Date: July 26, 2011 | Story: Interview by Julie Wax | Styling: Mandy Keener |
At Home in Arkansas: Nearly every room in your home has a view into another one. Surely this was planned as a way to keep an eye on kids while going about daily life?
Justin Stewart: We have a very open floor plan that allows for large cased openings and entry ways, numerous windows to light up the space with natural light, spacious ceilings and a great vantage point to watch the kids play out back. At the same time, the boys’ bedrooms and playroom are upstairs, where they can escape and go nuts!
AHIA: As a builder, what inspired the design of your own home?
JS: We’ve always liked an open floor plan with the uniqueness of a master bedroom separated from the main portion of the house, allowing some privacy and peace. The flow of the house was a priority for us. We used existing plans and added our own touches to the overall colors and materials used in the process.
AHIA: Did family-friendly figure into your materials choices?
JS: Definitely. On the interior, we used real walnut hardwood flooring to withstand heavy traffic and abuse, solid-core pine doors and wood casings to handle the stresses of both dogs and kids. In the kitchen, granite counters and a tile backsplash are super easy to clean. The same thing goes in the bathroom, with large tile for the shower and floor and solid surfaces on the counters. These materials help to form the basis for a durable house.
AHIA: You used a strong base of chocolate brown paired with neutral walls and bright artwork. Did having children influence your choice in colors throughout your home?
JS: Our kids are our excuse to have an eclectic collection of colors. We have always enjoyed accenting the house with fun and interesting colors that don’t always match.
AHIA: How do you balance finding items that are appealing to you and your wife, Jamie, yet also kid friendly?
JS: The kids want items in the house they can be comfortable in and use, which is what we want as well, so first and foremost, we opt for comfort. Secondly, we purchase pieces that are unique, cleanable and interchangeable throughout the house. We often switch things to change the look of our living spaces. We’ve never been afraid to use different colors, textures and types of materials in our decorating.
AHIA: The dining room is gorgeous, and your kitchen island has spacious seating as well. Yet all the chairs feature light colors. How do these hold up to a large family?
JS: The color is not an issue when the surface is easily cleaned. We made sure we used materials that you can wipe down after a meal. If you look closely though, you might see some pen marks, bite marks and some leftover food stuffed in the cracks.
AHIA: The kids’ rooms are so cute, and I’m guessing there are plenty of toys. What kind of storage do you use to keep everything so uncluttered?
JS: We’ve always liked the use of bookcases and furniture-type storage, as it allows for both function and style. We also cut clutter with simple baskets, tubs or interesting containers. And using cubbies and shelving in the closets maximizes the space.
AHIA: Your home seems fit for many a family celebration. Where does everyone tend to gather at the end of the day or during a long weekend?
JS: We love to gather in the kitchen when the family comes together. The kitchen island is where the kids can eat, color with markers or use Play-Doh. At the end of the day, we usually pile up on our bed in the master bedroom and watch movies, read, play with Legos or wrestle.
Builder Justin Stewart Homes, Little Rock
Accessories Massimo, Mertinsdyke Home, Little Rock
Art Buddy Whitlock, Maumelle
Carpet, tile ProSource, North Little Rock
Fixtures The Plumbing Warehouse, Little Rock
Furnishings I.O. Metro, locations statewide
Hardware Pro Builder Supply, Little Rock
Lighting Graham’s Lighting, Memphis; Light Innovations, Little Rock
Outdoor furnishings Congo Fireplace and Patio, Benton
Paint Sherwin-Williams, locations statewide
Window treatments Laura’s Draperies & Blinds, Little Rock