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LIVING SPACES

Colorful Creations

A Fayetteville homeowner finds peace and calm in her colorful, collected home

By Becky Gosnell

Photos by Beth Hall

Interior design styles come and go, and then, years later, many of those styles return – only to fade once again. Though the progression of change doesn’t move as rapidly as, say, technology upgrades on our mobile devices, having a home that’s always on trend can be challenging. But homeowner and interior decorator Andrea Brooks says that the simplest way to handle the revolving door of what’s in and what’s out is to fill your home with items you love and that reflect your personality, regardless of the current fad.

 

“Trends have a place,” she says. “They keep things fresh and motivate people to try new looks. But there really are so many ways to incorporate a trend. For myself and when working with clients, I like to flip through a variety of magazines, and I follow people from all over the world on Instagram and Pinterest to get ideas. It may not be that you copy the exact look you see, but it might spark an idea for a way to make a certain style your own.”

 

Almost two years ago, while living in El Dorado, the idea that was sparked for Andrea was not regarding her personal style, but rather a relocation for her family. At the time, Andrea and her husband, Jay, had one son attending the University of Arkansas and their other son set to follow in a few years. “We started thinking about what it would look like if we moved,” she says. “So, while visiting Fayetteville one weekend, I looked at several homes with my realtor friend, Samantha Shewmaker. I’ve never had a desire to build a house, and I have such an affinity for older homes. So, when I walked into this house, I knew right away – this is my house!”

 

Andrea and Jay agreed that they should buy the abode and begin the transition to Northwest Arkansas. But, to make the 1988-built Colonial-style home truly their own, it was going to take some work. “When I walk into a home, I immediately go to the decorating side of things. I’ve never been the person who walks in and starts thinking, ‘I would knock down that wall and move the bathtub over there,’” she says. “But there were several things about the house that needed to be addressed to make it function better. Maybe I could handle the design of all of that, but I would rather pay someone who loves doing kitchen layouts, for example, so I can focus on what I enjoy most – decorating and selecting the colors and furnishings.”

 

For this project, Andrea hired local interior designer Ashley Cardiel. The two met years earlier at a business class and continued to keep in touch through social media. “I have always been impressed with her work and professionalism – and she’s a problem solver. When there was a problem along the way, she never came to me with that problem without a possible solution already figured out – and I especially appreciated that, because I was living five hours away at the time!”

With Ashley’s collaboration, the project list included refinishing the floors, replacing the front entry floors with black and white tile, refreshing the home with new paint throughout, remodeling two of the upstairs bathrooms, removing a shower in a downstairs bathroom to create a butler’s pantry (finished in bold black and raspberry paint!) and an entire kitchen makeover. 

A wall was removed between the kitchen and dining room to open up the space, making it possible to create a side entrance. “From the street and driveway, the approach to the home is from the side, so it was awkward to walk all the way around to the front door,” Andrea explains. “We added a little porch and what we call the ‘friends entry’ on the side. It’s one of our favorite changes to the home. There is great light that comes in, and Jay and I spend most of our time there. We just love it.”

 

Throughout the remodel, Andrea mentally decorated the home’s interior with her existing furnishings and gathered new items as needed. So, when the construction process was complete, she quickly filled the home with items that would elevate her mood and reflect her personality. “My style is definitely my style,” she laughs. “Colorful and collected is my theme. I collect original art and I like mixing things – new, modern pieces with pieces that were my grandmother’s or something I found in a thrift store. If it’s going to be in my home, it’s just simple, I have to love it.”

 

An experienced decorator, Andrea knows that while her home brings her a sense of calm, others may feel overwhelmed. “I really don’t have any design rules that I follow, but I think this look is so settling for me because it’s intentional. Everything is purposefully placed and I’ve considered things like scale and appropriately mixing textures,” she explains. “It’s funny – while my house feels calming to me, I can look around and also get inspired and energized by the fun colors and all the variety of materials. But I know this style is not for everyone.”

 

Andrea says, however, that having a home that reflects a person and family’s individual style is for everyone. “We’re all happier when we can come home and everything is just the way we want it – and the things you see bring you joy. You feel connected to your home when it’s intentionally all pulled together and filled with the things you love.”

 

HOME PROS USED

Designers: Andrea Brooks and Ashley Cardiel, with Ashley Cardiel Interiors

Drapes/Fabrics: Laura’s Draperies and Blinds

Marble (purchased from): Abstract Granite

Tile (purchased through): Ashley Cardiel Interiors

Bathroom Tile (purchased from): Townzen Tile

Marble/Tile (installer): David Smith Tile

Mural (lettering design in garage room):Brittany Phillips Design

Painting: Schneider Painting 

Wood Trim Materials: White River Hardwoods 

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