Date: April 28, 2021 | Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Steph Smith |
Designer Carrie Kidd teams up with a friend to bring character, color, and charm to a Little Rock home
When Jill Storey Matthews first laid eyes on her Heights cottage, it had an overgrown exterior and dark interior palette. “You almost couldn’t see it from the street but I knew it had a lot of potential,” she says. Having lived in eight different homes—and remodeled every one—Jill wasn’t afraid of the challenge, and she set to work on a punch list of items to make the home her own. “There’s no perfect house unless you build it yourself,” she says.
A stylist who has spent the majority of her career in the retail and wholesale clothing industry, Jill knows the benefits of working with a designer and has often sought advice from Dallas designer Tesa Turner, Beverly Watkins of Little Rock’s Fresh i.d., and, for this project, Carrie Kidd of Carrie Kidd Designs. “Jill has such an amazing collection of pieces,” Carrie says. “I’m good with color, fabrics, art placement, and tying it all together, but she picks it all out.” “I’ve been told I have a good eye, but I like to bounce ideas off of someone else when I’m doing a project,” Jill says.
In this instance, Jill was downsizing from a residence she shared with her late husband, James, and needed to make every inch of space count in terms of using it wisely and infusing her style. “More than anything, this project was a ton of TLC, but it wasn’t a complete overhaul,” Carrie says, noting the coat of white paint that transformed many of the walls, trim, and ceilings to create a clean backdrop. “Jill likes color, but not on her walls. This paint allows her to bring it in with lamps, accessories, and her great collection of art.” Alongside pieces given to the couple by James’s mother are works by friends as well as art collected on travels. “When James and I traveled, we always stopped in an art gallery to purchase a piece to remember that trip,” Jill says. The same process is true for the way she acquired many of the antique furnishings seen throughout the design. “I like an eclectic home,” she says. “I collect things as I go along, and it’s been a process for over 30 years. I’ve made mistakes along the way but I’ve gotten some things right, too.”
“Beige, white, and light pink are my favorite colors; you’ll even find them in my wardrobe,” Jill says of the living room’s palette. Antique chairs reupholstered in a textured fabric and a pair of Italian consoles that frame the French doors reflect Jill’s love of using older pieces alongside contemporary fabrics and accessories.
Mixing Things Up
Previously the front door opened to reveal a wet bar straight ahead. In the renovation, it was removed to create a true entry wall. Downsizing meant Jill had to part with some pieces while also reimagining beloved ones in new areas. “It was like a huge jigsaw puzzle,” Carrie says. “Anything that came from her previous house, we switched to a different room here; you can get so used to the way things look in a certain space but when you move them to a new grouping or room, it’s totally fresh.” Additionally, antique pieces—like the French commode shown in the entry—were paired with modern light fixtures, accessories, and art to infuse life.
When Jill decided to keep her Baldwin baby grand piano, the space planned as a breakfast room became a music room. “She has plenty of entertaining areas, so we decided to create this room and give her some display space,” Carrie says of the transformation. Farrow + Ball’s “Lotus” brings whimsy to the walls.
In the kitchen, wood cabinetry and dark countertops and walls were traded for a white backdrop accented by classic marble counters. “We chose brick for the floors because we thought it was unexpected but still traditional, and the pink and red in the cafe curtains also play off of them,” Carrie says. A small breakfast counter, a desk space, and the home’s dining area sit beyond the peninsula of cabinetry at the far end of the kitchen.
Lacquering the walls, cabinetry, and trim in a light blue was a cost-effective way to cosmetically update the guest bath.
While Jill has always loved pink, she notes the addition of lilac in the bedroom was a new hue for her palette. A credenza Carrie had made for Jill’s previous home was repurposed here to lend both storage and style to the design.
Interior design Carrie Kidd, Carrie Kidd Designs Accessories Bear Hill Interiors, Fresh i.d., and Ransom Interiors Appliances Metro Appliances & More Bedding Fresh i.d. Brick Antique Brick Countertops Triton Stone Fabrics Designer Effects Fixtures (kitchen) PC Hardware Lighting Light Innovations and TEC Electric Paint Benjamin Moore Tile (fireplace) The Tile Store Wallpaper Carrie Kidd Designs Window Treatments Mountjoy’s Custom Draperies