RIVER VALLEY and OZARK AREA — A self-proclaimed “shoe connoisseur,” Dalencia Hervey said she dreamed of owning her own shoe store.
Her husband of nine months, Charles Hervey, said he always imagined himself living in a pedestrian-friendly community.
The Conway newlyweds will get to do both as the first owners of a live/work townhouse in The Village at Hendrix, the college’s mixed-use development under construction east of Harkrider Street.
The shoe store will be in 800 square feet on the bottom floor of the 3,100-square-foot, three-story building, and the Herveys and their 15-year-old daughter will live in the top two stories.
Dalencia said Beth Tyler, director of marketing and sales for The Village at Hendrix,had a little surprise for the couple when they were talking about buying the unit.
“She said, ‘Oh, and by the way, this home was chosen as the Conway Symphony Designer House,’” Dalencia recalled, laughing.
That means the public can tour the home beginning Thursday, Sept. 23, for a threeweek period before the Herveys take possession in November.
Thirty-two designers have been invited to tour the unit today to make a list of their top-three choices of rooms to decorate, Tyler said, and they each will be assigned one.
Helen Lockhart of Conway, owner of Red Chaise Designs, is coordinator of the design project. She also is the designer for the single-family model home in The Village at Hendrix.
Lockhart said 26 spaces, including anelevator, can be decorated in the three-bedroom home.
“It’s a pretty big, open elevator - they can do something fun and interesting in there,” she said of the designers.
“They will really have an open palette on what they get to do,” Lockhart added.
Tyler said the teenager’s room - one of two bedrooms over the garage - is already stirring interest among the designers. (Hint: Dalencia said their daughter hates pink and loves orange.)
A breezeway connects those two bedrooms to the main living area, and the master bedroom is on the third floor.
Lockhart said she has worked with the Herveys and builder Kevin Watson of Conway on the overall layout of the home, especially the kitchen design.
The living room, dining room and kitchen are one large room, so Lockhart said that meant she had to get creative.
“I did a great chef ’s kitchen with great storage ideas and some fun things worked in to make the kitchen very usable, because they don’t have a pantry,” Lockhart said.
The countertops will be a lighter granite, and the hardwood floors will have a darker stain, Lockhart said. She said she plans to do a unique light fixture, something “a little edgy.” She will stage the kitchen for the tour and wants to give the room a “sleek, overall modern design.”
“I’m hoping people are accepting of it,” said Lockhart, who moved to Conway just more than a year ago from Indiana. “The design in the Southis a little bit different than in the North.”
Dalencia said she likes contemporary style with “a little bit eclectic here and there.”
Katherine Thomason, cochairwoman of the Designer House, said this is the secondyear the Symphony Guild has sponsored the fundraiser.
“The last one was traditional, very Colonial, in downtown,” Thomason said. “(This house has a) contemporary setting. We’re very excited about it,” she added.
The tour will kick off with a dinner on the grounds in The Village at Hendrix on Thursday, Sept. 23. Tickets are $50, and seating is limited.
One-day tickets to tour the home are $10 in advance and $15 at the door; run-of-show tickets are $30.
Thomason said the proceeds will benefit the Conway Symphony Orchestra’s community outreach and education programs, including Symphony in the Classroom and the children’s concert program.
More information can be found at www.conwaysymphony.org.
University of Central Arkansas graduate Dalencia, who will continue her sales job at Hewlett-Packard in Conway, said at first she was hesitant about living above her business.
The appeal is “a community you can actually shop, eat and go home in and not leave your driveway.” Plus, she said, the neighbors were friendly.
Charles, who teaches kinesiology at UCA, said he has followed The Village at Hendrix project for years. The college’s board of trustees approved the project in 2005 as part of its revamped master plan. Plans include restaurants, shops, single-family homes, some ofwhich are occupied, cottages and the live/work townhouses, along with new student housing that opened last year, all connected with sidewalks and greenspaces.
Charles said it was that mixture that intrigued him.
“I thought it was a neat idea to have a community you could live and work in and have walking trails,” he said. “The ambiance of the environment - I just fell in love with it.”
Dalencia said she plans to sell women’s causal and dressy shoes - specializing in hardto-find sizes - and possibly a few men’s shoes.
The 5-foot-11-inch Dalencia said she and her twin sister both wear size 11 shoes, so they’re always searching.
“It’s always been a struggle for me to find shoes,” Dalencia said, adding that she tends to “go crazy” when she does.
The business is scheduled to open in January.
Her first choice for the store’s name is Stiletto, and her second choice is her middle name, Benee.
Tyler said the Herveys are “a testament to what The Village is and that it’s working.”
“We now have our first professor from UCA, our first HP employee. It’s so exciting,” she said.
- tkeith@ arkansasonline.com