Just Add Sweet Tea
At Home in Arkansas: You lived in your Georgian-style historic home in Little Rock’s Heights neighborhood seven years before renovating the interiors. How long before you tackled the exterior spaces?
Homeowner Lara Schock: It was simultaneous. Throughout the renovations, we were thinking about the views out our windows, what materials we would use, what the design would be. We didn’t want the exteriors to appear tacked on, but rather to be an extension of the style of our home.
Describe the outdoor living space pre-transformation.
It was fairly blank with just a shed and a small adjoining covered area. Years ago, we planted hollies and magnolia trees along the fence line to create a barrier between our yard and the road, which gave them a chance to mature before we decided on other plants. We also installed a patio with basketweave brick.
You seem to have happily entrusted the details to residential designer Ward Lile, who was working as creative director of P. Allen Smith & Associates during the course of your project.
Ward worked with us throughout the renovations and loves the house. He saw what it could be, and he wanted it to be right. With his training in architecture, he has such a good eye for details that allowed us to stay true to the Georgian style of our home. It was nice to have the opinion of someone we trust so completely, and P. Allen’s team is so expert at all of the landscaping decisions.
What were the major changes?
We furnished the brick patio as a dining area, but, because the sun gets very intense here in the middle of the day, we transformed the area where the shed had been into a large loggia where we can sit and relax outside. In creating the loggia, it was important for us to tie it in architecturally. Paying attention to the weight of the columns and the peak of the roofline helped the new space fit our home’s historic style.
What role did the furnishings and accessories play in achieving the look?
We mixed older with newer things, and didn’t try to make it too sweet or vintage. The pops of color complement what we have going inside; the family room that overlooks the space is an intense yellow.
What types of plants did you choose?
To be able to enjoy it from season to season, we chose evergreens, while adding interesting textures and seasonal color. We wanted traditional plants that are in keeping with the home, such as camellias and gardenias, which have a wonderful fragrance, and we filled containers with blue and white plants. I love using containers in this space, and we always seem to go back to blues and whites for this area. The wall-mounted fountain was a working fountain for a while, but the maintenance became time-consuming so we use it for plants as well.
Is the space conducive to entertaining?
It was meant as a comfortable place for our family and, of course, occasionally entertaining. We can remove the furniture and arrange it in the yard to draw people onto the grass. We’ve had parties with live music and standing room, and brought in tables for the yard, which was a lot of fun. Our three sons also enjoy making s’mores around the fireplace. We’ve had a lot of low maintenance hot dog and s’mores dinners.
Any tips for setting an outdoor tablescape?
Make it colorful and complement the plants you have in the garden, with a mix of beautiful table linens and interesting glassware and dishes. I like it to be comfortable and more informal, which allows you to simply enjoy the peace of being outside.
Design Ward Lile, Ward A. Lile Design, Little Rock, (501) 680-4342; P. Allen Smith & Associates, Little Rock, (501) 376-1894 ext. 12, pallensmithandassociates.com
Brick Acme Brick, Tile & Stone, Fort Smith, (479) 782-7974; Little Rock, (501) 812-5574; Russellville, (479) 968-6900; acmebricktileandstone.com
Fabric for seat cushions-navy Cynthia East Fabrics, Little Rock, (501) 663-0460, cynthiaeastfabrics.com
Paint Benjamin Moore, locations statewide, benjaminmoore.com
Pillows Pottery Barn, Little Rock, (501) 663-0181; Rogers, (479) 246-0118; potterybarn.com
Tablecloths Williams-Sonoma, Little Rock, (501) 663-3019; Rogers, (479) 636-0153; williams-sonoma.com
Wall-mounted fountain Hocott’s Garden Center, Little Rock, (501) 663-8376, hocotts.com
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At Home in Arkansas offers your first look inside the state's most inspiring homes in a range of styles. The magazine features monthly advice from the experts to help you plan your next remodel or redesign, entertain at home or find Arkansas' best kept secrets. It is your definitive guide to the state's finest homes and gardens, design professionals, fashion and entertaining essentials, and premier shops and showrooms.