Anyone who has ever remodeled an older home knows what a challenge small bathrooms can be. In decades past, not all master bedrooms had an en suite bathroom—and if they did, builders tended not to allot them any more square footage than necessary.
A young family works with Yeary Lindsey Architects to reconfigure their Little Rock home, giving it new life and longevity
Childhood memories have a way of influencing us—whether we realize it or not. “I grew up in a house like this until I was in late elementary school, and I still remember every room of that house,” says Sarah Duke who lives with her husband Steven and their two young sons in a classic Heights neighborhood cottage. “I don’t know if that played a role in why I wanted a house like this or why I wanted to live here, but I think it may have,” she says.
The Dukes moved into their circa 1937 home in 2008, and while the charm of both the house and their neighborhood appealed to them even more as years passed, they began to notice the house wasn’t functioning as well as it could for them—especially once they began to have children. “It was great but it was a lot of little rooms,” Duke notes. For example, the front door led to a small den, which led to a cozy dining room, which led to a compact kitchen. The biggest room in the home was the couple’s master bedroom, which was part of a 1990s renovation by a previous owner. “When we had our first child, we spent a ton of time back there because it was the biggest room in the house,” Duke recalls. In 2015, when the couple learned they were expecting their second son, they knew they had a decision to make: renovate or move. “We loved where we were, we loved our neighbors, we loved the street, we loved the location because we can walk to Forest Park Elementary, so we were like OK, let’s just bite the bullet and redo it,” Duke says.
Duke, who works with Moses Tucker Real Estate, has experience with floor plans and began to draw out her ideal configuration. “I called Ellen and said, ‘Here’s what I want to do. Can you make this real?’ She liked what I had done, and she made it work; she was just awesome,” Duke says of architect Ellen Yeary of Yeary Lindsey Architects.
“I just like taking these little Heights cottages and figuring out how to make them work. Because they are great houses to begin with—they start out with really good bones. I mean that house was cute before we ever got over there. It had been updated but it hadn’t been reconfigured to make it work for how we live today,” Yeary says.
To make it more livable and solve for the succession of rooms that greeted guests at the front door, Yeary and Duke eliminated the walls and created one large family friendly area that includes a living room, dining space, and a large kitchen. “Sarah had this vision from the beginning—to be able to see through the house. Some people would say, ‘I don’t want to walk through the front door and see the kitchen.’ But if your kitchen looks like Sarah’s, then that’s not a problem,” Yeary notes.
“I remember when that wall came down in the dining room, I couldn’t believe how much more functional it was already because we never sat in there; it was just a pass-through on the way to the kitchen,” Duke says of the structural transformation. Rather than being hidden—as Yeary notes—the family’s new kitchen was now front and center. Duke selected timeless yet eye-catching finishes to personalize it. For example, the backsplash features a neutral tile that is hand-thrown so it has a sort of “shimmer” that brings texture to the look. A brass faucet and hardware along with large funnel-shaped pendants over the island also add contemporary style without leaning too modern.
While most of the home’s makeover involved gaining space, Duke was concerned about losing cabinetry. Although the home’s former kitchen was small, its cabinets stretched to the ceiling along almost every wall. To ensure she would still have an abundance of storage, she and Yeary designed a large floating island that features concealed areas for tucking away everything from cookbooks to blenders on both sides of the structure. They also added a built-in sideboard along the side wall for storage as well as service space.
While Duke knew she wanted to have a place where she could cook and keep an eye on the kids as well as have an open space for them to run around, she also knew it was equally important for everyone to have a room to get away and be on their own. The renovation allowed for a screened back porch to be created, which is a favorite hangout for Steven, and a playroom for their sons. In addition, the boys each have their own bedrooms and a shared bath located to the right of the home’s front entry.
The master suite—a favorite spot for Sarah to relax—also received a reconfiguration and cosmetic updates. Windows were relocated to accommodate the playroom that now shares an interior wall with the master suite, and the fireplace was updated to be more in line with the Duke’s style. In the bath, carpet was traded for contemporary marble hex tile while a cultured marble countertop was replaced with a quartz option.
The Dukes also gained a second closet that adjoins to the master bath. Prior to the renovation, the couple shared a closet located to the right of the vanity. To enlarge their nearby laundry room, they took in part of this closet (which is now solely Steven’s) and blew out the bath’s back wall to build a new closet for Sarah as well as an outdoor storage space, which is accessible through the backyard.
