When it comes to picking a paint color, chances are you fall into one of two camps: those who see it as daunting or those who view it as exciting. Either way, a bit of professional advice never hurts. Here, 10 local designers share their go-to colors
High style and stunning views are hallmarks of this home on the outskirts of Fayetteville
Michelle Trumbo dreamt of looking out her windows to a distant view of the White River and its woodlands. When fate intervened in the form of a friend who knew of a piece of property with just such stunning views, she and her partner, Joe Whiteside, knew the time had come to capitalize on the dream….
What’s the most thought-about—and often-excruciating—décor decision homeowners face? You guessed it: picking a paint color. Here, color experts from three well-known brands tell us what’s trending and share a bit of advice for your next paint project.
THE EXPERT: Andrea Magno, Color & Design Expert
How to Make an Impact with Paint
“Introducing strong hues is a great way to make an impact,” Magno says. “Start with a focal point, such as a fireplace mantle or the back walls of built-in bookshelves where you want to draw attention to artwork or accessories. As you get more confident, you can graduate to painting the doors to a room or a hallway, window trim, or wainscoting.”
“We are seeing a shift toward warmer colors and even bolder colors after a long stretch of cool and pale hues,” Magno says. “People are interested in brightening things up with color by incorporating more saturated yet easy-to-live-with hues for 2018. For example, the Benjamin Moore Color of the Year 2018 is Caliente, a vibrant, charismatic shade of red. The Benjamin Moore Color Trends 2018 palette features 23 colors that range from hues in the red family, with a nod to the very popular pinks we’ve noted with Pleasant Pink, to deep reds such as Cranberry Cocktail.”
Three designers dish on their go-to hues, emerging trends, and tried-and-true tips when it comes to wall colors
Sherwin-Williams’ Alabaster creates a tranquil neutral backdrop in this spacious bath.
3 Words to Describe Andrea’s Use of Color:
Layered, Spirited, and Thoughtful
Her Words of Wisdom:
• Try a pink! From chic blush tones to flirty hot pink and bold fuchsia, I’m loving that pink—my favorite color—is getting so much love now. You can find it layered, on it’s own, or mixed with all shades of blue and green.
• With trim color selection, I always think of why you do it, not how you do it. First, consider all of the fixed finishes in your space (flooring, countertops, carpet, tile, fireplace, etc.). Why? If these finishes include fresh, cooler colors, black or gray, your trim color should fall in the spectrum of blue-white to off-white. If the finishes are earthy or warmer colors like browns, beiges, or muted greens, you should choose an off-white or cream.
• For a great resource, I recommend checking out Maria Killam’s ebooks, How to Choose Paint Colours and White Is Complicated from mariakillam.com.
Andrea Brooks Interiors, El Dorado, (870) 314-1334, andreabrooksinteriors.com
3 Words to Describe Garry’s Use of Color:
Bold, Timeless, and Unifying
His Words of Wisdom:
• For a small home, condo, or apartment, use one color throughout the space. It will make the rooms feel larger and create a nice flow.
• If you like monochromatic color schemes, use a high-gloss finish on the trim, doors, and cabinets and use matte on the walls to create contrast. You can do this all with one color or use shades that vary only slightly.
• If you want to do a high-gloss finish on doors, trim, or cabinetry, I suggest a spray-on finish. Hire a professional painter to do this, and you’ll love the results.
Garry Mertins Design Inc., Little Rock, (501) 376-6600
3 Words to Describe Sha’s Use of Color:
Classic, Cohesive, and—occasionally—Unexpected
Her Words of Wisdom:
• I think muted colors provide a better backdrop for a room; save the brighter colors for the art and accents.
• Don’t be afraid to use a different color on bathroom or kitchen cabinets.
• Try Sherwin-Williams’ Duration matte finish. It looks like flat paint, but is washable.
• Think of your wall color as the first layer of a design plan—the foundation. It sets the stage for the rest of the design.
Art of Design, Little Rock, (501) 615-8565, shadavari.com
A Little Rock boutique owner’s home receives new life with the help of interior designer Krista Lewis
“My home and my style have grown up with me through the years,” Emily Brown says. As the owner of Little Rock’s much-loved women’s boutique, Tulips, Brown knows a thing or two about color, accessorizing, and finding the perfect pieces for your look—and this knowledge isn’t left behind when she exits her boutique and enters her house.
