Date: October 29, 2021 | Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Steph Smith |
Original art, antiques, and cozy furnishings imbue a new North Little Rock home with timeless charm
If you think designing a home and having fun don’t go hand-in-hand, you haven’t met Cheryl Hannink and Barbara Bond Denniston. What started out as a designer-client relationship 30 years ago has evolved into a lifelong friendship with plenty of good times along the way.
“This is our third from-the-ground-up project, and over the years we’ve become best friends—or really more like sisters,” says Cheryl, who has an interior design degree and works full time as a product developer for Arkansas-based home furnishings line Porch View Home. “We’ve experienced the good, the bad, and the ugly together,” she adds with a laugh.
With the previous builds, Barbara’s children were at the forefront of the design. “In those houses, we were trying to do a room for this personality and that personality, but this house is all my personality,” she says. Knowing her days as an empty nester would come, Barbara had pulled a house plan from a magazine some 14 years ago and held onto it until the timing was right. “I took it to an architect, who tweaked it for my lifestyle now and for years to come,” she says, noting the space has zero-threshold showers, is wheelchair accessible, and is fully livable on the ground floor. What’s more, the new build allowed her to create a smart home—technology that wasn’t even available at the start of their last house. “I’ll say, ‘Barbara, can we dim these lights?’ And she’ll say, ‘Hey Google, dim those lights,’” Cheryl says.
Besides the cherished plan she saved for more than a decade, Barbara also kept a picture from a magazine that featured a wood island, wood doors, and big baseboards. “I thought OK, I love that look. I never got tired of the house plan and I never got tired of that picture,” she says. Cheryl was equally enchanted with the timeless design elements and knew Porch View Home’s casual, collected aesthetic would suit her friend’s taste perfectly. “I want the spaces I design to be a true reflection of the client who lives there,” Cheryl says. “The one thing about Barbara is she truly lives in her house. She has grandchildren; she has dogs and a cat; and they have free rein through the house. She really is relaxed and refined. That’s her lifestyle.”
“Barbara loves pink, and that set the tone for the dining room,” Cheryl says. The two note they were always shopping for the house—especially during the building process. It was then that they spotted the artwork by Lori DeYmaz in a Symphony Designer House bedroom designed by Sha Davari. The console below it was in the bedroom of the former residence, while the dining table and chairs were a gift from Barbara’s parents more than 30 years prior. “We were able to change them up with a coat of blue paint and some slipcovers,” Cheryl says. “I always try to look at pieces to see how you can use them again and make them fresh.”
Collected & Cozy
Blue, another favorite color of Barbara’s, is most apparent in the living room. Comfortable seating and an open floor plan allow her children and grandchildren to carry on conversations with the cook in the nearby kitchen or watch television. “You want your space to look collected and traveled—even if you don’t travel. I like to pull in things you aren’t going to see everywhere,” Cheryl says. Here, the designer used a Cambodian cloth, which was sent to Barbara by her brother during a trip around the globe, to reupholster an antique chair. “This is an important piece because he sent it to her; and when she looks at it, she thinks of that.”
In the kitchen, Cheryl wanted to keep the materials and walls neutral to allow pieces from Barbara’s original art collection to shine. Two islands—one for prep work and the other for dining and socializing—are topped with a quartz with warm, goldish brown veining. “This is an especially great flow for entertaining whether you enter from the living room or dining area,” the designer adds.
One for the Books
“I always mix in antiques no matter what the project is, because I don’t want it all to look like it came from one place,” Cheryl says. For example, in the library off the front entry, a new bookcase was topped with an antique architectural fragment. This and the pair of chairs, which are covered in an antique textile, bring character to the space. “If you buy antiques, they will move with you and make new life wherever they are,” Cheryl says.
“This house is livable and comfortable, but it’s also pretty.” —Barbara Bond Denniston, homeowner
With views of both the front lawn and backyard, the sunroom is a year-round favorite. At her previous home, Barbara loved the back porch but grew weary of removing pollen and leaves constantly. When building, she remedied this with a centrally located sunroom that connects to the pool area via a glass folding-door system. “We love to open the doors to hear the pool bubble or sit and watch football games here,” Barbara says. “It’s just so relaxing.”
“This is such a calming place for me,” Barbara says of the primary bed and bath. Cheryl refreshed the bed with a new paint treatment and accented it with antique doors with mirrored panels. Both women are longtime fans of wallpaper and have used it in some capacity for every project they’ve worked on together. Barbara found the whimsical chandelier seen over the tub while visiting her brother in D.C. The fabric on the bath’s ottoman is also seen on the bedding, tying the two rooms together.
Architect James Scroggins, James Scroggins Custom Homes Contractor Brad Medlock, Medlock Construction Interior design Cheryl Watson Hannink, CW Designs Accessories Cobblestone & Vine, Fabulous Finds Antique and Decorative Mall, Palladio Home & Garden (Memphis), and Porch View Home Art Lori DeYmaz, Doris Gates, and Patrick Phillips Bedding Jayson Cain Interiors Cabinetry Larry Bell Cabinets Fabrics, wallpaper, and window coverings CW Designs Floral design Charlie Groppetti and Todd Smith, Porch View Home Framing Louie’s Unique Framing Furniture Cobblestone & Vine, Palladio Home & Garden (Memphis), Porch View Home, and Pottery Barn Paint Sherwin-Williams