Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Housetour: Blue Ridge Farm

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of touring Blue Ridge Farm, outside of Charlottesville, Virginia, with the ICAA. The tour was led by the talented architect Madison Spencer who had recently completed an extensive restoration to the property along with the landscape architect Rachel Lilly. The bulk of the structure was built in 1850 but was not the house it is today. In 1920 the architect William Bottomley was hired to renovate the house into the Neo-Georgian design you see today. The well known landcape architect, Charles Gillette, was brought on to design the beautiful gardens which Lilly restored and expanded. The back of the house features a large terrace and expansive lawn.The original wood screen doors were found in a barn and restored; aren't they unique?To the side of the terrace, Spencer created an informal living area for modern living, just outside of the family room.The terrace is actually set a story above ground, so that in the past servants could get around the property without being seen presumably.Facing the new garages, Spencer added an additional covered porch off the kitchens and family room.Lets move in for peak inside. The view from the front terrace is what this house is all about!The front hall goes through the house, connecting the front and rear terraces. The unique center column near the stair works in actuality, but as Spencer said, would look strange in a floorplan. Spencer added this unique plaster detail in the dining room, just off the front hall. This was a typical detail from Bottomley.Behind the dining room is the map room, a cozy study, which opens to the rear terrace. It retains an original wood fireplace mantel and beautifully inlaid floors.

The ceiling is really stunning.The living room flanks the dining room across the hall. It retained many of the original details which had to be restored . The homeowners have accumulated a lot of period furnishings which fit the house.A study off the living room featured a Bottomley fireplace and beautiful paneling with the original owner's intials.Located a few steps down from the living room is the paneled library from the Bottomley renovation. As Spencer said, the wood is basically 'junk' wood but detailed so beautifully that it could rival any finer species of wood paneling.I loved the detail at the window jamb, which allows blinds or shutters to fit down these reveals.Located a few more steps down from the library is the garden room.Spencer added these decorative grilles to hide the needed heating and AC ducts.The garden room naturally opens into the expansive gardens. Designed as a series of rooms, one comes across many little surprises such as this water garden. The rear lawn features 1 large stone pillar and low wall, part of an unrealized master plan? Spencer and Lilly had it restored, including the incredibly enormous stone ball.Adjacent tothe house is the adorable guest cottage which I loved; I could move right in! The back of the cottage is where the kitchen gardens lay.Off to the other side of the rear lawn is a gate to the new pool and poolhouse, designed by Spencer.I love the regency styling here, leaving one to wonder when it was built. Stone walls throughout the estate help create separate spaces and create usable areas in the hilly landscape.This looks ideal for this hot weather we've had lately! The interior walls of the poolhouse are thick, allowing for clever storage but also help insulate the temperature.Further from the house was found an old ruined stone building on a picturesque pond. Spencer restored it as a fishing cottage.What a perfect little getaway! The views of the pond are incredible. And of course, I wouldn't be the nerdy architect without a few little detail shots. I loved the way Spencer integrated these downspouts between an addition and the house so that they are inset and protected from the driveway.To hide the exhaust for the range in the newly renovated kitchen, Spencer added a cute little dormer between two existing dormers. Many thanks to the ICAA for arranging this great outing and to Madison Spencer and Rachel Lilly for being such entertaining tour guides of their fantastic project!

20 comments:

The Devoted Classicist said...

What a great estate! Thanks for showing all the wonderful details, including those terrific screen doors!

Henhurst Interiors said...

A truly exquisite house and garden. And your photos and commentary are wonderful - I really feel as if I have been on the tour. One request - would you post larger pictures? I just want to see every little detail and your photos are too good not to!

All best,
Phyllis

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Devoted, yes, i was particularly intrigued by those doors! the estate had come upon 'hard times' before these current owners and they were just rotting away in some barn, Amazing!

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Henhurst, thank you! I will try to figure it out with future postings. This blogger platform has a lot of issues.

Loi Thai, Tone on Tone said...

Amazing house and garden tour, Stefan! What a setting! I'm assuming Blue Ridge Farm is not available for public tours? I love the garden room and it's exposed brick walls.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Loi, unfortunately no, it's a private house. I'll let you know when the next ICAA tours are coming up -they're really great opportunities to see things like this that one normally doesn't see.

pve design said...

Just heavenly~ talk about pearly gates....or what!
pve

Things That Inspire said...

You had me at the second picture. I am a huge fan of Neo-Georgian! This is an incredible house. I love it when the back of the house is as beautiful (or more beautiful) than the front.

What a treat to get a tour - great idea for an ICAA event. I am on the membership committee of the ICAA SE; we are trying to expand membership beyond architects to enthusiasts and designers as well.

- Holly

sandrajonas.com said...

Beautiful! love the screen doors, all the details and I'll move into that fishing cottage.

Renée Finberg said...

every detail is perfection.
i did love the wooden screen doors-

xox

France@labor posters said...

It is my dream to travel and take a peek at houses like this. Glad I found your blog. My dream half-way comes true.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Sandra, be prepared for small space living -the fishing cottage is one room about 15x20!

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Patricia - pearly gates were the only things missing!

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Holly, it's a great organization! They're trying to more actively involve architects by getting them to do tours of their projects (like this one). It's a small organization here but hopefully can expand more broadly!

Mark D. Ruffner said...

Thanks for bringing us along on the tour, Stefan! I particularly like the detail of the compass rose on the Map Room ceiling — nice touch!

Ann said...

Stefan, another gorgeous tour! Excuse me while I pick my jaw up off the floor to try and make an intelligible comment. Love, love, love! How are you? :)

Nancy said...

This is a gorgeous estate! Thanks so much for sharing this beautiful property and such lovely images!
Nancy
Powellbrowerhome.com

Thombeau said...

I want a map room! And I love that little fishing cottage.

designchic said...

Georgian style architecture is one of my absolute favorites and this gorgeous home certainly reinforces that - the back is as lovely as the front, and the guest cottage...charm personified!

Kellsboro Jack said...

Thanks for the tour as it was a treat to virtually tour the estate. I recall when the property was last listed for sale in several glossy magazines prior to it's 2002 sale.

The condition its in now reflects a lot of careful thought with keeping it fresh yet sympathetic to Bottomley's work. Sadly too many owners in this era like to gut grand old homes and remove the soul in exchange for empty, clean lines.

Per the estate's filing with the National Historic Register the pool (and pool house) was added following the acquisition of the estate in 1981.