Alex Larzelere’s family has worked with interior designer Debi Davis of D&D Design in Little Rock on many projects throughout the years, and when Alex purchased his condominium in the 300 Third Tower in downtown Little Rock, he enlisted her design expertise. “This is the first time I’ve been able to work with Debi directly, and it was wonderful since I was already so comfortable with her,” he says. “I love living downtown because it allows me to walk everywhere, and when there’s a concert close by, you can hear it from my balcony.”
When Debi began the project, the condo was in the finishing-out stage. “She was instrumental in choosing the finishes and colors,” Alex says. “It kept the entire look consistent from beginning to end.” For Debi, the overall goal of creating a clean-lined and contemporary space was exciting. “Many people know me for French country or more Old-World looks, but I don’t ever want to constrain my designs. We also shied away from any fads,” she says. “He’s a young man, and we wanted a sophisticated but comfortable look that would not become dated. We kept the colors light so as not to overpower the wonderful view he has.” From the paint colors to the fabrics and custom silk rugs from Hadidi Oriental Rug Company in Little Rock, beautiful and welcoming textures and hues intertwine throughout the space.
For the furnishings, Debi and Alex worked closely with the team at Cobblestone & Vine in Little Rock to order a well-edited collection of furniture. “Alex had an overall style of furniture in mind, and the only piece that we held over from his previous home was a Chinese bed that we used as the coffee table,” Debi says. “It was so wonderful working with him because he has great taste and presented us with thousands of inspiring photographs.”
Artwork, from wall hangings to free-form sculptures, also played a vital role in bringing Alex’s condo to life, and Debi even created some pieces herself. “I came across a wonderful stone statue in New York and cast several molds of it and aged them,” she says. “Then we fastened them on a huge piece of wood and hung it in the mirrored entryway. It’s dramatic like stone, but as light as paper. We always try to make a lot of creative items for our unique clients. We never want to duplicate anything because each client’s home should be about them. Working with great craftsmen and professionals makes this possible.”
Interior design: Julie Wait Designs, RogersWhen Julie Wait Fryauf, ASID, and her team at Julie Wait Designs in Rogers began working on this home for a newlywed couple, they already had a considerable amount of experience working with the groom and his family, but they were anticipating helping the couple find their own unique style. “Since this was to be their first home together, we understood they didn’t have a set lifestyle,” Julie says. The newly constructed home in Springdale includes an open floor plan, allowing the living areas to flow together, including the tailored dining room. In fact, the china that the couple received as wedding gifts provided an element of inspiration for the home’s design. “It was the only thing I was sure about!” the bride says. The chandelier’s silvery finish and the traditionally inspired furnishings are combined with subtle texture and pattern on the wallpaper, rug and fabrics for the ideal blend of youthful and classic styles.…
We may only think about gardening when the weather is warm and the sun is bright, but keeping up with seasonal changes in your outdoor areas will promote healthy and vibrant plantings. We spoke with Kristi Wright of Eminent Terrain in North Little Rock, and she created a month-by-month gardening guide to ensure a well-planned and maintained landscape.
Recycle your live Christmas trees and plant them in your garden.
Plan a spring garden or sign up for a spring garden seminar.
Look for new varieties of seeds in garden catalogs.
Keep an eye on houseplants for pests.
Keep your bird feeders full.
Prune back roses and transplant shrubs before they leaf out.
Check for weeds in your beds.
Edge your flowerbeds with a one-inch trench to prevent sod from creeping in.
Make labels for new plants.
Plant spring annuals and top off mulch.
Stake perennials before they become too tall.
Fertilize trees, shrubs and perennials.
Prune spring flowering shrubs that have finished blooming.
Cut back yellowing foliage from bulbs
Spray roses with fungicide. You can make your own fungicide by mixing 1 to 2 teaspoons of baking soda with two to three drops of dish soap in a one-half gallon of water.
Pick up a container of ladybugs at your local nursery and add them to your garden to fight insects. Be sure not to spray pesticides!
Fertilize heavy blooming shrubs once a month until frost.
Deadhead spring bulbs that have faded.
Supplement water in containers and baskets.
Harvest fruits and vegetables regularly.
Deeply water beds and sod every few days to promote root development, as opposed to lightly watering every day.
Cut back dried plant tips and spent blooms to promote healthy new growth.
Remove dead potted plants, if disease free, and chop up to add to compost pile. They will biodegrade and provide rich soil for next spring.
Cut back overgrown trees and shrubs.
Plant fall annuals and bulbs for next spring.
Top off mulch.
Winterize sprinkler system and disconnect water hoses to prevent freezing.
Store clay pots in your garage.
Clean gardening tools and store.
Decorate for Christmas!
Carefully knock any snow or ice off shrubs and ornamental trees.
