Date: June 3, 2019 | Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Tiffany Adams & Stephanie Maxwell Newton |
Architect Burt Taggart, Jr., helps a family design and build their dream home
“This is a one-time thing, so we wanted to do it right,” Saima Majid says of the west Little Rock home she shares with her husband Majid Saleem and their three children. Influenced heavily by their extensive travel as well as their native Pakistan, the couple desired a contemporary home with efficient yet eye-catching features that could serve them for years to come. “When we thought about building our home, we knew we wanted an open, airy, and bright place where sunlight would pour through every window and where the outdoor space feels like an extension of the indoor,” she says.
Enter architect Burt Taggart, Jr., who spent time—years, in fact—listening to Saima and Majid’s vision, interpreting it on paper, and seeing it through to move-in day. “We initially met with him on the site of one of his projects, and we immediately knew we were a match,” Saima recalls. “I bombarded him with pictures of things I like,” she laughs, disclosing that she probably sent him no less than a thousand inspiration images. “Saima poured her heart and soul into our house,” Majid says. “It was her vision, and she has worked really hard to pay attention to every single detail from the light fixtures and the door knobs to faucets, tiles, mirrors and even the color of the grout. She has great taste, and it is reflected through the house.”
While Saima and Majid wanted a modern house in every aspect, the lot on which they planned to build was located in a neighborhood of traditional-style homes. “I couldn’t make it too contemporary in context,” Burt says. “I honored the neighborhood’s roof pitches and forms—trying to mimic surrounding homes’ features with a totally different interpretation.” He also used the existing contours of the lot to screen the home as well as provide privacy for the owners.
Burt goes on to explain the house is designed and constructed in such a way that it reveals more of itself and its modern personality the farther you go into it. Although much of the façade is concealed from the street, you get a better grasp of the home’s design as you enter the great room and see through to the backyard’s pool area. “When you open the front door, the house really just explodes, which is exactly what they wanted,” Burt says. “The procession is very purposeful.”
While the homeowners selected all the materials and furnishings, Burt says they brought many things to him and did give him “veto power.” “I tried to create a neutral palette to enable them to add richness and detail,” he says. “In other words, I treated the interior as an art gallery so they could breathe life into it. I really love to be a party in creating an environment where clients find joy,” he says.
Linear and Livable
“I’m really so proud of our kitchen,” Saima says. “In the beginning, Burt joked with me and said, Are you really going to cook in here? And I do. I didn’t want just a showpiece; I wanted something we could use and enjoy.” An abundance of cabinetry as well as an adjoining pantry store small appliances and canisters to keep countertops free of clutter. Drawers, rather than traditional base cabinets, roll out to fully reveal organized spaces for everything from dishware to spices. A chic, unadorned vent functions effectively without drawing too much attention.
Lacquered cabinets, handcrafted in Italy by Cantoni, are the standout feature of the clean-lined kitchen. Red, an accent color seen throughout the home, makes an appearance amidst the backdrop of gray and white, bringing vitality and warmth to the room.
A casual dining space opens to both the family room and kitchen, making it an ideal place for meals as well as homework and conversation. Wood-and-leather chairs mix with a glass-top table for a simple yet sophisticated pairing. The exterior view takes the place of art on the walls.
One for All
“Our family room is really the focal point of the house,” Saima says of the space, which offers views from the front door through to the back outdoor area. Two sitting areas give the couple plenty of seating for entertaining, while a palette of neutrals with pops of red is cohesive with the home’s overall scheme. Saima notes Majid has an eye for lighting and picked many of the home’s fixtures, including the floating spheres seen here.
Influenced by aesthetics seen during their travels, Saima and Majid wanted the bath to have a spa-like feel. While luxurious features including heated floors and a spacious shower abound, the room still adheres to the home’s minimalist design. “Everything is sculptural in nature,” Burt says pointing to the sinks and low vanity that stand out against a large-scale tile wall.
The master bedroom and bath follow the clean, neutral palette of the rest of the home. “I didn’t want a huge master bedroom; it’s efficient and a place where we can relax,” Saima says. Sliding glass doors offer a view of the pool and access to the outdoor space. “If you plot a typical house on a lot, you’re always looking out to the view. Here, you look through glass walls—both interior and exterior—into your own home and life,” Burt says.
On the second floor, a playroom for the couple’s three children is cantilevered over the master bedroom, which Burt notes adds dimension without feeling contrived. He wanted the pool to feel like “a hole in the deck” in terms of design. Thus, its flat, streamlined surface blends seamlessly with the concrete surround, which was specially treated to mimic the look of the interior flooring. Saima saw a water feature similar to this one online and asked Burt to figure out the engineering to recreate it in their setting. “It’s very soothing, like a waterfall,” she says of the finished concept, “and the kids also love to play in it.”
Outside Looking In
The upstairs patio is a favorite place for Saima and Majid to unwind and drink tea. “I have very fond memories of evening tea with my parents. It’s always been a tradition in my family and that’s why I wanted to have that space where we can sit, relax, sip tea, and discuss our day,” Saima says. “We got an added bonus because the view from the patio is gorgeous and soothing at the same time because of the water feature in the pool.”
Architect Burt Taggart, Jr., Taggart Design Group Contractor Burt Taggart, III, Taggart Design & Build Landscape design Frank Riggins, Crafton Tull Appliances Metro Appliances & More Cabinetry (bathroom) and millwork Claflin Custom Cabinets Countertops Inside Effects Fireplace and hardware PC Hardware Lighting, mirrors, and window coverings DES Paint Sherwin-Williams Painting Debco Wallpaper & Paint Pool R&R Pools and Service Windows Staley Glass