A local builder puts a one-of-a-kind twist on modern design in his downtown Bentonville home
By Becky Gosnell
Photos by Beth Hall
For local builder Mark Melton, completing the build of his home in downtown Bentonville was a uniquely satisfying moment. Not only because he could move in and focus on other projects, but also because, for him, it represented that the downtown area had once again become a desirable destination – just as it had been 30 to 40 years ago.
Mark grew up in Bentonville and has been building homes in the area for more than 20 years. Being in the construction industry, he was able to see past what many other residents may have missed. “Those of us in the building industry, and several other growth-conscious industries, could see that this growth was coming years before property was being purchased and buildings and homes were actually being built,” Mark says. “I could see the future of downtown Bentonville and was pretty excited about it. It means that our community is thriving, as it should be – it’s a great area.”
With a more diverse and globally traveled population moving into the area in recent years, Mark wanted to be sure to design a home with aesthetics that appealed to this new community of residents. “As trends change, we try to stay ahead of the game. I do this by traveling, researching trends in larger markets and thinking outside the box. The goal for this home was to be different and to create something we haven’t really seen a lot of in Northwest Arkansas – but not too different, it’s a thoughtful balance,” Mark says. “This was built to be my personal home, so I was mostly concerned with my preferences, but you always think about resale in your particular area.”
The 4,060-square-foot home is built on a lot that is standard in size for a traditional neighborhood, “but it’s a special find in walking distance to any downtown area,” Mark says. “This isn’t your skinny little home on a tight lot. The property allowed for a bigger, nicer home, and I wanted to use it well. Knowing that as this area continues to develop there will be more and more walking traffic, I included a lot of glass on the front of the house, and there are no blinds. It’s very clean and open, and I like the fact that I can share a hint of the interior view with those passing by.”
As much as Mark enjoys engaging the community via the home’s front exterior, he says it was important to him to make the back a more private retreat. “The garage is on the back of the home and accessed by an alley which, I guess you could say, allows for less public coming and going – and that’s nice after a busy day,” he laughs. “Plus, the backyard space is like an oasis, especially in the summer with the pool and outdoor kitchen area.”
Though Mark has built modern-style houses before, he says that for this home he really tried to step away from the expected – a process that takes “time, effort, knowledge and lots of research.” In order to make sure he had ample time to focus on the design and build for the home as well as his other projects, he enlisted local interior designer Lynne Jackson to assist with details such as selecting tile, carpet and various furnishings. “I hadn’t worked with an interior designer before, and I found out what a huge benefit it was to me,” Mark says. “Lynne quickly knew my taste, and having her help was such a great time-saver.”
To reflect Mark’s personal style, for furnishings Lynne balanced the home’s modern aesthetics with warm texture and masculine touches. “The living area is a great example of this,” she says. “It showcases comfortable furniture combined with interesting movement shown in the wool rug. A large teak root cocktail table is also in keeping with the sleek fireplace and floating shelves. Three primary fabrics on the plush sofa pillows feature complementary patterns for a contemporary edge.”
Sophisticated black granite waterfalls to the floor on two sides of the kitchen’s center island, creating a striking visual, andwhite glass tile and gray grout extend to the ceiling on the backsplash wall. “It was important to choose the best combination of materials in order to balance the large communal space that includes the kitchen, dining area and living room,” Lynne explains.
Such as when creating a piece of artwork, Mark says that getting to a successful final product takes patience, dedicated research and adherence to the necessary steps, no matter how small. “I like a perfect build, so whether it’s for me or a client, tending to the details makes the difference in the final outcome.”
As pleased as Mark is with the design and function of his home, he is possibly more pleased with — and excited about — its location. “I really don’t think a lot of people have any idea what is going to happen to downtown Bentonville,” he says. “It’s a game-changer – a new community is being created and that’s exciting.”
HOME PROS USED
Builder: Mark Melton, Blake Melton, Melton Construction Inc.
Interior Designer: Lynne Jackson, Decorating Den Interiors
Lynne recently received two design awards for her work on Mark’s kitchen and living room. “Decorating Den Interiors’ annual Dream Room Design contest boasts over 300 entries from designers and decorators across North America,” she says. “I was delighted to learn that Mark’s kitchen and living room were among the winners.” The winning room designs will go on to be selected by national magazines such as Better Homes & Gardens, Elle Décor, Traditional Homeand Verandafor additional publication.