After four years of working together, homeowners Elise and Raye Mitchell and interior designer Christopher Todd Hall are quite a cohesive team. “The Mitchell family is one of the busiest families I have ever met,” he says. “My goal for their overall home was a place of comfort, practicality and organization.” When it came time for Christmas, the Mitchells again enlisted Christopher for the holiday design. “I worked on every aspect from the placement of the Christmas village and trees to the ornaments and accessories. For their outdoor spaces, I recommended Daniel Keeley of DK Design in Fayetteville. He and I had worked together on a previous Christmas installation, and I knew he could make the outdoor spaces really come alive.”
The structure of the home affords a Tuscan flair, and Elise wanted the furnishings and decorations to continue this feel with an updated, modern twist. “I used deep colors throughout the home, and I used modern and minimal prints,” Christopher says. For the holiday design, Christopher and Daniel continued the home’s color scheme and feel, focusing on lots of fresh greenery and arrangements to provide great texture and shape without distracting patterns or colors. “We incorporated natural influences,” Daniel says. “Lots of branches, berries and greenery.” Christopher continues, “The downstairs of the home keeps with the Old-World design, while the upstairs, including the kids’ rooms, is a bit more hip, youthful and fun.”
The family’s large Christmas tree greets visitors in the living room, and thanks to the home’s open floor plan, its glow can be seen from several of the living spaces. Christopher wrapped the staircase with greenery and created groupings of oversized ornaments, botanicals, feathers and ribbon as focal points. “Christopher and I worked together to help bring natural elements inside,” Daniel says. Following the staircase upward, guests find the Mitchells’ Christmas village collection, uniquely placed opposite the banister for optimum viewing. Blending together the family’s special items with beautiful greenery and elegant accents created the ideal holiday atmosphere for the Mitchells, inside and out.
When she began creating the holiday décor for a relative’s river cabin, Jo Buttram, a certified Arkansas master florist and owner of Shirley’s Flowers in Rogers needed to look no further than the home’s beautiful setting on the White River for inspiration. Designed and built by Michael Johnson of MCR Enterprises, the wood and stone cabin is constructed of hand-hewn white cedar siding and custom beams. “The best spot is really in the living room, which has enormous walls of windows, so you can enjoy views of the river and countless deer and birds,” Jo says.
Planned as a getaway from the world, the home was also designed to be as maintenance free and ecologically responsible as possible. From the use of sustainable materials to a geo-thermal heating and cooling system, every effort was taken to ensure that the home would impact its wooded setting as little as possible.
Nature takes a leading role in the holiday decorations as well, which are crafted of fresh greenery and flowers, including a live tree outside adorned with honey and birdseed ornaments and topped with a bird feeder. Inside, this gentleman’s retreat required decorations that were rich and textural in tones that still bear the touch of autumn. “I wanted the color scheme to be warm and cozy with a masculine feel,” Jo says. “We used dark chocolate browns and accented them with gold, orange and deep red.”
To make the most of the open floor plan, she continued this color scheme throughout most of the home’s public spaces. Swags on the rough-hewn wooden staircase blend beautifully with the trees in the living and dining rooms and the fireplace mantel. Fresh greenery is accented with natural pinecones and feathers along with ornaments and silk greenery in muted metallic tones.
Adding a whimsical, lighthearted touch was essential, however, so Jo created floral sculptures in a variety of shapes, including wrapped packages, snowmen and fish. Displayed on the coffee table, the fish are made of button mums, hypericum berries and sunset safari leucodendron and are a nod to both the trout that populate the waters of the White River and the stained-glass fish on the cabin’s front door, which was custom designed by her husband Randy Buttram.
In the dining room, Jo took a more formal approach, while still utilizing the same color scheme and natural materials. The table is dressed in orange and brown with a decorative iron tree dressed in gold glass ornaments and fresh orchids in the center. She even added a Western touch by filling cowboy boot-shaped mugs with individual flower arrangements at each place setting.
Since the cabin was completed last Thanksgiving, it’s been the setting of many new memories for Jo and her family, made even more special by the stunning décor. “The whole scene just makes you smile,” she says.
Wes and Keri Morris wanted to build a new home on their hilltop acreage that would both fit their family’s lifestyle and afford timeless design elements that mixed their personalities. They interviewed several architects before meeting Albert Skiles of Albert Skiles Architect in Fayetteville. “We visited Albert’s home, and it was almost exactly what we wanted,” Keri says. “His style fit so well with ours that we knew it was a good match.” Albert took a lot of time getting to know the Morrises, including their eight-year-old twins, Matthew and Megan, before sketching the home’s plans. “We walked him through our old home, and he asked what we liked and what we didn’t,” Keri says. “We then spent a lot of time touring the new property, looking at tree lines, views and possible home sites. One day we were coming through the clearing, and Albert said, ‘This is it! This is where the home should sit.’ Of course he was right, because it afforded us the ideal views and use of the space.”
