Inspired by their Turkish heritage, a young family turns to architects Jeff Horton and Jennifer Herron and interior designer Meridith Hamilton Ranouil to create a modern home that reminds them of their past and gives them plenty of space to grow in the future
Whether you move twenty miles down the road or around the globe, leaving a place doesn’t mean that the place—or its influence—leaves you. Dr. Emre Vural and his wife, Zeynep, found this to be just the case when they started planning for a new-construction home in Little Rock. “We are from Turkey and in the urban areas—particularly Istanbul—there’s a more contemporary design style; it’s very much modern,” Zeynep says. With the influence of these areas and their structures in mind, the Vurals looked to create a home for their family that would bring a bit of Turkey to Arkansas.
To begin, they met with architects Jennifer Herron and Jeff Horton of Herron Horton Architects. The Vurals had seen their work and thought the style was a match for the type of home they desired. “It is very contemporary, but not crazy modern,” Zeynep says of her perception of the firm’s architectural style. “The Vurals are so kind and interesting, and because they have seen a lot they knew what they wanted,” Horton says. “They know what they like and they trusted [us] to put these pieces together for them,” Herron notes.
The Vurals’ home is sited in a traditional neighborhood; however, their lot had a unique shape that was wide rather than deep. Herron and Horton worked to situate the house at the best possible vantage point and to achieve the look the Vurals wanted. The result is a home that is “basically an ‘H’ in shape,” says Horton. The connected center portion is a second floor gallery walkway that leads from the master suite to the kids’ rooms, where the Vurals’ two children, ages 8 and 13, reside. “This placement allows the internal wings to have a lot of natural light,” says Horton, who notes that the bedrooms are on east and west boundaries, while the central areas of the home are north and south, allowing for light to pass through different areas of the home in different ways throughout the day. “Light is really crucial; you live with the seasons of light, so it has a different feel throughout the year and you become more aware of these as you live there,” Horton notes.
Below the connecting walkway are the home’s living and dining rooms. “We really love the big, two-story living and dining area because it has windows to both the front and back yards; there’s so much natural light and there’s no TV or clutter; my husband and I sit here and listen to music and have coffee or entertain friends,” Zeynep says.
Just as the Vurals were drawn to Herron Horton’s architecture, they knew that interior designer Meridith Hamilton Ranouil of MLH, Designs, Inc. shared their passion for contemporary style, and they turned to her for guidance in selecting finishes, fixtures, and furnishings. “In first talking with [Zeynep] she told me that she wanted a home that was clean and sophisticated…with a touch of sparkle,” Ranouil says. The designer, who notes that clean lines and an uncluttered look are part of her own signature style, delivered; the wood-grain cabinetry in the kitchen and den along with the larger furnishings—as well as the home’s architecture—adhere brilliantly to the “clean and sophisticated” directives, while the “sparkle” shows up in just the right places, such as the light fixture in the foyer—which is suspended from the home’s second story—and the three-dimensional backsplash in the kitchen, as well as the large, textured tiles in the master bath’s shower.
Ranouil also chose just one color to flow throughout the home: Sherwin-Williams’s “On the Rocks.” “Zeynep initially considered white-white walls, but we ended up going with a white-gray to keep it from being too sterile. I pulled everything from this initial palette,” Ranouil says.
Feels Like Home
It wasn’t just the overall style or larger features of the home that were inspired by the Vurals’ native Turkey. “Since we are so far from home, I have these certain accessories—little touches—throughout the house that remind me of home,” Zeynep says, noting in particular both silver and colorful pieces which are displayed in the den’s floating shelves. “These clients were very hands-on, which is great because you end up with a house that looks like them,” Ranouil adds.
Architects Jennifer Herron, AIA and Jeff Horton, AIA, LEED AP, Herron Horton Architects, Little Rock, (501) 975-0052, hh-architects.com
Interior design Meridith Hamilton Ranouil, CKD, Allied ASID, MLH Designs, Inc., Little Rock, (501) 766-0594, mlh-designs.com
Accessories, hardware, mirrors, and rugs MLH Designs, Inc., Little Rock, (501) 766-0594, mlh-designs.com
Appliances Metro Appliances & More, Jonesboro, (870) 933-7800, North Little Rock, (501) 758-1988, Springdale, (479) 750-2200, metroappliancesandmore.com
Countertops AHI Stoneworks, Hot Springs, (501) 463-6819, ahistoneworks.net
Fixtures Falk Plumbing Supply, locations statewide, falksupply.com
Flooring and tile—bath ProSource Wholesale, North Little Rock, (501) 791-9928, prosourcewholesale.com/littlerock
Furniture I.O. Metro, Fayetteville, (479) 521-1297, Little Rock, (501) 217-0300, Rogers, (479) 899-6288, iometro.com; MLH Designs, Inc, Little Rock, (501) 766-0594, mlh-designs.com; Tommy Farrell Custom Furniture, North Little Rock, (501) 375-7225, tommyfarrell.com
Paint Sherwin-Williams, locations statewide, sherwin-williams.com
Tile—kitchen backsplash Acme Brick, Tile & Stone, locations statewide, acmebricktileandstone.com
Windows Lumber One Home Center, Mayflower, (501) 470-1122, Stuttgart, (870) 673-3601, lumberonehomecenter.com
Window coverings MLH Designs, Inc., Little Rock, (501) 766-0594, mlh-designs.com; Nancy Osborn, North Little Rock, (870) 680-2730