Date: September 28, 2011 | Story: Interview by Tiffany Burgess | Styling: Diane Carroll |
At Home in Arkansas: Moving from the Charlotte, North Carolina, area to Northwest Arkansas for a position with Sam’s Club must have been a big change. Did purchasing a condo in the heart of the city stem from your metropolitan roots?
Homeowner Marybeth Cornwell: I wanted to be in the center of things and was excited when this condo in the Legacy Building became available. I’m a very efficient person. When I travel, I never check a bag—even if I’m gone for two weeks. I like to think that I also live in a very efficient manner, and condo living reflects this lifestyle. I have the things I need and love around me.
AHIA: Your work in merchandising management has allowed you to see top trends in home and apparel from around the globe. Do any of the design decisions in your own home reflect this?
MC: I had many influences. Working with my designer, Bill Crowder, we tried to incorporate elements that I love throughout my home. I like using different textures, and brought this into my living area with grasscloth wallpaper. I also wanted lighting that was both functional and fun. The previous owners installed a chandelier over the dining table. We exchanged it for a larger three-shade fixture that enhances the room’s classic look, and then repurposed the chandelier by moving it to the master bath.
AHIA: Even the small touches in your home’s design seem to have a cosmopolitan appeal.
MC: I wanted to use pieces that I’ve gathered over the course of my travels, especially my art collection. One of my favorite pieces is from India. I wanted it to be a focal point in the living area and hung it over my sofa. From there, I worked with my designer to bring out its various colors—the green in the sofa and the coral of the walls. Also, everyone always asks about the handrail along my staircase because it seems to have a Far East flair. Believe it or not, it was here when I moved in and seems to fit in perfectly.
AHIA: What about your bedroom and bath? What are some of your favorite aspects of these rooms?
MC: My bed and bath are really a retreat for me. Red is one of my favorite colors, so naturally I wanted to use that on the walls. I added a pair of built-in nightstands to save space, and I especially love the swing-arm lamps for reading in bed. Another great thing about the two rooms is the view—it’s worth waking up early just to enjoy it.
AHIA: With one main living/dining/kitchen area, storage could easily become an issue. How did you remedy that?
MC: The most significant change I made throughout the condo was adding built-in storage. There was no pantry and limited cabinet space in the kitchen, so my contractor built a large cupboard to store everything from crackers to my Cuisinart.
AHIA: You also love to entertain. How do you make the most of your square footage when you invite people into your home?
MC: I’ve learned to make items dual-purpose. The entry piece at my front door stores all my platters and dishes for entertaining. There’s a small chest in the living room that I use as an accent piece and also to hold linens. When guests arrive, I use one end of my long dining table to serve appetizers and the other end as a bar or for dinner seating if it’s a small group. I also treat my patio as a part of the living room. The comfy furniture and tables truly make it an extension of my home. When you live in a small space, you have to make everything beautiful as well as useful.
Contractor Mike Pennington, Fayetteville
Interior design Crowder Designs, High Point, North Carolina
Cabinetry Spavinaw Millworks, Gentry
Duvet cover Sara Kathryn’s, Ltd., Fayetteville
Outdoor furniture Pottery Barn, locations statewide
Paint Benjamin Moore, locations statewide
Patio landscape design DK Design, Fayetteville
Window tinting Bentonville Glass Inc., Bentonville
In Little Rock, designer Debi Davis uses soft neutrals and gold accents to create a serenely stylish retreat