Eye for Design

I first met Dr. Jeff Holt when I sold him my old house. They moved back to their hometown, so Jeff could join his father’s optometry practice. They loved my interior so much they hired me to design their new (my former) home once they moved in!

Once settled, Dr. Holt was ready to reinvent the look of the clinic. He called me to help with Phase One, which was renovating their optical department. To learn more about Holt Eye Clinic, and to see additional views of the newly renovated optical department, visit their website (under “Eyewear Gallery”).

With Phase One completed, we moved to Phase Two, which consisted of the waiting area, beverage bar, public restrooms, and cataract waiting room. I love how the finished project proves commercial space can be bright and fun….and unexpected!

In my completely biased opinion, these are some of the best before and afters…. The waiting area was completely transformed from dark wood and mismatched furnishings:

To this:

As the main waiting area, we wanted people to instantly feel welcome and refreshed. Painting the walls and brick white opened the space. Keeping the trim a medium gray added a nice contrast to the walls and provided a more structured feel.

We kept the furniture light and modern as well. The couches and chairs are from Evo Business Environments, and the coffee table is from Jill White Designs. The carpet by J & J Flooring Group provided a little color, and the pattern added some movement to the design.

Okay, a crowning jewel of this reno has to be the letter stools in the main waiting area. I was inspired by similar seating I’d seen at market in 2015. I filed them away in the recesses of my brain and knew they’d be the perfect fit for Holt. (Don’t you agree?) They were designed by ME and perfectly built by Troy Turner with Turner Custom Millwork.

Holt_waiting w stools
“After” photos in this post courtesy @3wirephotography.

The “O” is an upholstered storage ottoman from Evo. It mimics the “O” in the Holt logo. The remaining letters are custom made woodwork. Making the stools even cooler, they are constructed of 110-year-old oak and cypress reclaimed from an old general store/post office in South Arkansas. They are finished with a clear satin poly.

We also redesigned the beverage/media area. Here is the space before:

Fun, right? I knew the area needed to be modernized and lighted up (in every sense). Here is the end result:

Yep, it’s the same space! The addition of the beverage bar helped add a little extra hospitality for patients. The use of aqua added a calming element. The cabinetry and countertops in the beverage bar and the restrooms are glossy white plastic laminate by Wilsonart. The beverage bar wall tiles are glossy white tiles made of PVC (another fun market find)! We added some greenery and some gold accents to make the space more inviting.

We also updated the cataract waiting area in the back of the clinic:

I love the addition of the lamps and the modern coffee table. The lamps and accent pillows are from Target, the tables from Jill White Designs, the sofa from Evo, and the white chairs from Wayfair Trade. The colorful abstract is by Lauren Meredith Art.

The restrooms also needed an overhaul, and I was happy to oblige. Here is the before and after of the ladies’ room:

We added simple but modern touches. How about that wallpaper, which is courtesy @eykondesign. (And “hello” from the mirror again!)

And now for the men’s room:

Incredible, right?

I loved working on this project, and Holt Eye Clinic was an amazing client. I love knowing their patients are enjoying a happy, open building! Don’t be afraid to approach commercial design with a fresh perspective. Adding unexpected textures, colors, and finishes can make all the difference in the completed project.



Bachelor Pad (Sans Neon Sign)

What comes to mind when you hear “bachelor pad,” or worse, “man cave?” Neon beer signs? Grandma’s discarded couch? Mini fridge? The Barker condo was a new one for me as a bachelor pad. Though, as you’ll soon see, there’s not a stolen road sign in sight.

The condo, located in Little Rock’s Lafayette Building downtown, was transformed from the drab usual to the modern and unexpected.

I loved envisioning the space in its entirety. The redesign encompassed the complete condo. The client wanted a functional design with a modern feel, so my work definitely complemented his vision, though he also pretty much gave me free reign. Here is the living room before:

And here is the same living space, transformed completely to be bright and open:

The wall color is MY FAVORITE WALL COLOR OF ALL WALL COLORS, Restoration Hardware, Right White. Furniture includes the client’s existing sofa. All other pieces are from my former favorite store, now closed, SOHO Modern in Little Rock. Other pieces are from West Elm and the former IO Metro.