Albert found his inspiration for the home from Keri’s idea of a modern plan with glass walls and open, uncluttered spaces, and Wes’ desire for a more rustic style with exposed wood and stone. “The final design is difficult to classify, although it draws its inspiration from the Prairie School and Arts and Crafts homes of the 1920s and 1930s,” Albert says. “It’s a unique blend of both contemporary and traditional elements that respect both the owners’ wishes and the nature of the site.”
Inside, geothermal radiant-heat stained-concrete floors provide a consistent element throughout, and Keri even helped design the scoring pattern. “Unlike air systems, with radiant heat, the temperature at the ceiling is nearly the same as at the floor,” Albert says. “You can comfortably walk barefoot anywhere in the home.” The Main Street-style floor plan allows for a wide, open hallway running the length of the home, connecting all the public spaces and dividing the children’s areas from the master suite. “Matthew and Megan each have their own rooms, and they have a study/play area,” Keri says. “It’s nice because the central hallway allows for their rooms to be on one side and ours on the other.” The living areas boast panoramic views thanks to floor-to-ceiling and corner-to-corner windows. “We decided to lower the swimming pool five feet below the sightline of the living areas so it doesn’t interrupt the views,” Albert says. “My favorite aspect of the home is that the Morris family enjoys it. As soon as they moved in, they said it was a perfect fit for their land and their lifestyle, and it really felt like home. That’s the best compliment for me.”
Native Arkansans, Carol and Bill Eaton had been living in Vicksburg, Mississippi, for the last 12 years for Bill’s job. Approaching retirement, Bill and Carol were open to the idea of moving back to Arkansas, and when a chance trip brought Carol through Fayetteville, she stumbled upon their new home. “I drove by this house with one of our daughters while passing through town,” Carol says. “It was actually the Fourth of July, but we managed to get the real estate agent to show it to us that day. It was perfect! I called Bill from the driveway, and we bought it.”
Mark Zweig had recently remodeled the 3,500-square-foot home and named it Sweet Lafayette. “I’ve been remodeling homes since 1985 and working in the Fayetteville area since 2004,” he says. “I focus on pre-World War II homes located near the center of town and the university. I actually like to work on homes that are in very poor condition because it justifies gutting them to the studs and fixing every aspect that has either been done badly in the past or has simply deteriorated.” Mark always uses natural elements, including Western red cedar siding shingles, natural stone, antique brick, wooden-frame windows and soffits, and oil-based paints. “I don’t like vinyl, aluminum or faux products,” he says. “I find they make a house look like a caricature of something real.”
The Eatons’ Craftsman-style cottage also holds many significant historical aspects. An earlier renovation to the home utilized materials from the Arkansas House, which was the Arkansas pavilion at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. It was disassembled for sale to the public, and the materials were marked with sequential lot numbers, which are still visible on the limestone pillars and column bases in the home’s landscaping. The fireplace and all the window and door trim medallions and a large portion of the baseboards and crown moulding are also from the Arkansas House. The front staircase, glass on the front door and most of the raised panel and the oak flooring in the kitchen were all salvaged from the demolition of the Padock Mansion, which was located near Fayetteville’s downtown square.
Honoring these historic materials and the original bones, Mark set about to re-create this one-of-a-kind home. “We stripped all the asbestos shingles and redid the exterior with cedar shingles in several different patterns and stain colors,” he says. “We opened up the second floor and changed it from a three-bedroom one-bath space to a two-bedroom two-bath level, and enlarged the doorways downstairs and brought back the original woodwork style throughout. We rebuilt the front and rear porches and maximized the kitchen with side-by-side stoves for a total of ten burners and a custom-made 60-inch commercial range hood.” Mark and his team also expanded the laundry room to what he calls a laundromat, featuring two front-load washers and dryers and dark brown marble floors. “We had a blast with this house,” he says. “We were able to build and incorporate all of our ideas.”
Though he’s now one of Little Rock’s top builders, Richard Harp began his career by building a 1,500-square-foot home in Fayetteville and organizing his receipts in a shoebox. “When my mom heard that, she offered to start entering invoices into Quickbooks!” he says. Despite his low-tech beginnings, the experience gave him a strong background in every aspect of home building, from the ground up, and after relocating to Little Rock, he launched his own business, Richard Harp Homes. Today, his work ranges from remodels to custom-designed homes, and he prides himself in being an expert in using energy-efficient building technologies, computer-based project management and home automation.
When Richard and his wife Brandy began thinking about building a new home for their family, including daughter Isabella and son Nicholas, the Bella Rosa Estates neighborhood was a natural choice, because Richard and his business partners had just begun developing it. “We enjoy the lot size and relative seclusion, yet we really have quick access to the major Little Rock corridors,” Brandy says. In addition, Richard, who is a certified graduate builder and a certified green professional with the National Association of Homebuilders, wanted to make the home as energy-efficient as possible, eventually earning designation as an Energy Star Partner.
