Date: July 1, 2023 | Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Stephanie Maxwell Newton |
After years of vacationing at the beach, a couple looks to their son, designer Jonathan Parkey, to create a family-friendly escape for their next chapter of life
Janet and Mike Parkey had long enjoyed summers at the Gulf Coast, even building their own home along Florida’s popular 30A stretch. However, after selling their beach house in 2020, they were eager to create a place for their growing family to make new memories. The Jonesboro couple also wanted a getaway that was a bit closer to home—for them as well as their three children and four grandchildren, all of whom live in Arkansas.
A serendipitous chain of events led them to purchase a lot that was being auctioned on the shores of Hot Springs’ Lake Hamilton, and they had just the person in mind to turn the blank slate property into a dream retreat: their son, Little Rock-based designer Jonathan Parkey. Having built previous vacation homes, the Parkeys knew their non-negotiables, opting for a small bedroom and bath for every couple as well as communal spaces that help everyone feel gathered together, even if they aren’t sitting side by side in the same room. “We didn’t want a fully open-concept home. We like to have rooms, especially with the kids running around,” Jonathan explains.
They also wanted the home to feel like it had been in place for years. “I think the challenge was trying to create a new-construction house that felt very timeless and traditional and that fell into the landscape,” the designer says. Father and son drew out plans before taking them to a draftsman and then bringing on Jadee Construction as the builder. The result is a U-shaped, two-story house with two bedrooms on the main level and four upstairs. This layout gives plenty of room for the Parkeys’ extended family to visit but also feels homey when it’s just the two of them. “My parents wanted to have a place for everyone to show up and everything you need is sort of in place,” Jonathan says. “But as my dad looks toward retirement, we also wanted it to live like a one-story for them when they don’t have guests.”
The classic yet casual approach also flows throughout the interiors. “My mom has really wonderful classic taste; she and I gravitate to the same things,” Jonathan says, noting the home’s main palette of blue and white. One creamy white paint selection runs the expanse of the home, save for a few bedrooms where the blues, greens, and browns of the home’s natural environment come into play. Heritage fabrics—such as GP&J Baker’s “Nympheus” and Lee Jofa’s “Althea”—that will continue to stand the test of time are stars in communal spaces as well as bedrooms. “My process is always to start with a hero fabric,” Jonathan says of his design philosophy. These patterns are complemented with comfortable furnishings and meaningful art. “My dad has recently come into a love of art, and it’s been fun to watch that develop,” he adds. “We wanted this house to feel very Southern, and the art reflects that.”
“We tried to think traditional, easy, and timeless—both inside and outside—because we wanted the house to have a continuous flow.”
—Jonathan Parkey, designer
Focus on Fun
Built to take advantage of the main attraction—Lake Hamilton—the backyard points toward the water in a tiered approach. A pool sits just outside the covered porch and leads down to a firepit area before flowing into the dock, which mimics the home’s exterior style.
Soapstone counters, a farmhouse sink, and a nickel gap ceiling treatment are timeless touches that make the kitchen feel like it’s been in place for years. Still-life oil paintings and vintage rugs underfoot add an extra layer of character.
Dinner with a View
Tucked behind the staircase in between the living room and kitchen, the dining room has a full view of the pool and lake beyond. Jonathan notes the palette of blue and white is a theme throughout the house that is amplified in the place settings here. “We tried to think traditional, easy, and timeless—both inside and outside—because we wanted the house to have a continuous flow.” A new dining table with a finish that is made to look worn adds to the home’s idea that nothing is too precious for everyday use and by everyone in the family.
Knowing his parents will spend more and more time at this retreat as their lives evolve, Jonathan sought to make the house live like a primary home. “We didn’t back down on layers; we didn’t skimp on fabrics or drapery or anything that people often forego in a second home,” he says. To this point, panels in Lee Jofa’s “Althea” cover the living room windows and extend into the adjoining dining space. Commissioned watercolors on canvas by Memphis artist Chelsea Fly are focal points that bring character alongside a multitude of intriguing accents and inviting furnishings. Walls are painted “Swiss Coffee” by Benjamin Moore.
A small den between the kitchen and dining area is a congregating spot at all times of the day. “It’s next to the kitchen, so everyone ends up here,” Jonathan says. “Plus, there’s a TV, so it’s Bluey in the morning and soccer in the afternoon.” Blues carry over from the rest of the main floor’s palette, but red is introduced as an accent color that gives the space its own defining character.
Still within earshot of the main dining area, the breakfast table serves as the kids’ table during family meals. The nickel gap treatment seen in the kitchen reappears on the walls here, creating continuity between the rooms. The photographs are of Arkansas destinations by local photographer Matt White and hang on a jib door that leads to storage under the staircase.
All of the bedrooms, including the primary one, were intentionally kept small, yet still allow room for a king-sized bed and bedside chests. Playing off their desire to make the house feel like their home and not just a getaway, layers of plush bedding are seen next to another heritage fabric (“Hydrangea Bird” by GP&J Baker). A light blue grasscloth gives texture to the walls and contrasts with a new bed that has the appearance of an antique.
For the bedroom he shares with his husband, Jonathan chose a richer palette than what you’ll find at their home. “We typically lean more toward navy and red, but I always like to include Schumacher’s ‘Safari Épinglé’ in every project I do,” he says, pointing to the stools at the end of the bed. Vintage art from the designer’s grandmother hangs on the wall.
“The kids love, love, love the bunkroom,” Jonathan says of an upstairs bedroom that houses four built-in beds. Here, he brought in a deep green (“Dark Green Velvet” by PPG) that mimics the home’s setting in a playful yet cozy manner. The hue carries into the adjoining bath (below).
As plans for the house developed, it became clear the Parkeys would want to fully finish and outfit the second floor’s bonus room. “We really needed another place where the kids can gather, especially for early morning cartoons, since their bedrooms are all upstairs,” Jonathan says. A more Americana palette fills the room with framed vintage swimsuits and antique flags complementing comfortable club chairs and a game table.
Builder Andrew Johnson, Jadee Construction Draftsman CW Polston, CP Drafting & Design Interior design Jonathan Parkey, J. Parkey Landscape design Steve Hawkins, Hawkins Grass Farm & Landscaping Accessories Cobblestone & Vine, Fabulous Finds, J. Parkey, Mrs. Polka Dot, and Tipton & Hurst Art Guy W. Bell, Sheila Cotton Art, Chelsea Fly, Justus Fine Art Gallery, McCann Fine Art, and Matt White Fabrics, furniture, hardware, lighting, mirrors, wallpaper, and window coverings J. Parkey Appliances Metro Appliances & More Cabinets Distinctive Kitchens & Baths Countertops Countertop World Fireplace Congo Fireplace & Patio Fixtures Falk Plumbing Supply and J. Parkey Flooring and Tile (backsplash, bathroom, and flooring) C&F Flooring and Rug Gallery Framing The Showroom Millwork Jadee Construction Paint Benjamin Moore and PPG Pool and spa Marvin Rodriguez and Jadee Construction Rugs Cantrell Furniture Design Center and J. Parkey Tile (Kitchen) The Tile Shop Windows Pella