Washington Elementary Tour of Homes set for May 20

Washington Elementary School

It is time again for the 14th annual Washington Elementary Tour of Homes fundraiser. As a lover of architecture and design, this is a far more interesting school fundraising event to me than sending kids door to door to sell wrapping paper or candy.

This tour is scheduled from 12-5 p.m. Saturday, May 20, and will take participants through an exciting list of houses which will be sure to inspire. Afterwards, tour goers can enjoy a closing reception with wine and cheese at French Metro Antiques or The Gift House Antiques.

This year’s tour sets itself apart from previous tours in that Washington Elementary School, 425 N. Highland Ave., is a featured stop. As a mom with two little guys who will be attending Washington Elementary in the future, I am very curious to see how this historic structure has transformed over time. The school was built in 1930 by Haralson and Nelson Architecture of Fort Smith, and has undergone several renovations and additions over the years, while keeping true to its original architectural design.

Randal Wright and Randy Northam, 426 N. Highland Ave.

This tour will be a particularly pleasant experience for those who enjoy a nice walk. With locations in two tight clusters, tour goers should be able to complete the journey with only one to two hops in the car. Those who start the tour at Washington Elementary can walk straight across the street and see the home of Randal Wright and Randy Northam at 426 N. Highland Ave. This home was fully renovated by Mark Zweig Inc. in 2011, an architecture and design firm which has become a staple of downtown Fayetteville. The owners have finished the interior design in their own flea market chic style.

Janine Parry and Matt McGowan, 303 E. Sutton Street

Next up tour goers can cross College Avenue to the Historic District and head to the home of Janine Parry and Matt McGowan at 303 E. Sutton Street. This Queen Anne-Free Classic-style, 2,500-square-foot home was built in 1900. The home has been updated and renovated over the years while keeping the original hardware, trim, and flooring in place. The owners have decorated the home themselves with a blend of family heirlooms, antiques, and thrift finds. The family has a great collection of artwork on display as well. There are pieces by local artists like Bill Gosch and Cindy Arsaga, as well as an array of family creations and historical finds.

Dee Dee Lamb, 350 N. Olive Ave.

A quick walk up to the east will take tour goers to the next two homes on the tour. At 350 N. Olive Ave. is the home of Dee Dee Lamb. An important historic structure, this home was the first public school in the state of Arkansas. Originally constructed of brick and log, the 3,000-square-foot home was built in 1866. The American Missionary Society, a Methodist organization in Philadelphia, acquired the land for 1 cent from Judge and Mrs. Lafayette Gregg and erected a brick schoolhouse for the education of the newly freed blacks. The brick school house had room for 80-100 students and was called “The Mission School for Negro Only.” After a long history of interesting changes, the schoolhouse was acquired in the late 1940s by a prominent Fayetteville citizen, Jack Reed, with the purpose of converting it to a private residence. He completed a distinctive expansion and renovation using high end materials from the Monte Ne resort at Beaver lake and his own quarry. Dee Dee Lamb purchased the home 25 years ago. It was a perfect fit for her. With a background in education and childhood memories of Monte Ne she was naturally drawn to the home. Interior Designers Bruce McEntire and Susan Milne have helped Dee Dee make the brick schoolhouse her own.

Ted and Leslie Belden, 504 E. Lafayette Street

Next up folks can travel to the corner of Lafayette and Olive to the historic home of Ted and Leslie Belden at 504 E. Lafayette Street. The largest home on the tour at 5,400 square feet, the three-story structure features five bedrooms and six bathrooms. Built in the early 1900s, the front of the house features unique original details like a large central brick fireplace in the foyer and wooden operable pocket doors. With the assistance of interior designer Scott Paterik of Little Rock, Ted and Leslie worked to create an inviting, light-filled, calm living environment utilizing a mix of contemporary and traditional décor centered on the color blue. If the quality and detail of the exterior painting and landscape design are any indication of what’s inside, this home is not to be missed!

Renee and Terry Hunt, 425 N. Olive Ave.

Next tour goers can walk up Olive street to the home of Renee and Terry Hunt at 425 N. Olive Ave. The owners of French Metro Antiques renovated and expanded this classic bungalow with the help of Valeria Gibertoni, their Italian neighbor with a degree in architecture from Milan. Naturally the antiques collection on display in the home of fine antiques importers is wonderful, but the art collection in on par with a visit to a museum. With artwork created by French artists from each important historical movement and a picture worthy formal French parterre garden, tour goers may find themselves surprised to be having such a European experience in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Tickets purchased prior to the event are $20 and are available at the Washington Elementary School office or at French Metro Antiques, The Gift House, or the Downtown Bank of Fayetteville.

Tickets can also be purchased the day of the tour for $25 at any of the homes on the self-guided tour.

For more information, contact Valeria Gibertoni at [email protected] or Ashley McLarty at [email protected], or call the school office at 479-444-3073.

Jessica DeBari, owner of DeBari Home, is an artist, custom finisher, designer, and general believer in the philosophy of aesthetics.