Date: May 19, 2016 | Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Chip Jones |
A Little Rock couple creates a contemporary home that’s designed with practicality and filled with meaningful pieces
What’s in a name? For homeowners Mary Ann Coleman and Mimi San Pedro, there’s quite a bit of thought and meaning behind the name of their Little Rock abode, which they lovingly refer to as “Joybird.” “We wanted to give it a name so we could tell our friends and family to come to Joybird—not to come to an address,” San Pedro says. The two began to brainstorm ideas. “We started thinking: We are up in the trees. It’s comfortable and eye-appealing. It’s really a combination of the location and how we want people to feel,” she says. “And it kind of looks like a red bird on top of the hill,” Coleman laughs. It’s this mix of sensibility and joviality—both apparent in the couple—that seems to spill over into every space of the home from the moment one sets foot on the property.
A Well-Planned Property
Coleman and San Pedro have traveled extensively around the world, including much of Asia and Europe. Their time abroad and the exposure they’ve had to different cultures, structures, and design influenced their own home heavily. “People ask us about the style of the house,” San Pedro says, “and it’s really what you would call Euro-modern. There are a number of practices [Europeans] have that we are just beginning to put into place here in America,” she adds.
Many of these practices include responsible use of materials, resources, and energy in both the home itself and on the property. For example, metal siding covers the home’s exterior. “We wanted something you wouldn’t have to paint and that would look this way forever; it’s very low maintenance,” Coleman says. Additionally, a sloped rubber membrane roof allows rainwater to drain and collect in cisterns that are located under the house. These tanks can store up to 1,500 gallons of rainwater for use in the landscape’s drip irrigation system, which was masterminded by David Munsey and the team at Better Lawns & Gardens. It helps to not only reduce usage but also directs the water to the root of the plant, therefore making it more effective. “These systems are really about being a good steward of the environment,” Munsey notes.
In addition to the responsible watering system, Munsey also chose plants that are low-maintenance and require little water to add to the landscape’s sustainability. In the backyard, square pavers are bordered with dwarf mondo grass, which eliminates mowing and offers contrasting color. “If you live at a house, you spend more time in your backyard than you do in the front, so it’s important to get it perfect. This one has a contemporary feel that leads right into the home,” he says.
The same sensibility seen in the forethought of the landscaping and the exterior of the structure carries over into the interiors of the home. Coleman and San Pedro share the space with three beloved dogs and a cat, so creating an environment that allowed them to feel right at home was equally important. Several features helped to accomplish this, including a light gray, large-scale tile—perfectly suitable for paws—that flows through every room of the home and also creates a sense of cohesiveness. “If you look at the furniture and its legs as well as the floors, you can see that we took care to make sure the house accommodates them,” San Pedro says. Perhaps the couple’s love of animals is most apparent at the home’s back entrance, where the animals enjoy their own space complete with private bedding nooks.
Souvenirs from Coleman and San Pedro’s trips near and far often come in the form of artwork. For more than 20 years, the couple has been amassing various works, including canvases, art glass, and sculptures; and even if you are struck at first by the modern design of the house itself, it is the art that will draw you into the space. Upon arriving at the property, you’ll be greeted by a sculpture created by Arkansas native Hunter Brown. Coleman and San Pedro saw the piece at the annual Sculpture at the River Market Show and Sale, and had it customized in their signature color, red, to complement the home. Throughout the house, walls are curated with color-rich works and shelves serve as display cases for pieces from abroad as well as an abundance of art glass by Pine Bluff’s James Hayes. The home’s neutral palette—which has just one wall color and one trim color throughout the space—was another conscious choice intended to allow their art to shine. “The art is the color for the house, so you don’t really need color for the walls,” Coleman says.
Harking back to the home’s name and what they desired to accomplish and encompass with their newly built home, San Pedro concludes, “it’s about a feeling—bottom line.” After all, isn’t it that unmistakable feeling of home we’re all looking for when we walk in our front door?
Architect Russell Fason, AIA, Little Rock, (501) 520-7061
Contractor Pursell Construction Inc., Little Rock, (501) 350-9807, creativeheightspartners.com
Landscape design Better Lawns & Gardens, Little Rock, (501) 454-9803, betterlawnsar.com
Appliances Metro Appliances & More, Jonesboro, (870) 933-7800, North Little Rock, (501) 758-1988, Springdale, (479) 750-2200, metroappliancesandmore.com
Art—sculpture Hunter Brown, Hensley, (870) 550-3619, innovativesculpturedesign.com; Jane F. Hankins, (501) 416-4219, janefhankins.com
Art—glass and lighting—foyer James Hayes Art Glass Company, Pine Bluff, (870) 543-9792, hayesartglass.com
Bedding Erdos at Home, Fayetteville, (479) 521-1297, Little Rock, (501) 217-0300, Rogers, (479) 899-6288, erdosathome.com
Brick Antique Brick & Block, Little Rock, (501) 375-0060, antiquebrickinc.com
Countertops Linco Countertops, Cabot, (501) 843-3440, lincocountertops.com
Fabrics Cynthia East Fabrics, Little Rock, (501) 663-0460, cynthiaeastfabrics.com
Fixtures Southern Pipe & Supply, locations statewide, southernpipe.com
Florals Tipton Hurst, Conway, Little Rock, North Little Rock, (501) 666-3333, tiptonhurst.com
Furniture Paul Michael Company, Lake Village, (870) 265-3872, paulmichaelcompany.com
Millwork Pursell Construction Inc., Little Rock, (501) 350-9807, creativeheightspartners.com
Mirrors Lumber One Home Center, Mayflower, (501) 470-1122, Stuttgart, (870) 673-3601, lumberonehomecenter.com
Paint Sherwin Williams, locations statewide, sherwin-williams.com
Pool Brooks Pools Company, Little Rock, (501) 771-1501, brookspools.com
Siding Reed’s Metals, Benton, (501) 776-3825, reedsmetals.com
Tile—bath backsplashes and showers Acme Brick, Tile & Stone, locations statewide, acmebricktileandstone.com; Lumber One Home Center, Mayflower, (501) 470-1122, Stuttgart, (870) 673-3601, lumberonehomecenter.com; The Tile Shop, Little Rock, (501) 954-7637, tileshop.com
Tile—flooring C&P Carpets, Little Rock, (501) 224-6000
Windows Glass Erectors, Mabelvale, (501) 455-1324, glasserectors.com