Ever wonder what it’s like to build a house from the ground up? As the owner of J. Lawrence Design, Jill Lawrence has had the opportunity to walk-through the process with numerous clients. Now it’s her turn, and she’s giving us an exclusive behind-the-scenes look here on the At Home in Arkansas blog. Follow along as we chronicle each stage before the big reveal in our October 2022 issue.
At Home in Arkansas: While you’ve been building your new home, you’ve been sharing some of the behind-the-scenes info with us on materials, space planning, and organization. Before the big reveal in our October issue, we wanted to give readers a glimpse at one of the most dramatic decorative designs in your home—a large-scale mural in your kitchen and dining space. What inspired you to go big with this kind of feature?
Jill Lawrence: Our entire kitchen/dining/living space was designed with a hotel bar lobby as the inspiration, and some of the great hotel lobby bars have fabulous murals. They anchor the space. For example, I’m thinking of Bemelmans in the Carlyle in New York City. I knew from the beginning I wanted this entire wall to make a statement with a mural, I just didn’t know quite what I wanted it to be. In fact, I was so certain I wanted a mural that we didn’t take the cabinets to the ceilings because I didn’t want to divide it; I wanted it to be continuous.
AHIA: Did you have an artist in mind to create this?
JL: I have a friend who is an artist in New York, and we were originally going to hire him to come and do it for us. It was going to be based off of his style as an artist. However, when it came time for him to do it he had a lot of conflicts with gallery shows, and I just couldn’t wait that long. My backup plan all along was to use locally based AF Decorative because I knew they would do a great job.
AHIA: How did you come to the inspiration for the dogwood?
JL: I knew I wanted it to feel a little Southern and a little Asian in style. My husband’s favorite tree is the dogwood, so we ran with that. I love that it’s also a sentimental piece for him. AF Decorative translated it beautifully. Tracy’s [AF Decorative owner Tracy Rivers] idea was to start with a Venetian plaster. Her team then painted over the plaster so it has a nice sketch-like vibe to it.
AHIA: It’s such a statement piece, and so nice that it has meaning for your family as well. How are you enjoying it?
JL: I’m absolutely loving it. When you have big spaces, you have to make them more intimate to focus your attention—which is why this is so popular in bars and lobbies. Visually, it brings the wall in and creates a moment.
Want to see this house come together? Stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes pics, inspiration, and insight on our blog, and don’t miss the October issue of At Home in Arkansas that will feature the full house reveal.