Interior designer and owner of Lumber One in Stuttgart with her husband John, Pam Morton was thrilled when past clients and friends came to her to redesign their newly purchased Little Rock home. “I had worked with this couple before, and I understood their lifestyle and style preferences,” Pam says. “The home had great bones and a very sound structure. We just needed to update the interior and rework aspects of the floor plan.”
Pam began the project by taking inventory of the overall home. “The original builder was very forward thinking with walk-in closets, pantry and laundry spaces and vaulted ceilings in the living room,” she says. “I definitely wanted to maintain these features, while increasing the openness and bringing in more natural light.” The ranch-style home had carpeting throughout and a sprinkling of rustic details. “Our goal was a very clean-lined home with traditional comfort, and we replaced all the carpet with travertine. We added can lights everywhere, and in the living room we painted the beams to match the ceiling and soften the space. We also rebuilt the rustic-style mantel with more ornate moulding to match the new style of the home.”
Traffic flow in the home was disjointed because of several smaller rooms with walls and hallways separating the kitchen, dining room and living room. “We removed several walls and enlarged the remaining doorways to create an open floor plan from the enlarged kitchen to the dining room and the living room,” says Pam. “The couple often entertains her large family and friends. Because of this, we focused on several seating areas and comfortable furnishings.” Removing the wall in the kitchen allowed space for large island fitted with several bar stools, and Lumber One’s certified kitchen and bath designer Charlotte Lefler redesigned the space with beautiful cabinetry and granite countertops. “The kitchen is now large enough to really use,” Pam says. “And the banquette eating area and bar seating allows room for a crowd.”
The home already had several floor-to-ceiling windows, and Pam was able to increase the range of the natural light by removing walls throughout the public spaces. Now, the light from the kitchen windows easily travels through the dining room and the living room, which also boasts a wall of windows. “The transformation is really striking,” she says. “The couple was a little hesitant that this was the right house for them at first due to the galley kitchen and cramped spaces, but after the extra walls came down, and we replaced the flooring and redesigned the interior, it became a very welcoming and usable home.”
When Counts and Asa Morton began preparing to move in to their west Little Rock home after their marriage, they faced the inevitable design challenge of merging two established households with very different styles. They purchased a nearly completed spec home with copious windows, light limestone floors and an open, high-ceilinged layout, which seemed the perfect spot to embark on their life together. However, it was worlds away from both her quaint traditional home in St. Charles Place and his 1970s ranch-style abode in Pleasant Valley.
Now displayed in the family room, this kilim-style rug was one of the inspirations for the home’s coral and turquoise color scheme.…
“Fertilize your flower beds with an all-purpose fertilizer after the danger of frost has passed, which is usually around April 15,” says Chris Olsen of Botanica Gardens in Little Rock.
Jennifer Gibson of the Good Earth Garden Center in Little Rock says March is the time to prepare the soil in your landscape beds with soil amendments such as lime and organic material.
Plant your summer annuals and perennials. “I always try to purchase mine in early April if the weather is warm to get first pick,” says Olsen. This is also a great time to plant tropicals, such as palms, hibiscus and ferns.
Gibson says to prune forsythia, azaleas and other spring blooming plants when they finish blooming.
“After your spring bloomers have bloomed, spray them with Triple Action Plus to prevent fungus, insects and mites,” says Olsen. Repeat as necessary about every four to six weeks throughout the growing season.
“Treat your lawn with a fertilizer during the growing season. The timing for this application starts in April and should be repeated every six to eight weeks,” says Chris Harris of the Green Grass Club of Arkansas in Little Rock. “During this time we spot spray weeds that the pre-emergent process missed. The thicker the lawn, the more difficult it is for weeds to become established. Not to mention, this treatment is what makes the lawn green up!”
“This is the perfect time to sow summer annuals by seed,” Olsen says.
“By May, the soil temperature is warm enough to plant those summer bulbs,” says Gibson.
“Water with Bayer Advanced Tree & Shrub, a 12-month insect preventer,” says Gibson.
Gibson also notes that now is the time to check your sprinkler system and make necessary adjustments.
Olsen notes that this is still a great time to plant tropicals. “Tropical plants love the summer in Arkansas, and they will last all the way up to a hard freeze, which is usually the end of November,” he says.
