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PORTRAIT OF A A C E N T U RY- O L D CO N WAY H O M E M A I N TA I N S I T S U N I Q U E C H A R M A S I T I S R E N OVAT E D TO M E E T T H E N E E D S O F A C R E AT I V E FA M I LY O F FO U R S T O R Y: A S H L E Y G I L L | P H O T O G R A P H Y: R E T T P E E K | S T Y L I N G : C H I P J O N E S

WHAT DO PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY and home building have in common? A lot, according to Lance Johnston, who engages in both pursuits with a spirit of passion and innovation. He, his wife Melissa, and their daughters Mary Dean (15) and Anne Ryan (13) live in a 1907 Queen Anne farmhouse right in the heart of Conway that Johnston has transformed into a timeless treasure. As a licensed contractor with a new building business called Reform Design + Build—a partnership with his friend Michael Harrison—Johnston sees the connections between his two professions clearly: “The philosophy behind the design + build business is exactly the same as the photography business—to create new-classic work that people will enjoy for generations.” BACK IN TIME The family relocated to the historic home, after living for 13 years in a dwelling the couple designed and built in west Conway and which they believed at the time would be their “forever home.” “We moved back into town as a lifestyle choice, more than anything,” Johnston says; “Our life is all in this area. We went from being 20 minutes away from everywhere to never going more than five minutes away for most everything we do. It’s a different lifestyle living downtown.” Initially, the couple had every intention of buying a downtown lot and erecting a new home with classic appeal. That was the plan, that is, until they had a first look inside this historic house; “We knew we couldn’t build a new house with this much character, even if money were no object,” Johnston says. Albert Lachowsky, an immigrant from Germany, built the farmhouse in 1907, and his family lived in the home for one hundred five years, until his daughter Agnes, the last living resident, passed away in 2012; that makes the Johnstons only the second owners of the property. “We saw these hundredyear-old hardwood floors and all of the other details this house has, and we knew we couldn’t recreate that feeling,” Johnston says. All of the original window and door locks were still intact, as well as the original window glass. The doorbell, which still works, is also original, and the claw-foot bathtub was relocated from the home’s only existing bathroom into the Johnstons’s new master bath addition. After purchasing the home, they embarked on a conscientious renovation that would preserve the house’s charm yet accommodate their space needs and provide the comforts of a modern home. October 2015 | athomearkansas.com 57

At Home in Arkansas | October 2015  
At Home in Arkansas | October 2015