Debi Davis Delivers Merry and Light Holiday Style

In Arkansas, designer Debi Davis brightens a home with a unifying, airy palette.

Text: Tiffany Adams
Photos: Julie Wage Ross

“Most clients come to us with the same request—lighten up my house,” says designer Debi Davis. As the owner of Debi Davis Interiors, she has become known for creating open, light-filled spaces with refined accents; and it was her signature style that attracted the owners of this Little Rock home. Built in 2004, their low-maintenance zero-lot-line house is located in the heart of one of the city’s most coveted neighborhoods. “The previous owners had fabulous taste, so the bones of the house were great,” the client says. “However, Debi immediately recognized a theme of dark colors, furnishings, and countertops.”

Merry and Light Holiday Style

Natural Christmas decor by Tanarah Luxe Floral sets the tone for the season.

Merry and Light Holiday Style

A large-scale, framed panel by Schumacher is a focal point in the neutral stairwell. The banister is adorned with a garland that finishes in a bevy of pinecones, berries, and ribbon.

Merry and Light Holiday Style

Traditional Christmas red is introduced at the front door with a berry wreath and tulip bouquet.

Merry and Light Holiday Style

The formerly redbrick exterior of the home received a refresh thanks to a neutral coat of paint.

Merry and Light Holiday Style

The mirrors seen over the living room’s reverse serpentine chests are custom pieces from designer Debi Davis’s Reborn Relics Home line.

Merry and Light Holiday Style

In the living room, a large-scale botanical work remained, inviting black and gold accents into the entry and living area.

Merry and Light Holiday Style

Merry and Light Holiday Style

Davis notes the homeowners entertain frequently, so they wanted a space that was both comfortable and pretty. Ivory, cream, and blue carry from the living space into the adjoining kitchen for a serene, continuous flow. Pieces such as the glass coffee table have a light visual effect.

Merry and Light Holiday Style

In the dining room, Davis paired the couple’s existing dining table with a new, clean-lined sideboard. The designer reworked the china cabinet, storing some pieces in a silver closet and incorporating blue and white in the scheme. “You want to make sure your cabinet is not overloaded, so each piece’s beauty can be seen and appreciated,” says Davis.

Merry and Light Holiday Style

A fresh coat of paint along with a new backsplash and countertops lightened the kitchen from its formerly dark brown palette.

Merry and Light Holiday Style

Updated appliances and blue-and-white accessories bring the beverage center in line with the rest of the home’s updates.

Merry and Light Holiday Style

Merry and Light Holiday Style

The design carries to the home’s back porch.

Merry and Light Holiday Style

In the master bedroom, the couple’s bed was accented with new nightstands, drapes, lighting, and a pair of cozy chairs for lounging. The home’s powder bath features a mirror from Davis’s Reborn Relics Home line.

To remedy this, Davis unified the rooms with one paint color throughout the house. “We wanted to lighten and freshen and bring everything into the present day,” she says. “When you start working on a project, you have to remember that in today’s world of big, open floor plans, the adjoining rooms will need attention, too,” she says. “We are really about creating a cohesiveness, so the entire house has a very calming, easy flow.”

While Davis brought in an entirely new palette, she worked with some of the furnishings and accessories that are particularly beloved by the owners. “I always ask clients if there’s anything sentimental or important to them,” she says. “I start with those items and go from there.” For example, the breakfast nook’s table and chairs remained, but the seating received an update with slipcovers.

“Some of the pieces she kept got a little facelift to help them feel in line with the new look,” says Davis. Aside from pieces used in the refreshed design, the designer also helped the couple to let go of stiff or tired furnishings they had owned for years, steering them toward more contemporary, comfortable pieces that invite relaxation.

Case in point, the couple’s existing dining table was paired with new upholstered chairs to invite long conversations over dinner, while a pair of swivel chairs in the master bedroom are a spot to unwind at the end of the day. “We have fewer pieces now, but they are larger in scale, and many have cleaner lines,” says the owner. “I tell everyone to edit themselves; it’s very freeing. You will feel more organized and not be overwhelmed with stuff. Plus, it’s easier to keep clean and maintain,” says Davis.

The edited spaces also allowed for a layer of Christmas decor that stands out beautifully against the mostly neutral palette. “We changed the color scheme of the house to be more contemporary, but for me, Christmas has to be red and green,” says the owner. For this addition, they called on Tanarah Haynie of Tanarah Luxe Floral. “We work really closely with interior designers to pay homage to the decor,” says Haynie.

“We try to follow the look of the house,” she says, noting they are, however, known for their timeless Estate Christmas design, which highlights natural elements and classic colors. For example, the Christmas tree in the living room was designed to complement the large-scale artwork seen at its back. “I wanted these two to work in tandem in the design,” says Haynie. Taking the same approach, the dining room has a more formal flair with a pavé of poinsettias on the table and an arrangement featuring Douglas fir, Norfolk pine, cedar, and winterberry clippings on the sideboard.

The result is a home that is inviting not only during the holiday season but year-round. “One thing we noticed after the renovation was how excited our grown daughters were to come home. Debi made everything brighter and lighter, and she really opened up the rooms,” says the owner. “She made it a very happy house.”

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