Date: July 26, 2011 | Story: Murrye Bernard | Styling: Mandy Keener & Laura LaRue |
For years, Elizabeth Clark saved magazine clippings depicting home interiors that inspired her, awaiting the day that she and her husband, Tom, could remodel the kitchen and living spaces in the Pleasant Valley neighborhood home they share with their two children. When the time came to renovate, she realized the images shared a common theme: light and bright. In direct contrast to the series of small, dark rooms comprising the living, dining and kitchen areas, Elizabeth had been drawn to open, airy spaces. “I didn’t want anything heavy,” she explains. “It was time to lighten up our house.”
The Clarks consulted designer Kathi Frieberg to develop preliminary kitchen layouts, and then proceeded with a renovation that involved gutting the entire downstairs of the house and reallocating space from a small dining room in order to expand the kitchen and create an adjacent office. The kitchen now opens onto an informal living space, where the family of four spends the majority of their time. “It feels like we added 500 square feet,” observes Elizabeth, although they managed to gain space simply by reconfiguring rooms. “We are using every inch of our house now,” she says.
After achieving a more efficient and family-friendly layout, the Clarks honed in on the details. One of Elizabeth’s magazine images inspired the backsplash design—a cheerful blue, green and off-white tile pattern that ultimately became the focal point of the kitchen. Tracking down exact matches for the tile colors, however, proved challenging. Elizabeth eventually contacted a custom tile company in New York, and they exchanged paint swatches and samples a few times before finding the right combination.
The Clarks commissioned Pine Bluff glass artist James Hayes to create custom pendant light fixtures to complement the tile. To complete the room’s open and airy appearance, they painted the walls white and added neutral maple cabinets topped with light-colored travertine marble countertops. Stainless steel appliances and modern, brushed nickel cabinet hardware underscore the crisp, clean effect.
The kitchen has quickly become a popular space within the Clark household, and also serves as the backdrop for the occasional informal get-together. “Whether there are four people or 50, everyone congregates around the island,” says Elizabeth. And the kitchen has received some unexpected use. Elizabeth, who works from home and had intended to set up shop in the office, says, “I actually work at the island most of the time, so I can look up at the tile and pendant lights that I love.”
Contractor, cabinets Arkansas Restoration, Inc., North Little Rock
Appliances Metro Appliances & More, locations statewide
Countertops Arkansas Granite & More, Benton<
Fixtures Falk Plumbing Supply, North Little Rock
Floors Southern Floors & Blinds, Sherwood
Office chairs Walmart, locations statewide
Paint Benjamin Moore, locations statewide
Pendant lights James Hayes Art Glass, Pine Bluff
Rustic & Responsible: Fayetteville designer Missi Walker uses eco-friendly ingredients to create a kitchen that pleases the palate as well as the eye
Made to Measure: An outmoded Augusta kitchen gets a sleek update suited to comfortable cooking and easy entertaining