Interestingly enough, this isn’t the first house Brown and her husband, Mark, have owned on this quiet West Little Rock street. “We lived next door to this very house; we moved off the street for about a year, but had to come back,” she says. “I kind of had my eye on this house and always wanted it.” In 2009, Brown got her wish and the family moved in to the two-story, traditional brick home. In the early years of living there, they made minimal updates to accommodate the family, which includes son Peyton, 10, and daughter Millie, 6, but had not undergone full-scale cosmetic and structural renovations until they started working with interior designer Krista Lewis. “Krista and I went to the University of Arkansas together and have been longtime friends,” Brown says. “The reason I like to work with her is because her work ethic is like mine—super strong. And, of course, she has great style!”
“The kitchen was the first space we worked on together,” Lewis notes. As the centrally located main hub of the home, it was important for this room to be equally practical and inviting for the young family. The cabinetry was updated and a larger island was built to offer workspace and a dining counter, as well as additional storage. The appliances were also relocated to create a better workflow, and lighting was installed over the island to illuminate the area.
Perhaps the area of the home that was least functional was the master bath. “It was essentially two bathrooms before the renovation. There were his and her sides; she had a tub and a big vanity, and he had a shower and smaller vanity. They both had their own closet and water closet, which did not have a door, and everything was carpeted,” Lewis discloses. Realizing the footprint didn’t work for them, the Browns opted to take in a portion of the spacious master bedroom, relocate the bath features to one shared side, and create a closet on the other. The additional space acquired from the bedroom also allowed for the creation of a vestibule, which makes a stunning statement at the entrance to the master suite. “I love this space,” Brown exclaims. “I have my laptop at my vanity in the closet, and I often sit in there at night after my kids go to bed, have a glass of wine, and fill Instagram and internet orders for the store.”
Color It Happy
A light—yet not neutral—palette carries throughout the home, with Sherwin-Williams’ “Contented” on the walls in the majority of the home and also on the cabinetry in the master bath. In the den, this color is complemented with warm corals found on the club chairs—which are covered with indoor/outdoor fabric that is kid-friendly—and in the accent pillows and window seat cushion. “Emily goes to the beach each summer and she loves it, so this room has a bit of beachy influence without being over the top or out of place for Little Rock,” Lewis says.
Upstairs—just as in her boutique—the color pink is a standout in daughter Millie’s room and in the details of the master suite. “Pink is in my blood, and you can’t get it out,” Brown laughs. “People asked me if my husband was OK with pink, and I just tell them that he is married to Tulips so, of course, he is OK with it,” she adds. While a hot-pink-and-white palette can be found in the boutique, lighter shades grace the master bedroom and show up in the bath’s wallpaper. “Bringing it [pink] into the renovation at home just shows how much I love the color,” Brown says.
It almost goes without saying that a strong sense of distinctive style also flows from room to room. For example, there are elements such as the grouping of plates over the kitchen’s banquette or the tulip-patterned wallpaper in the dining room that catch your eye and cause you to pause for a moment. “I try to pick classic pieces that are functional for our life with kids and dogs,” Brown says. “I also like to add a cool twist with an old piece from an estate sale or a framed piece of art from our children’s school. It’s kind of like an outfit from my store—when styling our customers, we always add a wow factor that sets you apart from others.”
Overall, grace and livelihood seem to run rampant from the action of Brown swinging open her front door to welcome guests down to the tiniest well-placed accessory. “My mom always taught me that love is in every detail. Hard work has been put into my business and our home for years, and love is definitely in every detail. I feel it represents us as a family and, most importantly, it welcomes the people that we love to share it with; we are very thankful,” Brown says of the completed makeover.
