Date: October 29, 2021 | Story: Stephanie Maxwell Newton | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Steph Smith |
A Fort Smith man calls on trusted professionals to create a country getaway that’s anything but rustic
The West Camp is where Steve Clark hangs his hat when he needs a change of pace. Located outside Fort Smith on approximately 2,000 acres, the cabin and its outdoor living spaces have quickly become a restorative retreat. “There’s no television, and that’s intentional. I like to be fully present,” he says. “It’s so quiet out here; you forget how noisy it can be in town. It’s incredibly relaxing.”
Considering its modern amenities and inviting living spaces indoors and out, it might be hard to believe this house is a century old. While Steve has been coming to the land for years, he decided it was time for an overhaul that would turn this old farmhouse—which was once home to the ranch’s cattle manager—into an overnight destination, and he called on Daniel Keeley of DK Design as well as Carrington Creek Homes to lead the transformation. Chase Smallwood, who had worked with Steve through his role at Carrington Creek Homes on past projects, served as interior designer for the project. “The directive was to modernize it in a way that would still lend itself to the history of the home,” Steve says. The contractor maintained the cabin’s integrity by staying within its original footprint while maximizing space; this involved gutting and rearranging the kitchen, turning a wasted hallway into a Jack-and-Jill bath, and building custom bunk beds to accommodate Steve’s grown children and their spouses. “Overall, he wanted it to feel warm and furnished, but not overcrowded, so we kept everything pretty simple while using richer tones and texture for interest,” Chase says.
For the camp’s outdoor living spaces, Steve instructed Daniel to “treat the house as a tent,” he says. “I wanted the indoors to be comfortable, but this place is really meant to be lived outdoors.” Daniel designated an area in front of the house for the firepit and placed a long farm table under the oak tree to create a dining space. “As you drive in, as far as you can see, it’s all rolling hills and trees. It’s already so pretty,” Daniel says. “Our job was just to make it as comfortable, cozy, and inviting as possible.”
Before the remodel, Steve showed Chase some images of one of his favorite travel destinations, Blackberry Farm in Tennessee. “He loved the overall feeling of that property, and I used that as a baseline for inspiration,” the designer says. To wit, the stone-covered chimney (which carries to the fireplace indoors) evokes the cottage vibe of accommodations at the luxury resort. Carrington Creek Homes sourced three different types of rock to create the custom mix seen here.
Al Fresco Ambience
One must-have on Steve’s list for outdoor living was a long dining table where he and his guests could share “good food and great wine.” Daniel positioned a table from EcoVet, a Rogers-based company, under the large oak tree and used pea gravel to define the space. Weather-tolerant directors chairs and stools cut from logs provide seating for 12, while an outdoor light fixture hangs from the tree to further convey the connection between the indoors and out.
Behind the house, a vegetable garden creates an intimate setting for a bistro table and chairs. Anchored by four apple trees, the spot will continue to grow more lush and shaded over time. Raised beds contain tomatoes, basil, rosemary, and other herbs within steps of the kitchen, as well as marigolds for seasonal color.
Daniel positioned the fire pit in the front of the house to feel like an extension of the porch and to take full advantage of the views beyond. The short stone wall is multipurpose: it disguises the area from the approach and offers additional seating. Antique iron stag statues stand proud on columns flanking the space.
It’s so quiet out here; you forget how noisy it can be in town. It’s incredibly relaxing.” —Steve Clark, homeowner
Because blue had been designated as an accent color for the interiors, the team carried the hue outdoors by coating the porch in “Dark Night” by Sherwin-Williams. A mix of traditional and modern furnishings keeps the look current while offering cozy seats for morning coffee and a view of the sunrise.
The interiors represent a masculine, modernized take on English cottage style. “We wanted the house to have great texture, feel warm, and complement the vibe of the property,” Chase says, noting natural materials were used throughout. On the mantel, a collection of vintage art and new accessories make for a meaningful display.
Much time and attention were given to making the most of the small kitchen. The contractor borrowed space from a utility closet to recess the refrigerator and oven, which allowed for the addition of a small island. A pot rack overhead keeps cookware close at hand while also freeing up valuable storage space. Cabinetry made from reclaimed wood and chicken wire, intentionally mismatched hardware, and an old world-inspired backsplash tile add to the home’s historic influence.
“We wanted the house to have great texture, feel warm, and complement the vibe of the property.” —Chase Smallwood, interior designer
Space to Snooze
The guest quarters provide a comfortable respite at the end of days spent hiking, cycling, and hanging out by the campfire. In the main bedroom, simple yet stylish furnishings continue the home’s masculine farmhouse feel. “I wanted all the elements to be warm, so the only metal in the house is this bed and the coffee table, which provide a nice contrast,” Chase says.
The second bedroom features two custom-built full-sized bunks with ladders made from reclaimed wood.
Contractor Carrington Creek Homes Interior design Chase Smallwood Landscape and outdoor design DK Design Accessories, fabrics, furniture, hardware, lighting, mirrors, rugs, and window coverings Chase Smallwood Appliances Metro Appliances & More Cabinetry Smith Custom Cabinets Countertops Payes Custom Granite Fireplace Godfrey & Black Brick & Stone Fixtures Fort Smith Winsupply Flooring Smith Hardwood Floors Masonry Lance’s Home Improvements Millwork Fine Lines Custom Woodworks Outdoor furnishings DK Design Paint Sherwin-Williams Painting Patrick’s Painting & Repair Tile Acme Brick