Story: Ashley Gill | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Chip Jones |
Custom artisanal finishes imbue a handsome Little Rock kitchen with a subtle glow
In their new home, Sheila and Bob Casali wanted a kitchen that was both distinguished and delicate. To achieve exactly the look they were after, they called on their longtime friend and Texas-based interior designer Laura Towery. “They are really more like my extended family,” Towery says of her relationship with the Casalis, “so when they called and asked me to get involved in the project—of course I did. I knew they wanted something pretty and formal but also very livable, and we got right to work.”
First, Towery and the Casalis selected Top Star granite for the countertops; this choice guided them to the color palette for the room. The stone surface is rich and dynamic, with mottling in a palette of contrasting neutrals shot through with an array of warm metallic tones. “When we got the granite in and set out to choose the accent color for the island and vent hood, we must have bought twenty samples to test to find the perfect color,” Towery recalls. She finally chose a muted, pale celadon that pairs gracefully with the white seen on the rest of the custom cabinetry in the space.
To take the kitchen’s air of elegance to the next level, Towery brought Tracy Rivers of Angelfish Studios on board to soften the finish of the cabinetry with a metallic sheen. “I don’t usually choose to do faux finishes in my projects;” Towery notes, “I like my finishes very quiet. But I wanted to dress up the cabinetry in a subtle way.” Rivers applied a pearlescent wash to the white cabinetry and a bronze wash to the island base and the vent hood. “It’s very unusual to have a metallic wash in a kitchen,” Rivers says, “and that’s what makes this very special. The result is just so soft—the luminescence makes it very delicate looking.” Rivers also painted accent striping on the hood and island cabinetry to simulate brass embellishment, complete with faux solder lines for authenticity.
For the range backsplash, Towery chose diamond-shaped limestone tiles set inside a frame of wide strips of bronze. “I did want something that popped in the room. I wanted to highlight the material of the stone itself, more than the color, and I wanted it smooth, with no rough edges,” Towery says. Part of an antique, Italian gate purchased at the Roundtop Antiques Fair and retrofitted as a chandelier now hangs above the island. “After we hung it,” Towery explains, “I saw that it needed something more, so I added gold accents to coordinate with the backsplash and the cabinet details.” The hickory flooring received a custom stain to add warmth and depth. With such careful attention to detail and subtlety of customization, the total impact of the kitchen is, as Rivers describes, “very unique, but not so different you’re shocked by it.” Towery is also pleased with the result, as well as the design process itself: “It was such a fun project, and it worked out just like we wanted.”
Contractor and kitchen design Kevin Hughes, Kevin Hughes Construction, Little Rock, (501) 821-5364
Interior design Laura Towery, DéLa Designs, McKinney, Texas, (214) 763-5842, deladesignsinc.com
Cabinetry, countertops, flooring, and hardware Kevin Hughes Construction, Little Rock, (501) 821-5364
Florals Tipton & Hurst, locations throughout Central Arkansas, (501) 666-3333, tiptonhurst.com
Lighting Laura Towery, DéLa Designs, McKinney, Texas, (214) 763-5842, deladesignsinc.com
Paint Sherwin-Williams, locations statewide, sherwin-williams.com
Painting—decorative Angelfish Studios, Little Rock, (501) 960-4826, angelfishstudios.net