Date: November 1, 2022 | Story: Rebekah Hall Scott | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Lauren Cerrato |
For a homeowner with serious allergies, Shine Interior Design Studio creates a sanctuary that doesn’t compromise on style
In west Little Rock’s Falstone neighborhood, a newly constructed home has been designed to accommodate the homeowner’s severe latex allergy, down to every detail. Natalie Biles, founding partner and lead designer of Shine Interior Design Studio, says it was a joy to work with the homeowners on “creating a home that works for them.” “Everything was very carefully chosen to be the healthiest that it could be,” Natalie says. From the materials used in the construction of the home to the interior furnishings, each choice reflects her intention to design a comfortable space where the family can feel at ease. “This was their opportunity to create a safe environment that they could really enjoy, because she spends a lot of her time at home. They just wanted a place that was a haven and also beautiful,” she says.
For Natalie, this process entailed checking fabric and foam content, paint finishes, and the makeup of materials, as some woods—such as rubberwood or banana wood—“behave as latex,” she says. Her team took this as an opportunity to get creative within the material restraints and deliver a mix of traditional style with old-world touches. “They wanted it to be relaxed and sophisticated, but have that engaging feeling of home,” Natalie says. To that end, a color palette of blues and neutrals was chosen to give the interiors a classic and calming feel. Natural wood touches throughout the home round out the cozy, approachable atmosphere.
Because they love to entertain, the homeowners also prioritized functionality and room for gathering in the design of their new space. This manifested in the kitchen—which features two large refrigerators, an island designed for serving, a wet bar, and a butler’s pantry—and in the home’s other communal spaces. “That was really the driving force behind every space: Can we seat our family in here?” Natalie says.
The kitchen opens to a casual breakfast table and an airy living room overlooking the home’s large deck, another area Natalie says was a must-have for the couple. Complete with a dining area, outdoor kitchen, and seating around a fireplace, the deck is where the homeowners can be found most evenings.
“I just love the way it’s all turned out,” Natalie says. “I feel like the space reflects them, and that’s our biggest goal—for it to be a home they feel comfortable in. They have a large family, and it’s fun to see them be able to use it and enjoy it.”
Room to Gather
For a couple who loves to entertain, Natalie says it was key to design a space that fit the whole family. Wood beams add an old-world feel to the formal dining room, while beaded chandeliers finish the space with a modern polish. “They wanted it to be dressy, but not too flashy, so these chandeliers add that elegance and interest without it being too much,” she says.
Airy & Bright
With large windows overlooking the deck, the living room brings the outdoors in and creates a cozy space for gathering. “They wanted to be able to really use their living room,” Natalie says. “That was their biggest request: for it to be beautiful but still a place where, at the end of the day, they could actually sit and hang out.” (Wall color is “Alabaster” by Sherwin-Williams.)
Tree Top Views
The homeowners wanted to use their outdoor area as a secondary living space, and Natalie says her team treated it as they would an interior room. “They invested in their outdoor furnishings to ensure they were really comfortable,” the designer says. “It is outdoor-grade furniture, but it is the quality of their living room furniture.”
To give the entry visual interest and purpose, a deep blue-gray shade and distressed finish was used for a wall of built-in cabinetry. This custom feature provides ample storage and keeps the hallway clutter-free.
“They wanted it to be relaxed and sophisticated, but have that engaging feeling of home.”
—Natalie Biles, designer
Warm & Welcoming
Both homeowners love to cook, so the kitchen was designed with this passion in mind. Complete with two panel-covered fridges, an under-counter freezer, an open island designed for serving, and a wet bar (below), the room’s cool and calming color palette is warmed by wood beams and other natural touches. Over the sink, the fabric seen on a Roman shade was one of the starting points of the design. “You’ll see everything finds its connection with that,” Natalie says. A large-scale take on a classic subway tile brings interest to the backsplash.
Display & Hide Away
The homeowners wanted a place to display and store their glassware and dishes that also “kept everything clean and organized,” and this butler’s pantry was the perfect opportunity, Natalie says. An arabesque backsplash adds polish while a butcher block countertop and shelf connect the room aesthetically to the adjoining kitchen.
The homeowner conveyed she “did not want a boring laundry room,” so Natalie and her team paired traditional subway tile with an intricate patterned floor tile to create a fresh space with farmhouse favorites, including the wicker baskets and retro metal sink. The same gray-blue hue seen on the hallway built-ins near the entry is repeated on the cabinetry here for continuity. (“Grays Harbor” by Sherwin-Williams)
In addition to their more immediate needs, the owners also designed the home for long-term accessibility. The primary suite’s spa-like bath features a zero-entry shower and a luxurious bathtub flanked by a Delta chrome towel bar that functions as a grab-bar. “They wanted some flexibility. The design can be beautiful, but it can also be accessible and provide for aging in place,” Natalie says.
Architect Josh Newton, AIA, Josh Newton Designs Contractor Mark Shepard, Shepard Home Builders Interior Design Natalie Biles, ASID, IIDA and Stacey Breezeel, ASID, LEED-AP, Shine Interior Design Studio Accessories, Art, Bedding, Fabrics, Furniture, Mirrors, and Rugs Shine Interior Design Studio Appliances Metro Appliances Cabinetry and Hardware Sneed Custom Cabinetry Countertops Pacific Shores Stone Fireplace Royal Doors Fixtures Greg Dyer Plumbing Flooring BPI North Little Rock Glass Jones Glass Lighting GW Lighting & Home and Shine Interior Design Studio Paint Sherwin-Williams Painting (decorative) AF Decorative Tile Acme Brick, Tile & Stone and Daltile Wallpaper Designer Effects Window coverings Joyful Custom Sewing and Mr. Blinds