Taking hints from the owner’s jubilant personality, designer Katie Henry gave a Litte Rock home a cosmetic update that resulted in a bright, happy haven
Growing up in Little Rock and attending the same school, Katie Henry and Pamela Rees had numerous mutual friends. However, they never imagined how close they would become when one of those mutual friends suffered a life-changing stroke. “We were both flooded with phone calls, texts and an overwhelming sense of sadness,” says Rees. As the pair became closer, they decided a creative outlet was just what they needed to heal their own hearts as their friend began to heal herself. What’s more, they knew just the project—Rees’s house.
As the owner of Little Rock’s Companions Clothier, Rees has always been on-trend and enjoys shopping for the home she shares with her spirited labradoodle, Lexie. “Pamela is so fashion forward and hilarious,” says Henry, who owns the Fayetteville-based Katie Grace Designs, “and her home needed to match her personality.” Rees agreed wholeheartedly. “I wanted my house to be a reflection of who I am,” she says. The pair worked together on the update, envisioning how existing pieces could work with new, mapping out color schemes and finding delight in fabric swatches that seemed spot-on for the spaces.
While Rees’s West Little Rock home had great bones and some pieces that were well suited to her style, the rooms appeared dark and lacked the vitality that seems to bubble over in her character. For an immediate big-impact change, Henry suggested Rees update the butterscotch-colored walls with a fresh coat of Sherwin-William’s Navajo White—a neutral and clean background color that would act as a canvas for bright fabrics and accents.
When entering the home, one is immediately greeted with a small foyer as well as a view of the living room and breakfast nook—meaning all of these spaces needed a continuous welcoming flow. Henry started with a lighter version of the home’s palette in the entry, introducing a custom piece of artwork by Arkansas artist Amanda Kella as well as a modified console. “Pamela is six feet tall, so the entry piece really needed to be larger in order to be proportionate with her height,” she says. To raise the console, which Henry found at Fayetteville’s Precious Cargo, she researched mid-century furniture legs and found a perfect set that would not only raise the height of the piece to Pamela’s comfort level, but also match its vintage style.
In the living room, a tufted turquoise ottoman was the starting point for a bold color scheme. “Pamela found the ottoman and, loved it, so we had it made for the space,” says Henry. While the pair opted to keep Rees’s existing sofa, two side chairs were recovered in a neutral gray geometric pattern to play off the room’s colors and prints. Additionally, Henry changed the layout of the room’s furniture, moving the chairs to the opposite side to open up the flow and make the space feel larger.
The home’s living room and breakfast nook all had bright coral accents, and Henry and Rees decided to play off this color by carrying a variation through the rest of the home’s main rooms. The same coral can be seen in the dining room rug as well as the artwork. The table and chairs, which Rees already owned, pair with a china cabinet that Henry found on Craig’s List and had painted in the same gray seen throughout the rooms. “I have a desire to make my work original,” says Henry. “I’m going to splurge on a few things, but then I totally blow my clients’ minds with a ‘save,’ like a flea-find piece.”
The master bedroom has a decidedly feminine feel thanks to a heavy dose of pink. Rees already had the headboard and the mirrored chests she uses as bedside tables. Henry encouraged her to use pink for the room’s dominant accent hue. “I told her, ‘You have to use pink! That would just be so fun,’” she recalls. Shortly after, Henry found the “Rosehips” fabric from Duralee and the pair knew it was perfect for the bed’s throw pillows. White frames from Ikea hold abstract prints, also by local artist Amanda Kella, and carry the palette throughout the room with a statement-making presence.
As the home was transformed, so were Henry and Rees. The pair developed a close bond and still talk frequently. “Design is about so much more than a room. It’s about building relationships. And I really think this makeover made Pamela come even more alive,” concludes Henry.
Contractor Bosley Construction, Little Rock, (501) 225-2729, web.bosleyconstructioninc.com
Interior design Katie Henry, Katie Grace Designs, LLC, Fayetteville, (479) 466-1069, designsbykatiegrace.com
Accessories—living room and bedroom Cobblestone & Vine, Little Rock, (501) 663-4249, West Little Rock, (501) 219-3676, cobblestoneandvine.com; I.O. Metro, locations statewide, (888) 223-5628, iometro.com
Art—entryway and bedroom Amanda Kella Art, (501) 690-1311
Bedding—master bedroom Cobblestone & Vine, Little Rock, (501) 663-4249, West Little Rock, (501) 219-3676, cobblestoneandvine.com
Fabrics Fabric Gallery, Springdale, (479) 751-7711
Furniture 410 Vintage Market, Fayetteville, (479) 521-2444; Carrie’s Antiques & Flea Market, Little Rock, (501) 562-8088; Cobblestone & Vine, Little Rock, (501) 663-4249, West Little Rock, (501) 219-3676, cobblestoneandvine.com; Daises and Olives, Prairie Grove, (479) 846-1800, daisiesandolives.com; I.O. Metro, locations statewide, (888) 223-5628, iometro.com; Katie Grace Designs LLC, Fayetteville, (479) 466-1069, designsbykatiegrace.com; Laura Bullock Interiors, Fayetteville, (479) 387-1800, laurabullockinteriors.com; Precious Cargo, Fayetteville, (479) 444-7300
Furniture—custom-built dresser and credenza J & J Custom Cabinets, Little Rock, (501) 766-1870, jjcustomcabinets.net
Paint Sherwin-Williams, locations statewide, sherwin-williams.com
Painting G&G Painters, LLC, Little Rock, (501) 612-7933
Rugs Carpet One, locations statewide, carpetone.com
Upholstery 12th Street Upholstery, Little Rock, (501) 661-9500; Roger Fletcher Upholstery, Fayetteville, (479) 466-4796
Window coverings Fabric Gallery, Springdale, (479) 751-7711