Story: Elizabeth Owen | Styling: Diane Carroll |
The Sheid women have always liked to shake things up a bit. Stacy Sheid’s grandmother, Vada, was the first woman in Arkansas elected to the Senate. Now Stacy is following in her grandmother’s footsteps, not in politics but by bringing big city loft living to a small town, something her grandmother did 50 years ago.
When working in Little Rock, Vada and her husband, Carl, rented a penthouse near the Capitol. Upon her return to Mountain Home, Vada decided she missed the penthouse lifestyle and renovated the second floor of their business, Sheids Furniture, into a large loft apartment. Now Stacy, returning from Dallas to help run the family business, found she also missed big city living.
Stacy embarked on a full-scale renovation, turning the original space into two apartments and getting rid of the 1960s-era décor. “The floors had turquoise shag carpeting,” remembers Stacy. “The bathtubs were varying shades of blue, and floral wallpaper was everywhere. It was literally a time capsule.”
But after sketching out a new floor plan, Stacy and her contractor, Duane Hunsucker, ran up against a formidable foe—the built-to-last philosophy of her grandfather, Carl. “My grandfather built these walls to be indestructible. Some things just couldn’t be moved, which was a big challenge,” Stacy explains. “There’s also a third floor attic above the space, so I had to forgo moving certain walls.” Despite the immovable obstacles, Stacy persevered and devised ways to add bookshelves in the living room and completely remodel the bathroom. She also made an additional change to the original floor plan by converting a third bedroom into a dining area. An archway now separates it from the new kitchen, which originally functioned as a laundry room.
She removed the drop ceilings throughout the apartment, maneuvering around existing ductwork to add crown molding. The resulting tiered trim and molding in the living room are, in Stacy’s words, “a happy coincidence.”
The crown molding was extended into the two bedrooms, where Stacy added luxurious bedding, custom drapes and bamboo blinds to create warmth. A nearby hallway was transformed into a large closet while the bathroom, originally outfitted with Formica countertops and thick shag carpeting, was a floor-to-ceiling renovation. Stacy gutted the room and added new cabinets, a walk-in shower and built-in laundry hampers. She painted the cabinets a soothing green to create a spa-like feel. “After years of living with a tiny bathroom in Dallas, where I had a pedestal sink and a small cart for my toiletries, I was ready for a sleek bathroom with lots of storage,” she says.
Throughout the renovation, Stacy emphasized keeping the loft cozy. She opted for low-profile carpet accented with area rugs in many of the rooms, and her choices in furniture, wallpaper and accents lean toward the warm and traditional. “I wanted it to feel homey, not cold,” she says.
Stacy, like her grandmother before her, loves the unique pleasures of loft living in a small town. “It’s probably the only loft in town, and it’s very convenient. I have no commute and I walk to the grocery store,” she says. “Sometimes people get a bit claustrophobic in a loft because they don’t have outside space, but it’s easier in Mountain Home where there are so many outdoor activities.”
Her recommendations for anyone considering tackling remodeling are simple and economical: “Make your investment count by trying to use materials that are timeless, and bringing in trendier pieces with room accents, such as pillows and fabric.”
Design, furnishing, fixtures and rugs Sheids Furniture, Mountain Home
Accessories Cobblestone & Vine, Fabulous Finds Antiques, Little Rock