By JULIE CRAIG | Photography JAMISON MOSLEY & DAVID YERBY
Little Rock designer Larry West Jr. of L West Jr. Designs has an infectious personality that transfers to his exquisite eye for design. Again and again, clients come to him for his natural ability to listen and match a project to his clients’ lifestyle and needs. In fact, West doesn’t like to put himself in a box and describe his style in one particular way but says he designs in many ways and works hand in hand with his clients when making design decisions. “Whatever a client asks, we do it. Give me your loves and likes, and I will make them work,” he says.
As a designer, West is very passionate about his craft, and it shows in his countless hours of hard work in both residential and commercial projects. “I am a born decorator, and I don’t have formal training. It’s something I do naturally, and I don’t have a specific design I follow,” he says. “I’m able to actually go into a client’s home, listen to them, see pictures they love and I create that for them. It’s a very creative style and a variation of things.”To show how timeless his designs truly are, West, a former chairman of the Symphony Designer House, had the opportunity to design the west Little Rock home not once, but three times since it was built by maintaining many of the looks from 15 years ago while adding fresh updates.
“I have redone this house three times now in its lifetime, and it’s always maintained its beauty,” he says. Now the home of newly married couple Carla and Kyle Lamb, West helped them merge many of their pieces, blending two families and meeting Carla’s goal of making a house feel like a home to their five children. West added small details like framing and displaying new and old family photos to really personalize the design. “This is my favorite part of our home. He helped capture the glimpses of the joy of our family in every room,” Carla says.
The former Symphony Designer home can now be described as “transitional” with neutral undertones and lots of pops of color through the use of accessories and art. A few of the newest updates West worked on with the Lambs include repainting the walls to match the trim, updating decorative lighting, replacing a kitchen backsplash, switching out all incandescent lighting to LED and rebuilding the portico.
For another west Little Rock home in Pinnacle Valley, with 10 acres of breathtaking views, West completely transported couple Pat and Jim Wallis from Oklahoma and helped accent their interior with pieces that completely matched their interests and lifestyle.
“We came in, fixed up their new house. They did their thing. We loaded them up, and all they had to do was bring in their suitcases,” West says. Pat is a very busy person – a professional singer, author and dog trainer with NADOI, the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors. West created a “doggy room” complete with a separate eating and lounging spot for each dog. The dogs have a grooming facility, a large flat-screen TV to monitor Animal Planet and comfy beds that double as nightstands in the couple’s master suite. West also worked his designs around the placement of a gorgeous Steinway piano in the living room across from a giant oil portrait of two zebras painted by Canadian artist Kindrie Grove. “When placing accent pieces – from paintings and sculptures to sentimental accessories – Larry surpasses any and all whom I’ve met,” Pat says. “The day my husband and I walked into our new home and saw not only our zebra piece but all of our other art we so cherish beautifully hung and placed, well, we were thrilled!”
For their Hot Springs home with a gorgeous view of Lake Hamilton, Tommy and Debbie Sandifer worked with West on an entirely different approach, using a very streamlined design and contemporary color palette of crisp white and soft gray mixed with lots of bright colors from orange and red to turquoise. Debbie was inspired by the simplicity of white to provide an open palette for using the bright colors in furniture and accessories. The most significant accessory and conversation piece in the home is, in fact, a 6-foot-long alligator gar sculpture purchased at an auction. West found the perfect spot on top of the bar cabinets to place it. “I had worked with Larry on another project a few years ago before we decided to build this house, so I knew Larry was the one and only person I wanted to help me with this project,” she says. “He tapped into my style, but offered me a lot of options, narrowing down my selections and showing me different ways a room can be arranged to get the most out of the setting.”
From transitional to traditional and completely contemporary, all three homes show the diverse design work that West does with his clients, transforming everything he touches into a totally new masterpiece. “I will step out of the box if I have to with my design,” West says.