Stonehorse Farm


Reinterpreting the American Farmhouse




This extensive remodel project is located in central Virginia - a beautiful 70-acre property with undulating hills, exquisite vistas in Keswick Horse Country outside of Charlottesville.  The 1911 farmhouse cried out for considerable revision, yet the architectural style suggested an expansion and general esthetic upgrade without casting aside the farmhouse character.  The suggestions by many locals to “just bulldoze that little farmhouse and build a proper manor-home were rejected.  The original rooms of the farmhouse were functional and provided beautiful vistas of the surrounding area. The property included two huge barns, one for horses and one which could be developed into a woodworking shop. Near the barn cluster is a two-room guest house, which was updated and could be used by visiting family and friends.


Scope of Project

The remodel included the removal of nearly 500 square feet of ill-conceived additions, and the addition of just over 1000 square feet of new space, including a Master Suite, powder room, and fourth bedroom upstairs, bringing the total living area to approximately 4,000 square feet.  The new Master Suite includes a bath, walk-in closet, sitting area and screened porch. One challenge was to make the new section look as though it belonged to the original structure, both inside and out. With every design decision we considered the objective:  retain the “farmhouse” character.  Just one example of this involved the brass hinges on the interior doors.  Although much of this brass hardware was replaced with new, we decided to strip the new brass of the clear lacquer finish and allow it to tarnish – making it appear to be original.  On the exterior, we liked the uniqueness of the roofline and decided to accentuate and refine it by adding a standing-seam copper roof, while retaining the overall roof pitch and outline. The original four rooms of the house were returned to the 1911 floor plan, turning one of the rooms into a library with coffered ceilings.  In the Dining Room and Music Room we kept the windows which had been salvaged from a neighbor’s barn by a previous owner. All the major systems (electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and septic) were replaced and a true chef’s kitchen was integrated into the design.


Numerous trips to Europe provided the opportunity to collect artistic treasures used throughout the interior design. A mixture of French collectibles and art with American color, fabrics, and furniture were employed.  The Library incorporated inside folding shutters for light control similar to those found at nearby Monticello. On the exterior - to help with heat and light - operable wooden shutters were used with custom-made iron hinges and hold-backs similar to those found throughout Europe.  This necessitated the design of a unique window screen system that allows the exterior shutters to be opened or closed from within the building. The interior design combined furniture from the era of the house (Macintosh, Wright, Saarinen, and Stickley) with contemporary pieces and pumped up the overall freshness with the use of color.



Click on the thumbnail images below for a larger image.

  Aerial photo taken the winter before the remodel began.
Same aerial photo as the remodel project neared completion

The Guest Entrance features a Charles Rennie Mackintosh Willow chair, commissioned still-life painting by Guy Diehl, Avon Stripe wallpaper by Lee Jofa, and an antique Bijar rug.



Beams were added to the ceiling which were mimicked in the direction of the flooring to give spatial definition to the sitting area. The furnishings include Macintosh Argyle teahouse chairs, Eames Lounge chair, and a painting by Collene Cox. The bed is from the Baker Knapp & Tubbs Stickley collection; linens are by Yves Delorme. The wall paint is Victorian Trim from Benjamin Moore.


The breakfast area is adjacent to the kitchen. An original built-in cabinet and fireplace were kept for their historic charm. The fireplace chimney was rebuilt from the mantle up for safety reasons. The table pedestals are Italian from Limn, and wall paper Lee Jofa. Most of the windows in the house were replaced with Marvin products, exterior doors by Pella and interior doors by Gaston & Wyatt. All screens for the house were replaced with hand-stretched bronze mesh - less visible than galvanized or aluminum.


The dining room is one of the original four of the house and nearly square. In keeping with the historic turn of the century theme, the dining room chairs are Frank Lloyd Wright barrel chair with ICF mohair. The window treatment fabric is from Pollack. The candelabras are from in Aix-en-Provence; the sconces from Florence. Painting is by Jean Duvall. Walls are painted with Martin Senour Palace Dining Room Pearl Blue.


