Date: May 24, 2021 | Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Steph Smith |
A newly married couple builds a west Little Rock home as they begin the first chapter of their lives together
As newlyweds, Laura Beth Wortman Smith and her husband, Nate, scouted central Arkansas to find the perfect location for their first home together. “We were looking to buy but just weren’t finding anything that was a fit,” Laura Beth says. The couple talked with her father, Steve Wortman— president and owner of Little Rock’s Kaufman Lumber Co.—about the possibility of building, and he was able to help them locate a dream lot with a level yard and a natural setting in west Little Rock.
“My parents have built every house they’ve lived in, so from a young age I got to see that process,” Laura Beth says of the inspiration to build. “My dad is very creative and always thinks of the small details, and we wanted to replicate that here.” For the exterior, the couple had a picture of a home they loved and took it to draftsman David Blazer at Kaufman’s downtown location. “He used that picture and our ideas for an open concept to create the plan,” Laura Beth says. The two-story home has four bedrooms with a master suite and guest room on the ground level and two bedrooms with a Jack-and-Jill bath upstairs.
“My style is very classic. I like things that will last; I’m not trendy or modern. I’m a big Pinterest fan, so I was able to find things I liked, even paint colors, and pull from there,” Laura Beth says, noting she would take pictures of furniture, lighting, and even accessories she liked to the designers at Kaufman By Design West and they would help to source the pieces. “They were so good about helping to match things I saw in inspiration photos and knowing just where to look for similar pieces,”
The couple, who were married in 2020, moved in just two weeks before the COVID pandemic began. “I work as a school nurse, so I was essentially home for about six months,” she says. “It gave me time to do my research and really think about how I wanted to decorate the interiors and the details I wanted to add once we were here,” she says. “I love to decorate, so this was a fun project for me.”
The home’s open floor plan allows Laura Beth and Nate to entertain with ease whether they are hosting a formal dinner party or watching football with friends. A large sectional in the living room is visible and within earshot of the dining room and kitchen, meaning guests can see and converse with one another from each of the rooms. “Since this is an open plan, I had to make sure everything flowed from one room to the next,” Laura Beth says. Light brass finishes and a neutral palette tie the living room to the adjoining spaces.
In the dining room, furniture and lighting from Kaufman By Design West are complemented by glassware Laura Beth’s mother, Missy, had received when she married and then passed on to her daughter as a wedding gift.
Practical & Pristine
“I cook a lot, and I didn’t want the kitchen’s décor to get in the way when I’m preparing a meal,” Laura Beth says. To this end, detailed embellishments were incorporated on the cabinetry door fronts, backsplash tile, hardware, and lighting. The result is a fully functional room with visual depth and interest that doesn’t interfere with workspaces.
The master suite is located just off the kitchen. Here, Laura Beth went for what she calls a more “soft and romantic” feel with luxurious bedding and a mix of linen and velvet textiles. On either side of the custom upholstered bed, classic gourd lamps and Louis Philippe mirrors pair with contemporary chests that feature textured drawer fronts.
“I love taking baths, so I wanted to create a very relaxing space in the master bath and then bring in some fun through the light fixture,” Laura Beth says. The vanity area echoes this approach with modern, organic-shaped sconces, marble countertops, and acrylic hardware. The couple are drawn to gold finishes and carried them throughout this bath and much of the home for continuity.
Builder Jackie Stevens, Stevens Custom Homes Draftsman David Blazer, Kaufman By Design, 7th Street Interior design Kaufman By Design West Landscape design River Valley Horticultural Products Accessories, art, bedding, carpet, fireplace, fixtures, flooring, furniture, hardware, lighting, mirrors, rugs, and tile Kaufman By Design West Appliances Metro Appliances & More Cabinetry Duke Custom Cabinets Countertops Casa Blanca Granite, Marble & Tile Millwork Stevens Custom Homes Paint Benjamin Moore Painting Melvin’s Painting Windows Kaufman By Design, 7th Street Window coverings (blinds and curtains) Janet Baker, Baker Window Coverings Window coverings (plantation shutters) Kaufman Lumber Co.