Dwell: METRO Style
Get a peek inside the lovely, modern home of Jay and Christine Howard, owners of I.O. Metro, one of the region’s most popular furniture and interior design boutiques.
Informal Dining Room “A lot of people think that if your house is modern, you have to use very contemporary furnishings. For me, this is the farthest thing from the truth. In this room, I’ve mixed a reclaimed table, industrial stools and modern metal mirrors. I incorporate different types of plants, including succulents, in my decorating to add warmth and an organic touch,” Howard said.
Photography by Rett Peek
Jay Howard, along with business partners, founded I.O. Metro in 2005. Since then the design store has grown to include 18 locations in eight states across the south and an online e-commerce store. Their headquarters remains in Lowell, Ark., not far from Howard’s home with wife, Christine, in Rogers.
The ultra-modern abode was built in 2000, however the couple purchased it in 2011 and totally renovated it to suit their personal style. They have lived in their 4,100-square-foot dream home for nearly a year, enjoying all of its luxuries, including a large, outdoor living area and patio, pool with waterfall and fire pit — all overlooking a golf course.
“Our inspiration [for the interior design] was the view. We wanted to maximize the feeling of being outside even when we’re inside. Jay and I wanted a home that was open and where each room looked out onto the golf course, outdoor living area, and pool. I love natural light, and I wanted the house to be as bright as possible,” Christine Howard said.
She described the design style as having a “modern, eclectic vibe” with neutral tones, such as charcoal, gray, chocolate, black and white and accented the scheme with bright colors, particularly yellow, to add interest. The couple aimed to create a soothing, relaxing atmosphere with a cheerful and happy ambiance.
This room stands apart not only for is stark simplicity but also for the creative twist on the bookshelf — an essential piece for any office. The Howards not only categorized books by color, but arranged them innovatively in inverted shelving. “My goal was to create an artistic way to display my books and an interesting focal point. I sketched the diagonal bookcase and had it custom built to perfectly fit I.O. METRO’s glass architect desk. I painted it a dark hue and color blocked the books so the cover colors would really be highlighted.”
Formal Living Room
Howard successfully added dimension to this room by “integrating different fabrics and textures in contrasting colors to add depth and create interest.” For instance, the “clean-lined sofa is juxtaposed against the fluid tree stump coffee table, while the thick wool rug softens and grounds the space.”
Howard styled this distressed metal 1492 Collection sideboard with driftwood, silver vases, a plant and books. She let her personality come through by choosing the horse painting to represent her strong love for animals. “I’m a big believer in allowing your personality to come out in your home.”