21 Jun 2014 Movers and Shakers: Conway couple builds home with a 'timeless' vision
by RaeLynn Callaway
Mike Kemp photos
Recently, I had the opportunity to help a couple I consider “Movers and Shakers” — Josh and Traci Smith of Conway — design their home in Centennial Valley in West Conway.
My interview with Traci went so well I wanted to share it with 501 readers.
RC: You come from a family very involved in the community. Share a little about that.
TS: For me, it all started with my mom, Nancy Williams. I personally consider her a pillar in our community through her years of volunteer service. So, if I wanted to have a career like my dad in computers, I equally wanted to give back to the community like my mom.
RC: I know you are both very active in the community. Share about what you are involved in.
TS: Where to start? Josh is more active in the start-up Arkansas community, either through local colleges, start-up organizations or state programs. Arkansas is a great state for technical start-up support.
I am more community volunteer. Right now, I’m president of the United Way of Central Arkansas Board of Directors. With my job I have to limit my number of volunteer boards at a given time or I can’t give enough time to an organization. I’m pretty focused on United Way and working to rebuild our image and funding programs to better serve Faulkner and Perry counties.
My church, First United Methodist Church, is always on my “active duty” list. I love my church because they are as much a community outreach support organization as any other, through their food pantry, Amazing Grace Café, Emergency Fund Program and many more. I’m also a new member of the Conway Civic League and a Life Member of the Junior Auxiliary of Conway.
RC: You are from Conway. Share why you wanted to stay here and raise your family here.
TS: I have the best of both worlds here. Conway is so blessed to have a globally recognized technical company, Acxiom, which services many of the largest companies in the world. I am able to live in a forward-thinking community, work for a forward-thinking company and have a life raising my kids like I had growing up. It’s almost too good to be true.
RC: Why did you choose Centennial Valley? Didn’t you own your lot a few years before you built?
TS: Yes. We had the lot for a few years before we built. We chose Centennial Valley because of the active family community it embraces.
With the golf course, swimming pool, fitness center and great people, it’s like a get-away in my own backyard. Sometimes, when I’m driving through the neighborhood I have to watch for golf carts, bikers, walkers, runners, kids and people fishing or hiking up the mountain.
I think to myself, “This is the life! We are very blessed.”
RC: How long did you work on your plan or know what style home you wanted?
TS: Years. I can’t tell you how many hours we drove through the Heights and Hillcrest in Little Rock looking at house after house. We knew those neighborhoods and their homes have stood the test of time, style-wise, and we wanted the same thing. We didn’t want our house to scream 2013.
RC: Talk about how you and Josh worked together to come up with what you wanted.
TS: Very patiently. First, we had our list of Top 10, 20 or 30 favorites! Then working with our builder, Rex Lovelady, and our designer, RaeLynn Callaway, we were able to come up with our ideal home. Between Rex and RaeLynn, we were very educated on what would and would not work — what was just plain “stupid” or “brilliant!”
RC: What do you love the most about the house?
TS: The location. The colors. The kitchen. The screened porch. The hardwood floors (our very first choice made on the house).
RC: It is designed well for entertaining. Talk a little about that.
TS: I think it is. We’ve entertained a few times now, and the flow seems to work so far. On Memorial Day, we had a few couples over. We played cards at the kitchen table because we could look over the swimming pool and golf course. It was just like we were sitting outside. It was great.
RC: Anything else you want to add about the house?
TS: Since the house backs up to the golf course, we kept thinking like the golf course was our lake, “our view.” Many things were designed for “our view,” whether it was a better view or to avoid obstructing the view.
RC: Would you consider yourself a mover and shaker? Why or why not?
TS: Yes — but probably more mover than shaker. If O’Shaughnessy meant shakers as those who “shake the foundations of conventional thinking through their imagination and vision,” then I am more of the person who would help MOVE that vision forward.
A board certified interior designer, RaeLynn Callaway owns CYInteriors (raelynncallaway.com). She and her husband, Bart, have three children and live in Conway.