A homebuilder and his family draw inspiration from their own experiences as well as a famous Manhattan apartment to bring charm and functionality to their kitchen
For Randy and Lydia James building houses is a way of life. For more than 26 years, the couple has been working together to craft homes for Arkansans, so when it came to creating their own dream residence they had a few ideas in mind.
Approach with Passion
“Because we’ve built so many homes we knew what we didn’t want—and we didn’t want it to be too formal,” says Lydia of her Little Rock home’s overarching design. From the start, the Jameses decided to consult with Miguel Newberg of M. N’Teriors, with whom they had worked on several other projects. Not only were they fond of working with Newberg, they knew she could help them with the design process. “Everything was a challenge for me,” Lydia says. “I do it for others all the time [in spec homes], but I struggled with my own home,” she admits.
Right on Hue
One major choice that seemed to stand out from the start was the color for the kitchen cabinetry. “Green has always been a favorite of mine, and the cabinet color was actually the first thing I picked out,” Lydia says. The alluring emerald has a modern feel that is still very much grounded in traditional design. The color was inspired by the cabinetry in Cameron Diaz’s Manhattan apartment, which was designed by Kelly Wearstler. After seeing Diaz’s kitchen in Elle Décor, Lydia fell hard for the bold, statement-making color and knew she wanted to use it in her own home. “Through the process, I actually started waffling on the color, and I may have changed my mind if Miguel hadn’t convinced me it was perfect,” Lydia says. Luckily, she stayed the course, and it is now one of the room’s most-loved features.
Eye-catching wasn’t the only requirement on the James’ wish list. The newly built kitchen also had to be functional for their family, which includes a son who is now away at college and two teen daughters. “Lydia and Randy are both great cooks, so it was important the space had easy-to-use elements,” Newberg says. Features such as a touch-release faucet, dish-washing and refrigeration drawers—rather than traditional models—and a drink refrigerator designated for kids are all smart features for a family on the go. In addition, a walk-in pantry, built-in recycle bins, and an open-faced wine rack help to keep everything close at hand for the chefs. “The entire space is super functional,” Lydia says.
The couple opted for a large, smooth-surfaced island with retro-inspired barstools and a separate breakfast table. The bar is big enough to accommodate the entire family and also works well for serving appetizers and beverages when the couple entertains. These two areas offer the Jameses what Newberg refers to as a “casual, welcoming, and family-oriented” space.
Interior design Miguel Newberg, M. N’Teriors, Little Rock, (501) 993-2766, mnteriors.com
Contractor Randy James, Randy James Construction, Little Rock, (501) 771-2566, randyjamesconstruction.com
Appliances Metro Appliances & More, Jonesboro, (870) 933-7800, North Little Rock, (501) 758-1988, Springdale, (479) 750-2200, metroappliancesandmore.com
Barstools Ken Rash’s of Arkansas, Little Rock, (501) 663-1818, kenrashsoutdoorfurniture.com
Cabinets and hardware Duke Custom Cabinets, Roland, (501) 868-8111, dukecustomcabinets.com
Fixtures The Bath Shoppe, Maumelle, (501) 753-0788
Floors Ozark Hardwood Flooring, Marshall, (870) 448-5775, ozarkhardwoodfloors.com
Lighting TEC Electric, Jonesboro, (870) 932-7252, North Little Rock, (501) 758-5483, tecelectric.com
Painting—decorative Angelfish Studios, (501) 960-4826, angelfishstudios.net
Tile—backsplash Elder Tile, North Little Rock, (501) 758-4170, elderdistributing.com
Window coverings Cynthia East Fabrics, Little Rock, (501) 663-0460, cynthiaeastfabrics.com