Date: December 29, 2020 | Story: Stephanie Maxwell Newton | Photography: Rett Peek |
A Little Rock couple calls on an old friend to design a new-construction home packed with personality
When Lisa and David Trent first started thinking about building their dream home in the Heights, there was no question about who to call to help make it happen. Lisa had been friends with designer Kevin Walsh since college, and she knew she could trust him to bring her vision to life. “Kevin and I were fast friends when we first met. We clicked immediately,” Lisa says. “Plus, I love his work and knew he would guide me in the right direction.”
While this house was built from the ground up, Lisa had owned a smaller cottage on the same lot for years. Her and David’s main motivation for building new was for a more spacious home suitable for the kind of casual, everyday entertaining they enjoy. Another request was to keep the master bedroom on the ground floor. Kevin worked with a draftsman to incorporate everything on the Trents’ wish list, all while keeping a sizable front lawn and outdoor living space in the back. “We didn’t even initially talk about a second floor. We came to that once we started laying things out and seeing what sizes rooms should be,” Kevin says of the space-planning stage.
From there, Kevin and Lisa started to have fun with finishes. One of the common threads throughout the home—from a lamp in the formal entry to fabrics and art in the main living spaces—is a punchy turquoise hue Kevin refers to as “one of Lisa’s signature colors.” Best of all, Lisa and David rented a house across the street for the duration of construction and installation, so they were able to keep an eye on every step of the process. “I thought it would be a little sad the day they tore my old house down, but all I could think was, This is going to be my happy house,” Lisa says.
The cool gray paint color on the walls, cabinetry, and even the ceiling provides a consistent backdrop for a range of patterns and colors in the living spaces. This cooler tone is balanced by Lisa’s favorite metal, gold, which makes an appearance in every piece of hardware as well as light and plumbing fixtures. The kitchen’s backsplash, a mosaic of tiny Calacatta marble tiles, catches the light and plays off the sparkle of the gold. The island and nearby dining table make the perfect serving spaces when the Trents host happy hours and Razorback basketball watch parties.
Over the bar cart hang an abstract painting by Northwest Arkansas artist Allison Hobbs and a black and white piece Kevin found at market.
Trimwork laid in a diamond pattern on the ceiling was designed on-site after the kitchen cabinets and crown molding were installed. The blue and white work in the dining space is by Kayce Hughes.
The living room is where vision for the mix of colors and fabrics used throughout the house started to coalesce. The team was going through fabric samples at Bear Hill one day when Lisa came across a swatch she couldn’t do without. “I loved this fabric, and it just took on a life of its own,” she says of the pattern now covering a cheery slipper chair. “From there, the curtain fabric became part of the equation, and then we started working our way through the house room by room,” Kevin adds.
“I knew if Kevin steered me toward it, I was going to love it. I think that caused me to branch out even more than I would have.”
—Lisa Trent, homeowner
A couple of guest rooms upstairs provide respite for out-of-town family and friends. “I think a lot of people are color shy, and guest rooms are a place you can go crazy with color because you’re not in there all the time,” Kevin says. In one room, he and the homeowners drew chartreuse from the draperies for a peppy wall color and went more neutral with the bedding. “I totally trusted him. When we started with all this color, I knew he was going to get it just right,” Lisa says.
Black and white damask wallpaper in a powder bath downstairs plays off the marble flooring of the nearby foyer.
In the master bedroom, a pinkish paint color Kevin describes as “plummy” set the tone for bedding, draperies, and accessories that stay within a similar palette. “When Kevin first pitched this color, I wasn’t sure,” Lisa laughs. “Then he showed me these little iridescent boxes and this fabric we ended up using on the drapes; he pulled some stuff together that helped me see what it was going to look like.” “I never dreamed I’d have a bedroom that was pink, but I like it a lot,” David adds. A resin light fixture by Oly and a macro photograph of an anemone bloom play up the graphic nature of the room.
A lighter take on the bedroom color carries into the master bath, which features a steam shower and soaking tub with wall-mounted fixtures. The flooring is Calacatta gold marble laid in a herringbone pattern, and a piece of art purchased from Providence Design references the mauve undertones of the adjoining bedroom.
Contractor Scott Greenwood, Scott Greenwood Construction Interior design Kevin Walsh, Bear Hill Interiors Accessories, art, bedding, fabrics, fixtures, furniture, hardware, lighting, mirrors, and wallpaper Bear Hill Interiors Appliances Metro Appliances & More Cabinetry C Louk Fine Carpentry and Millwork Carpet C&F Carpet and Flooring Countertops All Natural Stone Flooring and tile Acme Brick Tile & Stone Paint Sherwin-Williams Window coverings Mountjoy’s Draperies