Residents in west Little Rock’s Walton Heights-Candlewood neighborhood enjoy a number of amenities, including an incredible view of the Arkansas River and the Two Rivers Bridge. Empty nesters Ann and Keith Straughn’s home capitalizes upon this lovely setting.

Photography by Janet Warlick


Hues of white and gray provide an ideal and gorgeous backdrop for this 2,800-square-foot home. Homeowners Ann and Keith Straughn purchased the house in 1996 and, over the years, have made a number of changes. They sought out the design expertise of Kathryn LeMaster, Allied ASID, just over two years ago.

“The Straughns had started some of the updates, such as the wall colors and the purchase of a burgundy red sofa and love seat, and halted when they realized they may need a bit of help,” LeMaster said.

Like many homeowners do, the couple made selections based on the scale of the showroom in which the pieces were displayed. Once placed in their home, however — with its 8-foot-high ceilings — the pieces made the living room, which is open to the breakfast nook, feel somewhat closed-in.

LeMaster made a number of suggestions, and the result is a cozy, comfortable space with both a simple elegance and open feel.

Bring in the Color

LeMaster suggested replacing the love seat with a pair of swivel chairs in “oyster” to open the space physically and visually. Playing off the color of the sofa, they chose a cheerful fabric incorporating the gray of the walls and the vibrancy of the couch. White ceilings, crown molding and a matching mantle provide not just continuity but also a crispness to each of the rooms on this level. To round it out, LeMaster added modern touches like these side tables, in addition to lamps and other accessories displayed on the custom-built shelves.


Clean and Cheerful

LeMaster’s role in the kitchen was mostly decorative because the Straughns already had completed the primary changes to the room. She helped create flow from the living room to the breakfast nook and kitchen by styling Ann’s cookbooks and by organizing display pieces and china. Ann had a number of white pieces, so LeMaster added more to capitalize on the tuxedo look of the existing elements when set against the black cabinets. And while Ann doesn’t care much for yellow, she loves the cheer added through the addition of yellow flowers and cacti, a platter, fruit and towels.




Balancing Act

LeMaster worked with the Straughn’s existing furniture but changed the wall covering, commissioned a custom piece of artwork, and replaced the chandelier — from one made of brass to one that is white lacquer and overscaled. Custom drapes bring in shades of blue and aqua. Angelfish Studios repainted the chairs, the mirror and the frames of several pieces of art the couple owned.

“We added faux wainscoting to an existing chair rail by having a finishing carpenter add trim pieces,” she said. “We then painted it white. This was cost-savvy — they didn’t want to spend a lot of money as they didn’t eat in here very often, but it was a bit of an eyesore so they wanted to change it. And it breaks up the navy so the room doesn’t feel dark,” while still creating drama, she added.



Easy Elegance

Through purposeful selection of the bed coverings and a large area rug, the navy and grey color scheme continues into the master, which is just off of the main living area. LeMaster brought in additional color with throw pillows, and she injected a bit of glamour with an oversized mirror, silver and glass lamps, silver frames, candlesticks and vases. A door to the deck makes it quite convenient for the couple to jump into their hot tub.





A Scenic Sitting Space

The Straughns’ outdoor living “room” has several areas, all with wrought iron furnishings: a covered dining space and two conversation areas, one with a fire pit and seating for five and another with a pair of chaise lounges. Brightly hued ceramic drums — which can be used as tables or stools — an outdoor rug, accessories and flowers add color and whimsy.