|The outdoor fireplace is from Bill Kerr’s Fireplace, and the mantel is crafted of materials from Antique Brick and Block.
When it comes to designing a dream home, builder Mary Jane Herr always envisions an incredible view. “I love to have a view of the outdoor living area and pool from every room,” she says, “making it feel like an extension of the inside looking out.”
As a builder for the past 12 years, Mary Jane and her husband, Tommy, take their outdoor rooms seriously, especially since they live in The Arbors, a zero lot-line community in the Chenal area of west Little Rock. The couple loves the idea of being surrounded with color in their yard all year long. “That’s the final touch that makes everything so warm and inviting,” says Mary Jane. They carefully chose a mixture of azaleas, loropetalum, holly, crepe myrtles, Japanese maples, lantana and day lilies to make each area pop with seasonal color. “It’s sometimes a challenge,” says Mary Jane, “but it is a lot like living out in the country.”
With a view of pine trees that extend all the way across the back of the property, the couple designed the courtyard to take advantage of “every inch of the property lines,” relying on the expertise of Mark Pruss Excavation to carve out a perfect place for the water features that dominate the backyard. While the pool may be the main focal point, the fireplace and covered courtyard create another area where they spend hours entertaining. The brick fireplace is a product of Bill Kerr’s Fireplace, with bricks chosen from Antique Brick and Block in Little Rock, and iron artwork and candle sconces above the mantel complete the elegant ambience of the outdoor space. An elk rug beneath the coffee table sets off the outdoor furniture, which is so important in creating a comfortable outdoor room for Mary Jane. “I feel like the furnishings you put outdoors are just as important as those you choose for the interior of your home,” she says.