Date: February 18, 2020 | Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Lauren Cerrato |
With dedicated zones for cooking, dining, swimming, and relaxing, this central Arkansas backyard maximizes the homeowners’ downtime
Nestled in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains along Lake Maumelle sits a contemporary farmhouse with a backyard retreat built with one thing in mind: the view. “The views here are spectacular, and the owners wanted to capture the dramatic landscape down to the lake and across to the rolling hills,” says interior designer Kim Brockinton of Kim Brockinton Interiors. Working with contractor Bill Parkinson and waterscape designer and landscape architect Jason Brownlee, Kim was able to help her clients, who are also longtime friends, create a space where both they and their two children could entertain friends throughout much of the year.
“It was an out-of-the-box, What can we do with this space? commitment to maximize views and make the most of the family’s time while they are at home,” Bill adds. After initial ideas and plans, Jason was consulted to take the project to the next level with a 360-degree vanishing-edge pool along with custom water and fire features. The result is an outdoor space with wide appeal and numerous amenities, not to mention a hangout the neighborhood kids don’t want to leave.
Kim notes the owners are particularly fond of spending evenings with friends in the setting. “You’ll hear water splashing with kids in and out of the pool, live music or the outdoor sound system alternating between adults’ and kids’ favorites, and you’ll find hot dogs and steaks grilling or a pizza in the oven,” she says. “It’s quite the scene, and when everyone retires, the couple can enjoy a nightcap on the swing outside the master suite.”
Sleek loungers are a comfortable way to soak up sun while staying cool in the water.
“It was important to pay homage to the majesty of this view by having people glance on the pool but then really look further to the nature scene beyond,” says waterscape designer and landscape architect Jason Brownlee. “When you’re here, you are in the sky, so we wanted the pool to mirror the sky. On a nice, clear day, it reflects the clouds and then when the sun goes down, you see the reflection of the stars in the water.”
Off the master bedroom, a daybed-style porch swing and two classic rockers give the couple a place to enjoy morning coffee or unwind at the end of the day.
Dine Al Fresco
French doors lead from the interior dining room to the veranda, which has a dining table for eight as well as a conversation area with a swing and rockers. Underfoot, concrete planks in a weathered gray finish give the appearance of wood, while walnut-stained pine planks line the ceiling.
It was an out-of-the-box, What can we do with this space? commitment to maximize views and make the most of the family’s time while they are at home.”
—Bill Parkinson, contractor
Near the railing, a pair of Adirondack chairs and matching ottomans provides a closer look at the lake and mountains beyond. “This is a classic southern American home with New England and coastal influences. You are in central Arkansas, but you could just as well be on the Virginia shore or in the Carolina mountains; it’s a spectacular setting,” Kim says.
Steps from the veranda, the owners and their guests can curl up on a cozy sectional with a good book by the fire pit. Adjacent to the lounge area is a dining table with room for eight to enjoy the chef’s fare from the nearby grill. In addition to all the amenities of a full-service outdoor kitchen, the space also has a pizza oven and a television so everyone can keep up with the game, even when the steaks need to be tended. Earth Designs laid Pennsylvania Bluestone pavers to cover the space, creating a seamless transition from one area to another. Fountain jets and 3-D glass tiles provide visual interest and a soothing sound at the water’s edge.
Contractor Bill Parkinson, Parkinson Building Group Interior design Kim Brockinton, Kim Brockinton Interiors Pool design Jason Brownlee, J. Brownlee Design Accessories, fabrics, furniture, and lighting Kim Brockinton Interiors Flooring Antique Brick & Block Hardscaping Earth Designs