“Their expectations and wish lists were really reasonable. They weren’t trying to overbuild the site. They have a nice comfortable family house,” Yeary says. Duke was equally pleased with the process and since the renovation she has started her own design company, Sarah Duke Design, to help others who are looking to renovate or redecorate. “Once it was all said and done, it was so worth it. It just works—and it was fun!” she concludes.
Architect Ellen Yeary, AIA, Yeary Lindsey Architects, Little Rock, (501) 372-5940, yearylindsey.com
Contractor Justin Cleveland, Little Rock, (501) 680-0554
Interior design Sarah Duke, Sarah Duke Design, Little Rock, (501) 539-1528
Accessories Providence Design, Little Rock, (501) 372-1886, providenceltddesign.com; Sarah Duke Design, Little Rock, (501) 539-1528
Art Cobblestone & Vine, Little Rock, (501) 664-4249, West Little Rock, (501) 219-3676, cobblestoneandvine.com; DRAWL Southern Contemporary Art, Little Rock, (501) 240-7446, drawlgallery.com; Justus Fine Art Gallery, Hot Springs, (501) 321-2335, justusfineart.com; Local Colour Gallery, Little Rock, (501) 265-0422, localcolourgallery.com; Providence Design, Little Rock, (501) 372-1886, providenceltddesign.com
Cabinetry Renaissance Custom Cabinets, North Little Rock, (501) 256-3252, cabinetideas.com
Countertops Triton Stone Group of Little Rock, Little Rock, (501) 562-9994, tritonstone.com
Fireplace Antique Brick & Block, Little Rock, (501) 375-0060, antiquebrickinc.com
Florals Tipton & Hurst, locations throughout central Arkansas, (501) 666-3333, tiptonhurst.com
Lighting Cobblestone & Vine, Little Rock, (501) 664-4249, West Little Rock, (501) 219-3676, cobblestoneandvine.com; Sarah Duke Design, Little Rock, (501) 539-1528
Paint Benjamin Moore, locations statewide, benjaminmoore.com
Tile Inside Effects, North Little Rock, (501) 954-8866, insideeffects.com
Wallpaper Sarah Duke Design, Little Rock, (501) 539-1528
Window coverings Accent Shutters, Inc, Maumelle, (501) 902-0810, accentshuttersinc.com; Cynthia East Fabrics, Little Rock, (501) 663-0460, cynthiaeastfabrics.com
Designer Joshua Plumlee gives his 1960s-era Little Rock house a style upgrade that honors its roots while celebrating contemporary trends
For Joshua Plumlee, bringing work home isn’t a problem. As both an artist and designer, the walls of his home tell the story of his profession as well as his passion. However, when it was time for the mid-century home he shares with Jacob Ponder to be renovated, he took the design process to a new level, breathing life and functionality into the dated home while respecting its original floor plan and the era in which it was built. Here’s how the two tackled the renovation.
Best Laid Plans
Plumlee and Ponder purchased the home a little over three years ago and decided to live in it for a while to see how a renovation might help to better meet their needs. The priority was the home’s common areas on the ground floor. Additionally, they also wanted to create a mudroom that would allow them to bring groceries in from the garage to the kitchen and give them a space to house their washer and dryer.
As with many home renovations, the kitchen received one of the most dramatic makeovers. “My focus in the renovation was largely in regard to space planning and functionality,” says Ponder, who notes that his “style has evolved by default” thanks to Plumlee’s influence. “I literally obsessed about the layout of the kitchen for nine months leading up to demolition,” Ponder admits. “I probably drew at least 30 variations of plans that would maximize the area in an attempt to not have to steal square footage from anywhere else.”
Defining Open Concept
When it came to the dining and living areas, the homeowners strived for functionality rather than openness simply for the sake of openness. “We wanted it to feel open, clean, and bright,” Plumlee says. “Yet we didn’t want it to feel too open concept because it’s not that kind of house. I think it’s a good hybrid of how we live today and how it might have been when this house was built.” A desire for different, defined areas without the feeling of containment led to a thoughtful solution when it came to the home’s most-used rooms. Plumlee and Ponder eliminated walls that sectioned off the dining room, kitchen, living room, and front sitting room but kept the area’s hallways, including one that leads from the front entry to the living room and a second that leads to a main-level guest bedroom. This created defined space separation while still providing a visual openness that allows the cook to see through to both the living room and the sitting room beyond. “I never imagined I could be working in the kitchen and carry on a conversation with someone who is all the way at the opposite end of the house. Every room flows into another without feeling like one giant room,” Ponder says.
