BY JENNIFER STANLEY
PHOTOGRAPHY SUBMITTED BY OWNERS
HAVE FAMILY OR FRIENDS VISITING FAULKNER COUNTY SOON? LOOKING FOR A SPACIOUS, FUN ALTERNATIVE TO A HOTEL? LOOK NO FURTHER, AS WE HAVE A SELECTION OF LOVELY HOMES FOR RENT RIGHT HERE IN THE CONWAY AREA
Molly Bernard ∙ William Wallace Home
Located in Conway’s Historic District, a quick walk to downtown shopping and dining, you can find the short-term rental William Wallace Home. Molly and Jay Bernard purchased the home in March 2020, just as the pandemic began. “We lovingly called it our COVID project and worked on it for the next 16 months,” says Molly. Their three adult children, Katie, Morgan, and Elliott, each contributed creative ideas and sweat equity into William Wallace Home as well.
The Bernards acquired the property to use as a rental. “Jay and I were exposed to short-term rentals during our travels and often found them to be interesting, comfortable, and convenient modes of lodging…We have experience in long-term rentals but thought it would be fun to try this form with an added hospitality element,” she says.
The Bernards, who live in Conway’s Historic District, kept their eye on the property for a while. “I always thought it had such great street charm. We actually looked at it several years ago and passed [on buying it]. I regretted the decision and always hoped it would come up for sale again. Thank goodness I saw the ‘for sale’ sign just as it was getting dark. We called and viewed it that evening and made the offer the next day.”
Their goal was to preserve and celebrate the original property while providing clients with modern convenience. “We wanted the property to feel like a destination – a retreat that gives clients a sense of calm and comfort. It’s important that our guests feel a little pampered, so we always try to provide personal touches with amenities they might enjoy,” says Molly. The backyard is purposefully designed to provide guests with extended living and entertainment space. “There is an aesthetically pleasing
dry creek designed into the property that helps divide the backyard in separate living spaces that include a fire pit, a dining area, and an outdoor game area that is perfect for bocce ball, lawn darts, and croquet.”
Molly and Katie designed the interior. “I had a pretty clear idea that I wanted the decor to lean a little more masculine, but we also wanted to celebrate the natural light that all the windows afforded. With that in mind, we chose to selectively add moody touches in the dining room and bedrooms only, she says. Molly enlisted designer/ owner Becky Charton of Tablesetters to consult on the best paint colors to achieve the desired ambience. “Katie and I collected the furnishings over the course of the project renovation, and Beverly Arnold of Bevy’s Custom Drapery customized the window seat upholstery, pillows, and some draperies,” she says. The home features works by local artists, which are highlighted weekly on their Facebook and Instagram: @thewilliamwallacehome. Jay and their sons were also actively involved in the renovation. Jim Lary completed carpentry work, and the kitchen cabinetry was custom built by Jeff Perry. The landscape design was done by Kay Curry, SLA, LEED AP Landscape Designer/Greenlinks of Fayetteville and installation and design modifications were completed by Todd McWilliams, owner of Advanced Sprinkler and Landscape. The backyard pergola was built by Matthew Bailey of Bailey’s Construction & Remodeling with masonry by Mason Perrigo.
Of their foray into short-term renting, Molly says, “Sofar it’s been very fulfilling, and we have had the nicestclients.” Molly and Jay have been pleasantly surprisedat the number of renters since they opened the doors ofWilliam Wallace Home in September 2021. “Many clients
stay with us for college events and sports, but we’ve alsohad work-related stays, holiday stays, weekend getaways,and even an anniversary stay.” Their furthest renter wasfrom California, and they’ve had several repeat clients.
Molly has also honed her concierge skills, saying,“I’ve helped clients find activities in our area gearedtoward their personal interests and personalizedgoodies for celebrations. I’m currently workingwith an upcoming client to find a private chef inthe area and a pastor for their spring wedding.”
PRESERVE AND CELEBRATE THE ORIGINAL PROPERTY The Bernard’s goal was to make the property feel like a destination – a retreat that gives clients a sense of calm and comfort. It is important that guests feel a little pampered.
Debbie Murphy • Fiddler’s Corner Conway
Debbie Murphy recently purchased her short-term rental, Fiddler’s Corner Conway, closing on the sale last November.
She loved the home right away. “I was taking my grandkids home, driving down Mill Street, when I noticed the ‘for sale’ sign. I’ve always loved the place, so I stopped and called Lori’s number and asked about seeing the house. This was on a Wednesday, and it was listed on Monday. The owner had several offers and was making a decision that night. I looked at the house, fell in love with it, and made an offer that night!”
