If you know Garry Mertins, you know he brandishes a magnetic, never-met-a-stranger attitude. As the owner and principal designer of Little Rock-based Garry Mertins Design, he brings the same attitude to each project he tackles. So, it’s not hard to see why Hot Springs homeowners Steve and Kathy Storey valued his counsel and enjoyed his enthusiasm when it came to the design of their home.
Homes and Gardens
For Cassie Toro, living in an historic home means relishing the ambience and character of architecture that dates to the early 1900s—including original Tiger Sawn hardwood flooring, beautifully crafted scrollwork and even the elegant charm of a limestone mantel that looks to be a 19th century European import.
“Color is everything,” says designer Jennifer Huett, who worked with a busy family of five to update their Hot Springs home. “They are a very high-energy group,” she says of the Hannon family. “They like to live life to the fullest and didn’t need a serene space to come home to. They wanted a home that makes them happy.”
Nothing brings friends together like a good design project. At least that’s the story of homeowner/designer duo Jamie Clark and Joanna McCusker, who quickly became gal pals over mood boards and countless cups of coffee. As the pair’s shared appreciation of French antiques and functional spaces surfaced, McCusker recalls how the design consultations turned into “fun, little lunches and dinners,” and the rest is history.
Working alongside a list of high-profile designers, including color connoisseur Jamie Drake, gave Arkansas native Laura Bartell plenty of inspiration for interiors that were anything but neutrally monochromatic. After returning to her beloved home state to start her own Hot Springs-based firm in 2010, Bartell was eager to apply her learnings–especially when it came to colorful homes. Luckily, just the project presented itself—a complete renovation of a 1970s-style home.
Walk into Julie and Ben Pruet’s west Little Rock backyard and you may think you’ve entered a European provincial garden. Manicured shrubs, benches for lounging and classic sculptures and art forms abound in the idyllic setting. However, the space hasn’t always looked like this. For years, it remained an untouched canvas before the couple embarked on the renovation. “It was Julie who had the vision for the garden,” says Ben.
Julie Shaw fondly recalls the day she and her husband found their dream home on Hot Springs’ Lake Hamilton just six years ago. “At the time, there was nothing available. The economy was booming and people were purchasing property right and left. But then we found this house. It was in the perfect location—on the lake, yet close to town,” she says.
Rural roads and pastoral landscapes mark the path to Spring Hill, Arkansas, a small community located just outside the Hope city limits. It’s here in this idyllic setting you’ll find the home that Jamie Pafford and Ben Gresham share with their young son and teenage daughter. Part local after-school hangout, part refined entertaining parlor, the home overflows with a mix of laughter, grace and gentility.
At Home in Arkansas: When you relocated to Arkansas to become the executive director of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, what were you and your partner, Dan Feder, looking for in a family home?