Interior design Krista Lewis, K. Lewis Interior Design, Little Rock, (501) 952-6952, klewisinteriordesign.com
Contractors Jeffery Lee, Pinnacle Home Improvement, Little Rock, (501) 944-1700; Krista Lewis, K. Lewis Interior Design, Little Rock, (501) 952-6952, klewisinteriordesign.com
Accessories Cynthia East Fabrics, Little Rock, (501) 663-0460, cynthiaeastfabrics.com; K. Lewis Interior Design, Little Rock, (501) 952-6952, klewisinteriordesign.com; Marshall Clements, Little Rock, (501) 663-1828, West Little Rock, (501) 954-7900, marshallclements.com; Providence Design, Little Rock, (501) 372-1886, providenceltddesign.com
Cabinetry—master bath and kitchen Richard Mears, Renaissance Custom Cabinets, (501) 256-3252, cabinetideas.com
Carpet Akel’s Carpet One, locations throughout Central Arkansas, akelscarpetone.com; C&F Flooring and Rug Gallery, Little Rock, (501) 399-9909, candfcarpet.com
Countertops—kitchen Casa Blanca Granite, Little Rock, (501) 744-0387, casablancagranite.com
Countertops and tile—master bath Inside Effects, North Little Rock, (501) 954-8866, insideeffects.com
Fabrics, fixtures, hardware, lighting, and wallpaper K. Lewis Interior Design, Little Rock, (501) 952-6952, klewisinteriordesign.com
Fixtures—bath Southern Pipe & Supply, locations statewide, southernpipe.com
Fixtures—kitchen Falk Plumbing Supply, Hot Springs, (501) 321-1231, North Little Rock, (501) 664-3911, falksupply.com
Flooring—wood Akel’s Carpet One, locations throughout Central Arkansas, akelscarpetone.com
Furniture Cantrell Furniture Design Center, Little Rock, (501) 225-0002, cantrellfurniture.com; Fabulous Finds Antiques & Decorative Mall, Little Rock, (501) 614-8181, fabulousfindsantiquesanddecorativemall.com; K Lewis Interior Design, Little Rock, (501) 952-6952, klewisinteriordesign.com
Millwork—closet J&J Custom Cabinets, Little Rock, (501) 766-1870, jjcustomcabinets.net
Mirrors West Little Rock Glass, Little Rock, (501) 223-3034, westlittlerockglass.net
Paint Benjamin Moore, locations statewide, benjaminmoore.com; Sherwin-Williams, locations statewide, sherwin-williams.com
Rugs C&F Flooring and Rug Gallery, Little Rock, (501) 399-9909, candfcarpet.com
Upholstery Howard’s Upholstery Shop, Little Rock, (501) 225-0476
Window coverings Mountjoy’s Custom Draperies, Mabelvale, (501) 455-2216
If you lived through the post-World War II boom era—or if you’ve watched even a few episodes of the hit HBO series Mad Men—chances are that words like “calm” and “relaxing” are not the first moods that spring to mind when you think about the culture or aesthetic of that time. But interior designers and architects of the period urged homeowners to eschew elaborate ornamentation in favor of clean lines, expansive floor plans, and seamless transitions between indoor and outdoor spaces: beauty and function, without all the “fluff.” That’s why, when Michael Morton called on designer Tami Risinger to put her signature, clean-and-classic spin on his mid-century, ranch-style home, she knew she could deliver. “I have done many commercial projects with [Michael], and I was excited to help him with his home. I have worked with him so much I just know what he wants: a comfortable home that is laid-back and relaxed, where he could have friends over and entertain.”
Outside In & Inside Out
“The home already had great bones,” Risinger says, “because building materials were made very well back in the fifties. Being able to keep key elements like the terrazzo floors was a huge plus in keeping with the period of the home.” In addition to the period-specific flooring in certain areas, the stacked stone exterior—which extends into interior accent walls, as seen in the entryway—helps set the mod mood. But, Risinger notes, the predominance of the windows was her biggest design cue: “I just really love the simplicity of the home, especially the floor-to-ceiling windows that open it up to the outside. The view is beautiful in every direction you look. I removed all of the window treatments and left it very open seating-wise, so you can appreciate the open view, whether indoors or out.” The windows as well as the consistent use of materials make the transition out onto the patio so subtle that the outdoor living area feels like a direct extension of the home. “The patio and the outdoor fireplace are so inviting;” Risinger says, it draws the eye outside because “it’s made of the same stone that’s on the inside of the home.”