Around the same time, interior designer Tobi Fairley of Tobi Fairley Interior Design began exploring the possibilities of a professional partnership with Richard. “I knew Brandy and Richard from Junior League events, and I invited him into my office to see our design process,” Tobi says. Immediately impressed, Richard asked her to meet with Brandy to discuss the design of their personal home. “The timing was perfect to form a partnership,” says Richard. The trio began an incredibly rewarding collaboration on the space. “I kept the structural and utilitarian interests in mind, and Brandy and Tobi ensured the spaces were matched with the correct fabrics, colors and furniture. So, as a team we built the house together,” he says.
Throughout the home, French-inspired design was a major influence. “The home was certainly inspired by French country design but executed in a simple way,” Tobi says. “The interiors are not overly accessorized, which gives it a very updated and fresh feel and allows the architectural elements to stand out.” A European color palette of blues, yellows and creams is a unifying element, from the floral and toile fabrics inside to the stone and stucco exterior and gray-blue roof. The hand-scraped hardwood floors, Rumsford-style fireplace with cast-stone surround and wrought-iron, travertine and granite finishes were all carefully chosen to create an overall atmosphere of relaxed elegance. Large windows allow beautiful views and copious natural sunlight. “We used traversing drapery on all the windows so that they could maintain the views and have total control over the amount of light in the space throughout the day and into the evenings,” says Tobi.
While creating a cohesive look for the home was essential to the Harps, it was also necessary that the home meet their needs as a family and have an open floor plan for entertaining. The master bedroom and children’s bedrooms are on the first floor, making it easy for Richard to check in on the kids from his home office, while the evenings find the family congregating in the open hearth room and kitchen. The master bedroom, however, was designed as a private retreat for Brandy and Richard, including a sitting area, stunning master bath and a second laundry facility. “The monochromatic color palette in the master suite is so serene and relaxing,” Tobi says. In fact, the finishes throughout the home are perfect for a busy family, thanks to their slightly rough-hewn nature. “Even though the influence is somewhat formal, the finishes are distressed and casual which cover a multitude of ‘sins’ when it comes to wear and tear from the kids,” she continues.
For Tobi and the Harps, the finished collaboration is far more rewarding than anything they could have created singly. Whether for family time, business or entertaining, the home is an ideal environment and a testament to all of their talents. “Richard made my job easier because his great knowledge of product and the building process helped translate my design ideas into structural elements,” says Tobi.
Architect Lynn Fitzpatrick, clinical associate professor at the School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, and her husband Joseph O’Connell drew on years of travel and architectural influences when designing their northwest Arkansas house. “I was very interested in traditional Adirondack camps, which were inspired by Japanese architecture and craft,” Lynn says. “I also looked to the Shakers for their restraint and emphasis on functional invention, and I was drawn to Native American longhouses for their adaptation to climate and site conditions.” Their nearly eight acres of wooded property offered mature trees, spectacular views and lots of privacy, and each of these aspects was respected and taken into account in their design.
The exterior of the home offers a juxtaposition of materials from wall made of stacked local fieldstone and Douglas fir piers to Hardiplank, cedar and Miratech panelized siding. The connection between the inside and the outside was important to Lynn, and there are many outdoor living spaces from which to enjoy nature. “I really enjoy all of the outdoor areas,” Lynn says. “The master bedrooms open onto a screened-in sleeping porch, and there’s a covered porch off the guest bedroom. This is very typical of Adirondack camps and lodges.” The timber construction is also consistent on the interior and exterior. “This creates a clear order and rhythm that extends the entire length of the house, and it’s continued in the proportions and structure of the decks, porches and courtyard,” she says.
Lynn chose the home’s color palette based on Shaker natural dyes. “I used warmer tones on the south side of the interior where the sunlight is direct and cooler tones on the north side where there’s mostly indirect light,” she says. “I wanted to use warm, natural materials in a modern way with clean lines and open interconnected spaces.” Throughout the home, bookshelves, screens, cabinetry and windows act as walls, allowing natural light to flow freely, and furthering the open floor plan.
The home centers on the large stacked-stone fireplace, which offers an interior and exterior hearth. “The glass walls and doors of the living and dining areas open onto a Brazilian walnut deck and stone terrace with courtyard,” Lynn says. “The inside is really an extension of the outside and vice versa.” Joseph and Lynn find they spend a lot of their time cooking in the kitchen, snuggling with their two Harlequin great danes and three kittens in front of the fireplace and admiring the views from their many decks. “This is the first house that Joe and I have ever owned,” Lynn says. “While moving around and pursuing graduate degrees and careers has been fun and fruitful, nothing feels as good as arriving home.”