The classic Craftsman cottage
Minutes from tour headquarters at Trinity Episcopal Church, awaits a treat for art lovers. Ready to welcome visitors on Oct. 15-16, just inside the town limits, is Harris Hollow Cottage, a classic Craftsman cottage built in the 1930s and updated with a light-filled addition in the early 1990s.
Shaded by mature trees and plantings, the expanded brick bungalow now boasts both a gracious front porch and a screened porch to the rear. The small rooms of the original lower floor have been opened up inside for improved flow, while the upper floor retains a generous central hall, three bedrooms and a bath. Now serving as a focal point for the front entrance to the home, a central stair also acts as a light well to bring natural light down from second-story windows.
The cozy kitchen makes use of every inch of its small bump out, and the refinished open shelves along the interior wall display artwork, pottery and serving pieces. A library addition to the rear spans the width of the house, with a wall of windows that look out onto the rolling fields of Harris Hollow, past the banks of the Rush River, all the way up to the ridge line of Fodderstack Mountain beyond. In the distance, The Peak is visible, standing out from the flanks of Mount Marshall in the Shenandoah National Park.
Since purchasing the property 14 years ago as a weekend and vacation home, the owner has steadily filled it with art collected both locally and farther afield. Now a full-time home, comfortably furnished with a mix of family antiques such as the Philippine mahogany dining table and modern pieces chosen for function and practicality, the cottage is an art lover’s sanctuary, with something intriguing wherever the eye lands.
Folk art pieces collected from Alabama to Gid Brown Hollow are scattered throughout the rooms next to fine-art portraits, landscapes, pottery, art glass and sculpture. Among the extensive art collection many local artists are given pride of place.
— Liz Oliver
The awe-inspiring Legacy Lake House
Beginning with the name of the driveway, it is obvious that the vision for this Rappahannock haven has something to do with America’s origin. This extraordinary home is a unique tribute to American history and to Virginia’s presidents as well as to the beauty of Rappahannock County. Throughout this magnificent home, from the grand entry to the gallery and bedrooms above, the rooms are graced with visual and physical reminders of that legacy, many of which were created by the owner/artist herself.
Legacy Lake House is not only a treasure for history buffs, but a glorious example of landscape design. The house overlooks a stunning three-tiered series of terraces dropping down via stone stairways to a serene lake. The house has been used as a backdrop for concerts, events, and filmmaking. The terraces were the recent setting of a patriotic concert conducted by Rappahannock resident Col. John Bourgeois, retired director of the U.S. Marine Band.
Designed by the owner, the house began construction in 2010 with the owner herself as the general contractor (and often the operator of her own Bobcat). Inspired by the independence of our early founders, the house uses energy-independent ideas. The walls are solid concrete, utilizing Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) construction along with a whole house dehumidifier and an Energy Recovery Ventilation (ERV) system. The house is so energy efficient that the temperature never goes below 55 nor above 75 degrees, and it is so airtight that windows need to be slightly cracked open to allow passive air to flow through the cupola in the center ceiling of the house. The energy bills are one fifth the size of bills for a smaller house on the property.
Much of the wood used throughout the house, especially in the library, came from trees the owners cut down on the property, boarded into five-inch beams at their own sawmill, and then dried for five years; the resulting wood was used in paneling of red and white oak, crown molding of pine, and a flooring of “tiger maple,” tongue-and-grooved by a local craftsman.
Visual homage to America’s early presidents as well as to the beautiful local landscape artistically grace each room; from the library to the bedrooms the walls are adorned with oils and watercolors painted by the owner. She also created a nineteen-canvas series of paintings evoking 9/11 which toured the world and is on display here; her studio and paintings were on the Artists of Rappahannock Tour in 2009.
Many of the rooms in Legacy Lake House are named for our first presidents. Beyond the foyer the central two-story living room, set off with gracious mahogany columns, is named for George Washington and boasts a plaque made from a tree which grew at Mount Vernon. The library contains materials in recognition of each president as well as a bar made from a 350-year-old tree felled at Bobby Kennedy’s Hickory Hill home. Upstairs are bedrooms honoring Lincoln, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe.
Below the living areas of the home is a spacious grotto and ballroom done in faux marble, lined with huge mirrors — a beautiful space dedicated to hosting large events. Outside the ballroom is another graceful terrace beckoning guests to cast their eyes across the rolling rural landscape.
Architects, history buffs, construction professionals and environmentalists — all will find this home awe inspiring.
— Susan Jones
The House Tour
For this special year — the 60th time the women of Trinity Episcopal Church have done it — the House Tour and Floral Art Sale are again during the third weekend in October — Oct. 15-16. The Diamond Jubilee house tour features three houses, spanning four centuries, that are open to visitors — an original log cabin of the 1700s incorporated into a home, a craftsman cottage in the town of Washington and a recently built, modern and ecologically sound home.
Tickets for the tour are available at Trinity Episcopal Church in Washington and at each house on the days of the tour. Hours are 11 to 5 Saturday, noon to 4 on Sunday. The tour costs $30 for all three homes, or $10 to see a single house.
Tea is served 4 p.m. Sunday at the church campus on Gay Street in Washington, with a festive Evensong service 5 p.m. Floral art, wreaths and preserved arrangements will be sold both days of the tour. For more information, visit trinwash.org/SaleTour or call 540-675-3716.