A trend resurgence of mid-century modern textures and silhouettes allowed Risinger to assemble primarily new, vintage-inspired furnishings and accessories from today’s top furniture brands that still harmonize with the retro aesthetic of the home. Morton’s den, for example, is a rich and dynamic space, furnished with a mohair-upholstered sofa, a lacquered coffee table with a Greek key motif, and twin upholstered benches, all made by Baker Furniture. Risinger describes her choices for the room: “I wanted warm hues of rust, black, and brown that would blend with the warm wood of the walls. I used a wool fabric for the drapes with a leather band that I also used as a welt on the mohair sofa. The light fixture is new, but it looks as though it has been here since the home was built in the 1950s.” Similarly, the woven chairs and iron-and-stone table in the sunroom are all new—by McGuire Furniture—but offer a vintage look. When unable to find the perfect piece for a particular space, Risinger created her own, as in the case of the kitchen table, which was custom-made from walnut and metal.
Risinger grounds the design and keeps it current with a few key, timeless choices. For instance, she kept the kitchen’s existing parquet floors and had them refinished with a contrasting stain striping to add character and dimension to the space. “In the long, narrow kitchen,” Risinger explains, “[the floors] make it interesting and different and not feel as narrow.” In the guest bathroom, a splendid Carrara marble countertop and Carrara floor tiles create a huge impact and subtly counterbalance the mirror, light fixture, and cabinet base, all of which resonate so specifically with the mid-century modern aesthetic. Also striking is the variety of original artworks by contemporary artists on display throughout the home; each piece is allowed to take center stage, and the strategic choice to invest primarily in art by living artists—rather than works from the mid-century period—keeps the home feeling current.
When asked about what challenges she faced in the design and renovation process, Risinger responds: “This project was easy. Michael is an amazing client, and he gives me free reign to do whatever I want. It was exactly what I would have done if it had been my own home.” The ease of the process echoes throughout the serene atmosphere of the home, which offers a unique kind of warmth and softness—an elegance really—despite, or, in fact, due to the simplicity of the design.
Interior design, kitchen and bath design Tami Risinger, Tami Risinger Interiors, Conway, (501) 454-2575, tamirisingerinteriors.com
Landscape design Advanced Sprinkler and Landscape, Conway, (501) 472-2123
Project management Chris Weaver, Ridout Lumber, locations statewide, ridoutlumber.com
Accessories, art, bedding, fabrics, furniture, lighting, mirrors, and wallcoverings Tami Risinger Interiors, Conway, (501) 454-2575, tamirisingerinteriors.com
Appliances Metro Appliances & More, Jonesboro, (870) 933-7800, North Little Rock, (501) 758-1988, Springdale, (479) 750-2200, metroappliancesandmore.com
Cabinetry—guest bathroom Ray Netzel, Netzel Cabinet Sales Inc., Gentry, (479) 736-3040
Countertops—bathroom and flooring—marble and tile Inside Effects, North Little Rock, (501) 954-8866, insideeffects.com
Flooring—carpet D & D Floor Covering, Van Buren, (479) 474-0533, ddfloorcovering.com
Landscape—maintenance Marty Beals
Millwork Trademark Trim, Sherwood, (501) 529-7354
Paint Benjamin Moore, locations statewide, benjaminmoore.com
Painting Debco Painting, Benton, (501) 315-0266
Rugs Martinous Oriental Rug Co., Little Rock, (501) 224-0313, martinous.com
Upholstery John Magee, M2 Gallery, Little Rock, (501) 225-6271, m2lr.com
Window treatments Possibilities Unlimited, Conway, (501) 472-5189
A century-old Conway home maintains its unique charm as it is renovated to meet the needs of a creative family of four
What do portrait photography and home building have in common? A lot, according to Lance Johnston, who engages in both pursuits with a spirit of passion and innovation. He, his wife Melissa, and their daughters Mary Dean (15) and Anne Ryan (13) live in a 1907 Queen Anne farmhouse right in the heart of Conway that Johnston has transformed into a timeless treasure. As a licensed contractor with a new building business called Reform Design + Build—a partnership with his friend Michael Harrison—Johnston sees the connections between his two professions clearly: “The philosophy behind the design + build business is exactly the same as the photography business—to create new-classic work that people will enjoy for generations.”
