Date: June 1, 2022 | Story: Stephanie Maxwell Newton | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Stephanie Maxwell Newton |
Amy Williams Design imbues a Searcy home with classic comforts to stand the test of time
As the wife of a builder, Robin Connell was no stranger to the process when she and her husband, Patrick, decided to embark on a new construction home. First, however, they needed to secure the perfect setting. “It was our dream to have land but not be way out in the country,” Robin says. It took nearly a decade, but eventually they found what they’d been looking for: a 45-acre tract with wooded views in every direction.
With their dream location secured, Robin called her friend Amy Williams to start the design process. As an interior designer, Amy collaborates frequently with Patrick’s construction company and also helped the couple with their previous home. Together they decided on an open concept to maximize views from every angle as well as an efficient floor plan—which meant no square footage gone to waste. “My husband and I are empty nesters now, and that had a lot to do with how we wanted the home to work for us in the future,” Robin says. “We downsized, and we wanted something that felt simple, comfortable, and cozy.”
In regards to aesthetics, Amy leaned into Robin’s style, which she describes as “Southern traditional with an edge.” For example, rather than white siding and black windows—what many have come to associate with a modern farmhouse—they covered the entire exterior in rock and mortar wash. “I wanted it to look like something you might have found already standing on a farm,” Robin says. “And 100 years from now, it will still look like it belongs.”
Inside, Amy found inspiration for hints of color to weave through the palette in a pair of throw pillows made from Schumacher’s “Chiang Mai.” A coral chair, blue accessories, and upholstery in layered shades of brown and beige can all be traced back to the pattern on the much-loved pillows, which are now at home in a pair of swivel chairs in the living room. The effect is a cohesive style that flows with comfort and ease.
“The building process was really fun because Amy and I basically started from scratch,” Robin says. “Having your husband as the builder, that makes the process easy; but at the end of the day, I wanted it to be pretty, too. And when I walk through the spaces she’s decorated, I’m happy,” Robin says.
“She wanted something casual that fit the surroundings, but with an edge of tradition and formality.”
—Amy Williams, designer
The kitchen island’s wooden base ties the room to the adjoining living space while Taj Mahal quartzite countertops, a tongue-and-groove ceiling, and subway tiles with a hand-thrown texture add interest to every surface. When mixing metals, Amy suggests matching plumbing fixtures to your appliances (here, stainless steel) while letting an alternate finish shine through accents, such as the brass lighting and hardware.
In the dining room, the millwork makes a defining yet subtle statement. Amy came to the custom design in a Goldilocks-like fashion: Shiplap or tongue-and-groove was too expected, while a traditional chair rail felt too stuffy. This motif of interlocking boxes? It felt just right. After finalizing the design here, the team carried it onto cabinet fronts in the living room and kitchen, too. Overhead, a bubble-inspired chandelier and shimmering wallpaper bring a sense of playfulness to the space.
Paint Color “Natural Choice” by Sherwin-Williams
While drawing the floor plan, the Connells intentionally designated most of their square footage to the main living spaces, preferring to keep the footprint tidy in the bedrooms. In the primary, Amy used the drama of a four-poster bed and warmth of woven shades—rather than drapes, which could have felt too heavy on the narrow windows—to add interest without crowding the room. Tone-on-tone bedding creates a restful respite, while pops of color in the pillows and framed watercolor above the bed tie the palette to the rest of the house.
In the primary bath, Amy departed from the home’s more traditional leanings to keep the overall design fresh. “Everywhere else the cabinetry is more of a shaker style with a little bead detail, but I really wanted that clean-line profile here,” she says, noting this approach works well with the open shelving below and windowpane-style vanity mirror. Strips of inlaid brass in the porcelain tile underfoot add an understated sparkle in an unexpected place.
Builder Patrick Connell, Connell Construction Draftsman Quality Designs Interior Design Amy Williams, Amy Williams Design Landscape Design Stephen Saunders, Landscape Solutions Accessories Amy Williams Design, Cobblestone & Vine, ConsignDesign, Old Hippy Antique Mall, Phoenix Interiors, and Providence Design Art, bedding, fabrics, furniture, lighting, rugs, tile (kitchen), and wallpaper Amy Williams Design Cabinetry Bluehole Custom Cabinets Carpet, countertops (kitchen), and flooring White River Flooring Countertops (bathroom) Pacific Shore Stones Fireplace Antique Brick & Block and Garage Door Service Fixtures Southern Pipe & Supply Glass and mirrors Staley Glass Hardware Amy Williams Design and Ridout Lumber Masonry Larry Steel Millwork Anthony French Paint Sherwin-Williams Painting Connell Construction Tile (bathroom, floor, and butler’s pantry) Amy Williams Design, White River Flooring, and The Tile Shop Wallpaper (installation) ValHer Paint & Wallpaper Windows Ridout Lumber Window coverings Interior Creations