Date: July 29, 2019 | Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek |
In Northwest Arkansas, designer Melissa Haynes helps a family create a high-style, high-functioning home
When Lauren and Alex Blass learned they were expecting their first child, they put in a call to designer Melissa Haynes to help them plan a sweet nursery for their baby boy. However, as items began to arrive and the installation date neared, they called her back to say they were having second thoughts—not about the nursery design, but about their home. “They lived in a newlywed home in Fayetteville, and the closer it came to time for the baby to born, they felt they needed to be nearer to their offices and in a larger family home,” Melissa explains.
The designer was happy to help, setting aside a weekend to see homes with the couple and helping find them a Rogers residence that was still under construction by a local builder. “It was a great floor plan for a young family, and we could see them being happy there for years,” Melissa says. The plan welcomes guests in a series of formal spaces with wings that extend to a family room and kitchen in one direction and the master suite in the opposite.
Since the home was still in the building process, Melissa was able to help the couple select flooring, paint colors, tile, and light fixtures—features that allowed them to personalize the plan. As for furnishings, “they had pieces that were handed down to them and lots of castoffs from their apartments prior to being married,” Melissa says. Thus, they were also able to put the couple’s stamp on the space with furniture, fabrics, and accessories. “When you see her, Lauren reads very chic and glamorous,” Melissa says, “and we wanted the house to reflect that. Everything is very tailored and sophisticated, but the house is also very high functioning and durable, so it’s practical for the entire family.”
Making an Entrance
The foyer hints at the resounding chic, feminine style seen in each room of the home. “At one of our design meetings, we showed Lauren this light fixture and said, What do you think?” Melissa says of the chandelier, which features handblown glass pieces with a bit of sparkle and movement. “She absolutely loved it, and we knew it was the statement piece the entry needed.” Embroidered floral draperies add to the soft, welcoming effect.
The formal living room was decorated to reflect Lauren’s personal style. “She’s very beautiful and feminine, and we wanted to create a space to speak to this,” Melissa says. “Her husband also really wanted her to be able to bring this out in the design, so we felt this room was a great place to do that.” Hints of pink stand out against a neutral backdrop while an abstract work by Thomasa Seymour hangs over the fireplace. The coffee table was a shapely Anthropologie find that adds sophistication and polish.
Not all of the couple’s furniture was newly purchased following the move: The dining table belonged to Alex’s mother. The meaningful piece allowed the couple to adhere to their budget while still bringing style to the space, specifically in the fabrics and overall palette. “We all loved the striped fabric on the chairs and intended to use it in a big way in this room,” Melissa says. However, they learned it had been discontinued and would only have a couple of yards to incorporate. To make the biggest impact, they used it on the backs of the chairs and paired it with a treated velvet on the front and seat. Plates from the couple’s china pattern add a personal touch to the walls. A durable seagrass rug protects the floor. “Seagrass naturally repels and resists water, so it’s a true workhorse underfoot,” Melissa notes.
One of both the homeowners’ and designer’s favorite personal touches to the house is the backsplash tile in the kitchen. “This fabulous sample from Ann Sacks arrived while we were working on the project. The very next day we showed it to Lauren, and we all knew it was a perfect fit,” Melissa says of the Calacatta marble mosaic tile. In terms of function, a large pantry is hidden behind the wall that houses the range. “This is a great place for Lauren to stash the high chair when guests are coming over, and it keeps all the cooking essentials she needs close at hand,” Melissa says.
Chic Meets Durable
To ensure the family had both style and comfort, Melissa created a high-functioning space in the family room. “There’s no chair in here that just looks pretty; everything is working hard,” she says, noting the ottoman was treated to wipe clean while the chairs are covered in Crypton fabric. An abundance of seating was top priority for the family, who wanted to be able to have guests and extended family within earshot of the adjoining kitchen. A wool rug with a subtle animal-print pattern adds comfort while also being capable of discreetly hiding stains.
“Everything is very tailored and sophisticated, but the house is also very high functioning and durable, so it’s practical for the entire family.”
— Melissa Haynes, designer
Hues of blue and purple flow throughout the home, with lilac being most prominent in the master bedroom. “Again, this room is meant to have a glamorous feel, yet be practical,” Melissa says, noting the couple chose a darker bedspread as a dog-friendly option for the furry family members.
A Boy’s Dream
When his younger brother, Bowen, arrived, Melissa designed a big boy room for the couple’s preschool-aged son, Bennett. “Lauren brought in pictures of a fort-style bed and we found one at RH Baby & Child that was a great fit for the room’s sloped ceilings,” Melissa says. The home’s tailored look carries over to this space where a blend of window-pane plaid (seen on the wallpaper) and stripes create a look fit for a little gentleman. “This is a space that has longevity and can grow with him over time,” the designer adds.
The nursery design Melissa originally created for the couple’s home in Fayetteville was executed in this house. “We ordered more wallpaper to account for the room’s square footage, but everything else worked out perfectly,” she says. The slipcovered glider is stain-treated to stand up to wear and tear, while the daybed has easy-to-wash cotton bedding. The couple’s oldest son started out in this space, which is now home to their 4-month-old baby boy.
Architect and kitchen design Jack Arnold Architects Contractor Fairchild Construction Interior design Melissa Haynes, MH Design, Inc. Landscape design Rodden Landscape Accessories, art, bedding, fabrics, fixtures, furniture, lighting, rugs, and wallpaper MH Design, Inc. Appliances Metro Appliances & More Cabinetry Morgan Millworks Countertops Abstract Granite Fireplace Fairchild Construction Flooring Flooring America by Carpet Smart Tile Fairchild Construction and MH Design, Inc. Windows Meeks Lumber Company Window coverings Mountjoy’s Custom Draperies