Story: Ashley Gill | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Chip Jones |
Interior Designer Krista Lewis revamps a nondescript home in West Little Rock to create a richly personalized dwelling for her brother and his young family
There comes a time when the mismatched and makeshift décor you’ve acquired through various life transitions simply no longer fits your lifestyle or taste level. That was the case when Heather and Scott Allmendinger, along with their two young children, Vivian (6) and Croix (4), set out to purchase and furnish a home where they could picture themselves living long-term.
Even before buying a new place, the couple turned to Scott’s sister, interior designer Krista Lewis, for guidance. “They were ready to move into a house where they could put down roots and be comfortable for a long time,” Lewis says. Having an expert in the family certainly has its perks, and Lewis guided the couple through the process of choosing—and then renovating—their new home. Lewis gave her stamp of approval to this particular house, because, she says, “the basic floor plan was ideal.” Though it didn’t need many major structural changes, Heather and Scott “were eager to personalize the space,” she adds. Prioritizing Heather’s fondness for formal interiors, Scott’s desire for the home to be optimally functional, and the couple’s shared love of hosting friends and family, Lewis created a deeply meaningful setting for this next chapter in their lives.
Lewis’s design clients gravitate to her signature casual-comfortable design style, and—as Heather was selecting her favorite images from design books and magazines—the designer noticed that “her taste leans more formal, with lots of dressy textiles.” Country-French décor, therefore, became the decorative aesthetic that united the visions of both designer and homeowner. Though the Allmendingers favor a very traditional style of furnishings, Lewis intentionally kept the atmosphere youthful, in order to best represent the family’s vibrant spirit. The designer’s key to keeping the tenor of the design from being overly serious was carrying an airy and fresh color palette throughout the floor plan. “The home is primarily done in light taupes, warm whites, blues, and gold,” Lewis says, and “the master bedroom is celadon, rose, and taupe, because Heather really wanted a touch of pink somewhere in the home.” The luxurious master bathroom is almost entirely neutral with gold accents.
Because the Allmendingers entertain frequently, for different sizes and types of gatherings, they required a variety of spaces that would serve this purpose. The formal dining room offers an atmosphere of easy refinement, featuring a damask wallcovering by Thibaut, an oversized mirror with a gilded frame—which hangs above a distressed painted buffet—and custom pinch-pleated silk draperies in a checkered pattern that follow the contour of the graceful, arched window.
The living room, similarly, layers texture and pattern for an elegant effect. Antiqued mirrors, exquisite silk drapery panels, and glimmering gold finishes throughout the room imbue the palette of blues and yellows with a reflective sheen. The sofa and two club chairs are tailored and traditional, while select accent fabrics lend a slightly more contemporary attitude; for instance, a high-contrast chevron pattern livens up the two upholstered armchairs situated fireside. The kitchen, an adjacent keeping room, and the fully updated screened back porch are better suited to casual entertaining and everyday family living.
One of the most private spaces in the Allmendingers’ home—the master bathroom—ended up being the most sumptuous of all. To achieve the “high-end hotel feel” the couple wanted, a major transformation was necessary. “We didn’t change the layout of the plumbing fixtures, but by enclosing the shower and selecting new finishes from top to bottom [it] feels like a completely different space,” Lewis says. The existing base cabinetry was repainted and topped with quartzite countertops. The redesign makes the space feel more intimate and private, whereas, before, the room felt too open and exposed for comfort. Gold leaf was applied to the mirror frames to match the Visual Comfort light fixtures, and an inset marble mosaic—an idea drawn from Heather’s inspiration images—embellishes the porcelain-tiled floor.
The design details of the Allmendinger home that are the most personalized are also the most personal to the family. For instance, the painting of a pelican that hangs above the living room fireplace is by Louisiana artist Elaine Gleason and serves as a reminder of Heather and Scott’s engagement (which took place in New Orleans) as does the grouping of mixed-media crosses by Helen Bolin—another Louisiana artist—that hangs above the skirted console table in the same room. The touch of pink Heather requested appears in the upholstery of a delicate armchair she inherited from her grandmother and which now sits in her bedroom—a daily reminder of a much-beloved family member. It is at these intersections of personal style and personal memories that Lewis says she can see the higher value of a truly unique home design: “I love that they personalize the space and bring such happy memories to the house.”
Interior design Krista Lewis, K. Lewis Interior Design, Little Rock, (501) 952-6952, klewisinteriordesign.com
Contractor Jon Callahan, Callahan Construction, Jacksonville, (501) 837-3575, jcbuilds.com
Accessories Cantrell Furniture Design Center, Little Rock, (501) 225-0002, cantrellfurniture.com; K. Lewis Interior Design, Little Rock, (501) 952-6952, klewisinteriordesign.com; Providence Design, Little Rock, (501) 372-1886, providenceltddesign.com; Tanarah Luxe Floral, Little Rock, (501) 372-1400, tanarahluxefloral.com
Art Cantrell Furniture Design Center, Little Rock, (501) 225-0002, cantrellfurniture.com; Cobblestone & Vine, Little Rock, (501) 664-4249, West Little Rock, (501) 219-3676, cobblestoneandvine.com; K. Lewis Interior Design, Little Rock, (501) 952-6952, klewisinteriordesign.com; Providence Design, Little Rock, (501) 372-1886, providenceltddesign.com
Bedding, carpet, fabrics, fixtures, hardware, lighting, mirrors, and wallpaper K. Lewis Interior Design, Little Rock, (501) 952-6952, klewisinteriordesign.com
Cabinets—bathroom, millwork, and painting Callahan Construction, Jacksonville, (501) 837-3575, jcbuilds.com
Countertops—bathroom Pacific Shore Stones, Mabelvale, (501) 455-3600, pacificshorestones.com
Flooring—master bath Inside Effects, North Little Rock, (501) 954-8866, insideeffects.com
Flooring—outdoor area Acme Brick, locations throughout Arkansas, acmebricktileandstone.com
Florals Tipton & Hurst, locations throughout central Arkansas, (501) 666-3333, tiptonhurst.com
Framing The Showroom, Little Rock, (501) 372-7373, theshowroom.us.com
Furniture Cantrell Furniture Design Center, Little Rock, (501) 225-0002, cantrellfurniture.com; Cobblestone & Vine, Little Rock, (501) 664-4249, West Little Rock, (501) 219-3676, cobblestoneandvine.com; K. Lewis Interior Design, Little Rock, (501) 952-6952, klewisinteriordesign.com
Lampshades—custom The Shade Above, Little Rock, (501) 374-3555, theshadeabove.com
Painting—decorative Angelfish, Little Rock, (501) 960-4826, angelfishstudios.net
Upholstery Howard’s Upholstery, Little Rock, (501) 225-0476
Window coverings—dining room Mountjoy’s Custom Draperies, Mabelvale, (501) 455-2216; Pam Meredith Sewing, Lonoke, (501) 266-2325