Date: October 31, 2019 | Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Lauren Cerrato |
A mix of styles—both architectural and interior—create a harmonious blend in a west Little Rock family home
When Talena Ray and Mona Thompson, owners of Providence Design, first met their clients, the west Little Rock lot where the family of four now lives looked very different—and even the vision for it wasn’t as clear-cut as it appears today. “They had been working with architect Jim Yeary on a plan, but the husband leaned more contemporary while the wife really liked a more traditional style,” Mona says. The designers shared their recommendations for the project, and the couple ultimately decided to wait a year before breaking ground. “After some time passed, we were all on the same page that this was going to be a contemporary house but with traditional features and furnishings,” Mona says.
The mix of styles, known as transitional, evolved in both the exterior and interior to a customized aesthetic with the starting point stemming from an overriding feature unique to the property: the view. “Everything was about the windows and the view—the whole design was based on that,” Talena says.
To this point, the siting of the house and the plan revolved around the natural scene playing out in the surroundings, including the Arkansas River as well as Pinnacle Mountain. “We knew one of the main things we wanted to accomplish in the plan was opening up the public spaces so you could take in the view,” adds Jim Yeary of Yeary Lindsey Architects.
However, Jim notes the unique location came with some site challenges. “Because of the steep drop off on the lot, we almost had to build it like a tree house, looking out over the forest.” This treetop feel is most apparent along the back of the linear-shaped home, where windows extended almost from one end to the other, bringing in light and allowing the owners to enjoy the ever-changing landscape.
However, while clean-lined windows and a linear form are hallmarks, an equal amount of traditional features grace the exterior as well as the interior furnishings. “We are seeing more and more people want a traditional exterior‚ something that goes with area, but inside they want it to be very clean—wide plank flooring, lots of windows, and not a lot of molding,” says builder Bill Parkinson. “It was going to be a family home from beginning to end—meaning very comfortable—but with a clean, more modern style,” Talena adds. Case in point, features such as the lighting, plumbing fixtures, hardware, and accessories are sophisticated and sleek, while the wooden paneling on the ceiling and cozy, family-size sofas bring warmth in even the most grand of rooms. “If you step back and look, it’s not a real contemporary home; it’s transitional,” Mona says. “At heart, they are traditional people but they wanted the newer, modern style.”
Dinner with a View
The entry of the home opens to the formal dining room, a space that intentionally draws the eye to the landscape beyond. “This room speaks to how transitional the house is,” Talena say, noting the molding on the walls is typically thought of as a traditional element while the abstract works commissioned by artist Charlotte Caroom add a contemporary vibe. Similarly, a wooden table and chairs that lean classic are complemented by a more modern chandelier.
“We knew one of the main things we wanted to accomplish in the plan was opening up the public spaces so you could take in the view.”
—Jim Yeary, architect
Living on the Edge
The family room connects to the kitchen, allowing everyone to be together in one space whether cooking, dining, or relaxing. Elements such as a framed customizable art TV, a pair of large sofas, and ottomans that can move around the room as needed bring comfort without sacrificing sophistication. Mona notes the pair of traditional chairs near the fireplace are covered in a contemporary fabric for an unexpected mix that’s truly the best of both styles.
A breakfast nook adjoins the kitchen, creating the perfect casual spot for busy morning and weeknight meals. Here, a leather banquette pairs with a custom table, which features a weathered finish by Phinality Designs. “I think what makes this home warm is that it has a rustic modern feel throughout,” Mona says, noting the kitchen’s wood ceilings.
Raising the Bar
Across from the breakfast nook sits a full-service bar with decorative-front cabinetry to display collectibles. Classic subway tile is laid in a herringbone pattern for a twist on traditional, while brass fixtures and hardware give a current polish.
Parkinson Building Group engineered the glass-surround wine column at the end of the kitchen’s bar. “The way we run our company, when our clients see a picture of something they want, we say, Not a problem; we’ll help you figure it out,” Bill says. He also notes the cooling agent is located below to conceal unsightly mechanics.
Over and Out
The resort-worthy backyard offers a space for grilling, dining, and relaxing. The home’s transitional aesthetic extends to this space, where a classic swing and fireplace are paired with a contemporary infinity pool. Additionally, the wood ceiling seen in the kitchen continues to this area, making the space feel like an extension of the interior.
“It was going to be a family home from beginning to end—meaning very comfortable—but with a clean, more modern style.”
—Talena Ray, designer
Feeling the Blues
“It’s almost like you are transformed when you walk in this space,” Mona says of the cozy yet sophisticated master bedroom. “It’s just so dramatic,” she adds, pointing out the juxtaposition of the grid windows and the perimeter of blue that covers the walls and ceiling. Talena notes the softness the bedding, rug, and drapes, in particular, bring to the space. “We love windows, and generally say the bigger the better, but I do think they always look better when they are dressed—particularly in a master bedroom,” she says.
“This is the pièce de résistance,” Mona says of the master bath. “You think the house can’t get any better and then you come in here, and it does,” Talena adds. Keeping the palette limited to white and gold helps to direct the focus, once again, to the view beyond, while the polished fixtures elevate the design.
Architect Jim Yeary, AIA, Yeary Lindsey Architects Contractor Bill Parkinson, Parkinson Building Group Interior design Talena Ray and Mona Thompson, Providence Design Kitchen design Doug Duke, Duke Custom Cabinets Landscape design Jason Bermingham, Maple Leaf Lawns Accessories, art, bedding, furniture, lighting, and mirrors Providence Design Appliances Metro Appliances & More Brick and landscape block Antique Brick & Block Cabinetry Duke Custom Cabinets Carpet ProSource of Little Rock Countertops Pacific Shores Stone and Stone World Doors and windows Lumber One Home Center Fabrics Cynthia East, Designer Effects, and Providence Design Fireplace Olympia Precast Flooring and tile ProSource of Little Rock Paint Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams Painting (decorative) Phinality Design Pool Elite Pools by Aloha Pool Surround Earth Designs Rugs Cantrell Furniture Design Center Wallpaper Designer Effects and Providence Design Window coverings Mountjoy’s Custom Draperies