Back in Time
The family relocated to the historic home, after living for 13 years in a dwelling the couple designed and built in west Conway and which they believed at the time would be their “forever home.” “We moved back into town as a lifestyle choice, more than anything,” Johnston says; “Our life is all in this area. We went from being 20 minutes away from everywhere to never going more than five minutes away for most everything we do. It’s a different lifestyle living downtown.” Initially, the couple had every intention of buying a downtown lot and erecting a new home with classic appeal. That was the plan, that is, until they had a first look inside this historic house; “We knew we couldn’t build a new house with this much character, even if money were no object,” Johnston says.
Albert Lachowsky, an immigrant from Germany, built the farmhouse in 1907, and his family lived in the home for one hundred five years, until his daughter Agnes, the last living resident, passed away in 2012; that makes the Johnstons only the second owners of the property. “We saw these hundred-year-old hardwood floors and all of the other details this house has, and we knew we couldn’t recreate that feeling,” Johnston says. All of the original window and door locks were still intact, as well as the original window glass. The doorbell, which still works, is also original, and the claw-foot bathtub was relocated from the home’s only existing bathroom into the Johnstons’s new master bath addition. After purchasing the home, they embarked on a conscientious renovation that would preserve the house’s charm yet accommodate their space needs and provide the comforts of a modern home.
A Graceful Evolution
The most integral change the Johnstons made was to open up the home’s three, small, primary living areas to combine them into a single space that is now a continuous kitchen and living room. Johnston describes his goal of creating a design that could offer the practicality of an open-plan house, without sacrificing authenticity to the home’s character: “Dinner time is such a big part of our day. We wanted to be able to eat and visit and cook—to be in the living room and the kitchen and still be together.” However, it was a priority of Johnston’s to keep the look very traditional, even as he removed the adjoining walls. The former kitchen is now a wraparound pantry/butler’s pantry/laundry room that also houses the refrigerator. “Not having any kitchen cabinets in our living space makes it feel more like the kitchen is in the living room—rather than feeling like the living room is in the kitchen,” Johnston says. He also enclosed an existing back porch and converted it into a long, narrow dining room. A 12-foot cased opening between the kitchen and “dining porch,” in addition to a short step down, defines the zones. “Sure, we could have taken all the walls out, but even just having these suggestions of rooms helps divide the space and maintain the look of an older home,” he notes.
Waste Not, Want Not
Though the Johnstons added (through additions and enclosures) 1,400 square feet to the original 1,600 square-foot footprint of the home, paring down possessions and streamlining the design was a necessity, when moving from their former home, which was 4,500 square feet. “In that house, we had four rooms we never went in. That bothered me. One of my favorite things about this house is that there is not a single room or, for that matter, a single square inch of this house that we don’t use every day—no wasted space anywhere. That feels responsible to me,” Johnston says. In addition to the master bath and dining room, a large studio with an office loft was annexed to the house; it serves as a home base for Johnston’s portrait photography business. A generous, enclosed breezeway also provides closet storage, of which the home originally had very little.
Other responsible measures—including cutting-edge insulation, LED lights, and a tankless water heater—reduce the home’s environmental impact, though Johnston says he doesn’t like to be pigeonholed as a “green” builder. “I prefer to think of it as sensible-green, more than anything,” he says. “The greenest thing you can do is just use the stuff you have. I’m amazed at how many of the materials we’ve used are recycled from the house itself or from architectural salvage yards.”
What’s clear is that the family’s love for their new, old home is closely tied to the design ethic that led them to make the choices they’ve made in its renovation. Johnston reflects: “It’s really that balance between a timeless and classic aesthetic and the way we live our lives that has driven every design decision we’ve made.”