New Building Blocks
Sheetrock and nails weren’t the only design tools used in the makeover. Plumlee gave the new rooms a complete cosmetic makeover as well. In the kitchen, dated appliances were traded for state-of-the-art stainless versions and chipped Formica was replaced with white Carrara marble. “I liked a lot of the statuary marbles but I liked the color here. We cook a lot so we knew it was going to get a lot of wear but we embraced that,” Plumlee says. In addition, hardwood flooring was laid in the kitchen, dining room, and living room to seamlessly match the existing planks in the sitting room.
Of course, furnishings and accessories were key to making the updated rooms feel like a home—and, truth be told, probably one of the highlights for Plumlee who worked with both Cobblestone & Vine and mertinsdykehome before starting Ransom Interiors in 2016 with Julie Smith and Laura Borg. He describes both his personal style and the style of his home as “stately, but edgy and youthful at the same time.” This mantra is evident in the mix of masculine furniture, saturated color, and contemporary art seen throughout the home. In fact, many of Plumlee’s own works grace the walls, including a large abstract piece that sits in an ornate frame and seems to have a commanding presence in the sitting room. Even the mudroom benefits from a coral-hued painting that the artist created to bring the hues of the kitchen rug into the mudroom.
There’s no shortage of art and eye-catching accessories along the way either, from the vintage ashtrays and optic glass pieces in the living room to the murano glass in the sitting room. “I’m a collector. Minimalism is great, but I’m kind of a maximalist. I like my treasures,” Plumlee concludes with a laugh.
Joshua’s Tips for Makeover Success
Having worked with numerous clients on renovations and now living through his own home’s remodel, the designer has a few insights to help you achieve the look you want and keep your sanity in the process.
1/ First and foremost, keep your overall vision in mind.
When you have the end result in mind, it can take away some of the anxiety that comes with living in the trenches of a renovation.
2/ Don’t sacrifice your own comfort for resell value.
With every major decision during the renovation, ask yourself, “Is this what I really want?” In other words, take resell value into consideration but don’t let it be the overall guiding factor. Create a home where you want to spend time.
3/ When considering removing walls: open floor plans are great, however, they don’t always suit the architectural integrity of the home.
This was certainly the case in my house. We wanted it open and airy, clean and bright, but we still wanted that element of discovery. Plus, taking out too many walls doesn’t allow the opportunity for hanging artwork. Clients often complain to me that their homes don’t have enough wall space.
4/ When installing sconces and overhead lighting, always consider the fact that furniture and artwork will migrate around the home.
Being an avid collector, I carefully measured and positioned sconces and accent lighting to allow for major pieces of artwork to move around the home and still relate to the overall lighting scheme. The key here is that flexibility is a form of luxury.
Interior design Joshua Plumlee, Ransom Interiors, Little Rock, (501) 838-7267, ransominteriors.com
Construction JQ Enterprises, Little Rock, (501) 952-6602
Accessories, art, and wallpaper Ransom Interiors, Little Rock, (501) 838-7267, ransominteriors.com
Backsplash and countertops—kitchen All Natural Stone, Little Rock, (501) 228-9777; Triton Stone Group of Little Rock, Little Rock, (501) 562-9994, tritonstone.com
Cabinetry—kitchen and floor installation NQ Enterprises, Little Rock, (501) 349-8704
Florals Tipton & Hurst, locations throughout central Arkansas, (501) 666-3333, tiptonhurst.com
Furniture and lighting Cobblestone & Vine, Little Rock, (501) 664-4249, West Little Rock, (501) 219-2676, cobblestoneandvine.com; mertinsdykehome, Little Rock, (501) 280-3300, mertinsdykehome1.wixsite.com; Ransom Interiors, Little Rock, (501) 838-7267, ransominteriors.com
Paint Benjamin Moore, locations statewide, benjaminmoore.com
A Little Rock designer reimagines her own home to make it better suit every member of the household’s needs and style
After eleven years in their former home, the Newberg family was ready for a move when a traditional red-brick home in an established neighborhood caught their attention. The location satisfied the family’s need for community—they already had friends in the area—but the dated interior left much to be desired. “It was very dark and had a lot of paneling that was pretty, but not really my style,” interior designer Miguel Newberg recalls. “But I loved the bones of the house; it was very charming.” To better suit her family’s needs, Newberg worked with architect Ellen Yeary to reconfigure the floor plan on the main level to include an open, eat-in kitchen, a private home office, and a sports-themed man cave for her husband, Andy. Additionally, doorways were widened to improve traffic flow, and Newberg collaborated with Richard Harp of Richard Harp Homes—who was the main contractor for the entire home’s renovation—to update the stairway’s banister to a sleek steel-and-wood version that better complements the home’s transitional furnishings. Only the second level—home to daughters Kathryn and Elizabeth—escaped structural updates and instead received only cosmetic refreshers.