“Watch for fungus!” warns Olsen. “Fungus loves the humidity, so prevent an infestation by spraying with an all-purpose fungicide on your turf, roses and flowers.”
Olsen suggests fertilizing turf with high nitrogen and a balanced fertilizer during the summer, while Gibson notes that now is also a good time to treat your lawn for grubs if necessary.
In July, Gibson suggests pruning hydrangeas before they begin setting next year’s blooms. “Now is the time to give annuals and perennials a haircut if needed,” she says.
“Keep those beds clean of weeds” says Olsen. “I weed my flower beds every other week and it really is relaxing.”
It’s important during hotter months like July and August to ensure your lawn and garden get plenty of hydration. “Water early in the morning before plants get stressed,” says Gibson. As the temperature heats up, “water, water and then water some more,” she says.
Olsen says that fall is the time to replant your annuals with cold-hardy plants such as pansies, violas, cabbages, kale, Swiss chard and other color foliage plants.
“Keep water features and fish ponds clean of leaves. Decaying leaves absorb the oxygen in the water, thus depriving your fish and plants,” says Olsen. “I like to add Micro Lift to ponds. This is a living bacteria that feeds on decaying matter, and it’s not harmful to plants, fish or any wildlife. This will help water stay clear.”
“Fall is a great time to plant trees and shrubs,” says Gibson. “And if you’re planning to rearrange your garden, now is the best time for transplanting.”
Olsen and Gibson agree on the importance of keeping leaves swept up and off your lawn during this time of year. “Not only is leaving them on the lawn unsightly, it can also cause the lawn to thin out,” says Gibson.
“Fertilize your lawn with a winterizer that is a low-nitrogen fertilizer to help with root development,” says Olsen.
“Treat your lawn with a winterization program between October and November,” says Harris. “You’ll need a pre-emergent that controls winter weeds that germinate during cooler weather. I also like using a fertilizer to help strengthen the turf and help it bounce back after a tough winter.”
“Think about purchasing a living Christmas tree this year,” says Jill Steed of River Valley Horticultural Products. “A beautiful Leyland cypress or Savannah holly would make a great addition to any garden!”
“In February, start to clear those late-fallen leaves and mulch all flower beds with your choice of bark,” says Olsen. “I prefer to bark about three-inches thick. This will make for a great weed barrier and moisture saver.”
Olsen says that February is a good time to trim back crepe myrtles if necessary. “I like a crepe myrtle like God intended it to be, and that is in a natural shape and 25-feet tall. But if you don’t have the space, then prune back as needed.”
“Treat your lawn with pre-emergent and fertilizer between February and March,” says Harris. “This treatment will help control the summer annual grasses that germinate in warmer weather, and the fertilizer will help thicken the turf grass so that weeds will have a tough time growing.”
“Fertilize those winter annuals with Blood Meal,” says Olsen. “This fertilizer is organic and works great. Water it after applying since dogs like it as well.”
“Fall and winter are great times to plant trees and woody shrubs,” says Steed. “This gives the dormant plant time to work on establishing roots before the primary need for nutrients turns toward foliage production and blooming. The better the roots are established before growing begins, the more growth you will see from your plant in the first of the year.”
“Even though it’s winter and the temperatures are cooler, don’t forget to water,” says Steed. “Give newly planted trees a good watering.”
“Visit the Arkansas Flower and Garden show in February to get fresh ideas,” says Gibson.
At more than 7,000-square feet, the 2007 Build for the Cure Idea House is a stunning Spanish-Colonial home that calls to mind the spectacular residences of old Hollywood. Nothing complements a home of such grand stature more than beautiful landscaping and amazing outdoor spaces, and that’s exactly what Clint Morris and David Chappell of Morris-Chappell Landscaping and Neptune Pools and Chris Olsen of Botanica Gardens brought to 21 Bella Rosa Court.
