Story: Elaine Slayton Akin | Styling: Mandy Keener |
A Northwest Arkansas family defines their home with a casual, comfortable style that’s well suited to each person’s individual taste
For Michelle Trumbo, home really is where the heart is. Full-time mother of two and self-professed cooking, reading and gardening enthusiast, Trumbo is your typical multitasking mom who is “real” enough to know that a living space any less than family-friendly is unacceptable. Like a modern-day Vesta, Roman goddess of the hearth, home and family, Trumbo keeps the home fires burning from the most important room in the house—the kitchen.
When Trumbo joined households with her partner, Joe Whiteside, the two knew right away that their home together must reflect the energy of their new family, including Trumbo’s daughters Holley, 13, and Anna, 10, in both the space’s function and its design. “There are a lot of kids in and out of our house, so it’s important that there’s no room that’s off limits. I want people to be comfortable in every room, and not feel like they’re in a show place,” Trumbo advised her friend of more than fourteen years and interior designer, Kimberly Harper of Harper Howey Interiors. Though Trumbo and Harper chose the kitchen as their starting point, their progress quickly became a full-home redesign and a shining model of form-follows-function philosophy.
Trumbo and Whiteside’s contemporary build in Fayetteville’s Covington Park neighborhood was formerly outfitted in 1990s-style fixtures and finishes along with heavy colors and furnishings. Harper confirms, “Michelle wanted to simplify the palette with neutrals and loose patterns, adding pops of color that can be changed out over time for a more sustainable design.”
And neutralize Harper did, beginning with the kitchen. Literally gutted down to the studs, the kitchen underwent a dramatic overhaul; what Trumbo found wanting in layout and appliances was replaced by effortless utilitarian bliss. Among other user-friendly improvements, Harper added storage volume extending the upper wall cabinets all the way to the ceiling, and amped up the gourmet features by installing an additional oven, a convection microwave, open concept pull-out shelves for pots and pans, a warming drawer and a mini bar—complete with a wine refrigerator. Harper suggested a nice, clean charcoal gray for the upper and lower cabinetry, a flawless complement to the gray-speckled granite countertops and the pristine white subway-tiled backsplash. Trumbo herself could not envision a more perfect spot in which her foodie family can enjoy delicious meals, each other’s company and entertaining friends.
A discerning Harper revealed Trumbo’s eclectic side in the dining room with a single, bold statement piece. “The chandelier was definitely the inspiration to bring color into that room,” explains the designer, who with Trumbo chose the ultra-mod, aquamarine beaded chandelier. Harper offset the contemporary feel of the chandelier with toned-down traditional accents, such as Whiteside’s antique dining table and a built-in hutch to display china collections passed down from Trumbo’s mother and grandmother. “Dad found my mom’s set while stationed overseas during Vietnam; it’s still very stylish and sought after—white-on-white with platinum trim,” she reminisces. The minimalist, carved French dining chairs, reupholstered in earthy burlap, round out the informal yet polished space, comfortable for both small weeknight dinners and large extended family get-togethers.
The fun and functional design of the kitchen and dining room extends into the rest of the home with bright accents and built-ins. In the living room, sprinkles of aquamarine and orange appear in the striped cushions of Louis XVI-style chairs, in the details of found objects from Trumbo’s international travel and above the mantle in an original painting by regionally acclaimed Memphis artist Danny Broadway. Eternal bookworm, Trumbo sought to keep her literature fully accessible. Built-in shelves that span the length of the room, inspired by celebrity interior designer Suzanne Kasler, discreetly hide any potential mess (and the television!) for low-key nights at home.
In daughter Anna’s room, hot pink is the theme. The spunky youngster walked into Cobblestone & Vine and announced, “That’s what I want!” upon spotting the vivid floral comforter set that, together with the hot-pink-and-white zebra-print window seat cushion, identifies the space as super girly without being overly sweet or soft.
The master bedroom and bath were also tailored to the couple’s wants and needs. Trumbo wanted a serene and calming feel for the two spaces, almost “spa-like,” she adds. To achieve the look Harper chose pressed linens in a neutral palette over busy patterns and textures. “The former space was crowded with furniture, dark colors and heavy draperies, but this change really helped to create an airy, more modern space,” says Harper.
However, Trumbo’s favorite aspect of the new design is no surprise. “The kitchen,” she discloses with no hesitation, “is a fully functioning dream; I chose and placed every single thing in there.” A close second is the dining room chandelier. “I was so unsure about it at first. Would it be too much? Or dated in five years?” the homeowner confides. “But everyone loves it now; it’s that ‘wow’ factor I was looking for.”
Interior design Kimberly Harper, Harper Howey Interiors, Springdale, (877) 323-4758, harperhoweyinteriors.com
Appliances Metro Appliances & More, Jonesboro, (870) 933-7800, North Little Rock, (501) 758-1988, Springdale (479) 750-2200, metroappliancesandmore.com
Fabrics, lighting and rugs Harper Howey Interiors, Springdale, (877) 323-4758, harperhoweyinteriors.com
Fresh floral Tipton Hurst, Conway, (501) 329-6663, Little Rock, (501) 666-3333, North Little Rock, (501) 753-0709, tiptonhurst.com
Furniture Cobblestone & Vine, Little Rock, (501) 663-4249, West Little Rock, (501) 219-3676, cobblestoneandvine.com; Harper Howey Interiors, Springdale, (877) 323-4758, harperhoweyinteriors.com; I.O. Metro, locations statewide, (888) 223-5628, iometro.com
Paint Sherwin-Williams, locations statewide, sherwin-williams.com