The Happy House
Local award-winning teacher transforms a dated house into a modern dream home
By Nancy Peevy
Photos by Beth Hall
Rosemary Faucette has a gift for seeing the potential all around her. As a teacher, she always saw the best in her students.
Though she is now retired, many of the students Rosemary taught at Fayetteville’s Woodland Junior High have gone on to become doctors, lawyers and college professors – just as she predicted. “I think it’s an intuitive thing,” she says. “It’s not something I sat down and logically deduced.”
She remembers a particular student who was “a mess” and did not like school, but was an excellent writer. “I reassured his mother and said, ‘Don’t worry, he is so smart.’” Now, he has a Ph.D. and is a college professor. As an educator with remarkable vision and superb teaching skills, Rosemary was awarded both the national Milken Educator Award and Arkansas Teacher of the Year in 1993.
Rosemary laughs and says her ability to see potential and “what things can be,” also served her well when she and husband George bought their current home 34 years ago. George, who was a real estate agent at the time — and is now CFO of Coldwell Banker Harris McHaney & Faucette — showed her a listing of a house on Fayetteville’s Elmwood Drive, built in 1960, with four bedrooms and three baths.
The home’s convenient corner location with a greenbelt behind it for privacy was appealing to Rosemary – as was the quiet neighborhood with little traffic. Rosemary was intrigued and insisted they look at the house. George was hesitant. He said, “Rosemary, please, it’s a colonial, you will hate it. Wait until you see the inside, it’s just horrible. But it does have big rooms.”
She ultimately prevailed and the two arranged to tour the home. The ‘60s style aesthetic featured wallpaper in every room, the kitchen was all brown and there were American eagles with red, white and blue everywhere. “It was hideous,” Rosemary laughs. But, as she told George, “Wait ‘till you see what I can do with it.”
The Faucettes ended up buying the home for the same reason Rosemary was drawn to teaching. “I just had this ability to see what could be. I thought the house had a lot of potential,” she says. “People thought we were nuts. Nobody could believe that I bought this house, because it doesn’t fit my personality… so I made it fit my personality!”
Most of the transformation came gradually over the years. They began by upgrading the home with new drapes and paint. Next, they added a swimming pool.Then they removed a wall that separated the kitchen from the den, plus two hallways,to make a large formal living and dining area. The new open space also doubled as a reception area when their daughter, Sagely, was married. When the grandbabies came along, the couple remodeled the guest bath to include a more kid-friendly bathtub.
For the home’s exterior, the Faucettes added wooden windows and solar panels. They kept the colonial columns but hung custom-made shutters, painted the brick, and upgraded the walkway with patterned concrete and new railing.
They also added a screened-in porch and back patio area, which is now the family’s favorite spot. It’s the site of extended family meals, visits with grandkids, reading, knitting and napping – and includes an art studio for Rosemary and her friends to paint.
In an effort to add more storage, they also transformed the original garage into a side hall area with new cabinets and a side entrance for friends with an additional two-car garage. “The house has changed as we’ve lived with it. As we grew, it grew,” says Rosemary. “The home went through so many changes and so have we. I didn’t look at this house and think this will happen, or that will happen. I just felt like this was home.”
Now measuring 3,750 square feet, the home boasts traditional features in a contemporary style with pops of color throughout. “I love color,” she says. “It is so important… and invigorating. Color really energizes people.”
Last October, a mouse ate through the refrigerator water line, which completely flooded the kitchen. Since everything had to be gutted, Rosemary chose to renovate the kitchen in a contemporary style with lots of color, including an art deco clock, chrome cabinet, and contemporary art and light fixtures.
The home is perfect for entertaining and hosting friends and family. Rosemary wants her guests to feel joy and an anticipation of fun when they enter her home. “I want them to say, ‘This is a house where you can be who you are and have a good time.’”
True to Rosemary’s vision, the original and dated colonial house has realized its potential – changing and growing with the family over the years to reflect who they are today.
“There is nothing about the house that I don’t love,” Rosemary says. “It’s a happy house.”
HOME PROS USED
Interior Designer: Whiteline Designs
Appliances: Metro Appliances & More
Cabinets & Kitchen Design: Andi Stephens, Kitchen Distributors
Floor: The Wood Floor Gallery
Tile & Quartz: New Century Countertops
Electrician: Hill Electric, Inc.
Painting: Genaro’s Painting
Lawn: Nichols Reliable Lawn Care
Plumbing: Marshall Plumbing Services
Gardener: Katherine Barnhart
Home Theater: AV Design Consultants
Glass & Mirrors: Abram’s Glass
Lighting Fixtures: Lighting Emporium
Décor/Furnishings: Lacuna Modern