Debbie purchased with the intent to transform the home into a short-term rental. “The house was charming; the location was great,” she says. She began the process by calling her interior designer, Trish Walker. “We had so much fun looking for all the things that make Fiddler’s Corner unique. Many of the antiques were purchased down the road at
Arkansas Peddlers Mall. I used Tim Roberts as my contractor. He had great ideas and suggestions and was gracious with his time and commitment to the project,” she says. Her aesthetic goal was elegant yet eclectic, fun, and comfortable. Mission accomplished.
Its name, Fiddler’s Corner Conway, hails from the home’s legal description, which included the names Fiddlers Survey Greens and Greene’s Subdivision of Fiddlers. “I was out shopping in Scott one day and found the copper fiddles and knew I had to have them for my
place. I played around with names and settled on Fiddler’s Corner Conway,” says Debbie.
She initially found the experience a bit overwhelming and had to learn cleaning standards for COVID, the innerworkings of various short-term rental platforms, and how to best coordinate schedules and allow time for adequate cleaning. “Everyone has been so great to work with, from my neighbors to city officials when I obtained my permit,” she says.
So far, so good as far as renters. “I’ve been fortunate to have a steady flow of renters so far. My first renter was January 28, just one day after it went live on Airbnb. I currently have reservations through May,” she says. Her furthest renter to date was from California.
Debbie’s philosophy is hospitality over profits, which she hopes will motivate her guests to make return trips to Fiddler’s Corner Conway. Part of providing a great experience for guests is offering personal touches. For example, she stocks the home with Arkansas-based products and buys local wares, such as Blue Sail and Round Mountain coffee beans along with tea leaves from Righteous Remedies.
Emily Walter • Romie’s Retreat
Jeremy and Emily Walter own and operate shortterm rental Romie’s Retreat. The Faulkner County residents are both licensed realtors with RE/MAX Elite in Conway. They opened Romie’s, located on Lake Conway between Mayflower and Conway, last spring.
The Walters purchased the property with the intent to convert it into a rental. As for the unique name, Emily says, “Jeremy, having grown up in Conway, has such fond memories of fishing with his grandfather Jerome ‘Romie’ Moix. So, when the opportunity came up for us to purchase this home, the name came to me before we could even sign the contract. He and I both loved his grandfather and wanted to capture those memories he had on this lake and create an experience for others to have their own memories with loved ones. We provide a canoe, lifejackets, and fishing equipment for anyone who books our place. We also have a covered deck, outdoor grilling area, and provide a fish cleaning station, fully fenced back yard, private dock, and boat slip. That way, even if they are ‘city folks’ coming to town, they can have an old-fashioned fishing experience.”
Romie’s décor, designed by Jeremy and Emily, features a different theme in each room. “The kitchen is outfitted as if you stepped back into your great-grandparents’ log cabin. It’s decorated with cast iron pots and country braided rugs. The master bedroom features a canoe with a string of lifejackets hanging from the ceiling. The master bath is a sasquatch theme, and the second bedroom is a bear theme, complete with buffalo checked comforters.
The guest bathroom is themed like an outhouse. We have tin on the walls, outhouse accents, and even Sears catalogs behind the toilet. And finally, our living room has a fishing theme. We have nets on the wall with various rods, reels, and lures; a motor from a fishing boat leaned in the corner; and even a giant lure hanging from the ceiling,” she says.
The property usually stays rented. Their furthest renters thus far have been from New York City and California; however, they have a guest coming from England in April. The Walters have loved the short-term rental experience, saying, “My favorite part is getting to ‘meet’ everyone through their bookings and hear their story. Jeremy handles the day-to-day business, bookings, and communications to our cleaning crews, and he’s got it down to a science between our properties. Occasionally, you have someone throwing a party, which isn’t allowed. But 99 percent of the time it’s a great little side gig.”
Romie’s Retreat isn’t the Walters sole rental. “We also have an Airbnb on Petit Jean Mountain called Mammaw’s Mountaintop. It’s pays homage to my grandmother, who was a master quilter, and we are working on a new one in Downtown Conway and one in Shirley.” fl
AN OLD-FASHIONED FISHING EXPERIENCE A canoe, lifejackets, and fishing equipment is provided for anyone who books the place. The house is also equipped with a covered deck, outdoor grilling area, a fish cleaning station, fully fenced back yard, private dock, and boat slip.
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