Date: November 1, 2023 | Story: Eileen Beard | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Stephanie Maxwell Newton |
K + H Collaborative turns an impersonal kitchen in Fayetteville into a bold new hangout
After Tracy Cate and her husband bought a condo in Fayetteville to use when in town for Razorback games and visiting friends and family, they tapped Krista Crouch and Heidi Burks of K + H Collaborative to redesign the cookie-cutter kitchen into something special. “Their Little Rock home is very traditional. It’s an all-white kitchen with classic touches,” Krista says. “So this time around, she wanted something bold and fun.”
Besides the existing kitchen lacking in style, it was also not the most efficient in terms of layout. “It was super closed off because there was a half wall where the peninsula is now,” Heidi says. Working with contractor Clark Trucks of Modern Ozarks, they took down the wall separating the kitchen and dining areas to open up the space visually and functionally. This allowed them to relocate the refrigerator to the main kitchen wall and flood the space with natural light, making their dark color scheme possible.
Aesthetically, a black zellige backsplash tile was the jumping off point. “Even though it’s really dark, the high gloss still reflects a ton of light,” Krista says. The designers chose Shaker-style cabinets for dimension, taking them all the way to the ceiling for a more elevated look. They also swapped stainless steel appliances for matte black ones and specified quartz countertops and brass hardware for durable yet sophisticated style.
Initially, the owners wanted to get rid of the low, narrow window along the back wall, but it turned out not to be structurally possible. “So we were like, you know what, let’s just do open shelving above it and make that a feature,” Krista says. Here, the owners’ collection of colorful dishes and accessories add personality to the dark and moody mix.
“When you walk up the steps now, your eyes are automatically drawn to that kitchen, which is so bold,” Heidi says. “What’s so neat about our client is that she trusted us, and now she’s super happy with how it all came out.”
A colorful abstract by Little Rock artist Buddy Whitlock brightens the now-connected kitchen and dining areas. The cabinetry is painted “Iron Ore” by Sherwin-Williams.
“We had this idea in mind of dark and moody, like a lounge vibe—just a fun place for friends to gather.”
—Krista Crouch, designer
The gooseneck shape of Kohler’s “Tone” faucet adds a more traditional curve to some of the harsher lines in the space, and its brass finish is in keeping with the room’s warm metals. Its high arch also makes it easy to fill pitchers or large cooking vessels when hosting a crowd.
“Usually with hardware you just have the knob itself, but the back plate on these makes them a little more unique and gives them more dimension,” Krista says of the handles chosen for the cabinet doors. A bar-style pull on the drawers coordinates without feeling
Back in Black
Krista and Heidi chose ceramic zellige tiles in a glossy, glazed black for a contemporary feel that also has texture and a bit of shine. “Subway tile has been so overdone, and Tracy wanted something to feel a little bit more modern and further away from her traditional kitchen at home,” Krista says.
From the start, the designers knew they wanted to use quartz on the countertops for its variety and durability. They were on the hunt for something bright—but not boring—when they stumbled on the winner. “It looks like a piece of art with that watercolor swirl,” Krista says.
Contractor Clark Trucks, Modern Ozarks Interior design Heidi Burks and Krista Crouch, K + H Collaborative Accessories Bear Hill Interiors, Cobblestone & Vine, and Freckled Hen Home Appliances Metro Appliances & More Art Buddy Whitlock Countertops Roca Fixtures and hardware K + H Collaborative Flooring and tile Tom January Flooring Paint Sherwin-Williams