Story: Ronda Swaney | Styling: Mandy Keener |
Julie Shaw fondly recalls the day she and her husband found their dream home on Hot Springs’ Lake Hamilton just six years ago. “At the time, there was nothing available. The economy was booming and people were purchasing property right and left. But then we found this house. It was in the perfect location—on the lake, yet close to town,” she says.
When the Shaws purchased their dream vacation home it had been neglected for quite some time and they knew it would be a lengthy renovation. “Since we spend most of our time outside, we decided to start the renovation there,” says Shaw. The first priorities were to create an outdoor kitchen, cabana area for sunning and an outdoor shower. The couple often travels to the British Virgin Islands, and as a designer Julie drew her inspiration for the renovation from these trips. “I wanted to bring all the color and casual simplicity of the tropics to this home,” she says.
While the stone and lakeside decking existed when the Shaws bought the home, they wanted to add their own touch and did so with the addition of a cedar cabana. Four Smith & Hawken teak lounge chairs coordinate beautifully with the cabana and offer a spot to relax in the shade. To bring in a bit of the tropical flair, Julie added orange-and-red throw pillows to contrast with the furniture’s off-white cushions. The family and guests alike enjoy soaking in the sun on the teak deck chairs that flank the cabana.
Another cedar structure houses the home’s outdoor kitchen. Asian-inspired panels screen each end, while African mahogany cabinets hang in between to provide storage when the Shaws entertain outdoors. A grill, refrigerator and ice machine supply all the necessities for outdoor cooking and dining while steel barstools offer casual seating around the honed granite counter and are a sturdy addition that can withstand natural elements.
To continue the tropical theme, Shaw hung a colorful painting, which she found on a trip to Grayton Beach, over the sink to create contrast against the stone backsplash and used handblown orange-and-turquoise glass fixtures to light the bar. “If you know me, you know I like a pop of color, and orange is one of my favorite colors,” she reveals. The hue mixed with equally enticing shades of yellow, blue, red and green flows seamlessly throughout the outdoor space.
An expansive dining table that seats eight comfortably sits opposite the kitchen. A tropical-inspired fabric in turquoise, green and yellow lends a vibrant backdrop to the exquisitely set table. Nearby, a wire metal ball covered in lights comes alive after dark to illuminate another cozy seating area.
Throughout the space terraced, multi-level entertaining areas invite small gatherings, but truly shine during large events when the couple hosts 100 or more guests. “The levels definitely help because it gives people more places to have private conversations or to branch off on their own,” explains Shaw.
Closer to the house lies a stone patio adorned with similar furnishings and a full, sweeping view of the lakeside retreat and the lawn’s multiple terraces. “The patio is my favorite spot. It’s very soothing and relaxing,” notes Shaw. Climbing hydrangeas trail up a wall that hides the outdoor shower, while a vibrant pepper plant fills a nearby flowerbed. A copper panel serves as the backdrop to a water feature fronted by sprawling philodendron. Lush ferns and bromeliads add to the tropical feel of the space.
While the vibrant outdoor setting provides an abundance of entertaining space, the most welcoming features are Shaw and her family. “I’m an interior designer, but my house is not done to the hilt. We are so casual. I want people to come here and feel really relaxed. That’s what we love about our home,” she says.
Designer Julie Shaw, JS Designs, Hot Springs, (501) 525-6197
Architect Greg Pumphrey, Pumphrey Architecture, Hensley, (501) 261-1800
Appliances Metro Appliances & More, Jonesboro, (870) 933-7800, North Little Rock, (501) 758-1988, Springdale, (479) 750-2200, metroappliancesandmore.com
Cabinets SCS Architectural Caseworks, Memphis, (901) 948-6610
Teak outdoor furnishings Smith & Hawken, smithandhawken.com