Contractor and kitchen design Reform Design + Build, Conway, (501) 499-2814, reformdesignbuild.com
Appliances Metro Appliances & More, Jonesboro, (870) 933-7800, North Little Rock, (501) 758-1988, Springdale, (479) 750-2200, metroappliancesandmore.com
Art Heather Mainord, Local Colour Gallery, Little Rock, (501) 265-0422, localcolourgallery.com
Cabinetry Elms-Clowers Construction Inc., Conway, (501) 329-8600, elmsclowers.com
Countertops Moix Marbleworks, Inc., Conway, (501) 329-4883
Fireplace Cullum Brothers Masonry, Conway, (501) 514-1843
Fixtures Conway Winnelson, Conway, (501) 329-7172
Floral Tipton + Hurst, locations throughout central Arkansas, (501) 666-3333, tiptonhurst.com
Flooring Ozark Hardwood Flooring, Marshall, (870) 448-5775, ozarkhardwoodfloors.com
Furniture Jenifer’s Antiques, Conway, (501) 765-1311; Park Hill Home, Conway, (501) 358-3537, parkhillcollection.com; White Goat, Conway, (501) 504-6643, Little Rock, (501) 603-9460, whitegoatstyle.com
Painting and tile Reform Design + Build, Conway, (501) 499-2814, reformdesignbuild.com
Rugs White Goat, Conway, (501) 504-6643, Little Rock, (501) 603-9460, whitegoatstyle.com
The joy of cooking is a family matter in this Little Rock kitchen
When a Little Rock couple approached Chris Milligan about building a new house inspired by the American vernacular style of architecture with lots of natural light and a “happy feel,” he knew that the open-concept kitchen and living space would be the hub of the home. The homeowner knew she wanted her kitchen to be three things—classic, seamless, and delightful, so she and Milligan worked very closely together to achieve her vision….
A vibrant villa in central Arkansas gives its homeowners and their guests a taste of the good life in true Old World style
Little Rock-based interior designer Kim Brockinton shares how she created a European-inspired country home that lives up to its own grandeur yet maintains a welcoming sense of warmth. By layering refined and rustic elements and allowing the natural evolution of the property’s character to enhance its beauty, she has guided the homeowners to an ample and amiable home place that stands a world apart.
At Home in Arkansas: You’ve described the style of this home as French country, or provincial. What are the key characteristics of homes of that style, and where do we see them in this project?
Kim Brockinton: My first love is the European style of architecture—it can be formal or relaxed. And I have always been drawn to the countryside, whether it be Provence, Tuscany, or the Cotswolds in England. So this project was special—as if I were working in my own home. The home and property have all of the elements typically associated with the French country and provincial style: a soft color palette—in this case a sun-washed yellow hue, a multi-colored slate roof, rustic beams, and natural stone floors (especially the antique terra cotta inside the house), an array of outbuildings, and a lush landscape with both wild and planted flowers and vines.
What were the homeowners’ main requests and how did you satisfy them? What do they now enjoy most about their home?
The owners had a clear vision when they started. They love the outdoors, so plenty of space was the first order of the day. They also love the style of large European properties—particularly the multiple living spaces, indoor and out—so the architecture is consistent with their vision. It’s a spectacular Arkansas country estate. The outdoor living spaces are wonderful: the plastered pool is surrounded by native flagstone, and the covered cabana has pitched wooden beams. The unique terra cotta pieces atop the chimney are very consistent with what you would see in the Old World. I like to vary the sizes and shapes, to give the impression of an old home that has been added to through the years.
And in truth, the project has evolved over time as we have introduced the elements that were most important to them, including having many diverse settings for social gatherings. The couple shares a real passion for music, and the living room of the main house is used for that purpose—so it’s a real drawing card. They are also a family, so it was important to remember that, while the living spaces were elegant, they also had to be relaxed and inviting.
What patterns, colors, and textures drove your design choices?
We brought the soft, muted colors of the home’s exterior inside to create a warm and inviting backdrop. The interior walls of the main house are plastered in stone and flesh tones, and the floors range from flagstone and antique terra cotta tiles to parquet and reclaimed wood. This backdrop allowed us the freedom to use pattern and color liberally. We used variations of brown (chocolate and truffle), yellows and golds, terra cotta and brick reds, and Mediterranean blues. As for the fabrics and textures, there are cottons, chenilles, wools, and linens—all of which work beautifully together in various combinations of classic patterns from room to room.