The entry may be my favorite area in the condo. The wall sconce is by @one_forty_three. The mirror, breakfast pendant light, table, and chairs are from none other than @jillwhitedesigns.

Look closely (below) at the wood bench with metal base, the coat rack, and the banquette bench. They are all custom pieces designed by yours truly and built by @troyt88b. They are made from refurbished wood given to my client from a historic building right behind the Lafayette! What a score!!

Photo credit for entire post: @ml.baxley.

One of my favorite things about this bachelor pad was the guitar wall. My client loves music, so we wanted to incorporate that in the design. My goal was for him to be able to appreciate it and be inspired by it daily, so his awesome guitar collection HAD to be on display. I found the hooks from @one_forty_three. Check it out:

guitar wall

I love adding fun, unique concepts in small places. The colorful rug by @furbishstudio adds the perfect pop of color against the wood flooring by C&F Flooring.

Now for a major transformation. Here’s the kitchen before:


Now see the “afters” below. We updated the kitchen cabinets, which are Sherwin Williams Gauntlet Gray. They play perfectly against the quartz countertops and the 3×6 white subway backsplash tile, also from C&F. The chairs are from SOHO. The fabulous, bright kitchen rug was purchased from @furbishstudio.

Now for the bedrooms. First, the master and guest bedrooms before:

Now the SAME bedrooms after:

Above left is the master bedroom. We added the bed from Blu Dot and rug from West Elm. The wall color is the same throughout the condo. Art is by the owner’s son and @violethilldesign.

The guest bedroom is on the right. The owner wanted to maximize sleeping space for guests, so we found the perfect solution with a sleeper sofa and trundle bed from West Elm. The furniture can easily be configured to accommodate up to four guests. The artwork is photography by my client that we had deconstructed, enlarged, and placed inside glass frames with standoffs from @aceglasslr.

And another spectacular update in the master bathroom….here is the before (pay no attention to the man behind the curtain girl in the mirror):


Below reveals the after. The master bath stays with the condo’s theme of streamlined neutrals. I incorporated a wall hanging from @bellavitajewelry. The cabinet color is also Sherwin Williams Gauntlet Grey, and the linear mirror courtesy @aceglasslr.



Again with the wall color. The tile flooring is from C&F Flooring and rug from Rug Gallery, Little Rock. We continued the bathroom’s face-lift by updating the plumbing fixtures, having the cabinets refaced and painted, and adding new hardware. The contractor for this project was Tony Martin of Little Rock.

See, not your stereotypical man cave at all! To see all the before and after goodness, search #lafayettebachpad on my Instagram.



Eas(le)y Going Client

Renovations are so. Much. Fun. Especially with amazing clients. The Easley family wanted to update their family/play room and laundry room. The previous owners added this space to the home, and the Easleys hired me to make the rooms more reflective of their family of five’s aesthetics. This project allowed me to work with lots of patterns and colors.

I love the finished family room:

Easley_living room
Photo credit for this entire post, @ml.baxley.

The cabinets and walls are….drumroll please….white! Shocked, I know. I used two of my favorite tried-and-true colors in this space; all wall, trim, and cabinetry are Sherwin Williams Snowbound. The perforated metal is Sherwin Williams Dorian Gray. The neutral white really set the stage for the interesting pops of color in the space.

The reading nook provides the perfect setting for the family to enjoy a book together. The fabric is by @kellywearstler and @cynthiaeastfabricstore, and the wallpaper is courtesy @Thibaut_1886, all fabricated by @calliebullock and @designereffectslr. The watercolor-inspired rug is from @rugs_direct and is just what we needed to add a punch of color with the maple wood flooring.

Here are a few more views:

The family room is the perfect combination of modern and comfortable. Don’t you want to chill on that couch? The couch, chairs, and accent table are from @cantrellfurniture.

