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story.lead_photo.caption More than two dozen designers have lent their talents to the 24th Symphony Designer House, a fundraiser for the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and its statewide music education programs. The home, 8 Valley Creek View in Little Rock, will be open Friday through May 13 for tours and special events.

The Arkansas Symphony Designer House might be described as music in visual form: furniture and accessories placed together in harmony in a score of well coordinated colors. And it's not just in four movements; it comes in the form of multiple movements, by multiple composers.

Such is the case with the 24th Symphony Designer House, the latest incarnation of the biennial fundraiser for the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.

The palatial dwelling at 8 Valley Creek View in Little Rock's Valley Falls Estates, is a display of the work of more than two dozen interior designers. Hosted by the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Guild, the house bears the theme "Designing for Music Education," a reflection of the statewide use of the fundraiser's proceeds. The house will be open from Friday through May 13 for tours and several events. Selected items in the various spaces of the house will be for sale.

Here's a look at three designers who lent their talents to three of the home's featured spaces.

Chandler and Associates

Helping bring Symphony Designer Houses to life is old hat for Tom Chandler of Chandler and Associates. He has worked with about 19 of them, appointing every type of space starting -- to the best of his memory -- with a large closet of a master bedroom.

He and his team were tasked with transforming the formal living room of this year's home, which they did in a setting of light neutral colors headed by gray and beige.

"The living room is a pretty dramatic room, because it has an unusually high ceiling," Chandler says. "And we were able to bring some interesting elements of nature into our room. We have two manzanita branches flanking the fireplace. We also have some truly magnificent lamps that are made of sheets of crystal. 'Sheets' sounds like a pretty big adjective, but these lamps are about 4 feet tall and this slab of crystal [on each] is probably 18 to 24 inches tall and probably 16 to 18 inches wide. And there are a pair of those that are just wonderful."

Adding to the faux logs in the room's gas fireplace, the team mixed in some mineral logs "so it's really interesting. We like bringing the outside in and we feel like we have done a good job doing that with this room," Chandler says, adding that the room also has been given a subtle Asian flair.

Among the most interesting features about the room, Chandler says, is four "magnificent" pieces of art, three of them by Arkansas artists. There are two works by the late Todd Crockett, also flanking the fireplace, and a piece by Scott Carle.

Chandler, who's coming out of his comfort zone to model for the April 19 Girls' Night Out Party at the house -- "I'm looking forward to that with some fear and anticipation" -- says he and his team allotted "a few hours" to planning the design on-site and made a trip to Dallas to secure some of the items used in the room. Actual installation took another few hours on another day. "We kind of have it down to a science," he says.

However, the biggest challenge getting the room ready came in the form of pair of alcoves that are about 20 feet off of the floor. Getting a pair of antique terra cotta pieces into this alcove "was a near-death experience," he recalls, laughing. "We accomplished it, but it was a very demanding and scary situation for a few minutes."

Luckily, the living room is laid out in a way that made it easy to establish traffic flow, Chandler says. "We did introduce a series of three ottomans that sort of float around in the room for additional seating. [The room] has a really high ceiling but it's not a large footprint. But because of these ottomans, it will seat quite a few people."

Ransom Interiors

Bringing the dining room to life is Joshua Plumlee of the 2-year-old Ransom Interiors. New to the Designer House, Plumlee has created a space that, he says, is largely a mix of wood stains and metallic finishes.

"I wanted [it] to have ... kind of a special gleam to it so I've used lots of glass finishes, lots of optic glass and crystal, lots of reflective surfaces to make it feel dressy without being too formal," he says.

Original art also enhances the room. "And then some of the furniture styles, they're kind of rooted in traditional furniture but ... they've got a little updated transitional look to them. So it should be kind of a good in-the-middle look, I think."

The joys and the challenges of fixing up the space? "I think those two kind of go hand in hand," Plumlee says. He notes that it was a bit of an effort to do a "show" space, from scratch, that was not specifically based on a client need and that did not purely have to function for say, a family. But, "I think seeing that come together and be something a family could use, but be something that's also purely just for show, has been kind of exciting.

"It's been a process, but it's been fun."

As it happens, one of Plumlee's favorite spaces to design is a dining room.

"In my house, we use our dining room every day," he says. "We eat a lot of meals there; I'll camp out and use it an an office a lot of the time. But I know [in] a lot of houses it's kind of a space that does not get touched except for special occasions. So I think that kind of provides an opportunity to do some furniture that, like I said before, may be a little dressier than normal without being over-the-top formal but presents just a really pretty look -- kind of a showpiece.

"Hopefully people will see a unique look ... that they can respond to."

Lindsey Binz Home

Lindsey Binz of Lindsey Binz Home has teamed up with Brittany Nixon Brun of Brittany Nixon Creative to transform the home's mother-in-law's quarters.

