Stephanie Newcomb, one of Little Rock’s premier fitness trainers, is also known for her gym located inside a horse barn. What started as a small workout area in the former jockey quarters quickly expanded to a full-size gym right among the retired stables. Located on the outskirts of Little Rock, the barn sits on a picturesque farm with rolling hills and pastures. Newcomb and husband Brad say they always knew it would be the perfect location to build their dream home one day.
In 2019, the two decided it was time to break ground, and Newcomb called on Jill White of Jill White Designs to help make her black-and-white vision come to life.
“Stephanie likes the bold contrast between black and white, and I use a lot of black and white in my designs," White says. "It’s kind of my thing and it’s kind of her thing, so we ran with it.”
But between Newcomb constantly running back and forth from the gym to the house, Brad's job in construction, three boys and two dogs, an all-white interior felt almost impossible for this active family.
To keep things liveable, White's solution was to use finishes and fabrics that are easy to maintain, along with a little bit of backup.
“We have rules with food on the white sofas, but accidents still happen, so we used Scotchguard on everything in the house, even the barstools,” Newcomb says.
Throughout the main floor of the home, wood plank tile gives the sleek look of concrete, is easy to clean and is durable enough to handle the Newcombs' busy schedule.
An open floor plan was also essential for the family.
“When I’m home, I’m usually in the kitchen and the floor plan allows us all to be together,” Newcomb says. “The kitchen was separate in our last home, and I knew I wanted that to change in this one.”
Creating a comfortable spot where the entire family could gather was another high priority. White designed custom sofas with deep, plush cushions perfect for lounging.
“The house has very clean lines like the sofa and coffee table, but it’s still comfortable and welcoming,” White says.
A FAMILY AFFAIR
The main wall in the living area showcases pencil drawings of the three Newcomb boys created by local artist Lauren Green.
“The art is minimal throughout the home," White says. "Even the pencil drawings were done in a minimal way.”
The drawings' extra large white mats and simple black frames keep with the home’s aesthetic while adding a personal touch to the family home. The kids’ actual artwork is also framed and hangs in the hall to the laundry room, while white mats and frames give a coherent feel with the rest of the house.
“When I first saw a black house, I thought, 'That’s what we’re doing,'” Newcomb says.
They wanted the house to still feel appropriate for the farm, so wood beams and accents were added for contrast and to give a nod to the location of the home.
The kitchen windows are layered with walnut floating shelves with custom metal supports.
“There are no screens on the windows and you can clearly see out, but it feels like you still have a little covering over it,” Newcomb says.
Elongated sconces add height and interest above the windows.
SPLASH OF COLOR
While designing, Newcomb saw a picture of a monochromatic house with one wildly painted door. When she suggested the idea to White, she asked, “Is this weird?” White replied, “Yes, let’s do it!” The door leads into the mudroom, where White carried the color into the area as well.
Off the main living space is the family’s beloved screened-in porch overlooking the pasture and horses. The porch, which is also accessible from the master suite, features wood trim and a rope-hung swing that add a farmhouse feel to this modern home.
“It is so peaceful," Newcomb says. "I love being out there.”