A serendipitous visit leads to a cottage revival

Previously published in 501 Life Magazine

by Donna Benton

Photos by Makenzie Evans

Laura Roussel got the call she had been waiting on. It was her son, Blake, on the line, urging her to hurry on down to Ash Street in Conway where he had just stumbled upon a quaint little house that might be exactly what she had been looking for.

Blake, who is a local realtor, explained that the house was pretty rough, but the owner was planning to remodel it to sell.



Scott and Laura Roussel had their eye on Conway for several years. “We were born and raised in Searcy, and hadn’t lived in Conway since college, but our kids and grandkids live here and we wanted to be able to spend time with them while the kids are young and they like to spend time with their grandparents,” said Laura. “We had been looking for a house in Old Town Conway for some time, and I was beginning to lose hope that we would ever find one.”

Laura recognized the little brick house with Lance Johnston’s Reform Design + Build sign in the yard. She had noticed the home before and thought how sad it was to see the quaint little house just deteriorating with neglect. “Even in its run-down condition, I knew that this was the house I wanted. I called my son and told him to begin negotiations with the owner.”

As it turns out. Laura was at the wrong house. She was supposed to be at a house one block down the street. But as luck would have it, the owner of her little ramshackle dream cottage was willing to sell.

“We had always dreamed of restoring an old home,” said Laura. “We love antiques and historic buildings, and it was fun to reimagine this home. We knew we wanted to add a master suite, and Lance Johnston helped us design the addition to look like it was original to the house.


“We furnished the cottage with vintage and antique furniture, some of which I had been collecting since college. I shopped at antique shops and flea markets for unique but affordable furnishings. Many of the antique pieces got new finishes to match the crisp white and light gray interior.”


The Roussels may move to Conway permanently someday, but for now, it will be their second home. In the meantime, they are offering the home as a nightly rental where they welcome Conway visitors to spend some time in their charming little cottage.