Though she is known for her use of color, Newberg chose mostly neutrals for the main spaces of the home, and punctuated them with eye-catching art, bold lighting, and a mixture of pattern. A sandy neutral paint color and newly refinished hardwood floors set the stage in each room. Sleek upholstery and a marble-topped coffee table mingle with a painted antique armoire in the living room, where a large abstract painting provides a punch of color. “We spotted it in Memphis, and Andy and I were both instantly drawn to it,” Newberg says. The piece unites the blues and grays found throughout the home and offers a touch of rusty red.
The bedrooms wear a bit more color. In the master, soft shades of blue echo a painting commissioned from artist Lauren Meredith. In a similar manner, six-year-old Elizabeth’s room has a punchy, youthful scheme of green, hot pink, and yellow and features bold damask-print drapes that formerly hung in her nursery.
Feeling of Nostalgia
“The house has great street appeal; I immediately pictured the girls riding bikes and playing basketball with our neighborhood friends,” she recalls. The traditional home’s center-hall layout reminded Newberg of the antebellum houses in her home state of Louisiana. However, the multitude of small rooms on the lower level didn’t suit the family’s lifestyle.
To remedy this, she relocated the kitchen to a larger space at one end of the main level that was formerly the family room. This allowed for both a breakfast table and large, quartzite-topped island to be accommodated, making it possible to seat a crowd comfortably. Within the first few months after the renovation, the updated space along with the nearby dining room, played host to family dinners and community group gatherings, and Newberg predicts many more to follow. “I love that the girls can sit at the island and work on homework while I cook dinner,” she says. “We really wanted the kitchen to be the core of the house, the place where everyone gathers.”
Spaces of Their Own
High on the Newberg family’s collective wish list was a personal space for each family member: An out-of-the-way home office for Miguel, private bathrooms and a separate hang-out spot for each of the girls, and a sports-watching haven for Andy. Post-renovation, the house delivers. An unused front bedroom became the master closet, and the additional square footage also allowed a stackable set of laundry machines to move into the space. In turn, the former laundry and craft room became the office of Newberg’s design firm, M. N’Teriors. “Now we each have a space where we can be completely ourselves,” Newberg says.
Architect Ellen Yeary, Yeary Lindsey Architects, Little Rock, (501) 372-5940, yearylindsey.com
Contractor Richard Harp, Richard Harp Homes, Inc., Little Rock, (501) 690-4277, richardharphomes.com
Interior design Miguel Newberg, M’NTeriors, Little Rock, (501) 993-2766, mnteriors.com
Kitchen and bath design Miguel Newberg, M’NTeriors, Little Rock, (501) 993-2766, mnteriors.com; Ellen Yeary, Yeary Lindsey Architects, Little Rock, (501) 372-5940, yearylindsey.com
Landscape design Better Lawns & Gardens, Little Rock, (501) 454-9803, betterlawnsar.com
Accessories Cantrell Furniture Design Center, Little Rock, (501) 225-0002, cantrellfurniture.com; Cobblestone & Vine, Little Rock, (501) 664-4249, West Little Rock, (501) 219-3676, cobblestoneandvine.com; DP Designs, Little Rock, (501) 831-2009; Embellish, Little Rock, (501) 223-6965; Hadidi Rug and Design Gallery, Little Rock, (501) 225-8999, hadidiruggallery.com; Haus Werk, Little Rock, (501) 663-5251, shophauswerk.com; Obsessions Interiors, Little Rock, (501) 868-9333; Phoenix Interiors, Little Rock, (501) 225-0400
