A renovation—complete with coordinating Christmas décor—creates a contemporary, fun-filled home for a young family in Little Rock
In the spring of 2014, one of Katie Henry’s home designs graced the pages of At Home in Arkansas. The story’s punchy palette, fresh finishes, and reinventions of flea-market finds caught the attention of readers—one in particular. “The owners of this house contacted me after seeing the story on Pamela Rees’s home,” explains Henry. The young family had recently moved into a home they genuinely liked but felt it needed a few updates when it came to paint, tile, finishes, and furnishings, and they knew Henry could give it the personalization they craved. “I wanted a more modern look; and one thing I loved about Katie is how she mixes natural elements with modern design,” the homeowner says; “That’s really what we were looking to do.”
First Things First
Though the family was eager to begin fully using every inch of their new home—and wanted their Christmas décor in place for the little ones to enjoy—the new design plans required full-scale renovations in a couple of areas, most notably the kitchen. “Originally, we weren’t going to do the kitchen because it had very nice, red oak cabinetry with lots of detail, including roping and corbels,” Henry notes. However, the more the design progressed, the more the homeowners and Henry came to realize these elements wouldn’t work with the new overall look of the home. They kept the configuration the same but traded the formerly dark finishes and red oak cabinetry for a more contemporary and airy palette.
Other rooms also received cosmetic updates in order to reflect the family’s taste. For example, a dark, scrollwork iron railing along the staircase was traded for a more tailored, fretwork installation. “Even though this was an expensive update, it was an important and impactful one because you can see the staircase from so many different vantage points in the home—changing it out really made the spaces feel more cohesive,” Henry notes. Additionally, the homeowners wanted to create a retreat in the master bedroom and decided to go with a calm, neutral palette. “Most all the other rooms in the house have a pop of color somewhere, so we tried to make this space elegant and romantic,” Henry says. And, while neutral, the designer kept with the same light tones and metallic finishes that flow gracefully throughout the home.
Henry is also known for her ability to scour flea markets, yard sales, the internet, and numerous local and chain stores—always to return with the perfect piece for the design puzzle. This project was no different, starting with the very first find. “The chairs in the dining area off the kitchen were our first purchase. I go to eBay a lot for authentic pieces, and when I found a set of six Milo Baughman chairs, I immediately texted [the homeowner] a picture. She was like “I have to have these!” We didn’t know what we were doing in the rest of the house, but we both loved these chairs,” Henry recalls. This search-and-purchase method continued throughout every room, whether it be kitchen barstools from CB2, a collection of family photographs that Henry found and translated into a black-and-white gallery wall, chairs she eagerly awaited from One Kings Lane, or the latest furniture and accessories from her trips to market. It’s this combination that Henry suggests keeps the design interesting: “I tried to mix in earthy pieces and soft upholstery; it’s still modern but I think it’s warm and comfortable because of the material mix.”
Making It Merry
“I love white decorations and I love mixing in fresh greenery,” the homeowner says of her preference in Christmas décor. In the living room, Henry emphasized this love of white with a flocked tree and decorative twig trees that line the console. “The tree was the first thing to go up,” Henry recalls. Even though the house was not entirely finished, they set up the tree so the children could enjoy the tradition of “their elf” (from the popular The Elf on the Shelf novelty) arriving to its home in the tree to watch over them before the holiday.
While the entire holiday scheme has a slightly whimsical, lighthearted feel, the children’s playroom is especially kid-friendly. Chalkboard walls—filled with seasonal messages that were drawn by local artist Amanda Kella—are a fun backdrop for the room where the kids, who are five and two years old, enjoy reading Christmas books, making holiday crafts, and anticipating the arrival of jolly old St. Nick.
Always one to bring the fun, Henry asked the family to spend the night away from the house during the furnishings and Christmas décor installation. When they returned, she greeted them with a bottle of champagne and an entire home that was set with updated furnishings and decorated for Christmas. “You just don’t get to do that at every project,” she says of the big reveal.
Holiday décor—installation/design Katie Henry, Katie Grace Designs, Fayetteville, Little Rock, (479) 466-1069, katiegracedesigns.com; Whitney Lammers, Little Rock, (501) 690-3663
Interior and kitchen design Katie Henry, Katie Grace Designs, Fayetteville, Little Rock, (479) 466-1069, katiegracedesigns.com
Accessories Cobblestone & Vine, Little Rock, (501) 664-4249, West Little Rock, (501) 219-3676, cobblestoneandvine.com; Harper Howey Interiors, Springdale, (479) 750-7300, harperhoweyinteriors.com; Katie Grace Designs, Fayetteville, Little Rock, (479) 466-1069, katiegracedesigns.com; Tipton & Hurst, locations throughout Central Arkansas, (501) 666-3333, tiptonhurst.com
Bedding—custom Fabric Gallery, Springdale, (479) 751-7711, thefabricgallery.com; Sheryl’s Sewing Room, Springdale, (479) 756-6982
Cabinetry—kitchen and millwork Joshua Squires, J & J Custom Cabinets, Little Rock, (501) 766-1870, jjcustomcabinets.net
Countertops—kitchen Casa Blanca Granite, Little Rock, (501) 455-2520, casablancagranite.com
Decorative painting—fireplace Angelfish Studios, Little Rock, (501) 960-4826, angelfishstudios.net
Embroidery Monogram-It, Springdale, (479) 751-1374, monogram-it.com
Edibles—gingerbread house and cookies Ann Potter Baking, Little Rock, (601) 218-4093, annpotterbaking.blogspot.com
Flooring Sal’s Wood Floors, Little Rock, (501) 515-4775
Furniture Abide Furniture, Springdale, (479) 750-5225, abidefurniture.net; Cantrell Design Center, Little Rock, (501) 225-0002, cantrellfurniture.com; Emporium Home Heights, Little Rock, (501) 313-2418, emporiumhome.com; Harper Howey Interiors, Springdale, (479) 750-7300, harperhoweyinteriors.com; Katie Grace Designs, Fayetteville, Little Rock, (479) 466-1069, katiegracedesigns.com; Lighting Emporium, Springdale, (479) 751-8184, lightingemporium.com
Hardware Lighting Emporium, Springdale, (479) 751-8184, lightingemporium.com
Holiday décor Katie Grace Designs, Fayetteville, Little Rock, (479) 466-1069, katiegracedesigns.com; Shindig Paperie, Bentonville, (479) 553-7475, Fayetteville, (479) 521-1778, shindigpaperie.com; Tipton & Hurst, locations throughout Central Arkansas, (501) 666-3333, tiptonhurst.com
Lighting Katie Grace Designs, Fayetteville, Little Rock, (479) 466-1069, katiegracedesigns.com
Mirrors Emporium Home Heights, Little Rock, (501) 313-2418, emporiumhome.com
Paint Sherwin-Williams, locations statewide, sherwin-williams.com
Painting G&G Painting LLC, Little Rock, (501) 612-7933
Tile—backsplash C&F Flooring and Rug Gallery, Little Rock, (501) 399-9909, candfcarpet.com
Upholstery Roger Fletcher’s Upholstery, Farmington, (479) 466-4796
Window coverings Fabric Gallery, Springdale, (479) 751-7711, thefabricgallery.com