Date: July 1, 2022 | Story: Stephanie Maxwell Newton | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Stephanie Maxwell Newton |
Amy Baker Designs maximizes the potential—and personality—of a family home on Lake Hamilton
With five children between them and a love of entertaining, Miki and Bryan Hiller knew they would need to find someplace special when they started looking for a waterfront home in Hot Springs. “We wanted a really great view and deep water, but also somewhere quiet enough that I wouldn’t have to worry about the kids swimming and boats coming by,” Miki says. When this house in a quiet cove came on the market, they didn’t care what it looked like—they jumped at the opportunity for their dream location on the lake.Recognizing the residence would need a major overhaul, the Hillers brought in Rusty Rogers of Rogers Construction to help transform its outdated floor plan into something better suited to their family and style. The improvements included bumping out one wall to allow for a larger kitchen as well as an open floor plan that’s conducive for both school nights and social gatherings. For help finishing out the interiors, a mutual friend connected Miki with Hot Springs designer Amy Baker, who also lives full-time on the lake. “They’re a younger, kind of hip family, and we ended up hitting it off because we’re in similar places in life,” Amy says.
When designing the interiors, Amy was tasked with combining Bryan’s love for all things contemporary with Miki’s more transitional style. She started with a simple black-and-white palette and sprinkled in wood tones and glam accents throughout to add warmth and character. “There’s been a black-and-white craze, and with this house being traditional in shape, we could make modern selections without it being stark and cold,” the designer says, noting elements such as the primary bath’s white oak cabinetry bring a subtle softness. “My personal style is more of a rustic modern, so I love a touch of wood to warm things up.”
With children spanning ages 9 to 14 and three dogs, practicality was also top of mind throughout the process. To this end, wood-look tile flooring provides a durable base upstairs. “There’s so much water coming in this house that tile seemed to make sense, but I wanted it to look like wood,” Miki says. Additionally, the children needed a casual hang-out spot where everyone could bring a friend or two. The solution took the form of a bunk room downstairs; with two sets of four queen beds, there’s enough space to accommodate 16 during sleepovers. The result is a place where the whole family feels at home while being able to fully enjoy the setting—wet bathing suits and all.
Because Miki and Bryan love to entertain, a nook near the front door was the perfect place to situate a bar. Here, white cabinetry and streamlined hardware carry over from the nearby kitchen while the space takes on a style of its own with black leathered countertops and a glimmering backsplash. The entry, which can be seen to the right of the bar, is wrapped in wooden slats and LED lights—a creative solution to the area’s low ceilings that wound up being a point of interest as soon as you step foot in the home.
The home’s minimal palette makes a bold statement in the living room, where the all-black fireplace also helps disguise the TV. The paint treatment was chosen with forward thinking in mind: “If they ever get tired of the black, they can easily lay a product, like white stone, on top of it,” Amy says. A comfortable sectional and blue swivel chairs provide a cozy gathering spot that can accommodate the whole family, while X benches are easy to move around to create conversation zones.
Paint Color “Tricorn Black” by Sherwin-Williams
When thinking about the home’s remodel, one of Miki’s highest priorities was maintaining the view of the lake. Therefore, she selected commercial-style windows and doors to provide unobstructed views while also playing into the industrial slant of the home’s modern style. A round, whitewashed table has plenty of space for the family of seven as well as guests. “When we have parties, this is always where we end up at the end of the night,” Miki says.
Paint Color “Pure White” by Sherwin-Williams
Form Meets Function
In the kitchen, Amy used the same black color seen on the fireplace on the island and range hood for continuity. Cowhide barstools and “White Pearl” quartzite countertops speak to the home’s natural setting while balancing the stark color palette. In lieu of a backsplash tile, Royal Granite & Quartz carried coordinating slabs up the wall. “I wanted a lot of stone in there, and they did a great job matching the veining,” Miki says. Overhead, glass pendants further the room’s sophisticated feel while keeping the space open and airy.
Stainless steel appliances from GE’s Café collection balance the warmer tones of the lighting and hardware. A pantry beside the refrigerator provides additional storage as well as a sink and dishwasher, so it’s extra easy to keep the kitchen counters uncluttered.
“The plan was to keep it sleek and simple, and artistic in a way.”
—Amy Baker, designer
A Calming Nature
With a grasscloth accent wall, tailored draperies, and an upholstered bed, the couple’s bedroom has the softer feel Miki craved for their suite. “I told her, this room is an ode to you,” Amy says. “The blue grasscloth just felt like the lake. It’s natural and makes you think of water, which is calm and relaxing,” she adds. Shimmering thread runs through the decorative trim on the curtains, which Amy says is another nod to Miki’s tendency toward a touch of glam.
A picture window offering a view of the lake is a favorite feature in the bathroom. Whereas the black-and-white palette throughout the rest of the house could be softened with furnishings, Amy used white oak cabinetry to play this role in the bathroom. “When we picked this out it seemed very California,” Miki says. “I had never pictured doing wood this color, but I’m so glad we did.” Globe-shaped sconces over the vanities mimic the bubble-like fixture over the tub, and porcelain tile flooring in a concrete color continues the home’s modern feel.
“My personal style is more of a rustic modern, so I love a touch of wood to warm things up.”
—Amy Baker, designer
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