Date: April 29, 2019 | Story: Stephanie Maxwell Newton | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Hope Johnstone |
Yeary Lindsey Architects and Jill White Designs team up to convert cramped quarters into a stylish family abode
When the owner of this recently renovated Little Rock home approached architects Ellen and Jim Yeary of Yeary Lindsey Architects, he didn’t foresee a full-scale remodeling job in his future. “He said, Hey, I need y’all to come look at this house—I just need to do a little work to it,” Ellen recalls. “A little work” evolved into a lot of work, and eventually, the house was hardly recognizable from the disjointed duplex it once was.
In the home’s original configuration, the downstairs was an entirely separate apartment that could only be accessed from the exterior. Combined with the rest of the upstairs as well as a separate den over the garage, the house had plenty of potential, but didn’t make sense for family living.
“The owner wanted to hang on to as much as he could of the original house,” Jim says. “We were able to keep the plumbing from the kitchen fairly close by, and the master bathroom plumbing and bathroom downstairs intact. The rest of it was either re-assigning the space or blowing a wall out and building something new.” The re-assigned spaces include the master bedroom, which is now where the original living and dining rooms were; the original master bedroom is now the master closet. In the kitchen, a wall was removed and space borrowed from the old office and closet to create an open-concept dine-in kitchen and living room.
“He also wanted to put a two-car garage in, and he wanted space for all the kids downstairs; I can’t recall ever doing this before, but we ended up putting the garage above the bedrooms,” Jim says. “It was a jigsaw puzzle, it really was. It was one of the more radical transformations we’ve worked on.”
After plans for the renovation were secured, the owner brought Jill White of Jill White Designs on board to create spaces that would mix contemporary sensibilities with cozy, traditional materials. “They wanted to use a lot of wood elements and more natural tones,” Jill says. “That was a huge part of this design—the exposed beams, the kitchen island, the knotty pine—that all brings in a few of those French country elements. But mixed with more contemporary art, light fixtures, iron doors, and modern hardware, it’s all more updated.”
“The homeowners gave me an image of a kitchen that had this La Cornue range and a wooden island,” Jill says of the inspiration for these rooms. “Tommy Farrell built the island based off of that, then we ran with the whole house from there,” she says, noting the mix of traditional and contemporary styles in these rooms.
In the master bathroom, the locations of the water closet and vanity were two of the only pieces of the house to remain unmoved. The architects borrowed room from the original master bedroom to enlarge the bath, adding a soaking tub, larger shower, and walk-in closet. Jill carried the green found in the master bedroom onto the cabinetry in this space; the pocket door is stained to match other wooden elements found throughout the house.
Dimensional gold grout and vintage-inspired sconces lend an air of luxury to the master bathroom. Jill worked with Soos Stained Glass to develop a custom treatment on the window that mimics the pattern on the window coverings in the master bedroom and provides privacy.
Let There Be Light
Because the remodel expanded the upstairs so much, one of the challenges Jim said their team faced was getting enough sunlight into the downstairs rooms. “The battle was to get light down in there so it didn’t feel like a cave,” Jim says. The remedy to this was in the placement of the stairwell. “This creates a tower that allows daylight to come and penetrate the downstairs and filter into some of the other interior spaces,” he explains.
Early on, the homeowner and design team decided to add a deck to the back of the house to allow the family to take full advantage of the home’s view. Modern furnishings surround an outdoor fireplace and give the space an elevated appeal, while organic elements are a nod to the surrounding environment.
Movie Night Done Right
Because of the increased footprint upstairs, the family ended up with lots of extra square footage downstairs for a game and media room. “This room has black-out shades for watching movies, a pool table, space to play games—it’s really just a place for the kids to chill,” Jill says. French doors open out to the backyard and make better use of the indoor-outdoor flow than the home’s previous configuration.
Boho Bunk Room
The lower level of this house is all about the kids. In one of the daughters’ rooms, Jill worked with Troy Turner of Turner Custom Millwork to design an L-shaped bunk bed, then decorated the room with Bohemian accessories and a neutral palette that the pre-teen can grow into.
Two of a Kind
In the daughters’ shared bathroom, penny tile covering the walls and the floor makes a big impact, and gold and bronze finishes give the room an element of sophistication while balancing out the cooler tones of the cabinetry. “We used just about every finish you can imagine throughout this house,” Jill says. “One bathroom has matte black, and in here, we used Delta’s ‘Champagne Bronze.’ We were very eclectic with our finishes. If it all matches, it’s boring.”
Form & Function
The home’s original garage and the den above it had to be removed entirely to build out the space underneath and make room for a two-car garage on top. Adjacent to the new garage is this multi-purpose laundry room, which not only houses the washer and dryer, but also functions as a mud room, office, and craft station. Jill used hexagonal tiles—another recurring motif throughout the home—on the floor in a non-repeating pattern, one of Lindsey Cowles’s bright wallcoverings, and a happy teal paint on the cabinets to make the workroom a joyful respite.
Architect Ellen Yeary, AIA, and Jim Yeary, AIA, Yeary Lindsey Architects Contractor Don Horton Construction Interior design Jill White, Jill White Designs Accessories and art Cobblestone & Vine and Jill White Designs Bedding, fabrics, furniture, lighting, mirrors, rugs, and wallpaper Jill White Designs Appliances Metro Appliances & More Cabinets Duke Custom Cabinets and Kimberly Cabinets Countertops (bathrooms) Linco Countertops Countertops (kitchen) Advanced Bath & Kitchen and Linco Countertops Doors Manhattan Iron Doors, Pella, and Turner Custom Millwork Doors (staining) and Kitchen island (fabrication) Tommy Farrell Custom Furniture Fireplace Mike Ballard Fireplaces Fixtures John W. Martin Plumbing Flooring and tile Burris Flooring Flooring (runner installation) C & F Flooring and Rug Gallery Glass Soos Stained Glass Hardware PC Hardware Millwork EW Ray Construction and Turner Custom Millwork Outdoor furnishings Antique Brick Outdoors, Jill White Designs, and Ransom Interiors Paint Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams Painting Dan Henry Painting Upholstery Brockington Upholstery Wallpaper (installation) Becky and Butch Hardin Windows Pella Window coverings Draped & Tailored
BEFORES & AFTERS