A palette of pale neutrals and streamlined accessories creates a spa-like ambience in this French Country-inspired family home
Amber Doggett is one very busy woman. As a business owner, interior designer, wife, and mother (her two youngest are one-year-old twin girls), tranquility at home is a top priority. To that end, Doggett says she designed her family’s new home as a “getaway from the mayhem.”
For five years, Doggett and her husband, John, gathered inspiration for the design of their family’s new Benton home in a scrapbook brimming with clippings, sketches, and ideas. They paid close attention on beach vacations and spa visits to decorative techniques that helped to create an environment of total relaxation. “At this point in my life,” says Doggett, “I really felt like I needed a place that’s calming and tranquil.” A low-contrast color palette of light neutrals—ivory and beige—creates a serene atmosphere throughout the home, while aqua and gold accents add a slight coastal inflection.
Accessories are used minimally, a point on which Doggett says she and her husband wholeheartedly agreed: “We didn’t want to fill up the house with a lot of stuff. That way your eye is not so busy as you’re walking through the space. It’s very calm, and that’s what feels so good to us about being here.” The spa influences are most evident in the master suite, which features luxurious bedding, a roomy peninsula bathtub, and a stone-floored shower room with an adjacent sauna.
Convenience, space, and traffic flow were also major factors in Doggett’s design choices. “Every detail of this home is based on how we live. We just need it to work, and it does,” she explains. “There are spaces in the home—like the great room and the outdoor area—that bring everyone together; but after the kids go to bed, we like to be free to entertain friends and family, and the floor plan allows for that, too.” The great room encompasses the kitchen, breakfast area, and a large family room with a television and remote-controlled blinds, which provide for natural light or privacy. “Everything in this room is kid-friendly, because we want the kids to be able to live comfortably here,” Doggett says. To cut down on clutter in the high-traffic space, she added a toy closet that is large enough to double as a small playroom.
The adjacent formal living room is a favorite place for Doggett and her husband to socialize with friends or unwind by enjoying a movie after putting the kids to bed. This is especially true in the wintertime when they like to light a fire each evening. At this time of year, though, Doggett says the family spends most of their time in the home’s outdoor living spaces, which include a covered patio with two seating areas, a grilling and dining space, and a large, fenced yard where the kids are free to run and play independently.
Pretty in Patina
What the frantic pace of motherhood plus entrepreneurship hasn’t changed for Doggett is her love of interiors that feel “a little bit dressy.” She is especially fond of the elegant-meets-rustic feel of her take on French Country décor, because the timeworn look makes a space accessible, yet still very gracious. The non-antique furnishings of the home—many of which were built to Doggett’s exact specifications—keep their newness under wraps with the help of cerused, rubbed, or weathered finishes that give the pieces a natural, aged appeal. “Mixing lots of different textures and finishes together has always been a big part of my design style,” Doggett says. She called on Tracy Rivers, of Angelfish Studios, to offer her expert, old-world faux finishing techniques to furnishings, walls, ironwork, and accessories in practically every room of the house. “We are completely synced,” says Doggett of her collaboration with Rivers. “From just a few key words she can create exactly the effect I’m going for.” The artwork in the house is closely guided by the aesthetic of the décor, favoring architectural details or mirrors over natural or human subjects. “It’s a more subtle approach,” Doggett says. “I only wanted to hang things that supported the light, peaceful mood. I didn’t want anything to distract from it.”
To see more of Tracy Rivers’ faux finishing and decorative painting work, visit this blog post on her work in Doggett’s kitchen: From Our Pages: Faux Finish Fabulous.
Architect Don Goebel, D&D Homes, LLC, Little Rock, (501) 690-4919, danddhomes.com
Contractor D&D Homes, LLC, Little Rock, (501) 690-4919, danddhomes.com
Interior design Amber Doggett, Vivid Designs, Little Rock, (501) 225-3828, vividdesignsfurniture.com
Landscape design Barker Landscape Architecture, (501) 590-7445
Accessories, bedding, furniture, lighting, shutters, mirrors, outdoor furnishings, and rugs Vivid Designs, Little Rock, (501) 225-3828, vividdesignsfurniture.com
Appliances Metro Appliances and More, Jonesboro, (870) 933-7800, North Little Rock, (501) 758-1988, Springdale, (479) 750-2200, metroappliancesandmore.com
Art Angelfish Studios, (501) 960-4826, angelfishstudios.net
Cabinets Kimberly Cabinets, Cabot, (501) 988-1475, kimberlycabinets.com
Carpet and flooring Whitley Flooring and Design, Benton, (501) 315-3626, whitleyflooring.com
Countertops Pacific Shores Stone, Mabelvale, (501) 455-3600, pacificshorestones.com
Fabrics Designer Effects, Little Rock, (501) 661-4070, interiordesignlittlerock.com; Vivid Designs, Little Rock, (501) 225-3828, vividdesignsfurniture.com
Fireplace Antique Brick Outdoors, Little Rock, (501) 375-0060, antiquebrickoutdoors.com
Fixtures The Plumbing Warehouse, Little Rock, (501) 664-4183, theplumbingwarehouselittlerock.com
Florals—fresh Tipton Hurst, Conway, (501) 329-6633, Little Rock, (501) 666-3333, North Little Rock, (501) 753-0709, tiptonhurst.com
Florals—silks Dawnella Designs, Little Rock, (501) 960-0568; Flowers and Home, Bryant, (501) 847-5511, Hot Springs, (501) 525-0444, flowersandhome.com; Vivid Designs, Little Rock, (501) 225-3828, vividdesignsfurniture.com
Hardware Lewis Lighting, Benton, (501) 315-2400, lewislightingandhome.com
Millwork—cedar beams Ridout Lumber, locations statewide, ridoutlumber.com
Ironwork and stair railing Accent Iron Inc., Benton, (501) 315-4162
Painting—decorative Tracy Rivers, Angelfish Studios, (501) 960-4826, angelfishstudios.net
Tile—backsplash, kitchen, bath, and flooring Whitley Flooring and Design, Benton, (501) 315-3626, whitleyflooring.com
Windows Windows Doors and More, Bryant, (501) 315-3300, windowsdoorsandmoreinc.com