Date: June 3, 2019 | Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Nancy Nolan | Styling: Lauren Cerrato |
With the help of designer Tobi Fairley, Brandy and Richard Harp create an al fresco escape in their own backyard
When Brandy and Richard Harp built their west Little Rock home, the backyard was a top priority. “We work hard but we want to play hard,” Brandy says. The couple, who have two young children, wanted to create an oasis where the kids could play together and friends would linger on weekends.
The area was designed to allow the Harps a resort-worthy experience without leaving the backyard. “We don’t have to go back and forth to the main house,” Richard says. “We can grill, listen to music; I can even answer the doorbell from here thanks to technology.” Zones for dining, grilling, and lounging—along with the respite of an air-conditioned pool house on especially hot Arkansas afternoons—make the outdoor spaces ideal for a crowd of all ages. Plus, features such as a TV that folds out so guests can catch a Razorback game while floating on a raft and speakers that line the length of the pool add to the experience.
As for the décor, a desire for a resort vibe as well as the main house’s color scheme were taken into account. “We told Tobi we wanted something fun, bright, and vibrant,” Brandy says, “and we didn’t want to hold her back on color.” Pops of chartreuse, which also appear in the family’s home, along with a range of blues reminiscent of water comprise the palette, showing up in artwork, accessories, and an array of upholstered seating options. “I wanted to make the outdoor area feel as residential as their home’s interior,” says Tobi, who also designed the interiors of the main house.
“Life is so busy. Even though this family loves to travel, it was huge to be able to create a backyard escape that gives them the feeling of going away without ever leaving their home,” Tobi says. “And since everything we used is either vinyl, plastic, or indoor/outdoor friendly, it looks cute but there’s no worry. Everybody can relax.”
Classic and Cool
Upholstered pieces (seen under the covered porch) invite comfort and relaxation. Covered in indoor/outdoor fabrics, they can stand up to wet swimsuits while still being soft enough for cozy nights by the fire. Outdoor curtains pull closed to block the sun on bright days or enclose the area on chilly nights. Below, an all-white dining set introduces a level of sophistication and style that Tobi says makes guests “feel like they’ve been transported to a favorite resort.”
All the Amenities of Home
Save for an oven, the kitchen space has everything one could need for cooking quick meals or preparing side dishes to pair with grilled meats. Tobi employed an all-white color scheme to keep the design seamless from floor to ceiling. In the adjoining living room, a vinyl sleeper sofa allows the space to house guests for extended stays. An abstract Jane Booth painting plays off of the room’s palette.
West Coast Vibes
A hint of California flair comes in the form of a midcentury-inspired wood and lacquer media console. The fabric seen on the ottoman in the living space is echoed on the full bath’s wallpaper, and again lends whimsy to the design. Underfoot an indoor/outdoor rug softens the floor without being overly fussy. “We wanted style out here, but didn’t want anything to be too precious or for them to have to worry about upkeep,” Tobi says.
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