How do you create a balance of contrasting elements in your designs—for instance, masculine/feminine, rough-hewn/refined?
The goal is always—and especially in this home—to create timeless and classic interiors worthy of the setting and architecture, and a lot of that work happens in finding an appropriate mix. For instance, I used pillows made with Cowtan & Tout wool on a sofa upholstered with Pierre Frey denim and combined aged gilt accessories with a farm table. Dressing it up to dress it down (or vice versa) is the way I usually think of it. Much of the work I do is for couples or families, so I am accustomed to using design elements that have both masculine and feminine characteristics. In the end, you want everyone in the family to feel as though it reflects their personality.
Contractor—general Fred Lord, Little Rock, (501) 821-1212
Contractor—kitchen Bentwood Luxury Kitchens, Lancaster, TX, (972) 227-6855,
Interior design Kim Brockinton, Kim Brockinton Interiors, Inc., Little Rock, (501) 661-7600
Landscape design Stacy Stafford, Stafford Fine Gardening, Little Rock, (501) 350-8039
Accessories, bedding, fabrics, lighting, furniture, and flooring Kim Brockinton Interiors, Inc., Little Rock, (501) 661-7600
Cabinets Duke Custom Cabinets, Roland, (501) 868-8111; Wood Unique, Inc., Mountain Pine,
Ironwork—railings Stuart Shields, Architectural Ironworks, Little Rock, (501) 455-9880
Outdoor furnishings Ken Rash’s of Arkansas, Little Rock, (501) 663-1818, kenrashsoutdoorfurniture.com; Kim Brockinton Interiors, Inc., Little Rock, (501) 661-7600
Paint Benjamin Moore, locations statewide, benjaminmoore.com
Pool Brooks Pool Company, Little Rock, (501) 771-1501, brookspools.com
Stonework—outdoor fireplace Bennett Brothers Stone, Hot Springs Village, (501) 984-5040, Little Rock, (501) 455-5040, bennettbrosstone.com
A riverside retreat gets a total makeover and becomes one family’s great escape
Sheb and Danny Fisher love their cabin on the Little Red River. Located in Pangburn—less than an hour and a half away from their primary residence in Little Rock, it is a cherished getaway spot for the entire family, including their four adult children and the family dog, Ellie, a Cairn terrier. In the few years since they have owned the cabin, the couple have transformed the entire property, from the bedroom loft right down to the riverside dock.
Make it Bigger
“The cabin was tiny when we first bought it—perfect for two people, but there just wasn’t enough space for all of us,” Sheb Fisher says. To remedy this, they expanded the home’s living and sleeping quarters by 900 square feet. One half of an existing deck was enclosed, and the open-plan living area was extended toward the river, making space for a full-sized dining table. A stone fireplace formerly stood in the center of the living room. “It was pretty…and massive,” Fisher explains, “and I tried to plan the space around it, but it just wasn’t going to work.” After relocating the fireplace to a side wall, Fisher says she realized that it had stood in the way of the cabin’s best feature: “We have enjoyed the space so much more now that the fireplace isn’t blocking the river view.” The remaining half of the riverside deck was screened and now serves as a place for the family to eat, gather, and relax outdoors.
Another top priority was to ensure that everyone would have a place to sleep when all four kids—with their own guests, spouses, and children—want to gather at the river house at the same time. “The main thing I told the architect was that I really needed four sleeping spaces, in addition to a master,” Fisher recalls. The house’s two original bedrooms were preserved, and a loft space was divided, creating one annexed bedroom and one open sleeping/sitting area. The cabin’s existing carport was enclosed and converted into a master bedroom, a spacious and peaceful retreat where Sheb and Danny feel right at home, as their visits to the cabin become longer and more frequent. “Especially when the house is full of guests,” Fisher says, “we sometimes need a place where we can be quiet and by ourselves.”
Make it Brighter
Before the renovation, the interior of the home was finished in deep wood tones, wall-to-wall, creating a lodge-like atmosphere. “Everything was pine—it was so dark,” Fisher remembers. “The cabin has lots of natural shade anyway, and the dark interior just made it even darker,” she says. Fisher’s solution? “I decided to paint the whole thing white. I have to be surrounded by a light, airy feeling.” The pine plank walls of the cabin are now covered in Benjamin Moore’s Simply White. “I like to start with a neutral palette, preferably white,” Fisher says of her favored design approach, “and [then I] add color with art, furnishings, and accessories.”
