Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Lauren Cerrato |
Designer Daniel Keeley helps a family create a camp-style retreat amidst a natural setting in North Arkansas
Small, secluded, and serene—Jasper, Arkansas, is the type of getaway that invites relaxation and togetherness. That’s precisely why this family chose to make it their home away from home. “They found this property on the Little Buffalo River and bought it with the idea of creating a family retreat,” says exterior designer Daniel Keeley, who worked closely with the owners on the grounds, outdoor living areas, and two guest cabins.
The property, which also includes a main house not featured here, has been constructed in stages and continues to evolve. “The compound grows as their family grows,” Daniel says. With these phases in mind, Daniel allowed the architecture to guide his design direction, thus creating an uninterrupted flow from one area to another. For example, the stone seen on the cabins is echoed on the pool surround, and reclaimed wood is used in abundance on all the structures, including the outdoor dining area’s pergola. Similarly, the setting dictated many of the plantings. “I wanted it to look natural but not totally un-designed,” Daniel says. “There are lots of pretty perennials that will continue to fill in over time.”
While Daniel notes the summer is prime time for making use of the pool and nearby river access, the design allows for a true, year-round retreat. Lounge areas abound, including the front screened porches of the cabins, which are perfect for enjoying the breeze of a spring evening or guarding against the chill of fall with a blanket. A fire pit, situated in front of the cabins, serves as a gathering place, and younger guests enjoy roasting marshmallows when the fire is roaring.
“The setting is amazing, and these homeowners really put in the effort to source a builder who would create structures that live up to it. For our part, we tried not to steal the spotlight, but to complement the buildings with an outdoor design that reflects their beauty and the beauty of nature,” Daniel concludes.
The Gathering Place
“I think of the fire pit as the lobby area for the cabins. If you’re staying in one of the cabins, this is where you gather,” Daniel says. Symmetrically in line with the pool, the cabins are positioned on either side of the circular pad, which is outfitted with straight-lined, Adirondack-style chairs and neutral throw pillows for extra comfort.
The grounds feature two small cabins. “When we were working on the design plans, we kept calling them “cabin one” and “cabin two;” and then later we called them the “red cabin” and the “blue cabin” because of the color scheme; but we thought they needed actual names,” Daniel recalls. The owners decided on “Round Mountain Cabin” and “Bear Pond Cabin,” respectively named for the natural features they are closest to in terms of the property’s layout. Boulder slab steps, which appear to be naturally occurring, lead from the pool to the fire pit and cabin entrances.
“The cabins have a very Americana feel, but nothing is cliché about them.”
– Designer Daniel Keeley
Bear Pond Cabin
“The homeowners love red, so I wanted to incorporate the hue without going overboard or taking away from the natural setting,” Daniel says. “As with the other cabin’s porch, the look here is comfy and casual.” A ladder holds an abundance of Sunbrella throws, perfect for naps on the sofa any time of the year. The wall-mounted sconce was custom-made by the builder and matches versions seen throughout the property.
Round Mountain Cabin
Shades of blue grace this cabin, starting with the screened porch where Daniel used outdoor furnishings that have the look, feel, and quality of their interior counterparts. “Everyone loves the swing bed,” Daniel says. He used outdoor fabrics in what he calls a “simple camp style” for the cushions and pillows in this space.
A skirted chaise lounge covered in thick-textured outdoor fabric is another favorite spot for reading and unwinding. The space is accented with a driftwood lamp and a branch-inspired metal table, both of which carry the property’s overall rustic theme into this space.
A pergola built from the same reclaimed wood seen on the cabins’ exteriors covers the outdoor teak dining table and side chairs. Cast aluminum Windsor chairs flank the ends of the table, lending an equally rustic and Americana feel. Behind the dining area, a small outdoor kitchen offers service for this area of the property.
The pool is situated in between the main house and the cabins, thus providing a large communal gathering place for guests staying in either location. “I wanted the pool to be simple,” Daniel says of the rectangular design, which is lined with unobtrusive black plaster. Eight lounges fill the surround, offering guests a place to unwind, and large, resort-style umbrellas provide shade.
“I wanted it to look natural but not totally un-designed.”
– Designer Daniel Keeley
Home design and builder Tony Martin Inc., Fredericksburg, Texas Landscape design Daniel Keeley, DK Design Outdoor furnishings DK Design Pool and spa Seaside Pools