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Cottage in the City
Cottages have played a significant role in the lives of Nancy and Charles Vines, who have been remodeling and building them for the past 25 years. Their latest project in Little Rock’s Heights neighborhood is a new house with all the trappings of a historic home. “People are always surprised when I tell them it’s new construction,” Nancy says. “The original house had already been removed when we purchased the lot, and we loved the neighborhood of quaint bungalows.”
Real estate is Nancy’s true line of work, and it has led to her passion for interior decorating and landscaping. “Over the years, my husband and I have both enjoyed remodeling and living in cottage-style homes,” she says. “It’s very rewarding, and we have learned so much from each house."
Nancy and Charles agree that the home’s lot plays a huge role. “When people ask my opinion, I always tell them to think about the type of home you want to build before buying a lot,” Nancy says. “We waited for the perfect site so we could build what we wanted.” They had their minds set on a charming cottage with all the classic details to which she and Charles admit they have always been drawn. “We especially wanted a lot with alley access so we could position the garage in the back, and enough space to have an open floor plan and several outdoor areas,” she says.
The duo has developed a reputation for their love of cottages. “My friends laugh that I always have a white picket fence and a porch swing,” she says. “For this home, Charles and I drew our own plans, and our nephew, an architect with Totty Designs, finalized them.” The one level, two-bedroom home gives the exterior appearance of a two-level thanks to the pitched and gabled roof, and the brick, which the Vines bought from Antique Brick in Little Rock and had painted, is one of many authentic cottage features. From the shutters on the windows and dormers to the classic front porch with traditional bead-board ceiling and inviting wicker furniture, the façade of the home is cottage chic. “We're into porches,” Nancy says. “I think of a picket fence with roses and a front porch when I think of cottages, and that's what we did."
On the interior, an open living area, which leads to the kitchen on one side and the screened porch on the other, anchors the 2,220-square-foot home, and Nancy chose a color palette of reds, blues and yellows as a nod to her French country style. “I enjoy creating country French interiors with a mix of eclectic furnishing, and we decided upon several main elements that would carry the style throughout the house,” Nancy says. The hand-scraped maple flooring from ProSource in Maumelle was one of Nancy's selections, and it immediately greets guests with its rich color and depth of detail. The kitchen includes whitewashed cabinetry, and, from Marshall Clements in Little Rock, a 1920s farm table, which Nancy says helps make the kitchen the hub of the home. “That's the conversation place,” Nancy says. “Everyone always finds themselves in the kitchen.”
French doors in the living area lead to a 400-square-foot screened porch, which is also a favorite spot. “We entertain out there, read and I even have a television,” Nancy says. The porch opens onto a courtyard garden, complete with a flagstone patio, pergola and teak furnishings. Highlighting the space is a recirculating water fountain with a bronze statue, which has held prominent distinction at each of the Vines' homes. “I found the statue of the girl at Grand Finale in Little Rock probably 15 years ago, and I just had to have her,” Nancy says. “And, I surely couldn't leave her behind when we moved.”
For the Vines, this cottage is a culmination of their years of remodeling and construction, and while Nancy admits they have made mistakes in their previous projects, they've never made the same one twice. “This is truly the cottage we've always wanted,” she says. “There is nothing we would change, and we're in the best location, within easy walking distance to the grocery store, restaurants and shops.”
Architect: Brad Totty, Totty Designs
Building materials, windows: Kaufman Lumber, Little Rock
Exterior shutters: Timberlane
Brick: Antique Brick Co., Little Rock
Screens: ProWindow and Door, Little Rock
Stone: Carr Stone Co., Mayflower
Flooring: ProSource, Maumelle
Appliances: Metro Builders Supply, Maumelle
Cabinetry: Duke Custom Cabinetry, Roland
Bedding, draperies: Joyce Holt's Window Works, Little Rock
Interior shutters: BlindMart
Furnishings: Haus Werks, Cobblestone & Vine, 1-40 Antique Mall, Marshall Clements, Fabulous Finds, Little Rock
Fabric: Larry's, Little Rock
Dining set on screened porch: Blue Swede Shoes, Bryan
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