Wish listing

By Donna Benton

When Marissa and Clay Dent set out to build their first home, she made a list. 

It was the first of many lists. Lists for the builder, the plumber, the electrician, the landscaper, the designer. Lists, then updated lists, then more lists. She knew exactly what she wanted, and she had it on a list. The first thing on her list was to build a Maumelle home that looked like a million bucks. The second thing on the list was to not spend a million bucks! So the challenge was set; build a home with class and flair on a first-home budget.

Marissa knew she wanted a grand entrance with a two-story great room. The challenge with tall rooms is how to add visual interest to all that space. Two-story rooms work great with big beams, coffered ceilings and fancy trim, big walls of windows, sweeping staircases and huge built-ins, but all those elements are real budget killers. On the other hand, if you take away all those elements, you get the white box effect. Lots and lots of painted walls in the upper half of the room and not much to look at. In the Dents’ house, we solved the white box problem by creating simple paneled walls that reach from floor to ceiling. With a little planning, you can replicate the look of a custom paneled wall with some creative use of inexpensive trim molding. The trick is in the layout, of course, which requires a little forethought, but the result is stunning and currently my favorite “bang for the buck” trick.

The fireplace spans from floor to ceiling and uses the same paneled look as the walls along with a monochromatic white brick tile to give secondary texture and visual interest to the fireplace without being distracting. The fireplace adds a striking central feature to the great room without adding a lot to the budget. A full stone or tile fireplace from floor to ceiling would be a huge expense, but here we used trimmed panels to give the fireplace the same impact for a lot less money.

Everyone loves money-saving ideas, and for the Dents, they had enough left in the budget for some incredible oversized sofas and chairs for the great room to really help them pull off that classic style! Marissa still has a few things to check off on the perfect first-home list, but they are sure off to a great start in this fantastic home. 

Donna Benton
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