Appliances Metro Appliances & More, Jonesboro, (870) 933-7800, North Little Rock, (501) 758-1988, Springdale, (479) 750-2200, metroappliancesandmore.com
Art DP Designs, Little Rock, (501) 831-2009; The Showroom, Little Rock, (501) 404-7372, www.theshowroom.us.com; White Goat, Little Rock, (501) 603-9460, whitegoatstyle.com
Bedding Cobblestone & Vine, Little Rock, (501) 664-4249, West Little Rock, (501) 219-3676, cobblestoneandvine.com
Cabinetry Capitol Custom Cabinets, North Little Rock, (501) 771-0472
Carpet and tile—backsplash, bath, and flooring ProSource, North Little Rock, (501) 758-0801, prosourcewholesale.com/littlerock
Countertops Pacific Shore Stones, Mabelvale, (501) 455-3600, pacificshorestones.com
Fabrics Cynthia East Fabrics, Little Rock, (501) 663-0460, cynthiaeastfabrics.com; Designer Effects, Little Rock, (501) 661-4070, designereffects.net
Fixtures The Plumbing Warehouse, Little Rock, (501) 664-4183, tpw-lrshowroom.com
Flooring Arkansas Wood Floors, Jacksonville, (870) 688-8788, arkansaswoodfloors.com
Floral design Cabbage Rose, Little Rock, (501) 664-4042, cabbageroseflorist.com
Furniture Cantrell Furniture Design Center, Little Rock, (501) 225-0002, cantrellfurniture.com; DP Designs, Little Rock, (501) 831-2009; Phoenix Interiors, Little Rock, (501) 225-0400
Hardware Capitol Custom Cabinets, North Little Rock, (501) 771-0472; PC Hardware, Little Rock, (501) 224-1724, pchdwe.com
Lighting Cobblestone & Vine, Little Rock, (501) 664-4249, West Little Rock, (501) 219-3676, cobblestoneandvine.com; Light Innovations, Little Rock, (501) 223-9026, light-innovations.com
Mirrors West Little Rock Glass, Little Rock, (501) 223-3034, westlittlerockglass.net
Outdoor furnishings Antique Brick Outdoor, Little Rock, (501) 375-0060, antiquebrickoutdoors.com
Paint Sherwin-Williams, locations statewide, sherwin-williams.com
Painting J & B Painting, Alexander, (501) 766-9507
Painting—decorative Angelfish Studios, Little Rock, (501) 960-4826, angelfishstudios.net
Rugs Hadidi Rug and Design Gallery, Little Rock, (501) 225-8999, hadidiruggallery.com
Shutters Laura’s Draperies & Blinds, Little Rock, (501) 803-4146
Upholstery Professional Touch Up, Little Rock, (501) 658-8223
Windows Windows, Doors & More, Bryant, (501) 315-3300, windowsdoorsandmoreinc.net
Window coverings Designer Supply, North Little Rock, (501) 851-8066
An intriguing combination of contrasting elements makes for a balance that is both authentic and approachable in a new Hillcrest home
Meridith Hamilton Ranouil had no idea what to expect when she first visited the construction site of this teardown project in Little Rock’s Hillcrest neighborhood. When owner Kim Williams Gary reached out to her about taking on the design of her new home’s interiors, Meridith was aware that the house was already nearing completion—then just three months out from moving day. “As a designer who usually works on projects from the blueprint phase, it’s always nerve-racking to come on board when the canvas has already been set,” Meridith says. But all of her concerns vanished when she saw the selections Kim had made. “The details were so cool in the house! Kim had done such a wonderful job working with the builder and selecting fixtures, paint colors, and finishes,” she recalls. In every project she does, Meridith strives for authenticity, she says, and tries, “to let the homeowner dictate the feel.” In this case, Kim’s groundwork provided her with all the cues she needed to understand exactly the kind of atmosphere the family wanted. From there, she created a design for the furnishings and accessories that uses the power of contrast—the tension between opposites—to infuse the home with energy and character.