Nothing makes me happier than seeing kids love their spaces. Below is the desk space where the Easley girls do homework and fun art projects. The wall sconce is from @schoolhouse, and the chairs hail from @jillwhitedesigns.


Ahhhh, and I leave you with the unexpected….the laundry room. This isn’t just any old laundry space; it is gorgeous (oxymoron, I know):


If this laundry room doesn’t want to make you do laundry, nothing will. The tile flooring is 4×12 Retroactive in pure white by @crossvilleinc. The backsplash pattern is Circulos Grey II from @cementtileshop.

Because the sixth family member also needed personal space, check out the dog’s special area in the laundry. We also added perforated metal cabinets from @mcnicholsco for additional storage. The patterns and colors mesh perfectly throughout this fun room.

To see more on this project, including the before pics, visit my Insta or search #jwdeasleyreno.




The Waters

I was hired as the designer for the revamp of the Thompson Hotel, which is located at 340 Central Avenue in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The job called for working collaboratively with the  architects, who also happen to be the owners and my former bosses, Anthony Taylor and Bob Kempkes of Taylor Kempkes Architects, PA. Robert Zunick is a third owner.

When working with different points of view and opinions, it helps to be somewhat flexible….while still being heard. In fact, The Waters, as it became, was aptly named. As the old Bruce Lee quote says:

“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.

Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”

This is the perfect way to approach any group effort: Flow, don’t crash! Listen, yet be heard. Fortunately for me, we had a mostly unified vision for the hotel, and the end result was nothing short of fantastic. The only battles I lost here were my fight to the death for a lush velvet sofa and abstract artwork. You can’t win them all! Here is the entry and the lobby/foyer area:

The concept was to be understated and modern, yet elegant. We wanted to preserve the interior and highlight the natural beauty of this amazing, historic building while at the same time remaining mindful that we are in the present and want guests to think progressively. With white walls throughout and the original marble as the floor covering, we had a backdrop to add fun touches of color with the furnishings. The lighting added a modern edge, and the natural light from the windows brightened the entire area.

The guest rooms were especially fun to design. Here are some examples of the king rooms:

White bedding and comfortable pillows provide an inviting, comfortable place for guest to lay their heads. The white theme continues with the shades. We added a bench seating at the foot of the bed in gray, which plays off the tones in the flooring. Where it was feasible, we restored the original wood flooring in these particular rooms. It was cleaned, re-installed (as needed), re-finished, and re-stained. We chose carpet for the other rooms. It is from J+J Invision in Cameo/Atticus. The art and storage space remain simple.

We added a sliding barn door to the bathroom, in keeping with the low-key functionality of the room. The idea was to help guests transition from the restored corridors (which have all original molding, flooring, and stair railing) and lead them into the modern rooms. Adding to the yin-and-yang, while the rooms retained their original wood molding that was refinished and re-stained to its original color and the bathroom vanities have repurposed marble countertops from the building, we designed the furniture to have a modern feel with a natural maple finish, glass, floating elements, and an open wardrobe concept.

Here is an example of the queen room:


Along with the new, modern touches, we incorporated some original elements of the hotel:

Waters_hall lighting

While the lighting and other features are updated, the original flooring worked well with the new, so it stayed! Mixing the old with the new and unexpected is a great way to create something unique and visually interesting.

Working on The Waters was a fun experience. I encourage you to visit the hotel if you’re in town. Have dinner or a drink at The Avenue….better yet, enjoy a weekend getaway!



Forest Modern

Few things get my creative self as excited as a client who gives carte blanche. This is as rare as a four-leaf clover, especially when building a home from the ground up. Well, it happened courtesy lovely Hot Springs Village resident, Joi Burton.

This client relocated to Hot Springs Village from the Dallas suburbs. She was an absolute dream in every way. She trusted my judgement as far as structure, material planning, and interior palette. Her only stipulation was that I incorporate her love of Native American art. She was not in a hurry, and she was laid-back the entire time. See? Dream client.

