Story: Jennifer Bonds | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Chip Jones |
Smart—and chic—updates help a large family make the most of their Lake Hamilton retreat
Most homeowners can relate: What starts as one thing often leads to another. Such was the case with this lakefront property. “It started out as being a very cosmetic update—paint and flooring, and addressing a few moisture issues,” Brittany Nixon Brun of Brittany Nixon Creative explains. “But we ended up with a pretty significant project. It was not quite gutted, but we touched every room.”
The spacious Lake Hamilton home is a popular gathering spot for three generations of a Sheridan family, and while the renovation may not have been planned, it certainly improved the home’s function. “It’s not uncommon for the house to have 20-30 people in it, so we really needed to address some traffic flow issues and increase seating wherever possible,” Brun says. Because of the home’s proximity to the water (the lake is just steps from the patio doors), durability and ease of use were also priorities. Here’s a glimpse at how she made this lakeside retreat work for a crowd.
The main-level great room is an expansive space that was previously under-utilized with only one sofa and a few chairs. Brun updated the room with a new pair of sofas and two pairs of armchairs to double the seating space and fill the large room. Inspired by the view outside, the warm neutral palette is accented with shades of blue and green that are reminiscent of the water. To enhance the space’s architecture, she had the ceiling covered in V-groove paneling and installed wood beams for texture.
The ceiling treatment flows into the adjacent kitchen where new recessed-panel cabinetry updates the look and gives the room a timeless air. In both rooms, Brun chose linen-blend draperies and had an embroidered fabric cut down for use as a band on the leading edge. “In such a large space, a standard trim would have been totally lost. In big spaces, you need big gestures,” she says.
Keep it Casual
“A secondary home is an opportunity to be more relaxed and the door is open for more unique finishes,” Brun says, who also designed the homeowners’ primary residence. “Our goal was that the house be warm and inviting, casual and relaxing, and to not feel too brand new or trendy.” To achieve this, she brought the formality level of the home down a few notches, starting in the dining room where a mirrored ceiling and fluted columns felt out of place. Now, a twig chandelier hangs in place of its more formal crystal predecessor and is more fitting to the home’s location. In the same fashion, the chairs reference a French style, but the finish is reminiscent of driftwood to give them a laid-back look.
Work With What You Have
To keep the house from feeling unfamiliar, Brun reused existing furniture and accessories where she could, often rethinking their purpose or appearance. In the kitchen, she selected a new breakfast table with a painted finish to lighten the space, but kept the existing chairs, recovering the seats with a practical vinyl that closely resembles leather. Similarly, a pair of armchairs from the great room was recovered for use in the master bedroom. In the lower-level bunkroom, she rearranged the cottage-style beds and added a cheerful color palette to lighten the once-dark space. Many accessories were culled and moved about the home for optimal placement. For example, pieces from the homeowners’ ceramic collection (both old and new, precious and not) were pared down and grouped together on the great room’s newly installed shelves.
Make Every Space Count
The lower-level great room is a popular hangout spot for the teen- and college-aged crowd along with their friends. By relocating the dining area —used for games as well as meals—and TV-watching zones to the back of this space, Brun optimized a missed opportunity in the original layout. She brought the kitchenette from the back of the room to the front, making snacks and drinks now just steps away from the boat dock, while a conversation zone with four swiveling armchairs has the best view of the lake. “I wanted to make sure that everything in the home said ‘come on in and have a seat,’” she says.
Interior design Brittany Nixon Brun, Brittany Nixon Creative, Little Rock, (501) 247-7828, brittanynixoncreative.com
Contractor Greg Dunlap, Greg Dunlap Construction, LLC, Sheridan, (870) 942-7481
Accessories Brittany Nixon Creative, Little Rock, (501) 247-7828, brittanynixoncreative.com; Cobblestone & Vine, Little Rock, (501) 664-4249, West Little Rock, (501) 219-3676, cobblestoneandvine.com; Cynthia East Fabrics, Little Rock, (501) 663-0460, cynthiaeastfabrics.com
Art, furniture, and lighting Brittany Nixon Creative, Little Rock, (501) 247-7828, brittanynixoncreative.com; Cobblestone & Vine, Little Rock, (501) 664-4249, West Little Rock, (501) 219-3676, cobblestoneandvine.com
Appliances Metro Appliances & More, Jonesboro, (870) 933-7800, North Little Rock, (501) 758-1988, Springdale, (479) 750-2200, metroappliancesandmore.com
Bedding Brittany Nixon Creative, Little Rock, (501) 247-7828, brittanynixoncreative.com; Sew Much by Monica Smith, Little Rock, (501) 952-3768
Cabinetry and hardware R&B Cabinets, Sheridan, (870) 942-0983
Countertops Inside Effects, North Little Rock, (501) 954-8866, insideeffects.com
Fabrics and wallpaper Brittany Nixon Creative, Little Rock, (501) 247-7828, brittanynixoncreative.com; Designer Effects, Little Rock, (501) 661-4070, designereffects.net
Fixtures Jason Cate Plumbing, Hot Springs, (501) 318-8989
Millwork Brown Millwork, Sheridan, (870) 942-5224, brownmillwork.com
Mirrors and glass Brittany Nixon Creative, Little Rock, (501) 247-7828, brittanynixoncreative.com; Jones Glass, Benton, (501) 315-6600, myjonesglass.com
Paint Benjamin Moore, locations statewide, benjaminmoore.com; Sherwin-Williams, locations statewide, sherwin-williams.com
Painting Greg Dunlap Construction, LLC, Sheridan, (870) 942-7481
Rugs Brittany Nixon Creative, Little Rock, (501) 247-7828, brittanynixoncreative.com; C&F Flooring and Rug Gallery, Little Rock, (501) 399-9909, candfcarpet.com
Tile Acme Brick, Tile and Stone, locations statewide, acmebricktileandstone.com; C&F Flooring and Rug Gallery, Little Rock, (501) 399-9909, candfcarpet.com; C&P Carpets, Little Rock, (501) 224-6000, candpcarpets.com
Upholstery Robby Chism Upholstery, Little Rock, (501) 568-7466
Windows Meek’s Lumber, locations in northwest Arkansas, meeks.com
Window coverings Brittany Nixon Creative, Little Rock, (501) 247-7828, brittanynixoncreative.com; Mountjoy’s Custom Draperies, Mabelvale, (501) 455-2216