We had spent a lot of time looking online and talking with our realtor, David Pegg or Market Pro Realty in Arkansas, and he had very kindly gone out to look at and to take video of one house which kept coming up time and time again every time S and I were looking. My good friend S, who I have known since school said this could be a good omen, and I was truly hoping it was....
The flight from LAX to the NW Arkansas Regional Airport, was uneventful but very long. In order to get 4 seats on each of the flights (there is no direct flight) we had to go via Atlanta, so it made the travel time longer than it really needed to be, but we didn't mind because we were so excited to be there and to see the area and do some house hunting!
Friday morning, S had to go and have a meeting with his new boss, and so we arranged to meet the realtor at 9.30, and he had made our first appointment for 10.30am - This first appointment was at what this far was proving to be the favourite, the Fain house. We got to the office and met with David and also his partner at Market Pro Realty, Christy Fournier. Both of them were lovely people and I thought there was a great connection between us and them which was good. Anyway after a few minutes chat and discussion over which houses we were seeing and in what order, we set off for the first house "The Fain House". We headed east on Highway 12 and then took Highway 303 and after about 15 miles turned into the road and at the end, the house! The first thing we spotted was the stunning view from the front of the house over Beaver Lake, WOW! I got my camera out and started to take photo's. We went into the house and straight away, all 4 of us seemed to relax and take deep breaths. G turned to me and said "Mama this feels like home". We spent the next hour wandering around the house and the gardens on the 1.4 acre plot, and all of us felt it was home. It was such a relief to not feel disappointed. Perhaps my friend S was right, it was a good omen.
Even though "The Fain House" felt almost too right to be true, I was determined to keep an open mind. We had another 4 houses to look at that day, and each one deserved our full attention and consideration.The 2nd house was the "KcNight House", originally at the top of my list. It was the furthest house from town, but had 2 amazing wrap around decks and a truly stunning view of Beaver Lake. Sadly once inside it felt more like a holiday let than a permanent home and despite an amazing vaulted ceiling in the living area, the bedrooms were small and cramped and the layout just wasn't geared for us - it was a "No".
The next house was "The Pageant House". This one was a 2 acre plot, but all the land was to the back of the house and on a pretty steep slope that meant it was pretty much useless space as a back yard other than somewhere to view the wildlife from the comfort of the rear deck, which was smaller in reality than on the net. The house itself was very old fashioned and would have taken a lot of work to make 'right' for us. There were 2 bedrooms in the basement and 2 unfinished areas as well, but it was very dark. Again a "No".
The next house was in a world all of its own. On a 5 acre plot it was a traditional "walton" house. A notice just inside asked us to please remove our shoes and indicated slippers behind the front door. There was also an overwhelming smell of scented candles. The living space was open plan, with tiled floors and tile around the 2 archways at either side that led to the bedrooms. This house was so pristine and OTT that we felt like touching anything would be a mistake. There was a deck running the full length of the back of the house but it was very narrow and totally useless for anything other than walking across. It was more like an outdoors corridor. The master closet was to die for, it was like another room that had been converted into a closet - it was huge!. The en suite was gorgeous too with a huge shower room and separate deep jacuzzi bath and his and her sinks. The tiles were those wonderful natural stone, and I was in heaven. Upstairs there was a huge office and another tiny lounge area. The other 2 bedrooms were a great size and so was the guest bathroom. However, the open plan living area was nowhere near big enough for us, and it was far too ornate for us to have ever felt comfortable - Again another "No"
Finally, we looked at "The Quarry House". On paper my 2nd favourite and on a huge plot, at 10 acres! On paper this house had, an amazing professional range in the farmhouse style kitchen, but at just 2000 sq ft, it was the smallest of the houses we saw. Sadly, it was way too small, and the piles or dirty laundry on the landing and in the bedrooms, combined with unmade beds and general mess everywhere, was enough to put all of us off. The realtor, Christy and I agreed that the lady of this house, was not really keen to move and was trying to delay departure from her home for as long as possible.
At the end of Day 1, we were still keen to move forward on "The Fain House", and S and I agreed that we needed to see something really special on Day 2 to change our minds on it. The boys both agreed that as far as they were concerned, there were no other houses worth seeing.
We went to bed tired and excited about what the new day would bring, but pretty sure we had already found our home.
Day 2 was a gorgeous day and we met our lovely Realtors at 8.30am, full of anticipation. The first 2 houses were a little way north in Bella Vista, but both on the lake. They were both huge houses the first at just over 4000 sq ft and the 2nd at just under. They were actually built by the same builder and their layouts were pretty much identical. The first had been kind of made into 2 houses or apartments with bedrooms, living space and kitchen repeated on both floors, although on the lower floor the living area had been turned into a games room and theatre room. It wasn't us, and the outside decks needed way too much work immediately that put us all off straight away. These 2 were also right at the top of our budget, so with the work that needed doing to both, they tipped the scales even more heavily, and we moved onto number 3.
Number 3 was back on Beaver Lake and the details said it was 3000 sq ft. It looked great as we pulled up, and looking past the overload of stuffed animal heads on the walls, I thought it had some potential. Its views of the lake were amazing and it had a boat slip included in the sale. Then the more we looked the more we found, literally. Below the main house was a double garage and an office, then below that was another double garage and a workshop and then below that was another workshop space and an area we couldn't get into because it was locked. This house was a total labyrinth - we reckoned on 3000 sq ft heated and cooled and then another 3000 sq ft garage and storage space - it was enormous. Way too much for us - so despite the stunning views, it had to be a no, it was just too overwhelming to feel right!
The final house of the day was away form the lake and was a new build. It was on 5 acres of land, but it was just nothing like we wanted, and we all agreed - we had found our house on the first day. We had found our house before we even arrived. We went for lunch to discuss all the houses and see how everyone felt.
Our decision was a mutual one - we loved the Fain house. It had a good feeling, a good flow and was everything we needed. We toasted our decision and returned to our hotel so the boys could go in the pool and S called the realtor to tell what what they knew already - we wanted to proceed with the Fain house!
Here she is - our soon to be new home.
My apologies to my Facebook friends who have already been bored by these photos.
|Front of House|
|Living Room Gallery|
|From Living Room across towards Kitchen & Dining Area|
|Master Bathroom, Part 1|
|Master Bathroom, Part 2|
|Boys/Guest Full Bathroom|
|Guest 1/2 Bathroom|
|View from front of house over Beaver Lake|
|View of side and back yard from side edge of property|
|View across the front of the property|