The Kitchen was gutted and redesigned. To maintain the farmhouse look, the cabinets were designed with 1920’s period detailing. The countertops are granite. Under the window is a meal preparation station with a quarter-sawn maple countertop.  The electric oven and gas cooktop are by Thermador; tile backsplash is Waterworks Olde Court Tiles with Chicago Faucets pot filler. The sink and filtered hot/cold water dispenser are by Franke with a HansaAmerica Hansaronda faucet; the refrigerator is by Sub Zero, the stools are from De Sousa Hughes. We added an opening skylight for ventilation and natural light.



The Library - where once there was a warren of little rooms, there is now a gracious library with coffered ceiling. Parterriers are made of taffeta silk from Dogwood; the gold hold-backs are from a Paris antique shop. The lounge chair is Donghia Luciano covered in Hines and Co. The painting over the new fireplace mantel is by Charlottesville artist Philip Geiger, and the custom fireplace screen by Keswick blacksmith Stokes of England. The paint is Martin Senour drawn from historical colors at colonial Williamsburg, bookcases and trim Pelham Grey Light, fireplace Everard Chamber White, ceiling Palace Ballroom Ceiling White.




The Master Bathroom was completely replaced and updated with a classic look that still spoke of the farmhouse. The free-standing vanity cabinet is made of hand-rubbed Pennsylvania cherry and features traditional raised panel doors, and dovetailed drawers with Häfele full-extension slides to insure practicality.  Hardware on the vanity is nickel plated by Horton Brass. The polished nickel faucets are Julia by Waterworks; the sinks American Standard. The countertop, tub surround, and shower shelf are Vermont soapstone. The towels are by Frette found in Florence.


In keeping with the period nature of the farmhouse, the Powder Room was implemented with bead board and wainscot painted pink and the walls covered with floral wallpaper by Scalamandré, reminiscent of the French-inspired garden. The faucet is polished nickel from France. Both faucet and pedestal sink were supplied by Waterworks.


The Music Room features a custom designed sofa made by Kroll Furniture Inc. with Pollack fabric, Eero Saarinen Blue table and chairs, Donghia Grande Soleil and an antique Sarapi rug. All window treatments in the home are fabricated by Susan Lind Chastain Fine Sewing Workshop of San Francisco; in the Music room the fabric is from Manuel Canovas. The wall color is Russell House Green Light by Martin Senour; ceiling Palace Ballroom Ceiling White, also by Martin Senour which helped to visually increase the room height.





An extensive landscape revision turned the grounds near the house into a Provence-inspired garden designed by Rebecca Frischkorn of Charlottesville, Virginia. Her design incorporated extensive use of tall grasses to enhance the feeling of intimacy within the Provençal garden area. A major landscape challenge was insuring proper drainage since the soil was mostly an impervious mix of shale & clay, and the site was formerly a parking area that had been compacted with vehicle traffic over decades. The hardscape improvements included extensive trenches for improved drainage, new topsoil, and honeydust walkways with steel edging. The overhead power lines were moved underground, the driveway reshaped, and the garage was essentially pivoted 180 degrees via the relocation of the overhead doors from the south to the north side of the building. Over 100 trees were planted including an alleé of London Plane trees. A French-inspired armillary sphere and a stone fountain from Kenneth Lynch & Sons are central focal points in the garden.  A pergola was added on the garage side of the garden, and a semicircle of tall stone columns at the opposite side gives the garden symmetry and balance. The family entrance was enhanced with a dormer on the second floor over the new entry along with the addition of a simulated limestone walk from the garage.





The view from the Study Balcony Winter and Fall.







After much planning and effort, the objectives of the remodel were achieved: Stonehorse Farm was transformed into a tasteful mélange of European sophistication & sensibilities blended with the relaxed and homespun nature of an American farmhouse.  This has been a rewarding project.  Stonehorse Farm is a welcoming spot that has made parties and gatherings with family and friends effortless and thoroughly enjoyable.







Construction Photos are Here.