A Little Rock home receives a full-scale culinary makeover resulting in more space and an updated aesthetic
“Gary renovated this kitchen 30 years ago,” says Cathy Pursell, wife and business partner of Gary Pursell, of Gary Pursell Construction. “So, basically he tore out his own work to remodel this kitchen for their family,” she laughs. After three decades and a change in ownership, everyone agreed it was time to reinvent the space and create a kitchen with multiple zones, an abundance of amenities, and an inviting, fresh feel that suited the owners’ style and would welcome their now-grown children home for family gatherings.
The homewoners had worked with the Pursells, who also operate Creative Heights Partners—the design arm of Gary Pursell Construction—on a large curb appeal makeover, so it felt natural to turn to them for the complete overhaul of the hub of their home: the kitchen. “After Gary did the front of the house, I felt like we had confidence in him to do the kitchen, and it was just the perfect time. He could picture it exactly as it looks now, even though I couldn’t,” says the homeowner, who has lived in the residence for 22 years.
One of the biggest goals was to open up the kitchen to the rest of the home. The area was both cramped and separated from other rooms—meaning the chef had limited space and often missed out on conversations. To remedy the situation, the Pursells took in the home’s dining room, giving them additional square footage, and knocked out a wall that separated the common areas. The dining room was relocated to a little-used formal living room. They also raised the roofline to give more space overhead. Now, separate zones—including the island and cooktop, the prep area, a coffee bar, a hospitality area, and a dining space—dot the room.
While the homeowner knew she wanted the kitchen to be more spacious, she wasn’t set on any one aesthetic. “She came to my house and said ‘I love it,’ ” says Cathy, who developed a friendship with the homeowner during the renovation. Drawing on design details the client liked from the Pursells’ own home, Cathy created a kitchen rooted in traditional style but accented with modern flourishes—a true transitional-style space. “She wanted it to be contemporary but not cold—really kind of a mix. Originally, she was considering an all-white kitchen but I suggested the gray for a bit of balance,” Cathy says of the steely—yet warming—hue. The gray, which appears in the backsplash, walls, and countertops, marries with the stainless steel appliances and fixtures for a well-coordinated and relaxed feel.
The Pursells often work side by side: Gary from the contractor’s viewpoint and Cathy from a decorative perspective. To make the home truly function for the family, they worked together to assess the way the homeowners live and use their kitchen. “We worked with [the homeowner] on all of her space needs down to where she wanted to keep her baking pans and recycling bins—we got very detailed on this project. We mapped it all out and got it just where she wanted,” Cathy says.
Aside from high-functioning elements including the tall, restaurant-style faucet and large apron sink, the homeowners also gained storage in the island and the upper cabinetry. In addition, a second dishwasher—located in the hospitality area—makes for easy cleanup after family gatherings or parties. “We have so much fun coming over here to cook now; we even broke in the new kitchen by making a big pot of gumbo,” says Cathy of the end result.
Contractor Gary Pursell, Pursell Construction Inc., Little Rock, (501) 350-9807, creativeheightspartners.com
Interior and kitchen design Cathy and Gary Pursell, Creative Heights Partners, Little Rock, (501) 240-4854, (501) 350-9807, creativeheightspartners.com
Accessories Ellen Golden Antiques, Little Rock, (501) 664-7746
Appliances Metro Appliances & More, Jonesboro, (870) 933-7800, North Little Rock, (501) 758-1988, Springdale, (479) 750-2200, metroappliancesandmore.com
Cabinetry Renaissance Cabinets, North Little Rock, (501) 803-3868
Countertops The Countertop Store, North Little Rock, (501) 771-9200, thecountertopstore.biz
Florals Tipton & Hurst, locations throughout Central Arkansas, (501) 666-3333, tiptonhurst.com
Furniture—barstools Ken Rash’s of Arkansas, Little Rock, (501) 663-1818, kenrashsoutdoorfurniture.com
Lighting TEC Electric, Jonesboro, (870) 932-7252, North Little Rock, (501) 758-5483, lighting.tecelectric.com
Paint Sherwin-Williams, locations statewide, sherwin-williams.com
Painting Daniel Canseco Painting, Little Rock, (501) 247-0372
Tile—backsplash Acme Brick, Tile & Stone, locations statewide, acmebricktileandstone.com