Simple + Sophisticated
In the key initial selections she made—the base color palette, special accent pieces, fixtures, and finishes—Kim evinced a keen eye for the finer points of home design. Meridith understood that this level of taste meant her client would appreciate subtlety and poise in her home’s décor—especially when it came to details. “Naturally, I wanted a home that is beautiful, but it also needed to be functional and durable as we have two young children and pets,” Kim says. Meridith’s solution was to keep the furnishings rather minimal, but to choose pieces with interesting lines: “I didn’t inundate the space with furniture, and I kept the accessories sleek.” She also honored Kim’s request to have no leather upholstery and only tight-back furniture (pieces with no back cushions), to keep things low-maintenance and looking crisp, despite the daily wear-and-tear of kids and animals.
Organic + Industrial
Dramatic variations in texture and shape also do their part to set a tone of natural grace in the Garys’ home, where rough-hewn natural materials harmonize with polished, linear accents. Meridith kept pattern layering to a minimum in textiles, using only one medium- to large-scale fabric motif per room and choosing mostly solids for the other fabrics and rugs, thereby directing attention to the visual interest of the surfaces themselves. From the dappled unevenness of the natural stone fireplace surround and the coarse grain of the barn-style doors (seen in the master suite) to the sleek, chrome finish of caged ceiling fans and high-polish light fixtures, every texture plays into the overall scheme. Case in point, a streamlined, brushed metal étagère in the sunroom stands alongside a side table made from a cross section of a tree trunk. Even the mix of accessories that fill the piece, including earthenware jars and bowls, books, and a piece of driftwood on a stand, comply with the juxtaposition.
Old + New
Fitting for a new house built in the middle of a long-established neighborhood, the décor of the Garys’ home makes references to various historical periods, adding to its sense of originality. For instance, the door to the kitchen pantry was salvaged from the house that was torn down to make way for their new one. Similarly, the barn-style sliding doors in the master suite were made from “solid walnut wood that my father found in the process of deconstructing an old barn on the dairy farm where my mom was raised,” Kim says. Meridith refers to these touches of vintage charm as “an Americana look,” which is amplified in the home by the shiplap planks—reminiscent of a farmhouse—in the sunroom. By way of contrast, the abstract painting by local artist Vickie Hendrix-Siebenmorgen that hangs over the living room mantel directs us back to the present. “I’m drawn to the simplicity and clean lines of modern design, and I think the overarching desire to have a home with character drove me to combine antique and salvaged pieces with new items,” Kim reflects.
Earthy + Ethereal
The approach Meridith takes to using color throughout the home is crucial to bringing all of these pairs of opposites into harmony. Employing her signature method of “designing an overall palette in a neutral tone and then adding color in art and accessories,” she softens the richness and depth of the more dramatic organic elements by creating a bright and airy envelope of warm white, taupe, and gray—light but earthy neutrals. Like pattern, non-neutral color is used minimally, in applications that don’t “overwhelm” the home, she says. The living room ottoman and pillow fabric—a lattice motif by Kravet—inspired the blue accent color that appears in delicate touches throughout the main living areas. In the master suite, Meridith draws more charcoal into the palette, balancing the drama of the barn door, and accenting with gold metal finishes. “I think the color palette helps tie the varying elements together,” Kim says. From the mix, what emerges is a deep sense of home, according to Kim: “It has added so much value to our daily life. We genuinely enjoy being there and find ourselves breathing a sigh of relief when we get home at the end of the day. It’s a soothing place to be.”