With the new white walls, a rustic, white oak flooring of varying plank sizes poses a slight contrast and supports the organic feeling of the space. “The texture of the floor shows all the knots—it’s so rustic and pretty. I love how it turned out,” Fisher says. The addition of a bank of windows to the loft space also helped open and brighten the cabin. “We were going to completely close off the loft area,” Fisher says, “but the windows brought in a lot more light, so we left that part open.” In fact, she is so pleased with the loft’s radiant renovation that she envisions making the space a mini art studio, where she can work on creative projects.
Make it Personal
In addition to creating more space and light in the cabin, Fisher brought together furnishings, both old and new, to infuse the retreat with her personal style. Confident and skilled in interior design, she attributes her know-how to a background in photography and her subsequent experience in photo styling. Plus, she adds, “I have always been interested in home décor. Even as a child, I loved to move furniture around and try it different ways.”
The Fishers purchased the cabin partially furnished, and Sheb has incorporated a number of those remaining pieces in her design, including the deer-antler chandelier that hangs above the dining table and the curvaceous, hide-upholstered chairs that now stand in the home’s entry. Some of the other items were cast-offs from the couple’s primary residence, while still others are family heirlooms that had not previously found a home. The iron bed in one of the guest rooms, for instance, belonged to Fisher’s great-grandmother.
Original artwork adds character, color, and movement to every space in the cabin, and most of the pieces were done either by Fisher herself or by her sister, Somers Collins. As she was pulling the rooms together, particular pieces her sister had made came to mind as perfect finishing touches. About the painting that hangs in the dining room, Fisher recalls, “I called [my sister] and asked to use the butterfly picture, because I knew I had the perfect space for it.” The painting that stands on the mantel above the fireplace—another that was made by her sister—is known among the family as “the red woman picture,” and Fisher notes, “Everybody in our family wants that picture. I love it, too!”
Make it Home
Each member of the Fisher family has a favorite river pastime and a unique way of enjoying the property. Sheb claims her favorite space is the screened porch, where she says she spends “most of [her] waking hours,” while she is at the river, and Danny and the kids enjoy fishing off the dock. As for Ellie—the dog—she loves kayaking and chasing geese. “Ellie is so happy at the cabin,” Fisher says, “she just claims the whole neighborhood as her own.” The renovation of the getaway certainly achieved the Fishers’s ultimate goal: to create a place for family togetherness, enjoyment, and relaxation. “We love the river,” Fisher says, “It’s so quiet and peaceful there. It’s just really lovely.”
Architect Chris Milligan, Dwellings Inc., Little Rock, (501) 831-0729, dwellings-ar.com
Builder Larry Douglas, Searcy, (501) 593-2521
Interior design Sheb Fisher, Cynthia East Fabrics, Little Rock, (501) 663-0460, cynthiaeastfabrics.com
Landscape design—hardscape Terry Farris, Farris & Sons Construction Inc, Searcy, (870) 405-4055
Cabinets and countertops—master bathroom—and mirrors Pottery Barn, locations statewide, potterybarn.com
Countertops—guest bath Custom Stone LLC, Searcy, (501) 305-3007, customstoneofarkansas.com
Fireplace Lakeside Siding Supply, Heber Springs, (501) 362-5590, Kensett, (501) 742-5300, lakesidesidingsupply.net
Flooring Forest to Floor, Memphis, (901) 360-1330, North Little Rock, (501) 353-0746, foresttofloor.com
Hardware and tile Ridout Lumber, locations statewide, ridoutlumber.com
Lighting TEC Electric, Jonesboro, (870) 932-7252, North Little Rock, (501) 758-5483, tecelectric.com
Millwork Larry Douglas, Searcy, (501) 593-2521
Paint Benjamin Moore, locations statewide, benjaminmoore.com
Windows Lumber One Home Center, Mayflower, (501) 470-1122, Stuttgart (870) 673-3601, lumberonehomecenter.com