At Home in Arkansas:
This house balances open and inviting with elegant and refined. How did you manage to make it feel comfortable yet look so chic?
Designer Chris Goddard:
To me, good design involves creating a home that fits the owners’ personalities, and this place completely reflects their style.
Homeowner Cynthia McClanahan:
Making our home feel inviting was a top priority for my husband, Steve, and me. Our places have always been the repository of food and drink for friends and family, so it had to be welcoming.
AHIA: Did you build it with that balance in mind?
CM: An open plan was important to us, a place where we could move a few pieces of furniture and shift from entertaining to dining and dancing when the mood struck. As for elegance, I think the layers of detail that Chris added give the house a polished look. He worked with us from initial concept to completion, so details in the construction carry through to details in the décor.
CG: We wove layers throughout the house to keep things interesting; there’s always something more to see, a new level to unfold. Elements like the pattern in the living room chandelier being repeated in the ceiling molding, and the X-and-O pattern in the transom windows showing up again in the kitchen cabinetry. We layered color the same way. Cynthia wanted a house that was light, and with that you need some elements to ground it, like a touch of black or deep red.
AHIA: While the walls are all neutral shades, the house has a colorful appearance. Surely that’s a result of the attention to detail?
CM: And Chris’ color guidance. I initially envisioned an all white house. What I was going for was a place that felt calm, light and happy, and he guided us toward starting with an ivory base and mixing in pink, blue and jade as accents, which are all colors I gravitate to. Now, the house has the peaceful feeling we wanted, but it’s more interesting visually.
CG: Textures add to that interest as well, mixing silk with leather, a shiny reflective surface next to aged wood, a carved table alongside smooth steel.
AHIA: You’ve mixed eras here too—sitting in the living room, I see Moderne cigarette tables mingling with antique armchairs and what looks to be a very old painted chest.
CG: It’s 17th-century Venetian chinoiserie, and it added that strong punch of color that grounds this room. Cynthia bought it years ago, and when you have good pieces, you can move them around and use them different ways in different places. The mix of styles works because they’re all items Cynthia loves, gathered over time and each with good bones and basics. And when you move a favorite piece, it feels fresh again.
CM: If I don’t love an item, I don’t buy it. Chris and I have worked together for years and he’s taught me to only purchase items that I love, ones that make me smile or laugh or invoke a memory. That way, your home becomes a reflection of your personality.
CG: I’m a firm believer in the idea that it’s better to have nothing than the wrong thing. Wait for the right item, the one that really speaks to you.
AHIA: Personal style shows through in all the collections around the house as well, including Murano glass bowls and that entire wall of china in the kitchen.
CG: Collections are best grouped together, so instead of being random items they have mass impact. The wall of glass-front kitchen cabinets was designed to highlight the Old Paris porcelain, and it has graphic impact but it’s also handy for daily use.
CM: That’s another thing Chris and I agree on—you should use what you collect rather than hide it away. It’s a part of living graciously, using your china or your silver on a daily basis so it’s shared and enjoyed. Items you collect have a rich history, and when you use them and enjoy them you continue to add to the story.
Interior design Goddard Design Group, Fayetteville
Builder/contractor Hug-R Enterprises, Fayetteville
Kitchen design consultation Susan Latta Designs, Fayetteville
Landscape design DK Design, Fayetteville
Antiques Marshall Clements, Little Rock
Appliances Metro Builders Supply, Springdale
Bedding-guest room V.S. Mobley’s, Fayetteville
Countertops Elite Marble & Granite, Bentonville
Draperies Sew Custom Seams, Fayetteville
Flooring The Wood Floor Gallery, Springdale
Mirrored fireplace Precision Glass & Mirror, Rogers
Plumbing fixtures J & B Supply Inc., Springdale
Venetian plaster wall finish Ellenbarger Interiors, Springdale