Dwell: Successful Showcase


Arkansas’ first-ever Southern Living Custom Builder Program Showcase Home opened to great fanfare, and AY was proud to be a media sponsor for this project. This month, we share photographs of several of the light-filled rooms in this nearly 4,000-square-foot home.

Photography by Janet Warlick


Each year, a number of Southern Living Custom Builder Program Members bring one of the company’s hugely popular house plans to life. Arkansas’ first-ever Southern Living Custom Builder Program Showcase Home is perched atop a hill in Roland’s Waterview Estates. The home features products from some of the country’s most well-known brands and exhibits the talents of numerous building professionals, under the direction of two Southern Living Custom Builder Members: Carl Gray Henson, owner of Carl Gray Henson Construction, and Bret Franks, owner of Bret Franks Construction Inc.

We made our last pre-opening visit to the Showcase Home just as electricians, plumbers and carpenters were fine-tuning items like water temperatures, lighting and sound system installations. Henson, along with Providence Design Ltd. owners Mona Thompson and Talena Ray, were on hand — the latter two placing furniture and accessories and adding the finishing touches to already-completed spaces.

The home sits on nearly an acre of land in the River Valley section of Waterview Estates and has incredible views of the Arkansas River, the River Valley and the Ozark Mountains … a perfect setting for a showcase home.


Classic and Comfortable

The overall theme of this home is beautiful comfort. Keeping with this style, there is no formal living space, but, rather, a den that is open to the eat-in kitchen. Providence Design Ltd. furnished this room in crème- and sand-colored pieces.

Thompson and Ray provided the majority of the furniture and accessories in the Showcase Home, including this old iron table topped with reclaimed wood. It sits opposite the trio of French doors. Gold-base lamps topped with buff-tone shades and this antique painted mirror are well placed below a pair of early 19th century carved wood cherub fragments.


Welcoming and Functional

The entry sets the tone for the home, and here 19th century French documents floating in glass with gold frames give visitors a hint of the overall design. This gateleg table with drop leaves has been placed just opposite the dining room, providing easy access to create a buffet. For now, however, a quintet of blue and white temple jars and vases, along with a hand-carved, wood reproduction lamp, adorn its surface. A rug from Martinous grounds the space.


Pretty Place to Powder Your Nose

To the left of the entry and outside the study, which could be used as a bedroom, is a lovely bathroom. Its walls have been covered with tone-on-tone paper by Thibaut. The cabinetry, from Duke Cabinets, features a diamond detail. This sink is an oval undermount with a Moen Waterworks polished-nickel faucet, all of which are accentuated by pretty accessories.


Beauty in the Details

A French trestle farm table dominates the dining room. This gorgeous piece is topped with reclaimed wood and seats eight in six grey-washed cane side chairs that have loose linen cushions — the ties have been wound around the chairs’ legs — and two custom-upholstered, skirted parsons chairs.

An elegant floral arrangement by Tanarah Luxe Floral takes center stage on the table and is surrounded by candlesticks, some painted wood reproductions, others silver and bronze 19th century altar candlesticks.

Antique shutters provide an unexpected focal point in the dining room. Just below, decanters, silk florals and a fragment lamp rest on a side table.


Masterful Design

The master bedroom is awash with light as the décor doesn’t include window coverings, allowing occupants to enjoy the view and the sunlight to lend its brilliance. Just to the right of the reading nook, Thompson and Ray created a gorgeous display space. Above it is an original piece of art created by Zac Woodiel, Providence Design Ltd. store manager and design assistant, that has been placed in a 19th century frame.


Super Soaker

The master bath is a perfect complement to the adjoining bedroom. A soaker tub has been placed beneath a window, giving bathers a relaxing view. Thompson and Ray added artwork by Gino Hollander, available at The Showroom, and this Regina Andrew beaded, reproduction chandelier and custom-upholstered French bench, lending a luxurious feel to the bath and softening the room’s hard marble and nickel fixtures.


This study has the advantage of two large windows. It’s located just to the left of the entrance and across from a full bath; it can also be used as a bedroom. We love how the interior designers chose to furnish it sparingly — this allows one to see the beauty of the floors and the overall design.


Here we show the dining room from a different angle.  The French doors open to the front porch; to the left, the butler’s pantry leads to a larger pantry and the kitchen.


One of two guest bedrooms on the upper level. Designers Mona Thompson and Talena Ray, owners, Providence Design Ltd., added just the right amount of colorful accessories to accent the warm tones of the natural wood that dominates the room.


Also on the upper level, this sitting room has one of the home’s greatest views. The neutral color scheme used here brings a sense of serenity.


This beautiful bed, in the master suite, has been outfitted with luxurious linens.


The main living room is open to the eat-in kitchen. The trio of French doors on the right lead to the rear deck.


Thompson and Ray furnished the kitchen with an oversized table, skirted armchairs with nailheads and a bench … comfortable, classic and handsome.


This is a cook’s dream with beautiful open shelving, top-of-the-line appliances, quiet-close cabinets and drawers and an island with seating.


The mudroom also features a built-in desk and a window for gazing.


This den, at the upstairs entry, is a great place to relax. It’s equipped with a state-of-the-art sound system.


What can be more Southern than a porch swing? This one is located on the back deck and sits opposite a table, which is ideal for dining as well as playing board games or cards.


This cozy nook is located on the side porch of the Southern Living Custom Builder Program Showcase Home and is the pièce de résistance. The ceiling fan and fireplace make it a perfect place to sit on balmy nights and cool evenings.

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