Architect Lew Oliver Inc., Roswell, Georgia, (770) 643-3938, wholetownsolutions.com
Contractor Bret Franks and Jennifer Franks, Bret Franks Construction, Inc., Little Rock, (501) 680-1238, bretfranks.com
Interior design Meridith Hamilton Ranouil, CKD, Allied ASID, MLH Designs, Inc., Little Rock, (501) 766-0594, mlh-designs.com
Landscape design Jordan Parker, The Good Earth, Little Rock, (501) 868-4666, thegoodearthgarden.com
Accessories and rugs MLH Designs, Inc., Little Rock, (501) 766-0594, mlh-designs.com
Art Cobblestone & Vine, Little Rock, (501) 664-4249, West Little Rock, (501) 219-3676, cobblestoneandvine.com; M2 Gallery, Little Rock, (501) 944-7155, m2lr.com; MLH Designs, Inc., Little Rock, (501) 766-0594, mlh-designs.com
Bedding and window coverings Nancy Osborn, North Little Rock, (870) 680-2730
Cabinets Hardman Cabinets, North Little Rock, (501) 960-8231
Countertops A1Granite Man, Maumelle, (501) 753-9696, a1graniteman.net
Fireplace—interior stone Bennett Brothers Stone, Hot Springs, (501) 984-5040, Little Rock, (501) 455-5040, bennettbrosstone.com
Fireplace—exterior brick and outdoor furnishings Antique Brick Outdoors, Little Rock, (501) 375-0060, antiquebrickoutdoors.com
Flooring and tile ProSource, North Little Rock, (501) 791-9928, prosourcewholesale.com/littlerock
Florals Tipton & Hurst, locations throughout central Arkansas, (501) 666-3333, tiptonhurst.com
Furniture Cobblestone & Vine, Little Rock, (501) 664-4249, West Little Rock, (501) 219-3676, cobblestoneandvine.com; MLH Designs, Inc., Little Rock, (501) 766-0594, mlh-designs.com; Massimo Interior Design, Little Rock, (501) 664-0355, massimointeriordesign.com
Lighting TEC Electric, Jonesboro, (870) 932-7252, North Little Rock, (501) 758-5483, tecelectric.com
Millwork E.W. Ray’s Wood Carpentry, Jacksonville, (501) 982-2658; Whit Davis Lumber Plus, Cabot, (501) 843-7009, Greenbrier, (501) 679-3265, Jacksonville, (501) 982-2156, whitdavis.com
A family falls in love with their home all over again after designer Tobi Fairley combines bold color and tailored furnishings to give it a fresh, functional update
As lifelong residents of Sheridan—and inhabitants of the same home for the past 23 years—Vicki and Wade Lunday truly love where they live. However, as their three sons grew up and the family’s needs changed, they realized their home needed to evolve as well. And—as often happens in the process of a renovation—one thing led to another, prompting the Lundays not only to make a few structural changes to the home but also to infuse it with a more current, fresh take on their traditional style….
A historic Fayetteville home begins a new story starting with an interior and exterior renovation
Sometimes life makes a complete circle. For Bill Hardin, that meant coming home to the neighborhood where he grew up. “My son called to tell me that the brick house on the corner was for sale. I had always thought it was an interesting place, so I knocked on the door,” he says. Hardin got the full history of the home from its then owner, whose father founded and chaired the Department of Entomology at the University of Arkansas and built the house. “She was able to give me the original blueprints, so we knew how the house was intended to be,” says Hardin. The circa 1939 two-story house had good bones and a generous yard, but it needed some work to make it efficient for modern life.
To begin the renovation, Hardin called in designer Dale Trice, whom he had worked with on several previous homes. Trice was careful to create a balance by retaining and enhancing the charming details of the home while removing the old-fashioned oddities. Downstairs, he highlighted the original plaster walls and millwork with a fresh coat of paint in a pearl finish. In the den, he painted the cozy—but dated—pine paneling a bold shade of marine blue and removed a set of dingy built-in bookcases. In the tiny powder room, Trice replaced what he calls a “strange little sink” with a custom concrete creation that appears to float on the wall. The home’s wood floors were refinished with an ebony wash, providing a lovely contrast to the light walls. Perhaps the happiest discovery was that a curved plaster wall matching the staircase wall was hidden behind drywall in a spare bedroom. By retaining the most interesting architectural details, the house now feels unique and custom.
While the footprint of the lower level remains the same—except for the addition of an outdoor room—the second level underwent several changes to give it a more modern flow. Originally one portion of the upstairs had two small bedrooms with a shared bath that opened into the hall. In one bedroom, Trice opened a closet into the bath and closed off the hall entrance for added privacy. In the other, a small sitting area was absorbed into the bath and closet to create a more comfortable master suite.
“Mr. Hardin has a very keen eye for design,” says Trice, “he wanted the interiors to feel updated; not necessarily modern or traditional, but somewhere in the middle.” A variety of elements including velvet, linen, animal hides, and natural wood offer texture and a nod to the outdoors, while sleek lighting, metallic shades, and bits of Lucite add a luxurious touch. In the small kitchen, Trice replaced the dated cabinets with a free standing shelf and a stainless steel island. A vintage bar-height table contributes to the industrial feel.
Outdoors, the red brick façade got a fresh coat of neutral paint. Fayetteville exterior designer Daniel Keeley helped turn several decades of garden additions into a simple, low maintenance outdoor space. Gravel paths add charm and what Keeley calls an element of “casual elegance.” Hardin, who has two sons and a grandson, says he is as likely to host a viewing party for a Razorback sporting event as a hot dog roast for a rowdy group of 11-year-olds. “I have really enjoyed this house,” he says, “Nothing in it is off limits.”
