|The paprika-hued accents of this place setting continue the Asian influence found throughout the former congressman’s residence.|
|A soothing color palette of soft, seafoam gray walls and lightly finished cabinets creates a relaxing vibe in th
It was the view that first attracted former United States Congressman John Paul Hammerschmidt to his condo in the 300 Third Tower in downtown Little Rock. From his east-facing abode, he can see it all—the Little Rock National Airport, North Little Rock, the River Market, Heifer International, the Cox Building, Acxiom and the First Security Building. For a man who was the ranking Republican on the Public Works and Transportation Committee in Congress, this stunning condominium’s location allows him to take it all in—planes, autos, trains, trucks, buses, trolleys, and river-going vessels. It’s a transportation man’s dream.
Since the view could not be improved upon, only the interior design of the condominium required professional expertise. John called on designer Kay Howell to assume the duties of project manager and interior specialist. “Since Mr. Hammerschmidt prefers a natural color palette,” says Kay, “I chose a wall color of soft, sea-foam gray that complements the light sea-foam gray stain of the kitchen cabinets and the dark hardwood floors throughout the condominium.”
The former congressman’s preference for leather furniture was softened with accessories, various species of plants and custom-designed area rugs that add texture to the space. “I really wanted the accessories to represent memories from his life, and to have special significance to him,” adds Kay. Antique clay and gauze elephants, representative of the owner’s political affiliation, have special places in the dark-stained bookcases by the fireplace. A paprika-hued, beaded Tibetan ceremonial helmet stands at attention on the other side as a reminder of John’s many flights over the Himalayas during World War II as a highly decorated combat pilot in the Army Air Corp.
Art also plays an important role in the decorating scheme chosen for the residence. A color photograph by Tim Ernst of the John Paul Hammerschmidt Waterfall on the Buffalo River, a gift to the congressman for initiating legislation that created the Buffalo River National Park, hangs in a prominent spot. Other Arkansas artists represented in the condominium include a brightly colored abstract in oil titled Past Tense by architect and artist Marc Hatfield. Yellow Line on Pavement, by Pat Larsen of Conway, hangs above the living room fireplace. A digital painting of a rock formation on the Cecil River in north Arkansas, created by architect and photographer Steve Grisham of Little Rock, hangs on a kitchen wall overlooking the granite bar.
Even the custom-designed wool rugs in the living room are reminders of John’s political roots—embellished with patterns of flowing water, reminding the owner of Crooked Creek, which runs through the center of Harrison where he lived as a child and young adult working as the third generation in the Hammerschmidt Lumber Company. “This project was such a pleasure for me,” says Kay. “I felt like I was putting Mr. Hammerschmidt’s memories into tangible forms, reminiscent of his meaningful life of service to others and to his country.”