Date: August 29, 2019 | Story: Stephanie Maxwell Newton | Photography: Rett Peek |
A mix of woods paired with a neutral palette create a timeless backdrop in the kitchen and bath of this Heights family home
Not everyone is lucky enough to start a home design project with an end result in mind. Sayward and Bryant Smith were an exception to the norm, and by the time they started working with designer Jill White, they already had numerous Pinterest boards to share. “Sayward’s a nurse, so she does a lot of dictating information all day and writing things down. And Bryant is a numbers guy,” Jill says. “They’re both really organized, and at our first meeting, they already had binders of ideas.”
The Smith family had lived in a smaller house in Little Rock, and as their family grew, they knew they wanted a place that would serve them well through all stages of life. They drew inspiration from both online and real life scenarios to shape their perfect home and shared those influences with Jill and their builder, Richard Harp. “Originally, I’d found a picture on Instagram for this wall in the kitchen with the exact same layout,” Sayward says, referencing the wall with the range hood and glass-front cabinets that are the focal point of the large kitchen. “Also, my parents recently built a house in Fayetteville, and they have double islands, so that’s where we got that idea.”
The two islands work great for the family, who wanted to make the kitchen practical for their children, Alexis, 4, and Beckett, 2. “We’re very casual, so having one island you can prep on and one you can sit around means we didn’t have to have a dining table in the kitchen.” As the kids get older, their parents envision one of the islands being useful for finishing homework before dinner.
In addition to the functionality of the kitchen, Sayward and Bryant put thought into styles and finishes that would remain classic for years to come. “We loved the symmetry and the textures of this room, like the contrast of the white and the raw wood,” Sayward says. While the prep island is painted white, the eat-in island is stained to match the cabinets and range hood, a task that Bryant took on himself throughout the whole house.
“This is definitely a forever home, and we tried to think about all stages of our lives during the design process.” — Sayward Smith, homeowner
In the master bathroom, the palette is simplified to the same white as the kitchen with Sherwin-Williams’ “Agreeable Gray” on the cabinets to add depth. Handmade subway tile is laid in a herringbone pattern to give the wall behind the soaking tub visual interest. “We wanted something neutral, but didn’t want a boring wall,” Jill says. “It was the product of hours and hours on Pinterest,” Bryant adds. Behind the tub is an open shower, and on either side of the room, Sayward and Bryant have their own vanities.
“This is an awesome family house, and they plan on staying here for a very long time,” Jill says. “They knew what they wanted, they just needed help getting it all together.”
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