Storied antiques and old world-inspired furnishings blend with timeless design elements in a new home for the perfect marriage between past and present
When homeowners Donna and Jim Bottin decided to move to West Little Rock to be closer to family, they thought they knew what they wanted. “The plan was to do an open-concept house, similar to what we had before,” says Donna. “But we wanted it to be a little more intimate and cozier,” she adds.
Enter designers Talena Ray and Mona Thompson of Providence Design. The talented design duo, who are best known for incorporating one-of-a-kind architectural elements and adding European flair, searched high and low for custom details to give the Bottins’ home an authentic old-world influence. “Talena and I came on board before the first drawings were complete, so we were able to make a lot of special tweaks,” says Thompson. “The home was two years in the making, and everywhere we could we went for an authentic finish just to make it that much more special,” says Thompson. “As we developed ideas, we looked for certain pieces, but we were also inspired by things that we found along the way and wanted to create new ways to use them.”
These special details begin at the home’s entry, where double iron doors with glass inserts and a pair of oversize gas lanterns punctuate the Texas-limestone façade. Just inside, guests enter the dining room through a pair of wooden antique doors, which Ray and Thompson found on a trip to the Round Top antiques fair and incorporated into the home’s architectural design. The design team had the doors waxed and sealed to preserve the finish, and a local iron fabricator created an elaborate transom to fill the gap between the top of the doors and the arched entrance to the room. To blend the elements of the doors, a concrete table is juxtaposed with an antique French sideboard in the monochromatic and texture-rich space. The room’s new iron chandelier also received an old-world treatment by way of a custom paint finish and the addition of large crystal prisms.
“This house is a style departure for the Bottins, so almost everything is new, but we didn’t want it to look like that,” says Thompson. “The found pieces give it that ‘collected-over-time’ look.” However, not even the new pieces were immune to the design team’s attention, meaning many items were refinished or reupholstered to contribute to the aesthetic. “We tweaked pretty much everything,” Thompson says with a laugh. “It was really quite fun!” Though the home is filled with salvaged pieces found from Europe to Texas, local craftsmen brought them to life with custom design work in wood, iron, and stone.
Opposite the home’s dining room, the music room features a cast-stone fireplace that is reminiscent of a French country manor and is complemented by a pair of cabinets with wire inserts and cremone bolts. In the comfortable family room, another set of built-in cabinets features a graceful arch that mimics the doorways and hides a television set, allowing modern amenities to work into the design seamlessly and without interrupting the flow. The lively floral fabric on the pair of armchairs, which includes grays and a touch of yellow, set the color palette for the space. Throughout the home, reproduction Oushak rugs in muted tones soften the heavier elements of stone and iron, while hickory flooring and the coffered ceiling’s custom finish contribute to the warm feeling.
Alongside the kitchen’s limestone archways, iron lanterns accenuate the entry and hint at something special beyond. Custom details and three different finishes on the cabinetry give it the look of free-standing furniture, which was customary in early European kitchens. Similary, the range and hood are recessed into a large limestone arch in a manner that is reminiscent of fireplaces in colonial kitchen houses. A dark, marbelized slab of granite with bold veining provided color inspiration for the kitchen.
Even the most utilitarian space in the house—a combined laundry room and butler’s pantry—received a full-fledged country-manor treatment. Reclaimed brick pavers, elaborate iron hardware, and louvered doors that conceal a refrigerator and freezer are all thoughtful details that add to the appeal.
A freestanding cast-stone tub surrounded by mosaic tiles, a double entry walk-in shower, and numerous architectural relics give the master bath the feeling of an ancient bathhouse fitted with modern amenities. The powder room received the same timeless, quality-focused treatment with limestone walls and a wall-mounted sink carved from a block of marble.
Outdoors, the staggered flagstone pavers in the dining porch and around the pool blend with nature, while the pool’s deep aqua color and gently sloping “tanning ledge” were inspired by a resort pool the Bottin’s spotted on vacation.
More than just the home of their dreams, the Bottins gained lifelong friends throughout the two-year home design process. “I really can’t put it into words,” says Donna of working with Ray and Thompson. “They definitely brought the wow factor with dynamic ideas, plus the willingness to please us and accommodate our desires. Fifteen years ago I said I would never build a house again, but they made it such a fabulous experience.”
Contractor Bill Parkinson, Parkinson Building Group, Little Rock, (501) 352-2033, parkinsonbuildinggroup.com
Interior design Talena Ray and Mona Thompson, Providence Design, Little Rock, (501) 372-1886, providenceltddesign.com
Landscape design Cinde Bauer Drilling, Landscape Architecture, Inc., Little Rock, (501) 374-5610, lai-ar.com
Accessories and furniture Cobblestone & Vine, Little Rock, (501) 664-4249, West Little Rock, (501) 219-3676, cobblestoneandvine.com; Marshall Clements, Little Rock, (501) 663-1828, West Little Rock, (501) 954-7900, marshallclements.com; Phoenix Interiors, Little Rock, (501) 225-0400, phoenixinteriors.webs.com; Providence Design, Little Rock, (501) 372-1886, providenceltddesign.com
Appliances Metro Appliances & More, Jonesboro, (870) 933-7800, North Little Rock, (501) 812-5574, Russellville, (479) 968-6900, metroappliancesandmore.com
Bedding—custom Mountjoy’s Custom Draperies, Mablevale, (501) 455-2216
Cabinets Duke Custom Cabinets, Roland, (501) 868-8111, dukecustomcabinets.com
Countertops Stone World Designs, Hot Springs, (501) 762-0254, stoneworlddesigns.com
Fabrics Designer Effects, Little Rock, (501) 661-4070, interiordesignlittlerock.com
Fireplace Olympia Construction Products, Inc., Benton, (501) 315-0191; Royal Hearth and Home, locations statewide, (800) 242-4512, royaldoors.com
Fixtures—bath and kitchen The Plumbing Warehouse, Little Rock, (501) 664-4183, theplumbingwarehouselittlerock.com
Flooring Acme Brick, Tile & Stone, Fort Smith, (479) 782-7974, North Little Rock, (501) 812-5574, Russellville, (479) 968-6900, acmebricktileandstone.com; Champion Wood Floor Design & Installation, North Little Rock, (501) 217-9131
Hardware PC Hardware, Little Rock, (501) 224-1724, pchdwe.com; ProBuilder Supply, North Little Rock, (501) 954-0113, probuildersupplyllc.com; The Bath Shoppe & Designer Hardware, North Little Rock, (501) 753-0788
Landscape—installation and maintenance Doug Schneider, Schneider Lawn & Landscape, Little Rock, (501) 821-9929
Lighting, mirrors and outdoor furnishings Providence Design, Little Rock, (501) 372-1886, providenceltddesign.com
Millwork Trademark Trim, Sherwood, (501) 529-7354
Pool Elite Pools by Scott, Little Rock, (501) 448-2053, elitepoolsbyscott.com
Rugs Martinous Oriental Rug Co., Little Rock, (501) 224-0313, martinous.com
Tile—backsplash, bath and kitchen Acme Brick, Tile & Stone, Fort Smith, (479) 782-7974, North Little Rock, (501) 812-5574, Russellville, (479) 968-6900, acmebricktileandstone.com
Windows Lumber One, Mayflower, (501) 470-1122, Stuttgart, (870) 673-3601, lumberonehomecenter.com