Dwell: Mediterranean Meets Modern
Bryan and Heather Austin built their dream home overlooking the Arkansas River, on the site where Bryan proposed to Heather...and now they are able to entertain friends and family while enjoying the good life.
photography by Janet Warlick
The Austins enjoy a picturesque view overlooking the Arkansas River and the Little Rock Yacht Club from their home. The best place to enjoy this view, of course, is lounging by their infinity pool designed by Anything Concrete. Oversized pavers lead the way into the zero-entry pool. A hot tub, constructed of the same beautiful stone, sits above the pool and cascades into it. In the winter months, a gas fire pit with ceramic logs is the perfect spot to convene.
Bryan and Heather Austin built their dream home overlooking the Arkansas River, on the site where Bryan proposed to Heather; where the couple officially wed under an unfinished archway before a ceremony in Cabo San Lucas; and where they plan to entertain friends, have family dinners with son Jean; and enjoy life to the fullest.
Building a home together can make or break a couple. Newlyweds Bryan and Heather Austin jumped in head first, and made the construction of their Maumelle home their first venture as man and wife.
“Building this home was so easy,” Bryan said. “We worked with Mary Jane Herr. She has helped design and build houses for tons of people in central Arkansas. She made it so easy.”
The Austins gave Herr a few simple guidelines based on what they wanted. She presented them options to choose from, and they were just what they were looking for. “We wanted it to look like a 100 year-old Mediterranean home, but with modern touches. We wanted it to be an ageless home” … the three-story, 7,700 square-foot home is just that.
The intricate ironwork on the front door opens to an elegant entryway with grand 22-foot ceilings. Wall-to-wall faux finishes by Angelfish Studios of Little Rock, imported travertine columns and classic archways give the entry a beautiful, ancient feel. The Austins added a modern touch to this area with the help of I.O. Metro. The company created a contemporary and inviting sitting area with modern sofas, a shag rug and abstract art.
“The kitchen is my favorite room in the house,” Heather said. “I love to cook, and I’ve claimed this as my space.” The area has ample granite countertops; a stainless double oven, microwave, built-in steamer and Thermador coffee maker; cabinets with blue overhead lighting; and a freestanding bar complete with Bryan’s prized possession, a mini-icemaker.
This room, which leads out to the patio and pool area is perfect for parties. Eye-catching blue and silver walls painted by Angelfish Studios set a lively tone for any mixer. Guests in the “party room,” as Bryan calls it, can make a drink at the bar, enjoy a game of pool, or mingle and lounge in the sitting area. The room connects to Bryan’s music room, where he and his band, 7 Toed Pete, rehearse for monthly gigs around central Arkansas.
“The home is three levels, with only three functioning bedrooms,” Bryan said. “We built it the way we wanted it, and we love to entertain.” The theater room on the third level of the home is perfect for entertaining. With leather stadium seating; surround sound; a 3D projection screen; and a wet bar, it is the perfect place for movie nights.