Date: February 16, 2009 | Story: Laura Keech Allen |
Tobi Fairley, of Tobi Fairley Interior Design in Little Rock, was presented with a few key pieces of furniture when she joined the creative team of a Little Rock custom build project. “The homeowners wanted to take cues for the design from a few existing pieces that were important for them to keep, like their dining table and 18 chairs,” Tobi says. With these beautifully ornate and formal pieces as her touchstone, she went on a mission to infuse their traditional style with her own simple aesthetic. “The result is fresh and new, instead of looking stuffy or tired,” she says.
Although the home was already framed and under roof, Tobi worked closely with builder Byron Holmes, designing the interior, kitchen and bath, choosing interior finishes and consulting on the exterior finishes. “Byron has a great attitude and builds an extremely high-quality home,” she says. “He took a great deal of stress off my plate and made the process run seamlessly.” Additionally, working with clients who had a considerable amount of building experience and on-target expectations for the process was immensely rewarding for the team. “It was a smooth process that was enjoyable for my firm, the builder and the client, so in my opinion it was a huge success,” Tobi says.
Creating a home that is formal and sophisticated, yet still warm and inviting, was the clients’ key request, along with well-designed spaces for entertaining. “Instead of using the traditional approach of piling on the accessories, I planned the bones of the space to be full of details, including inlaid marble patterns, decorative painting, wall tile mosaics, ornate lighting fixtures and highly detailed cabinetry and millwork,” Tobi explains. She devised a color scheme of chocolate brown, gold, turquoise and terra cotta, infusing the home with Mediterranean influences and a few carefully chosen Moorish elements. Rather than grouping accessories, she allowed them to stand alone for maximum visual impact, and she commissioned artwork by Arden Boyce, Sheila Cotton and Andy Reed, who are all represented by Tobi Fairley Fine Art.
To add to the home’s luxurious feel, wallcoverings make a strategic appearance, layered with antique mirrors, gilded millwork and plenty of textured fabrics, including velvets, chenilles and brocades. Stone and tile are equally important elements, with marble, Jerusalem stone and mosaic tile all contributing richness and depth.
While the project was certainly large in scope, it never became overwhelming thanks to the close working relationship of designer, builder and homeowners. “The challenges were typical for a house this size,” Tobi says, “but nothing that couldn’t be managed relatively easily between my staff and the builder.” The challenges, however, were welcome to Tobi, who loves the opportunity to display her affinity for traditional styles. “Considering the level of detail in this project, it’s particularly rewarding when it all comes together,” she says.