Date: September 4, 2020 | Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Lauren Cerrato |
Inspired by time spent in California and Colorado, a family calls on designer Jill White to create a kitchen reflective of their lifestyle and passions
A family-friendly feel and the allure of a home with a backyard were enticing attributes when Noel and Dr. Brian Reemtsen relocated to Little Rock from Los Angeles with their three daughters. They fell in love with and purchased a traditional-style home near the city’s center that lacked one thing: a spacious kitchen. “This house was different for us, and we were looking to start something new,” Noel says in regard to the style. “We loved everything but the kitchen; we have always lived in homes with fairly large kitchens and open plans that flowed into a family room.”
Knowing the problem was not without remedy, they turned to contractor Chuck Hamilton, who introduced the Reemtsens to designer Jill White. “We wanted to lighten the space, open it up, and make it user-friendly for our family,” Noel says. “Our vision completely meshed with Jill’s and Chuck’s, and we shared a lot of interaction and ideas.”
For starters, Chuck and his team opened up the rooms by removing a wall between the kitchen and living area to create one flowing space and add a counter. “This ledge was made for entertaining; you can be in the kitchen but look into the living room and feel like you’re a part of what is going on there,” Jill says. Additionally, a hallway was closed off and a built-in desk removed to allow for the creation of the glass-door “pretty pantry,” which Jill notes holds the family’s everyday dishes along the top while also offering concealed storage for small appliances. In the living area, a large wall with two doorways was ripped out to make way for a new bar complete with a keg beer dispenser and wine fridge, while a glass wine cellar was born from an under-utilized built-in. However, perhaps, the biggest change was overhead, where low ceilings with wood-stained coffered beams were traded for a planked, vaulted ceiling painted in white.
While addressing functionality was key, an updated aesthetic was also at the forefront of the renovation. “The inspiration was the combo of them coming here from California and their love of Aspen,” Jill says. “They have great style and are super hip.” To this point, a streamlined palette of black, white, and blue runs throughout the spaces, while features such as rich walnut countertops and polished brass bring warmth with an edge.
“This space has really drawn our family together,” Noel says. “And I’m so thankful we finished it right before the pandemic; it’s allowed us to be collaborative and spend more time together making meals.”
One Big Space
Jill notes the kitchen, lounge area, and bar were all designed for entertaining. The island features a 5-foot sink with two faucets and interchangeable accessories, such as a colander, to allow for simple meal prep for a crowd. Barstools surround this hub and line the ledge overlooking the lounge area, giving guests multiple places to perch. Black accents, wood countertops, and Aspen-inspired accessories unite the different zones. One of the only carryovers from the previous space was a pair of leather and iron lodge-style chandeliers.
Brown wood floors were swapped for a chic matte black selection that fully plays into the palette.
The bar at Aspen’s Hotel Jerome inspired the mix of rich blue and walnut seen here. Gray Malin’s “Aspen Mountain Run” photograph on the back wall is another nod to the destination.
Chuck and Jill began to brainstorm ideas on how to transform a built-in area near the fireplace. “He said, What if it was all glass, and then the idea grew,” Jill recalls. The two came up with a quick napkin drawing (which Jill still has on her design board) for a wine cellar that is as visually appealing as it is functional.
Interior design Jill White, Jill White Designs Contractor Chuck Hamilton, Chuck Hamilton Construction Accessories, art, fabrics, hardware, ironwork (wine racks and bar shelving), lighting, mirrors, rugs, tile (backsplash, bar and kitchen flooring), and wallpaper Jill White Designs Appliances Metro Appliances & More AV Equipment Audio Dimensions Cabinetry Duke Custom Cabinets Countertops (quartz) Advanced Bath & Kitchen Countertops (walnut), ironwork (doors), millwork, and woodwork Chuck Hamilton Construction Fixtures Southern Pipe & Supply Flooring (tile) C & F Flooring and Wayne Gates Tile & Marble Flooring (hardwood) Arkansas Wood Floors Furniture Evo and Jill White Designs Paint Sherwin-Williams Painting Ricardo’s Pro Painting Painting (decorative wood finishes) David Zoellner, Metropolitan Decorating Refrigeration (wine room) McGinty Co. Stone (fireplace) Antique Brick Window coverings Draped & Tailored