Date: May 3, 2022 | Story: Stephanie Maxwell Newton | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Steph Smith |
Designer Whitney Romanoff personalizes a previous renovation to create her family’s West Coast-inspired abode
During her years living in Washington, D.C., and later Oakland, California, Whitney Romanoff had occasionally considered moving back to her home state of Arkansas—one day, maybe. However, the start of the pandemic in 2020 provided a shift in perspective, and she, her husband, Stephen, and their daughter, Sofia, put down roots in Fayetteville earlier than expected.
The family of three spent several months searching for a home that would suit their needs. “We were both working from home with a toddler, and we needed something we could move into quickly but also put our stamp on,” she says. They found what they were looking for in this recently renovated house, with its balance of open and contained living spaces and abundance of windows. The seller, Ben Shipley, also turned out to be the man behind the remodel.
When Ben bought the fixer-upper, it had all the hallmarks of its 1966 construction, including a sunken living room, small windows, and a narrow kitchen. He adjusted the layout for modern living by raising the foundation to one level, allocating square footage from a nearby bathroom to enlarge the kitchen, and improving the flow from the interiors to the backyard—while also adding 1,300 square feet and keeping the character of the original structure intact. “Especially in remodels, you have to work in the existing layout of the home while keeping in mind how to use the space the best,” Ben says.
“If you’re going to gut and remodel, it has to flow well.” Whitney and Stephen appreciated that Ben had paid attention to the home’s functionality and made thoughtful material selections, such as marble waterfall countertops on the kitchen island. “He had done so much hard work, and it was crazy what he did to improve the flow and create a way more spacious home that felt brand new,” Whitney says. They could also imagine the ways easy cosmetic changes—namely paint, lighting, a new backsplash, and furnishings— would make the house their own. “We wanted to embrace what he had done and build on it,” the designer says. “It was perfect because we could move right in, and Sofia could be comfortable and safe in a renovation we could manage.”
While the pandemic brought the opportunity to relocate, the time spent at home also reignited Whitney’s passion for interiors. After more than a decade in marketing strategy and user experience design, she made the leap to interior design with the launch of her business, Meet West Studio. The name is a nod to the couple’s time on the coasts—particularly California, a locale that continues to inspire her casual, effortless style.
During the initial renovation, Ben laid the hardwood flooring in a herringbone pattern and enlarged the kitchen by 12 feet to allow for an eat-in island. Whitney loved the Indian “Statuario” marble on the countertops so much that she found matching slabs to continue up the walls as a backsplash. She finished the space with a simplified range hood and single open shelf, tambour paneling on the island, updated lighting, and unlacquered brass hardware. Paint color: “Pure White” by Sherwin-Williams
IN GOOD SHAPE
In the dining area, a pedestal table with a fluted base was the starting point; its round shape softens the harsher angles of the seating. “We added pops of black throughout the house, and the chairs have that bold, dramatic line that balances the lighter tones, too,” Whitney says. A linear light fixture speaks to midcentury-modern influences around the home. The Romanoffs created arched openings that lead from the main living spaces to both wings of the house. “It feels more intentional,” Whitney says.
WORK IN STYLE
Stephen’s office is enveloped in a deep green hue, from the walls and ceiling to the trim and door. “You’ve got to commit, and the result is usually so much better,” Whitney says of the all-over approach to paint. The art is an abstract piece by Mr. Jago, one of Stephen’s favorite artists, and the console is from designer Sarah Sherman Samuel’s collaboration with Lulu and Georgia. Paint color: “Oakmoss” by Sherwin-Williams
“We like to balance bright, neutral spaces with something colorful and bold.”
The Romanoffs turned a living space near the primary suite into a cozy destination for sipping after-dinner drinks and listening to records. As in the office, the paint color defines the mood and makes the space feel “like a big hug,” Whitney says. A gallery wall displays pieces collected from and inspired by the couple’s travels while incorporating the frame TV into the design. Paint color: “Gentleman’s Gray” by Benjamin Moore
In the primary bedroom, Whitney and Stephen covered the walls with a limewash paint to give them a plaster-like finish and add to the room’s layered neutrals and textures. Curves in the lighting—both the funky bedside sconces and undulating piece overhead—bring movement to the space. “We thought the vaulted ceilings were just begging for a bold light fixture,” Whitney says. “I love the organic nature of the circle, and it gives it that pop of black, too.”
The Romanoffs also used one of Color Atelier’s limewash paints in the primary bath, where its dusty peach hue plays well with the tile and wood tones. A chandelier made of ceramic circles over the clawfoot tub creates an artful blend of new and old, and vintage-inspired sconces flanking modern mirrors have the same effect on the vanity.
CONTRACTOR (ORIGINAL RENOVATION) Ben Shipley, Collective Capital Partners (Dallas, TX) INTERIOR DESIGN Whitney Romanoff, Meet West Studio ACCESSORIES AND FURNITURE 410 Vintage Market and Meet West Studio APPLIANCES Metro Appliances & More ART, BEDDING, CARPET, FABRICS, HARDWARE, LIGHTING, MIRRORS, RUGS, WALLPAPER, AND WINDOW COVERINGS Meet West Studio COUNTERTOPS AND BACKSPLASH Arkansas Granite and Marble and Emcar Marble & Granite FLOORING Red Oak Flooring Co. PAINT Benjamin Moore, Color Atelier, and Sherwin-Williams PAINTING Blue Indigo and Next Level Home Improvement UPHOLSTERY Joe Ellis Upholstery