Date: October 1, 2020 | Story: Stephanie Maxwell Newton | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Lauren Cerrato |
A blend of early Americana and English influence brings warmth and charm to this collected Little Rock home
“It’s a little Southern, a little English, and a little Colonial,” Donna Dickey says of the Chenal home she shares with her husband, Bruce. Though the couple moved in two and a half years ago, Donna—who served as both interior designer and contractor on the project—still considers the house a work in progress. “The key is patience. I don’t buy anything just to fill a spot,” she says. “I only buy things I love, then I’ll find a spot for them.”
When it comes to décor, this is the intentional mindset Donna has had for decades. “Some of the pieces in my house I’ve had for 30 years,” she says, pointing to collections of antique rugs, nautical-inspired oil paintings, and barley twist furniture and accessories throughout the house. “I like interiors that look like they’ve taken time.”
As grandparents with lots of family in close proximity, the Dickeys had little ones and large gatherings top of mind when building this house, their fourth residence in 11 years. “I told my hardwood guy, Jacob, I want my grandchildren to be able to ride their tricycles on these floors if they want to,” Donna laughs. “So he put an incredible finish on the hardwoods.”
Beyond durability, the home’s layout befits both its traditional style and family-focused function. “The flow of it works so well for us. I wanted to design it to where it wasn’t completely open, where the spaces each have their own cozy feel,” she says. “But yet, we have a 10-foot table that will sit 10 people. With the four barstools at the kitchen island and the table in the sunroom, it’s enough space for all of our family to be here together.”
A light-filled sunroom serves as a link between the backyard and indoor living spaces. Airy wicker armchairs around a wooden table offer casual everyday dining for Donna and Bruce, while the materials echo the natural textures seen on grasscloth shades and cherished antiques throughout the house.
With the help of architect Nathan Alderson, Donna designed the home’s exterior to encompass her favorite American and English design influences. A “shutter porch” right outside the kitchen door provides a quiet place to sip coffee in the mornings. Donna found the mismatched wicker furniture at different flea markets, sanded and repainted each piece, and added matching cushions to unify them.
The brick fireplace surround and wooden beams in the living room reflect the more primitive aspects of colonial style Donna is drawn to. Her collection of blue and white ceramics, including ginger jars, lamps, bowls, and pitchers, is on display throughout the house. “I couldn’t even tell you where all I’ve gotten these,” she laughs.
“The key is patience. I don’t buy anything just to fill a spot. I only buy things I love, then I’ll find a spot for them.”
—Donna Dickey, homeowner and designer
Place to Bake
Since Donna likes to cook and entertain for family and friends, the kitchen needed to be more than a showpiece. “Every time my grandkids come over, they sit up here at the island and we bake,” Donna says. Rather than a butcher block-topped kitchen island, she opted for white oak stained to match the floors. White and brass pendants over the island coordinate with warm metal accents on the lighting and hardware found throughout the home.
Open shelving for everyday essentials, a farmhouse sink, and a double oven help the kitchen function at its full potential while retaining its cottage charm.
Dining On Display
One area where Donna forewent the traditionalism of separated rooms was in the dining room, which is open to the cottage-sized kitchen. She drew inspiration for a full wall of cabinetry from an English design company called deVOL. “I showed my cabinet guy, Mike Robertson, a picture for this 14-foot wide, 10-foot wall of cabinets, and he nailed it,” she said. A combination of cup pulls and cupboard latches give the glass-front built-ins an heirloom quality. Donna found an antique English refectory table with barley twist legs at Arkansas Peddlers Flea Market in Greenbrier. She had Windsor style chairs made to complete the look.
“I love dark libraries and cozy little spots where you can shut the door, read or write, and just get away,” Donna says of her inspiration for the office, which is painted a deep green-blue color. Books and accessories in the built-ins complement the room’s cedar ceiling, and elements such as a Windsor chair at the built-in desk, antique Heriz rug, and framed seascape tie the room to the rest of the design.
Softer shades of the blue-and-white accents found throughout the home carry into the bedding in the master suite, a combination of linens from Cobblestone & Vine and Pottery Barn. A daybed in the bay window is an antique Donna had recovered in a linen Sunbrella fabric, a functional choice made with her grandchildren in mind.
The spacious master bathroom features a clawfoot tub and his-and-hers vanities. For her countertop selections, Donna chose Carrara marble for its timeless appeal. “When you have old things and you mix it with new, it’s just so classic,” she says. “Carrara marble has been around for hundreds of years. It just never goes out of style.”
Place to Play
The Dickeys made the most of their footprint with a backyard pool that reaches the edge of the property. Stacked stone and water features along the back wall give the outdoor living space a natural appeal. Underfoot, Pennsylvania Blue Stone surrounding the pool adds interest and continues into the sunroom for an attractive indoor/outdoor material.
Architect Nathan Alderson, AIA, Nathan Alderson Architect Interior design Donna Dickey, Timeless Living Landscape Design Laura Armbruster, The Good Earth Garden Center and Donna Dickey, Timeless Living Accessories Antique Vintage Gallery, Cobblestone & Vine, Jenifer’s Antiques, Park Hill Home, and Pottery Barn Appliances Metro Appliances & More Bedding Cobblestone & Vine and Pottery Barn Cabinetry Griffith Robertson Construction Countertops and tile Triton Stone Group Countertops and tile (Installation) Gabino Contreras Fireplace and millwork Santos Lucas Fixtures (bathroom) Falk Plumbing Supply Flooring Arkansas Wood Floors Furniture Arkansas Peddlers Antique Mall, Cobblestone & Vine, Ethan Allen, Jenifer’s Antiques, and Pottery Barn Hardware Duke Custom Cabinets and PC Hardware Landscaping (Installation) Carden Farms Lighting GW Lighting and Home Mirrors West Little Rock Glass Outdoor furnishings Pottery Barn Paint Benjamin Moore, Farrow & Ball, and Sherwin-Williams Painting Saul Concepcion Plantings The Good Earth Garden Center Pool Harrison Pools Stone Antique Brick & Block and Triton Stone Group Windows Kaufman Lumber Window coverings Laura’s Draperies & Blinds and Made in the Shade