Her fantastic lot lent itself to our vision, which was a modern structure using natural elements and incorporating tons of light. The finished home is still one of my favorites to date. Here is the front:

Burton_front exterior
All photos in this post courtesy @jeffrosinbaum.

And the back:

I mean, that lot…am I right? The exterior is cedar and rock. Floor to ceiling windows adorn the entire back side of the home, which overlooks a wooded area. The client enjoys the view from her living area daily. A cat lover, she even incorporated what we refer to as the “catio,” an area for relaxing of both the human and feline nature.

On the left you see the living space, which utilizes many of the same nature-inspired elements of the home’s exterior. A sliding wood panel obstructs the television from view when the homeowner entertains (or just doesn’t want to see it). To the right is the aforementioned catio.

Just off the living area is the kitchen, which includes lots of cabinet space and hidden storage. The counter top is quartz. The amazing light fixture is from @maxim_et2lighting. The porcelain flooring is courtesy @floridatile in Carbon Natural.

The master bed and bath are in keeping with the home’s theme and features open space, tall windows, and white, white, white!

I highly recommend working with as many easygoing clients as you can find! We had so much fun working on her home, and I am happy to report she, and her cats, spend many relaxing days in their space.

The moral of this story: Contemporary architecture and interior are my favorites. If you are looking for a designer who knows and loves modern, look no further than @jillwhitedesigns! (Call me or comment below.)



She Designed a Life She Loved

Look no further than a designer’s own residence to determine if they may be a good fit for your home or commercial project. Sure, any formally trained designer worth their salt can work in any given genre, including me of course. But to learn who you are working with, start by checking out the space in which they choose to live.

I built my home from the ground up in 2014. Like always, I had definite ideas about what I wanted. I love the juxtaposition of the light, painted brick and the darker trim:

Surprising to nobody, planning the interior was a dream. I knew I wanted an open, airy space that could act as a blank canvas. I often think of my work as just that: a canvas waiting to be transformed. With white walls and trim throughout, I could start filling in the blanks with furnishings and art.

The main living space is among my favorite areas in the house, and it is where we truly live. Here are some examples:

The lighting is completely me in every way. If you’ve spent more than a hot minute on my Insta, you know I’m all about the black and white. My wall and trim color is Restoration Hardware Right White. It was all over when I saw this fixture from @straydogdesigns. I also chose relatively neutral tones for most of the furniture in this area, which is from @demaderatradingco and @dwellstudio with pillows from @anthropologie and @willaskyehome.

All of this black and white provides the perfect backdrop for fantastic artwork. This area of my home includes work by my daughter, Stella; @dotdesignRBO; @haddenspotts_art_by_hadden; and @violethilldesign.

The main living areas above are open to the dining area, kitchen, and entryway as well:

The island counter top is made of quartz. The perimeter counter top is leathered and is Absolute Black granite. We love that we have tons of storage without looking like we have tons of storage in the kitchen. There are always many ways to keep a kitchen beautiful while optimizing its functionality.

There, just across from the dining room, is my home office:This, friends, is where the magic happens. (And sometimes “magic” means My Little Pony coloring books.) I love being surrounded by light and by things I love, so I made sure to have lots of both in my work space. And on the subject of ponies, my precious daughter’s room was SO MUCH FUN (and continues to be as she grows):

All photos in this post courtesy @ml.baxley

That light fixture look familiar (in the mirror)? Yep, it is a mini version of the larger one in my living area. Hey, if you like something, you like it. I made sure to give Stella plenty of place space and lots of fun color to match her colorful personality.

Though the tour could continue, I will leave you with the unexpected: closet space. Yep, functional, utilitarian closet space.

Okay, so maybe not so much functional as fun on the left. My daughter’s closet includes a playhouse with extra storage and a cool bookshelf. She loves bringing her friends to her indoor loft. Our closet, on the right, is spacious and functional, with built-in storage to minimize the furniture needed in the bedroom.

I could do this all day, but you get the idea (and this won’t be the last you see of my personal home on here). Until next time!