Date: July 24, 2009 | Story: Murrye Bernard |
After welcoming their second child, John and Kirsten Carlton faced a common conundrum: they needed more space. So they sold their West Little Rock home and began with a blank slate — seven pristine, hilly acres near Paron, Arkansas that afforded spectacular views of the river valley.
“John and I both like clean lines, no clutter,” Kirsten explains. The Carlton’s first home featured an open layout, which suited them well as a growing family. To design their new home with a similar open living concept, they engaged architects Jennifer Herron and Jeff Horton, the husband and wife duo behind Herron Horton Architects, and interior designer Eric Ford, who worked with the Carltons on their first home.
“The clients asked us to focus on the views,” explains Horton, which prompted the architects to nestle the home into the hillside. Doing so allowed them to locate private spaces towards the back while pushing living spaces forward beyond a line of trees and framing views through a two-story glass wall. Neutral stucco, horizontally coursed natural stone and a dark bronze metal roof rounded out the exterior palette, providing the clean lines that the Carltons desired as well as durability and harmony with the natural surroundings.
The blur between inside and outside is accentuated by projecting balconies as well as the repetition of natural stone. Inspired by the linear pattern of the stone, which is used on accent walls inside the house, Ford selected a striking, horizontal blue and gray glass tile backsplash for the kitchen and repeated it in a similar fashion in the master bathroom.
To keep the emphasis on the views, Ford chose streamlined furnishings for the living spaces and recessed shades for windows where privacy is an issue. The team even designed the staircase to incorporate glass panels, allowing views and light to permeate both levels of the home. For safety, the Carltons installed a custom-made childproof gate that matches the glass panels and can easily be removed when the boys are older.
The extensive glass facade allows ample natural light to enter the living room, kitchen, dining room and den, which flow into one another. “You feel like you are outdoors,” Ford explains. This connection with nature inspired him to pursue an organic feel. Ford chose a light warm gray for the living room walls, rather than stark museum-white, to achieve an effect that he says is “soft, ethereal and light.” Accents of blue, brown and green complement the backdrop of rolling hills and sky.
While hues in the family spaces are inspired by nature, the boys’ rooms provided an opportunity to use punchier colors: cerulean blue and lime green. In order to prevent future sibling rivalry, Ford designed the boys’ rooms to each have unique style yet include similar elements. Sixteen-month-old Colin’s room features a square motif that’s evident in display shelves and a shag rug, while three-year-old William’s theme is circles, appropriate given his love for all things with wheels. Both rooms include mid-century modern Eames-inspired furniture with crisp white planes that pop against the colorful walls. The boys each have their own bathroom, which will be convenient when they are older, but for now they prefer to play in the freestanding tub and the large, dual shower in the master bath.
“I’m creating a space for now, but it has to be able to grow with them,” Ford says. “The home is modern, but it’s also family friendly.” Kirsten concurs that the outcome is the comfortable and inviting modern home she and John had in mind, and that it’s a good fit for her young family. “We use every bit of it,” she says.
Murrye Bernard is a freelance writer in New York City. She is an Arkansas native and holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Arkansas.
Architecture Herron and Horton Architects, Little Rock
Interiors Eric Ford Design, Little Rock
Landscape Chris Olsen, Botanica Gardens, Little Rock
Contractor James Construction, Little Rock
Floral design Kevin Green, Little Rock
Appliances Thermador through Metro Builders Supply, Maumelle
Audio system Surround Sense, Fayetteville
Blinds Blind Ambition, West Little Rock
Cabinetry G&R Cabinetry, Hot Springs
Countertops House of Marble and All Natural Stone, Little Rock
Floors Standfill Floor Co., Bryant
Furnishings and accessories Cynthia East, Larry’s Inc., LaHarpe’s Office Supply, Massimo, Mertinsdyke Home, Soho, all in Little Rock
Glass shower surround, staircase panels Allied Glass and Aluminum, Little Rock
Heating and Cooling Chenal Heat and Air, Little Rock
Light fixtures Light Innovations, Little Rock
Metal work Bray Sheet Metal, Little Rock; J&M Construction, Bigelow
Millwork Greenfield Millworks, Maumelle
Painters ORB Painting, Little Rock
Plumbing fixtures Southern Pipe and Supply, PC Hardware, Little Rock
Rugs Hadidi and Amenco Design, Little Rock
Security system Complete Security, Little Rock
Stone Cedar Ridge Quarries, Cecil
Stonework Orlando Nelson Construction, Little Rock
Tile C&F Carpet, Little Rock
Tub in master bath and decorative hardware in kitchen PC Hardware, Little Rock
Water filtration system Pure Water, Little Rock
Windows Pella, Maumelle