing them to tweak the plans to their preferences.
As the project moved ahead, a pandemic was looming and Mary Jane knew choice materials might be hard to come by. “She had to know everything right away, or we wouldn’t be able to get what we needed. It was like a thousand decisions all at once,” the owner says. “We had built four homes previously but not under COVID constraints,” her husband adds. “We knew we needed help to get this right.” Having known her and admired her style, the couple turned to Mona Thompson Phelan of Providence Design to help with these choices and pull all the elements of the home together—including their immense collection of antiques, artwork, and collectibles.
“They were coming from a French country style with the yellows and reds and all of that, and they wanted something neutral and more sophisticated, a little cleaner,” Mona says. The white backdrop allows many of their prized pieces to act as works of art in the home. “With my husband’s job, we have lived all over the U.S. and in England,” the owner says. “It became a hobby for us to pick up pieces that caught our eye. Through the years these pieces have become a part of our family story, reflecting the places we have lived,” she adds.
“With my husband’s job, everywhere we moved, we knew there would be another move coming,” the owner says. “So we were always thinking of how to buy or build a house knowing it wasn’t permanent.” Planning this as their forever home, they added architectural interest through a series of arched doorways and went for a bold color (“Sea Pine” by Benjamin Moore) in the dining room. The doors were custom made based on an original set Mona found at Round Top Antiques Fair and used in one of the home’s bedrooms. Antique furniture and collectibles, pieces that have always personalized the couple’s homes, fill the space to bring warmth and character.
In the living room, which adjoins the kitchen, custom bookshelves hold collectibles such as Staffordshire dogs the couple purchased while living in England. The designer found the plaster piece seen over the fireplace and designed a custom cabinet to complement it and conceal a television.
While visiting Mona’s home, the couple fell in love with her custom cabinetry color and replicated it here to introduce a new hue in the otherwise neutral open floor plan. A range hood finished to have a wood-grain look, reproduction Italian-style pendants, and a bridge faucet add to the old world accents, while Taj Mahal quartzite lends a warm feel to the surfaces.
Clean Meets Classic
In the breakfast nook, Mona had Phinality Designs transform a table that was previously in the couple’s dining room with a light textured finish. It pairs with comfortable upholstered chairs featuring a timeless embroidered pattern. The couple commissioned the piece by local artist J. Hunter for this space. Throughout the house the absence of trim, except for baseboards, adds to the uncluttered architectural appeal.
“They have so many beautiful things because they have traveled the world over.”
—Mona Thompson Phelan, designer
Let There Be Light
In the spacious sunroom, the designer commissioned iron doors locally from Iron Paws by Anthony Billingsley to make a classic yet current statement. “Coming from royal blues, this is a very calm palette for them. We wanted it to be comfortable and inviting,” Mona says. A cast stone fireplace and pair of sofas invite lounging while taking in a view of the outdoor area.
In the primary bedroom, box beams with a wood-grain finish echo the ones seen in the sunroom. “They are not old, but they look as though they are,” Mona says of the effect. The soothing, tone-on-tone palette is accentuated by a variety of patterns and textures on the fabrics and bedding.
“Everything in here is very subtle,” Mona says. “Even the walls don’t scream wallpaper,” she adds. A soaking tub with a stand-alone fixture is the focal point upon entering the space. The couple brought the chandelier, an anniversary gift from years past, from their former home to use here. Honed marble countertops and floors complete the room’s timeless look.
Interior design Mona Thompson Phelan, Providence Design Contractor Mary Jane Herr, M.J. Herr Architect Nathan Alderson Landscape design Stacey Stafford, Stafford Fine Gardening Accessories, bedding, fixtures, furniture, and lighting Providence Design Appliances Metro Appliances & More Cabinetry and hardware Duke Custom Cabinets Countertops Triton Stone Group Fabrics and wallpaper Designer Effects Fireplace Royal Overhead Door Flooring, rugs, and tile ProSource of Little Rock Ironwork Iron Paws by Anthony Billingsley Painting (decorative) Phinality Design Window coverings Mountjoy’s Custom Draperies