Feature: Classic Meets Contemporary


The Vaughan-Palmer home in the Spa City’s historic Quapaw district was built in 1902 by Harry Vaughan.

Photography by Janet Warlick
Styled by Christopher Koch, Arkansas Furniture and Interiors


The 5,500-square-foot home was lovingly restored by famed Hot Springs artist Linda Palmer, who purchased it in 2000. She adored the dwelling, but she decided to downsize in 2014. The current owners moved to Arkansas last year to be closer to their extended family. This family brings to the space a touch of big-city chic, carefully balancing their taste while allowing the home’s bones and historical value to shine through.

They wanted a home with character, close to Hot Springs’ walkable downtown. The couple has a youngster, who, when they purchased the Vaughan-Palmer House, was just beginning to walk, making the home’s large yard ideal. They also love that the rooms are spacious and roomy. “Linda had done all the heavy lifting on the restoration, which made it easy. The home just lends itself to having people over and entertaining.”



Living Room

(also photo at top of page)

With its angles, the house lends itself to feng shui. So Koch decided to take advantage of the fact that the homeowner had set the living room’s furnishings on an angle. To the existing pieces, he added a wool rug and repositioned this oversized ottoman and gorgeous cabinet. He also added artwork to draw the eye upward, allowing the impeccably beautiful chandelier to be highlighted.

Reading Nook

This reading nook features artwork that pays homage to Arkansas’ capitol city, Little Rock, and to the homeowners’ beloved New York City.

Dining Room Entry

These folding doors separate the main living space and the dining room and are original to the home, as is the fireplace, which can be seen in the background.


Hardware & Entry

This doorknob is just one of the pieces of hardware, all of which is original, that adds character and charm to the Vaughan-Palmer home.

Christopher Koch helped create this grand entry, the star of which is the double-sided fireplace also original to the house. A glass-topped table fills the space without commanding the eye, allowing the original wood flooring to shine through.


“This is our fun, comfortable room, the one room where we can really relax. We all like to read a lot, so the bookshelves are perfect,” the homeowner said. “We keep the bottom shelves free for our son’s toys. This is our space to [decompress].”

The artwork nestled on the wall behind the sofa is actually a framed piece of fabric by Finnish design house Marimekko. Its bright colors were the inspiration for the room’s furnishings. A small sectional with colorful throw pillows set on a navy rug conveys the purpose of this den: relaxation.


This sunroom, just left of the entry, is an intimate space that features lovely all-weather rattan furniture and pillows that echo the cool tones of the walls. An aqua rug brings warmth to the space. The leaded-glass sunburst windows frame the space, and the lower windows crank open to allow occupants to enjoy fresh air.

A Bit of History

The Vaughan-Palmer home was built in 1902 by Harry Vaughan, owner of a lumberyard, who, according to Linda Palmer, went bankrupt when putting all of his money into constructing the home. Rather than let the bank take it, a friend, Dr. Morgan F. Mount, purchased the house.

At one time, in fact, Palmer had a letter written in approximately 1914 by Mount’s daughter. In the letter, the 7 year old wrote about a fire. According to the Garland County Historical Society, the 1905 and 1913 fires basically wiped out all of downtown Hot Springs.

“In the letter, she writes about how her dad and a man who worked for him stayed on the roof the night of her birthday, keeping the wood shakes damp with just about everything they could find to keep the house from burning,” Palmer said.

The youngster also wrote about how much her family enjoyed having parties. Her father often hired a band for 50 cents per night to play music, and she and her friends, delighted by the music, danced around the home’s fireplaces.

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