Out of the Woods
At a rural farmhouse, a Dewitt family gets a lesson in turning “rustic ruckus” into “toned-down traditional”
He had one condition, and it was a weighty one: You can get any designer you want to fix it up, but it has to be this house. His wife agreed—after all, it was near their hometown of DeWitt, where the couple had lived all their lives, and it was on a gorgeous 8-acre parcel not far from the family farm. She said yes, but it wasn’t without some trepidation. For starters, there were the floors: You could see five different types of flooring from the front door alone. And then there was the wood: wooden walls, wooden doors, heavy wooden beams. And then there was all that brown.
The designer chosen, however—Chandler Bailey of Little Rock’s B Interiors—could see the forest for the trees. “When I walked in, I was overcome with, This is what it could be,” she says, recalling her first visit to the couple’s home. “I saw the things that I wanted to bring out in the house that were being hidden. The accent walls, the doors, the beams—I thought, Let’s keep them. Let’s just make them work.
There was plenty to love about the space. It had a certain grandeur, thanks to towering vaulted ceilings and an open floor plan that emptied one room into the next. And if you looked hard enough, if you were able to get past the heaviness and all the competing surfaces and textures, there was definitely a glimmer of the Pinterested inspiration photos her clients had shown her: a light-filled farmhouse with moments of rustic refinery. They just had to sweep the clutter away—clear the debris a bit, so to speak.
To do this, Chandler had to minimize the palette, and public enemy No. 1 was the hodgepodge of flooring. Laminate, brick, hardwood, carpet, more laminate, more carpet—these had to go. The brick in the entryway was extended into the living room and the kitchen so they’d read as one cohesive space. Then virtually every wall and every ceiling—as well as the heavy wooden cabinetry in the kitchen—got a fresh coat of white paint, brightening the space and highlighting the vaulted ceilings. Almost magically, the wooden accent walls started to feel intentional rather than excessive, as did the beams and warm-toned doors, and the entirety of the first floor became open and airy.
“Before,” Chandler says, flipping through photos over a cup of coffee, “they tried to make it like the living room was its own space, and the entry was its own space, and the kitchen was its own space—but really, they were all connected to one another. You can still define spaces, but you can do it with furniture, with art, with a rug. There are other ways to do it besides the main elements.”
And in looking at the before pictures, comparing them to the new, it seems almost elemental. Sometimes, to get the home of your dreams, all it takes is a fresh set of eyes.
In the dining room, the walls got a dose of Sherwin-Williams’ Window Pane to coordinate with the Phillip Jeffries grasscloth on the ceiling. Conway’s Claflin Cabinets created a custom hutch to show off the homeowners’ china collection.
The kitchen’s existing cabinets were refinished in Sherwin-Williams’ Westhighland White, and a custom bar cabinet by Claflin Cabinets was installed for more entertaining space in the breakfast nook. Nearby, the clients’ chairs were coated in navy lacquer, paired with a banquette by Hickory Chair.
Custom paintings by local artist Ashley Saer hang in a place of honor above an Oly Studios console. Pops of the clients’ favorite color—blue—turn up in accessories and finishings, like the Romo Group fabric covering the Lee Industries club chairs.
To create the “spa-like” feel her clients were after in the master, Chandler covered the walls in Sherwin-Williams’ Mountain Air, painting over the existing exposed brick wall. The only other changes were the furnishings, like a Serena and Lily bed and an antique rug from North Carolina’s Eliko Rugs.
For the clients’ college-aged daughter, a bathroom was expanded to create a home-away-from-home suite painted in Sherwin-Williams’ Lady Slipper. In the bathroom, a Bungalow 5 Mirror hangs between sconces by Visual Comfort; in the bedroom, custom curtains by Mountjoy Drapery dress up West Elm bedside tables and lamps.