A Little Rock designer brings a classic European aesthetic to his home in one of the city’s first downtown condominium buildings
Designer Bill Beringer admits that downtown living has not always appealed to him. But when he and partner Bob Finkbeiner—owner of Trianon Antiques—were ready to move from their townhouse, the low-maintenance lifestyle and exciting challenge of fitting their collection of European antiques into a sleek open-concept condominium enticed them. “We couldn’t do without our favorite antique pieces, but we had to make them work in a new way,” Beringer says. The pair transformed a formerly cold, blank space into a cozy home through a strict but serene color palette, the addition of plush new upholstery, and a careful edit of their belongings.
The sleek space did not mean an entirely new look, but it did take some creative thinking to meld the couple’s collection of German and French antiques with the home’s contemporary architecture and open floor plan. Initially, they purchased a unit on a lower floor and built walls around the kitchen area to create a more familiar, traditional layout, however the galley kitchen felt even smaller once closed off. So, when a fifteenth-floor, partially finished unit came available, they decided to give open-space living one more chance. This time the space worked beautifully for their needs and their collections.
“One entire wall of each room is made of glass,” Beringer explains. “The view [of the Arkansas River and Clinton Presidential Library beyond] is great but I kind of ignored it and floated all of the furniture in the middle of the room.” Beringer used repetition to tie the spaces together. Several sets of antique etchings vary in subject matter but are all framed simply with slim gilt frames, upholstery fabric is limited to shades of putty and brown, and the furniture includes only the most-loved and most-used pieces. Not a minimalist by nature, Beringer accessorized with glass, crystal, and lucite objects, which add another layer to the design without taking up much visual space. The lightness of the glass and crystal pieces also contrasts nicely with Finkbeiner’s collection of antique bronze and brass figures, which are found throughout the home.
“I’ve been accused of painting the world beige, one room at a time, so this putty color is new for me,” Beringer says of the soft gray tone (a custom mix) that covers the walls, ceiling, cabinets, and even the pair of plaster ceiling pendants in the main space. The soft palette, which includes the putty hue as well as chocolate brown and charcoal gray, is punctuated with gilt wood and gold tones. Texture—rather than color—delineates the spaces. The walls in the second bedroom-turned-study are covered in a tactile wallpaper that resembles hide. With square footage at a minimum, the room gives the pair a bit of privacy when needed, explains Beringer, who takes his morning coffee in the study. The condo’s two bathrooms and powder room also got the monochromatic treatment with floor-to-ceiling Emperadoro Light marble. “I find it easier to live without color on the walls,” Beringer says. “The light coming in from the windows can be very loud, so we wanted it all to be very serene.” Even the art—etchings and charcoal drawings from the couple’s collection—adheres to the palette.
Tip the Scale
In contrast to the antique casegoods, the home is filled with plush yet sleekly styled new upholstery pieces. For example, the bedroom’s king-size bed is punctuated by an upholstered headboard that stands nearly six feet tall. In the living room, there’s a similar feel. “I knew we had to go big in here; the smaller pieces from our last home would have been lost under the eleven-foot ceilings,” Beringer says in reference to the furniture. To keep the main room from feeling cluttered, he positioned two oversized sofas and two club chairs on one side of the room, and a dining table and French modern sideboard on the opposite side. The clean lines of the armless sofas feel open, without lacking in comfort. A pair of custom mirrors flanks the fireplace and a large antique mirror over the sideboard creates the illusion of more space, while a custom rug unifies the two sides of the room.
“It was not easy, but we love how it turned out,” Beringer says of their move to the condo. With a bit of creative thinking and a strong sense of personal style, Beringer and Finkbeiner created a cozy, chic space that feels at once sleek and collected in an unlikely location—a modern downtown condo.
Interior design Bill Beringer, Little Rock
Kitchen and bath design Charlotte Lefler, Lumber One Home Center, Mayflower, (501) 470-1122, Stuttgart, (870) 673-3601, lumberonehomecenter.com
Contractor Dave Grundfest Company, Little Rock, (501) 568-2324, grundfest.com
Architect Tom Fennell, Little Rock, Fennell Purifoy Architects, (501) 372-6734, fennellpurifoy.com
Appliances Metro Appliances & More, Jonesboro, (870) 933-7800, North Little Rock, (501) 758-1988, Springdale, (479) 750-2200, metroappliancesandmore.com
Cabinetry Lumber One Home Center, Mayflower, (501) 470-1122, Stuttgart, (870) 673-3601, lumberonehomecenter.com
Carpet, flooring, and tile—bath backsplash C&F Flooring and Rug Gallery, Little Rock, (501) 399-9909, candfcarpet.com
Countertops All Natural Stone, Little Rock, (501) 280-9777
Fixtures—kitchen and hardware PC Hardware, Little Rock, (501) 224-1724, pchdwe.com
Floral design About Vase, Little Rock, (501) 603-9200, aboutvase.com
Furniture and lighting—antiques Trianon Antiques, Little Rock, (501) 663-5502, trianon-antiques.com
Millwork Dave Grundfest Company, Little Rock, (501) 568-2324, grundfest.com
Mirrors Andrew Bruckman, Bruckman Studios, Little Rock, (501) 837-1246, bruckmanstudios.com; Trianon Antiques, Little Rock, (501) 663-5502, trianon-antiques.com
Paint Sherwin-Williams, locations statewide, sherwin-williams.com
Painting Beard Breeding Painting Co., Mabelvale, (501) 455-1010
Upholstery Clark Upholstery Gallery, Little Rock, (501) 228-9805
Window coverings Mountjoy’s Custom Draperies, Mabelvale, (501) 455-2216