At Home in Arkansas: What inspired an Italian palazzo look on Lake Hamilton?
Scott Paterek of Massimo: The homeowners [Junie and Becky Simpson of Pine Bluff] had traveled to Italy and wanted a Mediterranean look. We used exterior stucco on the interior arches for texture and weight, and the tile roof is a blend of three subtle colors to appear sun-bleached. Botanica Gardens also added herbs spilling out of the beds for a European feel.
AHIA: How did you capitalize on the views?
SP: With expansive windows and lots of glass. We paid attention to the way the rooms are furnished to keep all the view lines open. In the living room, the day bed faces the fireplace, and the chairs are pulled back from the windows so they don’t block the views. It did present some challenges, but ultimately just required more thought and creativity.
AHIA: You managed to keep things open and uncluttered as well.
SP: We wanted it to be traditional but with fewer objects. Whenever we added an accessory, it was one that had volume. We also chose clean-lined upholstery over more traditional skirted furniture.
AHIA: Symmetry seems to be a recurring theme.
SP: We do like symmetry in traditional work. The homeowners tended to buy pairs even before we met them, and that trickled down a bit to this project. The pair of chests that now flank the bed in the master bedroom had always been separated, and I was determined to keep them together in the same room here.
AHIA: Did the homeowners have items they wanted to incorporate in this home?
SP: Antiques, mostly French, and art are passions of theirs. We added more French pieces, but with cleaner lines. It will eventually be their full-time home, so they wanted to use all the pieces they had collected over the years, just with a simplified look.
AHIA: Tell us about the art.
SP: We added a couple of contemporary pieces. Their collection is varied, which I really like. I don’t think a house is as interesting when the focus is on one kind of art. A variation makes it feel not so decorated and not so new.
AHIA: There’s a richness and warmth to the color palette. How did you choose colors?
SP: The materials inspired us. In the bedroom suite, for example, the homeowners selected a marble with terracotta tones, and we thought that darker color would make the overall space cozy in the evening. We didn’t say, “I love this paint color.” Instead, it evolved from the marble or stone or wood.
AHIA: So, warmer tones can be suitable in a waterfront setting?
SP: The warmer palette is still very soft. The camel has quite a bit of green and doesn’t turn pink as many taupes do. It’s more natural.
AHIA: Tell us about the formal gold accents and accessories.
SP: The homeowners always had them, so it was a reverse challenge—to be elegant but not to the degree that it would be off-putting or uncomfortable. The upholstery being comfy and not too complicated helped.
AHIA: What components were most important in the kitchen?
SP: We were conscious that the kitchen is open to the living room and wanted to give it a dressiness. The homeowners also love to cook and entertain, and for others to be in the kitchen with them when they cook. It had to have a lot of storage and counter space. There’s a big walk-in pantry with a laundry behind the kitchen. The off-kitchen storage helped keep it clean and open.
AHIA: The outdoor space includes a sunny upstairs patio, a covered porch and a grassy lawn. Great versatility in that.
SP: We planned for times of the year when a cover isn’t important, and we added a fire pit with seating by the lake for different ways to entertain. The homeowners often spend time outdoors with their children and grandchildren. I wanted the outdoor space to feel like an extension of the home, which is especially enjoyable on a waterfront locale.
Builder Ken Kelso, Little Rock
Interior design, furnishings Massimo, Little Rock
Landscaping, urns, fountain Botanica Gardens, Little Rock
Accessories Antique Co., Lamp Shades Etc., Marshall Clements, Pflugrad’s Antiques, The Accessory, Trianon Antiques, Little Rock
Fabric Larry’s Inc., Little Rock
Outdoor furniture Ken Rash’s of Arkansas, Little Rock