Exterior designer Daniel Keeley, DK Design, (479) 443-9002, dkdesignoutdoor.com
Interior designer Dale Trice, Design Services of Florida, Seagrove, Florida, (850) 231-6842, designservicesfl.com
Contractor Tim Janacek, Janacek Construction, Rogers, (479) 621-0565, janacekconstruction.com
Accessories, furniture, and outdoor furnishings Dale Trice, Design Services of Florida, Seagrove, Florida, (850) 231-6842, designservicesfl.com
Art Boswell Mourot Fine Art, Little Rock, (501) 664-0030, boswellmourot.com
Functionality and vitality merge in a bustling kitchen that’s always home to a crowd
Jessica and Clay Barber are no strangers to big crowds. As parents to five boys, they—and their kitchen—often play host to large groups. However, when “rubbing elbows,” segued from a playful figure of speech to a literal lack of space, the Barbers turned to Kathryn LeMaster of Kathryn J. LeMaster Art & Design. With her magnetic charm and sixth sense for space maximization, LeMaster gave the family a full-fledged lifestyle transformation by creating a kitchen with defined spaces for everything from cooking dinner to paying bills.
For starters, LeMaster rethought the space by taking an office nook at the far end of the kitchen and transforming it into a much-needed beverage station and pantry area. She also traded a divisive dining peninsula for banquette window seating, which opened up the room’s traffic flow.
LeMaster also removed an upper-cabinet and relocated the microwave it held to a new waist-high base cabinet just below it. The cabinetry was squared off to allow a wider walking path between this area and a nearby support column. The reconfigured space led to the creation of additional seating in a new bar area, which was a bonus for the busy family. Other space-making features include a smaller, custom-designed island with a built-in waste receptacle along with shelving for storage, as well as the aforementioned banquette, which opens to store larger pots and dishware.
To create the kitchen’s traditional look, which includes hints of Southwestern-meets-Tuscan flair, LeMaster selected engineered chestnut hardwood floors, a distressed mango-wood breakfast table, bronze hardware and faux ceiling beams made from stained wood. For balance, she also chose materials that add polish while still coordinating with the traditional theme. For example, the understated travertine herringbone-pattern backsplash, the earth-toned granite countertop and the contrasting espresso finish on the cross-back dining chairs all bring an air of elegance to the often-bustling kitchen.
In addition, an airy color palette helps to create the illusion of a more spacious room. The once sage-green walls and pink-washed cabinetry are now creamy white, and the once flat, opaque appliances are now a uniform blend of stainless steel. The Barbers also opted to forgo window treatments, which had been a major part of the room’s previous decor. Since the new design naturally frames the windows with either exquisite wood cabinetry or decorative accents and privacy is not an issue on their wooded lot, draperies were not a must-have on the Barbers’ wish list. Finally, the installation of several recessed lights, pendants over the bar and a chandelier over the dining area proves an ideal supplement to the in-streaming sunlight.
“I want each of my designs to reflect their respective clients, so it’s almost like inventing a new style with every project,” LeMaster comments. In this case, she wanted to keep the Barber’s taste for rustic, Southwestern décor intact, but represent it in a more modern and subtle way. “A fail-safe, transitional look will stay relevant for years to come,” she adds.
Contractor John Turner, Turner & Sons’ Construction, Little Rock, (501) 993-6323, turnerandsonsconstruction.com
Interior design Kathryn J. LeMaster, Kathryn J. LeMaster Art & Design, North Little Rock, (501) 626-0267, kathrynjlemaster.com
Accessories Coming Home Interiors, Little Rock, (501) 225-3131
Appliances Nino’s Trading Company, Little Rock, (501) 565-1111, ninostrading.com
Cabinetry Renaissance Cabinets, North Little Rock, (501) 256-3252
Fabric Cynthia East Fabrics, Little Rock, (501) 663-0460, cynthiaeastfabrics.com
Paint The Paint and Carpet Depot, Little Rock, (501) 225-1871, thepaintandcarpetdepotinc.com
Tile—accent Acme Brick, Tile & Stone, Fort Smith, (479) 782-7974, Little Rock, (501) 812-5574, Russellville, (479) 968-6900, acmebricktileandstone.com