Date: December 18, 2007 |
The picturesque Park Hill neighborhood in North Little Rock, which was Arkansas’ first planned suburb, hearkens back to the 1920s with its charming Craftsman bungalows and period cottages. Now, almost 85 years after Park Hill’s inception, Todd Smith and Charlie Groppetti, who live in a renovated Park Hill home built by Justin Matthews in 1923, have taken their love of the quaint neighborhood and translated it into a line of home accessories and furnishings—aptly named the Park Hill Collection. Both professional florists for over 30 years, Todd and Charlie spent time working in China on product development of pre-made holiday and home décor projects for Pottery Barn, Target and Hobby Lobby and decided to go into business for themselves. The collection offers a huge range of furniture and accessories, including exclusive reproductions of American primitive and rural European antiques designed with a sense of nostalgia that blends into contemporary homes and infuses them with timeless personal style.
For Charlie and Todd, holiday hospitality begins at the ivy-covered door of their cozy cottage, welcoming visitors with luxuriously thick evergreen garlands and swags brimming with clusters of pine cones, fresh fruits and berries, all accented with wide red velvet ribbon. Inside the front door, guests are met with the grand glow of a nine-foot Blue Spruce tree from the Park Hill Collection decorated with hundreds of ornaments mixed with vintage flea-market mercury balls in holiday hues. The living room is divided into two conversation areas and is personalized with American primitive and French Country furnishings and accessories. At one end, an antique wooden hobbyhorse is the center of attention, while the European pine trunk serves as both a coffee table and extra storage.
The natural theme continues at the opposite end of the living room, with the original brick fireplace serving as the focal point. The garland decorating the red brick mantel is mixed with fresh botanicals, handcrafted paper holly and fresh oranges accented with silk ribbon and cinnamon sticks. The mantel is topped off with urns of pine cones and faux berry branches mixed with bare quince branches from the yard. Large pots of ivy and an orange tree lend garden-fresh appeal to the interior. In the dining room, where rustic painted shutters flank a painted Brazilian buffet, rustic candelabras are given an elegant touch with greenery, and a prize steer on the wall is ringed with a grapevine wreath. Glass cloches cover old pottery planters to show off newly sprouted amaryllis bulbs, while on the dining table, more glass cloches are filled with pinecones and whimsical mushrooms.
In the kitchen, glass apothecary jars in a variety of shapes and sizes from the Park Hill Collection hold old-fashioned candy and nuts. Handcrafted pottery is filled with more twigs and berries, while the freestanding primitive hutch is decorated with greenery set amid many fanciful finds. Just off the kitchen, the mudroom is the perfect place for Todd and Charlie to arrange holiday decorations and to collect fresh-cut flowers and herbs from their garden. The pair of talented entrepreneurs also extend the holiday spirit outdoors with an old English wheelbarrow filled with fresh-cut evergreens and pinecones. “What attracted us to Park Hill was the historic value, as well as the quiet modest neighborhood that is still a little undiscovered secret,” admits Todd. “The home and garden gives us constant inspiration to develop and re-create products for our company. We sell things we really want to live with.”