This is Binz' third Symphony Designer House. Her previous spaces were a kids' nook that she transformed into a playroom; then she tackled a bathroom-and-closet combination. This time, she and Brun transformed the home's mother-in-law quarters -- a bedroom and bathroom.

"The name of the room was the 'mother in law's suite' when we got it and we changed the name to 'Not Your Average Mother' in-Law's [Quarters]," Binz says. "We wanted it to be more edgy."

To set the color scheme, the women started out with the Pantone 2018 Color of the Year -- Ultra Violet. "And then we used a lot of pinks and magentas," along with teal, Binz says. Accessories include a rug from Hadidi Oriental Rugs, which set the tone for the other colors, along with commissioned works of art by artists Lauren Meredith, Amanda Kella and Lauren Anderson. They also brought in new lighting.

In the bathroom, Binz and Brun did three starburst mirrors over the vanity instead of one big square or rectangular piece, and placed two coordinating rugs. "So it's just kind of outside the box, not just [your] typical bedroom and bathroom," Binz says. "I wish I could just take that room and put it in my house."

The suite has no separate sitting area, but the women placed chairs in the bedroom. Although it's not really a large space, it has a large window they accented with treatments by Laura Bass of Laura's Draperies and Blinds in Little Rock.

Whereas the majority of the other designers have brick-and-mortar businesses with inventory, the women had to order the items they put in their space. But that did leave opportunities open for them to borrow from local vendors.

"I love working with Brittney; it was a great collaboration," Binz says. "We both play off of each other's strengths. ... We kind of were able to pull it off together and have fun doing it." They were also able to combine finances so they could give the quarters a richer treatment than if either had gone it alone. Another advantage: This wasn't for a client, so they were able to buy things they liked and can keep if no tourgoers want them. "The pressure was off," Binz says. "We didn't have to sell it to anyone, I guess, per se. We did have to kind of sell it to each other. But ... it was a great experience working with [Brun]. And hopefully we'll get to do more projects together."

Symphony Designer House

Address: 8 Valley Creek View, Little Rock

Tour dates: Friday through May 13

Tour hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 1-4 p.m. Sunday (closed Monday). Concerto Cafe hours: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.

Tour tickets: $20 at the door for single-day tours; $35, for run of show. Advance tickets, $17 single-day and $30 run of show, are available through Thursday at Phoenix Interiors, 12315 Chenal Parkway, Suite D, Little Rock; At Home in Arkansas magazine offices, 2207 Cottondale Lane, Suite 3, Little Rock; Jones Brothers Pool Tables, 309 W. Broadway, North Little Rock; PC Hardware & Design, 8316 W. Markham St., Little Rock; and Pottery Barn Midtowne; 201 N. University Ave, Little Rock.

Special events:

• Thursday: Crescendo Preview Party. Advance tickets, $100; $150 at the door

• April 19: Girls' Night Out Party with fashion show, food and drink, music and more. Tickets, $50

• April 26: Design Q&A, a panel discussion on kitchen and bath design and other areas of home design, 6 p.m., PC Hardware & Design showroom. Panelists will include Tom Chandler, Larry West Jr., Mac Murphy, Valerie Erkman and Torrie Cobb. Tickets, $75.

• April 28: Outdoor yoga class, 10 a.m. at the house, led by Catherine Burton with Big Rock Yoga and including a Lululemon pop-up shop. Tickets, $25 in advance; $30 at the door.

• May 3: Tres de Mayo Party. Tickets, $50

The house will not be open to infants or children under age 10. For more information and to buy tickets, call (501) 666-1761, ext. 110, or visit

-- Helaine R. Williams

Photo by Special to the Democrat-Gazette/JANE DENNIS
A table in the formal living room of the 24th Symphony Designer House is given pizzazz by Tom Chandler, the owner of Chandler & Associates, who is a 19-time contributor to the fundraiser.
Photo by Special to the Democrat-Gazette/JANE DENNIS
The Pantone 2018 Color of the Year — Ultra Violet — sets the tone in the mother-in-law’s quarters of the Symphony Designer House. Designers Lindsey Binz and Brittany Nixon Brun came together to transform the space, which also features shades of pink and magenta.
Photo by Special to the Democrat-Gazette/JANE DENNIS
A vase of flowers helps set a lively color scheme to what designers Brittney Nixon Brun and Lindsey Binz have dubbed “Not Your Average” mother’ inlaw’s quarters in the Symphony Designer House.
Photo by Special to the Democrat-Gazette/JANE DENNIS
For the dining room of the Symphony Designer House, Joshua Plumlee of Ransom Interiors used glass finishes, crystal pieces and reflective surfaces to make the space “feel dressy without being too formal.”

HomeStyle on 04/07/2018

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