Upon arriving at the house, a lush front lawn designed by Morris-Chappell Landscaping features El Toro Zoysia grass, which performs well in both sun and shade, making it ideal for both the front and side yards. “The front of the house was so balanced and straight forward that we wanted to keep the landscaping symmetrical,” says David Chappell. “We chose a number of plantings that would help maintain that Spanish-Colonial, old-Hollywood look and complement the architecture of the home.” To that end, arborvitae trees were planted next to the street and in the beds, with their slim look echoing the columns across the front porch, and as they grow, they’ll only become more streamlined. Japanese maples and Yaupon holly trees were also incorporated near the house, with pansies, white and coral Encore azaleas and Indian hawthorn to add color.
The centerpiece of the backyard is the saltwater pool designed and installed by Neptune Pools, which features jets that arc water across the pool, and effect that is especially stunning at night. Chappell and Morris chose this design because not only does the shape boast an Old-World appeal that complements the home, but it also encourages gathering around and in the pool. At only five feet deep, the pool includes a bench that encircles the inside to allow friends and family to sit comfortably, and the depth is ideal for water sports like volleyball. “This is a really great ‘hanging out’ pool,” says Chappell. “With the sunning area at one end and the built-in bench, it’s the place everyone will want to be.”
Surrounding the pool, Olsen created several unique seating areas that allow the space to be enjoyed in a myriad of ways. A seating area accessible from the master suite via a pair of dramatic French doors is outfitted with a quartet of apple green chairs and matching tables, with five small pots filled with Silverado sage and English ivy making a natural boundary without obscuring the view. At the opposite end of the pool, Olsen designed a relaxing space encompassing a trio of bronze chaise lounges by Winston, which are available at Ken Rash’s of Arkansas, accented with casual pillows. Large glazed pots filled with tall spiral junipers and euonymous create a unique focal point and border between the outdoor chapel. Nearby a quartet of Jensen Jarrah lounge chairs with apple-green cushions create an unexpected conversation area centered around an extra-large water pot filled with water lettuce.
Since mid-winter festivals in ancient Roman times, wreaths have been popular decorations on doors and tabletops. Though wreaths can be found in modern homes all year round, they’re especially popular at Christmas time, evoking a classic holiday symbol. In fact, the evergreen boughs most wreaths are made of symbolize immortality and the strength of life, while their round shape is indicative of the eternal nature of God’s love, especially meaningful at this time of year.
To explore the endless possibilities inherent in the wreath’s basic form, we asked three Arkansas florists to create wreaths in a variety of styles. When you begin selecting a wreath, it’s important to decide where you’ll display it. Fresh botanicals work best for exterior display, although silk wreaths can weather the elements in protected outdoor areas. For indoors, silks are often a better choice if you want to display the wreath for an extended period of time, as heat will dry out fresh cuttings, which can’t be continuously watered like your fresh tree. Beyond greenery, also consider including elements like fruit and berries, as in the round wreath designed by Cabbage Rose in Little Rock.
Once you’ve decided on your materials, it’s time to think about style, shape and colors. Whether your holiday décor is strictly traditional or more modern and eclectic, the classic circular wreath isn’t the only option. Swags are also a popular choice for display on doors, like the one created by Ye Olde Daisy Shoppe in Conway. For a contemporary style, look beyond reds and greens. Fairy Tale Florals in North Little Rock designed a wreath in shades of blue and chocolate brown, incorporating unexpected elements like peacock feathers.
Rather than creating a traditional circular wreath, Ye Olde Daisy Shoppe in Conway made a vertical swag of pine boughs decorated with silk trimmings
in brighter shades of holiday green. Hydrangeas, peonies, silver dollar eucalyptus and amaranthus—along with a gold and green bow—in lime and celadon contribute a lighthearted feel.
Gilded pinecones and magnolia leaves provide the base of this wreath, from Cabbage Rose in Little Rock. For texture and color, red and purple berries are layered on top, and the wreath is crowned with a brocade bow.
Encompassing roughly 1,500 square feet, the rear loggia and patio of Ray and Elise Mitchell’s Fayetteville home offers Mediterranean-style outdoor living thanks to exterior designer Daniel Keeley of DK Design in Fayetteville. Combining custom furnishings and upholstery with natural materials for a rustic, Tuscan-inspired aesthetic—accented with hardy, evergreen plantings for texture—Keeley incorporated all of these elements to create spaces that complement the home’s stucco exterior, from the outdoor breakfast and dining areas to the more intimate living areas.