Kimberley Carnahan and her late husband, Darren, moved to Northwest Arkansas from Phoenix. They grew to love the rural community and the outdoor recreation opportunities it offers. About six years ago, they found this home in Gravette on a half-acre lot close to the high school and purchased it with plans to renovate the fixer-upper.
Six months in, they found out Darren had cancer. He died within a year. Despite the rough time, Kimberley has carried on with their two youngest children and made the house a home as best she could. But this fixer-upper still needed to be fixed up. Kimberley wanted to continue the dream she shared with her husband and complete this house for her and their boys.
The front of the house was dark and outdated and needed a full refresh for a brighter appearance. We painted the brick a light color and added natural cedar shake shingles to create a charming cottage aesthetic. When we enlarged the porch, we took out the center post and installed new white posts on either side to frame the entry, changes that added a nice contrast. I painted the new front door to give this house an inviting pop of color.
For other improvements here, we took inspiration from a conversation we had with Kimberley. She told us that one night, Darren had a dream that the two of them were sitting in rocking chairs on their front porch, watching their children play. This was before they moved to Arkansas and before their home had a front porch. To honor this dream, we created handmade rocking chairs for her to enjoy in this new life. Dave crafted two chairs with cane seating and a natural finish. The chairs, new exterior features, and refreshed landscaping gave the home a warm and charming appearance.
Porch Rockers | Dave Marrs
Front Porch Lights | Kichler
Flag | Allegiance Flag Supply
Landscaping | Ground Effects
Exterior Paint Color | BM White Dove
Front Door Color | F+B Treron No.292
For the Carnahan’s kitchen, I wanted the space to be soft and warm and reminiscent of a countryside kitchen. I chose to paint the new cabinetry, as well as the trim, in a warm taupe to soften the entire space. A large, apron-front sink and a quintessential Dutch door leads from the kitchen to the backyard, securing the kitchen area as a quaint cottage space. I had a custom wall of built-in pantry cabinets created to maximize storage in the kitchen while enhancing the overall design – beautiful and functional!
The handmade light fixtures add warmth and character to the kitchen while the big, butcher block island Dave built looks like a beautiful old piece of furniture. We had the island engraved with song lyrics Darren often sang to Kimberley, “You are always on my mind” because we knew this is a space where she feels especially close to him.
Island Pendants | Rejuvenation
Kitchen Sconce | Lucent Lightshop
Kitchen Sink | Kohler
Backsplash Tile | Tile Club
Kitchen Island | Dave Marrs
Cabinet Knobs | Amazon
Cabinet Pulls | Amazon
Rug | Turkish Trunk
Dutch Door | KLH Construction
Cabinet & Trim Color | F+B Dropcloth No.283
Kimberley wanted space here for her family to sit and eat and gather for relaxation and play. She also requested storage for coats and sports equipment. To make this entry work for her family, we turned this space into a dining area and a drop-zone for all the stuff she and her family needed to set down and store when they walked into the house. With wood paneling for texture, hanging storage, and a cozy bench, we turned this into an inviting, spacious, and functional entry space.
For the open design Kimberley hoped for, we removed a wall between the kitchen and living room. This was an important change that made such a difference as we worked on her house! Durable, light laminate flooring consistent throughout the house brightened the interior and made the whole house feel bigger. The new floor will also withstand just about anything the Carnahan boys have to give it! We also carved out a dining space for her family in this room in order to give Kimberly a place where they can all gather for a meal – something she had hoped for when dreaming about this remodel.
Dining Table & Benches | Joe & Chase Looney
Dining Light | Kichler
Flooring | Shaw Floors
Cabinet Hardware | Amazon
Wall Hooks | Amazon
Wall Paint Color | BM White Dove
Built In & Trim Color | F+B Dropcloth No. 283
The family has many memories with Darren of spending time together as a family singing karaoke, and I wanted this space to be cozy and inviting as their new hangout spot. We replaced their old fireplace with an electric insert efficient enough to heat the whole room. With music on our minds, we added built-in entertainment walls on both sides of the fireplace, complete with compartments to house a karaoke system. We painted the structure a dark charcoal color and watched it become the focal point of the room.
We hid all of the appliance accessories behind caning in the cabinet doors. This adds a fun texture to the new family room and allows the sound from music speakers to come through. Our hope is for this room to allow the Carnahans to continue the fun karaoke memories they had with Darren, and for it to be a joyful space in the coming years.
Furiture & Artwork | Howse
Fan | Kichler
Sconces | Lulu and Georgia
Built In Paint Color | BM Kendall Charcoal
Kimberley and her boys have always loved to sit around a fire and host guests, so we planned for a backyard area that flowed from the inside and became an extension of the house. Dave built a covered porch of steel and a new fire pit in the backyard, in memory of the times the Carnahans spent together around a fire. We made this a gas fire pit: no chopping wood required. The new backyard will allow them to continue the family tradition while they entertain friends.
We had one more surprise to show Kimberley with this reveal. Her sons, who have no other place but the street to shoot baskets, are also wading through their teenage years without their dad, whose consistent message to them was to “never give up.” So we made a new basketball court for the boys and added that message right under the goal.
Firepit & Chairs | Anvil & Oak
Furniture | Howse
Back Porch Light | Kichler
Basketball Court Light | Kichler
When Dave and I were asked to renovate the home Kimberely and Darren purchased together, with dreams of remodeling it side-by-side, we were committed to fulfilling her dream of a beautiful, functional home for her family while ensuring Darren’s memory remained imprinted on the home. I never met Darren this side of eternity but he has certainly impacted my life. His legacy reminds me of the importance of loving my people well, speaking words of life over them, and filling my home with the joyful melody of music and laughter.