Date: July 1, 2022 | Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek |
Taking cues from its surroundings, designer Kevin Walsh brings energy and charm to a Hot Springs vacation home
Like so many people, Kevin Walsh’s clients began dreaming of a getaway when the pandemic hit. Wanting to be near friends in Hot Springs, they found an ideal retreat on the shores of Lake Hamilton and immediately brought the designer in to orchestrate a refresh of the home’s main spaces. “We wanted to give the house a new lease on life,” Kevin says.
Having worked with the clients on their primary home, the designer knew they leaned traditional in terms of style and would want a similar feel here. “She came to me with the idea of using blue and white, something very classic but with a twist since it is a lake house,” he says. With minimal updates needed, including fresh paint, new lighting, and a dose of character to suit their personalities, Kevin fast-tracked the project, installing just 6 months after the purchase date. “They were eager to be in but they also wanted to get the design right,” he says.
To accomplish the calm yet elevated style, cues were taken from the natural surroundings. “The blues and greens you see outside blend in with the interiors rather than distract from one another,” Kevin explains. The palette flows throughout, linking the rooms while taking on different interpretations through pattern and variation in shades. “The foundation is traditional but all the rooms have their own flavor,” he says.
With two bedrooms, two baths, and ample gathering spaces on the ground floor as well as two additional suites upstairs, the home has plenty of room to host weekend houseguests or entertain for an evening, both of which the couple enjoy. Taking the lake into consideration as the property’s major draw, Kevin accounted for wet swimsuits and low-maintenance upkeep with performance fabrics on the sofa and banquette, rattan chairs in the casual dining area, and indoor/outdoor rugs in several spaces. Using new upholstered pieces alongside antiques creates an aesthetic that appears more curated, as well. To this point, many of the accessories act as agents of character. “I’m a big thrifter, so there are a lot of baskets, pottery pieces, and doodads I mixed in throughout the house to make it feel very personal,” Kevin says.
In the entry, a series of framed botanicals and chairs upholstered in a preppy striped fabric complement an antique rug and Empire chest. “These pieces create a nice moment when you come in the door and really clue you in as to what the rest of the house is about,” Kevin says. The lamp seen on the chest is custom made from a blue and white urn. An upholstered settee leads into the adjoining dining room.
Ready for Guests
While the breakfast nook is the preferred spot for quick meals, the dining room stands at the ready to host more pulled-together soirées. Kevin notes the hand-printed look of the patterned wallpaper “adds personality without being distracting,” while an indoor/outdoor rug and fabric panels on the interior of an antique cabinet soften the room’s formality.
“We wanted to give the house a new lease on life.”
—Kevin Walsh, designer
Framed prints of fish are an understated nod to the home’s lakeside setting, while the grasscloth coffee table and bamboo chair keep the feel casual.
Point of View
“The living room is all about the view, so I wanted to maximize it,” Kevin says. Roman shades were traded for blue-and-white patterned curtains that open easily to fully reveal the windows and lake beyond. “When you open the drapes, it’s almost like being in a treehouse,” Kevin says. A French chair with a cerused finish is covered in a performance fabric velvet that is both an elevated and durable choice for a vacation home.
The breakfast area overlooking the water is the most-frequented dining spot with a banquette that allows many to gather in the cozy nook. “The chairs have the look and feel of bistro ones but the back is a little lacy, making them a little more girly—and my client is a girly girl, so that’s fun,” Kevin says. They are paired with a wicker tulip table and maritime-inspired pendant, another subtle nod to the home’s waterfront setting.
In the primary bedroom, a Colefax and Fowler wallpaper mimics the home’s treetop setting while also adding to the design’s timeless appeal. “The wallpaper is super traditional but the block-print quilted bedding and the Swedish-style armoire bring everything down a notch,” Kevin says. Works by Little Rock artist Zac Woodiel hang over the bedside chests.
“The foundation is traditional but all the rooms have their own flavor.”
—Kevin Walsh, designer
Interior design Kevin Walsh, Bear Hill Interiors Accessories, Art, Fabrics, Furniture, and Lighting Bear Hill Interiors Bedding Bear Hill Interiors and Mountjoy’s Custom Draperies Carpet and Rugs C&F Flooring and Rug Gallery Paint Sherwin-Williams Painting Melvin Gonzalez Window Coverings Mountjoy’s Custom Draperies