Date: December 1, 2022 | Story: Tate Gunnerson | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Steph Smith |
A Heights family home receives an artful renovation at the hands of designer Lauren Blair and layers of seasonal décor by Tanarah Luxe Floral
Good design takes time, as interior designer Lauren Blair knows all too well. The Little Rock native worked for top-tier New York design firms for a decade before launching her own business, Lauren Phillips Blair Interior Design, and relocating back to her home state. So when these clients contacted her about taking on a remodel of their beloved Heights residence, she was deliberate about getting it right. “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” she says. “When you take your time and things evolve, you get a better end product.”
During the project, Lauren worked with architect Joe Johnson and design professional Nikki Hastings to relocate and enlarge the kitchen, move the dining room, and eliminate walls to create a more gracious flow throughout the home. The updated space is an elegant setting for new furnishings and a vibrant art collection, all suitable for the home’s surroundings as well as the family of six. “It all works together to make a relaxed, happy home,” the homeowner says of the result. “It’s comfortable and fun.”
While efforts were made to ensure the renovation stayed in keeping with the home’s traditional bones, Lauren was free to play off her clients’ love of art when selecting fabrics and accents. For example, in the foyer, new millwork suits the home’s time period, while a trio of contemporary art pieces keeps it feeling fresh. In the family room, a Kelly Wearstler pattern modernizes the classic design. “Fabrics add a little extra punch of color and energy,” Lauren says.
The home’s updated interiors make it the perfect setting for family gatherings, especially during the holidays when the homeowners call on Tanarah Luxe Floral to decorate the home, indoors and out. “They have been so kind and fun to work with,” the homeowner says of her relationship with Tanarah’s team. “They get as excited about this as I do!” While they leave much of the Christmas décor to the professionals, the family enjoys the tradition of decorating the trees themselves while reminiscing, sipping hot chocolate, and enjoying the fun, comfortable feel of their refreshed home. “It has a good overall aura, and I’m so thrilled that they’re pleased,” Lauren says. “This house is filled with a lot of lighthearted family love.”
A textural grasscloth wallcovering by Thibaut fosters a cozy environment for the family’s annual Christmas Eve dinner. Here, an overscale gilded iron chandelier from Visual Comfort hangs above a traditional wooden dining table while an energetic flamestitch fabric by Aerin Lauder for Lee Jofa brings personality to the painted chairs.
SET THE TABLE
The homeowner’s fine china, a 50th anniversary gift from her grandfather to her grandmother, is paired with the silver she received from her parents as a wedding present to create a sentimental place setting. “I was named after my grandmother, so the china is special to me,” she says. A collection of mercury glass Christmas trees collected over the years completes the tablescape.
DRESSED FOR SUCCESS
A patterned wallcovering by Brunschwig & Fils and an antique Turkish rug—one the designer found on the website 1stDibs—enliven the utilitarian mudroom, which is outfitted with lockers that keep clutter out of sight. “The wallcovering adds a pop of interest,” Lauren says. “It’s like getting dressed; you need to have the right accessories.”
The spacious kitchen is outfitted with floor-to-ceiling cabinetry complemented by marble countertops and a coordinating backsplash, which uses cut marble to mimic classic subway tile. Metal pendants in a bronze finish provide an industrial slant and contrast to the all-white room, and bistro-style barstools provide a spot for casual meals and homework while meals are prepped. “The kitchen is the heartbeat of the household, and it works really well for their family,” Lauren says.
On the stairs in the foyer, a neutral, patterned runner combines style with durability—a must for a family with four children. Preppy tartan ribbons and sprigs of faux holly tie the stairwell’s Christmas décor to the front door.
SIT & STAY AWHILE
Tufted slipper chairs by Billy Baldwin Studio paired with a light blue sofa create a stylish spot to enjoy the fireplace in the formal living room. “The chairs are tailored but comfortable and easy to sit on,” Lauren says. The mantel is decked with a combination of fresh and faux greenery as well as luxurious velvet ribbons by Tanarah Luxe Floral. A colorful abstract by South Carolina’s Page Jones Davis hangs above the fireplace.
“Your art showcases who you are.”
A beamed tongue-in-groove ceiling treatment was added to the cozy family room during the home’s renovation. Here, a jute rug anchors a pair of matching custom sofas and slipper chairs covered in Kelly Wearstler’s teal “Graffito” fabric. Over the fireplace, a wreath and garland continue the home’s holly jolly atmosphere while paperwhites on the coffee table are a more subtle nod to the season.
Interior design Lauren Blair, Lauren Phillips Blair Interior Design Christmas design Tanarah Luxe Floral Accessories Bear Hill Interiors Fabrics, lighting, and wallpaper Lauren Phillips Blair Interior Design Mirrors Cobblestone & Vine Rugs C&F Flooring and Rug Gallery Paint Sherwin-Williams