Native Arkansans, Carol and Bill Eaton had been living in Vicksburg, Mississippi, for the last 12 years for Bill’s job. Approaching retirement, Bill and Carol were open to the idea of moving back to Arkansas, and when a chance trip brought Carol through Fayetteville, she stumbled upon their new home. “I drove by this house with one of our daughters while passing through town,” Carol says. “It was actually the Fourth of July, but we managed to get the real estate agent to show it to us that day. It was perfect! I called Bill from the driveway, and we bought it.”
Mark Zweig had recently remodeled the 3,500-square-foot home and named it Sweet Lafayette. “I’ve been remodeling homes since 1985 and working in the Fayetteville area since 2004,” he says. “I focus on pre-World War II homes located near the center of town and the university. I actually like to work on homes that are in very poor condition because it justifies gutting them to the studs and fixing every aspect that has either been done badly in the past or has simply deteriorated.” Mark always uses natural elements, including Western red cedar siding shingles, natural stone, antique brick, wooden-frame windows and soffits, and oil-based paints. “I don’t like vinyl, aluminum or faux products,” he says. “I find they make a house look like a caricature of something real.”
The Eatons’ Craftsman-style cottage also holds many significant historical aspects. An earlier renovation to the home utilized materials from the Arkansas House, which was the Arkansas pavilion at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. It was disassembled for sale to the public, and the materials were marked with sequential lot numbers, which are still visible on the limestone pillars and column bases in the home’s landscaping. The fireplace and all the window and door trim medallions and a large portion of the baseboards and crown moulding are also from the Arkansas House. The front staircase, glass on the front door and most of the raised panel and the oak flooring in the kitchen were all salvaged from the demolition of the Padock Mansion, which was located near Fayetteville’s downtown square.
Honoring these historic materials and the original bones, Mark set about to re-create this one-of-a-kind home. “We stripped all the asbestos shingles and redid the exterior with cedar shingles in several different patterns and stain colors,” he says. “We opened up the second floor and changed it from a three-bedroom one-bath space to a two-bedroom two-bath level, and enlarged the doorways downstairs and brought back the original woodwork style throughout. We rebuilt the front and rear porches and maximized the kitchen with side-by-side stoves for a total of ten burners and a custom-made 60-inch commercial range hood.” Mark and his team also expanded the laundry room to what he calls a laundromat, featuring two front-load washers and dryers and dark brown marble floors. “We had a blast with this house,” he says. “We were able to build and incorporate all of our ideas.”