Home: Outdoor Living at Its Best


This month our Home features are dedicated to dining in the great outdoors. We are happy to showcase the outdoor dining and living areas of two Little Rock homes, one designed by the professionals at Inside Effects/Outside Effects, the other handcrafted by the homeowner.

Photography by Janet Warlick



Expansive Entertaining

Our first space is actually two, one a screened-in porch and the other is a deck complete with top-of-the-line outdoor appliances.

The owners of this home use the two spaces year round — even last year when there was 6 inches of snow on the ground! The deck existed when they purchased the home; however, the area that houses their cook area was once home to a bench.

To create the ideal outdoor kitchen, they called upon the skills of Dustin Pitonyak, general manager of Inside Effects/Outside Effects. The company is family owned and operated.

When meeting with clients, Pitonyak said, they discuss the customers’ needs. “We want to know the type of components they want, as well as the look, because there are a myriad of options … sinks, faucets, wine chillers and more. We can design a space as small as you like or as elaborate as you like.”

These homeowners also love to cook and wanted both a smoker and a gas grill. So Pitonyak and team removed the bench and fabricated a concrete and natural stone wall. “One thing that sets our company apart is that we use concrete and steel reinforcements when building, so it’s enduring,” he said. “We pay super attention to detail and make sure it’s done right.”


The wall is constructed of natural Arkansas stone; the color is “southern pecan,” selected in part because its tone is a beautiful contrast to the granite. Inside Effects/Outside Effects has a large showroom, complete with large slabs of granite and samples of the stone.

“This allows homeowners to match materials without having to make trips to separate locations,” Pitonyak said. “We are a one-stop shop for everything they need for the interior and exterior of their homes.” Among the wide array of selections are a number of designer lines featured on HGTV, including flooring; tiles for countertops, floors and backsplashes; and sinks and faucets. “We are the only store in Arkansas to carry them,” he said.

The owners love to smoke food, such as pork shoulders, chicken and corn, so a Big Green Egg Grill was a must. They leave the corn in the husk to roast, which is the lady of the house’s preference. This Lynx 36-inch stainless steel gas grill has a rotisserie and Prosear 2 Burner, so the owners can “… get that steakhouse sear on steaks. It heats to more than 1,000 degrees and makes a nice crust. It makes good seared tuna as well.”

They also have a Lynx Power Burner, perfect for frying fish, chicken and turkey, and for seafood boils. “Last Christmas, we served two turkeys, one fried and the other smoked,” the homeowners said.

Pitonyak explained, “We decided to use granite for the counters as it’s the most durable stone. Man-made materials deteriorate horribly in the sunlight, and stain as well.”

The homeowners wanted ample seating as they entertain a lot: “We wanted it to feel like we were sitting in the living room — outside.”

This screened-in porch is a part of the outdoor living space as well. The homeowners love to sit there when it rains — “It’s one of the most beautiful things” — and it’s a favorite place to read, especially in the spring and fall.


Lovely Lair  

This west Little Rock home is tucked off of one the city’s busiest thoroughfares. It’s the 1-acre, residential hideaway of Andria and Keithen Nelson.

The Nelsons own Razorbuck Masonry, a business Keithen founded 23 years ago. The company has completed “tens of thousands of projects in [central Arkansas], especially in Pleasant Valley and Chenal,” building waterfalls, retaining walls, outdoor fireplaces and fire pits, mailboxes, brick and rock bars, patios, walkways, driveways, fences, houses and much more.

Keithen Nelson is a third-generation mason; however, he decided to branch out into a more decorative direction. “I’m more of an artist. I wanted to do something a bit harder, something creative and challenging — that’s how I got into this aspect of the business. It’s the same thing, just working with a different material,” he said.

Front and Center  

He also added a unique fire pit. “The top is one solid stone, custom built into a donut. The foundation is drystack flagstone,” he said. It’s gas and has fireproof glass stones that are Razorback red and white. They become black as they heat and revert to their original color as they cool.


Shady Seating

The Nelsons purchased their home, and Keithen replaced the front columns, as well as a number of columns within the home, with brick. The patio consists of brick and rock and took about three months to complete. This is one of three entertainment areas; the others include a dining area with seating for four and a living area surrounding the fire pit. In this area, Nelson has built two benches, complete with planters, and a boulder positioned for organic seating.


Serious Chef

Of course, just as with most craftsman, he’s added on over the years. The last project was the smoker. “It’s 5 feet tall, 24 inches wide and 30 inches deep and has four sliding racks. You can smoke two small hogs or four pork butts and up to 30 slabs of ribs at a time,” Nelson said.

The Nelsons’ curved bar includes a double sink, and glass bricks add an unexpected accent. The top is fabricated of three pieces of stone.


Place settings, pillows, cushions and umbrella
Ken Rash’s Outdoor Furniture
11220 N. Rodney Parham Road, Suite 14
Little Rock, AR
(501) 663-1818

Pumpkins, plants, planters, wreath, flowers and lantern
The Good Earth Garden Center
15601 Cantrell Road
Little Rock, AR
(501) 868-4666

Razorbuck Masonry
Keithen Nelson
(501) 519-0372

Inside Effects/Outside Effects
5050 Northshore Lane
North Little Rock, AR 72118
(501) 954-8866
and outsideeffects.com

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