Date: November 2, 2020 | Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Lauren Cerrato |
An unexpected twist in a family’s home search leads to an outdoor-inspired design filled with comfort and style
Making their home in a Jonesboro subdivision was not part of the plan for Britni and Josh Brown. “We had purchased 10 acres, revised a house plan, and were pulling the permit to build when we got a call about this house,” Britni says. However, with a wooded landscape, nine acres to roam, and even backyard access to a lake, the property hardly felt like it was in the middle of a neighborhood. “I’m attracted to older homes, so I wanted to see this house,” Britni says. “And, as soon as I saw the backyard, I fell in love. We couldn’t have gotten the natural landscape on the other land.”
While the setting drew the couple in enough to lay their plans to build aside, the interior of the home also spoke to them. “I knew there was a lot of potential inside,” Britni says. Having built a home once before, she recalls not being hands-on during the process and felt like the outcome didn’t truly reflect their tastes. “I thought, Styles are going to change, so you might as well do what you want,” she recalls.
Josh mentioned their friend (and At Home in Arkansas art director) Lauren Cerrato’s Instagram account to her, and it became apparent the two shared a similar aesthetic. “She had a bunch of images saved, and it was funny because I had some of the same ones,” Lauren says.
Lauren not only got the style direction but also understood the overall aura the couple wanted their home to have. “I wanted a place where people feel welcome; a place that is easy and not intimidating,” Britni says. “In the whole design process, casual and family friendly were the main goals,” adds contractor Tommy Westbrook, who also worked alongside the couple from the start. Updates like removing a wall between the kitchen and living room, creating an island for gathering, and building an outdoor pergola all speak to this and allow the family—and their guests—to enjoy time together.
Josh and Britni with their son, Lincoln. Not pictured: daughter, Alex.
“We spend a lot of time outside but were missing a gathering place out here,” Britni says. “We added this during quarantine, and now we eat dinner here four or five nights a week.” The structure provides shade after swimming in the nearby pool, while a fireplace offers warmth during cooler months. Lauren brought the look of the interiors outside with a concrete-topped dining table from Article paired with green chairs.
Comfortable & Cozy
A wall came down to connect the kitchen and living room, while a set of glass-paned doors remained to retain character. These, along with the banister, were given a coat of black paint to accentuate their dimension. Throughout the home, tile floors were traded for wood while white walls give a fresh backdrop for warmer accents. In the living room, the coffee table and a brown sofa from their previous residence made the move, while all the other pieces were purchased to complete a look truly reflective of the Browns’ style. An oversized, colored version of each family member’s thumbprint creates a wall of artwork unique to them.
Britni uses the map in the entry to pray for people around the world.
“I wanted a place where people feel welcome; a place that is easy and not intimidating.” —Britni Brown, homeowner
Removing the wall between the kitchen and living room eliminated some of the cabinetry storage. To remedy this, the team created a 14-foot island with plenty of space for organization as well as seating. Waterfall quartz countertops encapsulate the structure for a more contemporary feel, while the mix of olive green and unfinished maple cabinetry along with black and brass accents keep the look grounded.
The dining area adjoins the kitchen and features a stone fireplace, live-edge table, and leather chairs, all of which speak to the home’s natural surroundings.
Since the Browns didn’t need a formal dining room, this space was converted to Josh’s office. “The idea was to keep him where he still felt part of what’s going on, even if he had to work,” Tommy says. “The custom-built hutch serves as a coffee area and storage piece but doesn’t give off a study vibe,” he adds. A sleek desk styled after a WWII plane wing sits in front of the hutch. “The navy here, the green in the kitchen, and the black throughout work together because they’re all very dark, muted, and subdued,” Lauren says. She filled the built-in with orange and brown pottery pieces that stand out and added in family photos Josh cherishes as a personal touch.
“Styles are going to change, so you might as well do what you want.” —Britni Brown, homeowner
Down to Earth
In the master bedroom, a single-piece headboard and shelving unit has a low profile against a wall that holds a tapestry (an Etsy find) featuring earth tones. Near the window, a swivel chair that can easily pivot to take in the outdoor scene offers a quiet place for reading and reflection. A work crafted entirely from nails on a canvas by Jonesboro artist Beau Jones depicts Jesus wearing the crown of thorns.
“This is a really cool before and after because the entire space by the window was a built-in Jacuzzi tub,” Lauren says. One side of the tub’s alcove features a floating vanity and a television while the opposite has a window and bench. “They love to take baths, so I feel like this space was made for someone who actually appreciates the tub,” she adds, noting the scenic view of the private backyard. Matte black tile, a fringed light fixture, and walnut his-and-hers vanities call back to the organic nature of the design.
A mix of plaid, stripes, and geometric prints make the guest room a focal point at the top of the stairs.
Contractor Tommy Westbrook, Westbrook Premier Builders Interior design Lauren Cerrato, ILOH Design Landscape design Marty Bennett, Bennett’s Landscape and Design Company Accessories Jenifer’s Antiques and Midtown Vintage Market Appliances Metro Appliances & More Art Beau Jones, Beautox Art Cabinetry, carpet, flooring, hardware, millwork (installation), and tile Westbrook Premier Kitchen & Bath Countertops Schmidt Countertops Fabric Cynthia East Fabrics Fireplace Environments by Arkansas Pools & Spas Fixtures Mid-South Plumbing Millwork Jonesboro Trim & Door Outdoor furnishings Graham’s Lighting (Memphis) Paint Benjamin Moore, Law’s Painting Guerra Painting Tile (installation) Sergio DeJesus