Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek |
Designer Molly Young creates a retreat for a busy couple—one of whom recently recovered from an extended illness—and their two young children
“Design can make a huge difference in quality of life,” says Molly Young of Molly Ray Young Interior Design. When she first met this couple, while working for central Arkansas’s Cobblestone & Vine, they were looking to improve their quality of life in a recently purchased Little Rock home. While historically charming, the house was in need of a renovation and the designer and owners set out to update it.
Prior to the completion of the project, one of the homeowners became ill and spent months recovering in the house. During this time she and the rest of the family leaned into the comforts of home, finding peace within its walls. “After my recent illness, I am even more grateful to Molly for creating a spa-like serene space that is nurturing,” the homeowner notes.
After this recovery period, Young began to work on additional spaces in the home, and the owners were eager to use every inch of the 1920s abode for enjoyment. “We have found ourselves throwing more parties and hosting more events; sharing this beautiful home with our friends and family and watching our kids grow up here are priceless experiences,” the homeowner says.
“When a client asks me to help them with their house, they are inviting me to be a part of their lives,” Young says. “The process is about far more than selecting pretty things; it is about creating a home that allows them to live better and more fully enjoy their lives. It’s a reflection of not only how they live but also who they are.”
Living Large & Small
“The living room needed to be able to host a large group, feel intimate for entertaining on a smaller scale, and still be cozy when it is just their family of four,” Young says. To accomplish this she created three main seating areas that are interconnected. “With a space this generous, the temptation could have been to fill it up with furniture, but the goal was to keep things feeling pretty light and airy so breathing room was key,” Young says. Easy-to-move pieces, including three ottomans, two marble-top cocktail tables, and a slipper chair, allow for easy reconfiguration based on the group gathered. Comfortable, inviting fabrics also play a role in the room’s warm, welcoming feel. The homeowner fell in love with a sofa covered in silk velvet that she had seen, so this became the starting point for the fabrics. “Everything feels good and has texture.” Young says. “You want to reach out and touch it.” The abstract work that hangs above the sofa is by Pocahontas artist Cathy Burge.
A Place to Relax
The sunroom is the home’s central hangout: a place to read, relax, or catch up on notes from the office. An oversize Oushak ottoman is a multipurpose piece that offers space to put up your feet or a surface for playing games, and it can also provide an extra seating space when friends and family visit. The lively orange and blue hues echo the palette of the other gathering rooms, creating a cohesive thread.
High style meets everyday life in the dining room. The couple wasn’t afraid to invest in quality pieces; however, they didn’t want to fret over the possibility of stains on fabrics. A table from Suzanne Kasler’s Hickory Chair collection pairs with coordinating chairs (also from the collaboration) covered in a cream-colored vinyl by Kravet. “When I described [the fabric] to them over the phone, the husband jokingly said it sounds like it belongs in a booth at a fast food chain. Upon seeing it, they loved it. What they really loved is you can wipe it with a sponge,” Young says.
“Not everything needs to be new in a room, or it can start to look like a showroom or store,” Young notes. Speaking to this, she wanted an antique sideboard to complement the new dining suite. “We found one; unfortunately it was at an astronomical price. So, we took an antique piece with a not-so-lovely finish and had Southern Cottage paint it. The result was better than if we had invested in the first one—and at a fraction of the cost.”
“The hardest working room in the whole house is the kitchen,” Young says. The family uses every square inch, which has been refreshed with a new coat of paint and barstools (upholstered in the same cream-colored vinyl as the dining and breakfast chairs). “The husband, in particular, is a gourmet,” Young says. Making the majority of the family’s meals from scratch, he’s even been known to strain an entire watermelon for punch on the Fourth of July, and visits a local supplier to purchase fresh fish, rather than opting for grocery selections.
While the homeowners were primarily drawn to neutrals, the wife reiterated her love of orange several times throughout the design process. Mary McDonald’s “Chinois Palais” wallpaper for Schumacher seemed to Young a natural way to incorporate this, while also making a nod to the family’s Chinese heritage. “It’s like a fresh burst of sunshine; it literally glows when the sun hits it, and you cannot feel anything but happy when you sit in the room,” Young says. A piece of abstract art by Little Rock artist David Bell ties the design to the elements seen in the home’s other living spaces.
One of the homeowners works in the medical field, and a work that features a heartbeat line by The Showroom’s owner Sandy Hubler speaks to this passion. A pair of comfortable chairs is a favorite place for the couple to unwind and reflect once the children are in bed.
Architect Charles Shipp
Contractor Blake Breeding, D&N Construction & Painting
Interior design Molly Young, Molly Ray Young Interior Design
Accessories Bear Hill Interiors, Cobblestone & Vine, Providence Design, Ransom Interiors, Roy Dudley Estate Sales
Appliances Metro Appliances & More
Art Bear Hill Interiors, Cobblestone & Vine, Ransom Interiors, The Showroom
Cabinetry and hardware Duke Custom Cabinets
Countertops All Natural Stone
Fabrics Cobblestone & Vine, Designer Effects, Laura’s Draperies & Blinds, Molly Ray Young Interior Design
Furniture Bear Hill Interiors, Cobblestone & Vine, Cost Plus Furniture Warehouse, Providence Design, Ransom Interiors
Lighting and wallpaper Cobblestone & Vine, Molly Ray Young Interior Design
Mirrors Cobblestone & Vine
Paint Benjamin Moore
Painting (decorative) Southern Cottage
Rugs Martinous Oriental Rug Co.
Upholstery Brockington Upholstery, Interior Creations
Window coverings Designer Effects, Laura’s Draperies & Blinds