TWO LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT OWNERS, A GUTTING, AND 14 DUMP TRUCKS WORTH OF FILL LATER:
Hello, Cottage Living, are you reading? When I missed my flight on Sunday I really lucked out. My friends Sophie and Kent offered me shelter in the 1940’s cottage they have been lovingly modernizing for many months. Circa 200 years ago, their neighbors would have been Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe, as it is located between Monticello and Ash Lawn. It is truly one of the most beautiful spots around Charlottesville. It sits between the flood plain of Houchens Creek and beautiful woods, and when you look in out from the back, you can spy neighboring cows. Sophie and Kent are two of my pals from grad school. Kent has his Masters in Urban Planning and both of them have Masters in Landscape Architecture. Kent also has lots of experience in construction with a focus on green building, and Sophie is a kick-ass fiddler and gardener.
I wish I had some interior before pictures to show you, but unfortunately, they no longer exist. The space shown below used to be four dark, cramped rooms: A kitchen, a dining room, a bedroom and a bathroom. S & K ripped the whole thing open and installed all new windows, which are all Low E, argon-filled sashes. The ceilings, once low and dark, were ripped out, and now they are 10′ high. The beams were restored from the original structure. The space is so peaceful and sunny that I felt like I was in one of the charming chapels that dot the landscape in the country around Charlottesville.
A very small addition that accommodates a new bathroom was added to the house’s original 840 square feet (it’s on the right side of the exterior “AFTER” photo). The floors are reclaimed heart pine, and all of the poplar siding and trim came from the Appalachian Sustainable Development mills in southwest Virginia, all of it harvested from certified-sustainable wood lots in the southern Appalachians.
I love that they used an antique dresser for storage in the bathroom:
Formerly an unused attic, Sophie and Kent opened up to the roofline and created an upstairs loft. Yours truly was not feeling confident about scaling the ladder after two margaritas, but I could see from below that it added a lot of usable space to the house:
Here are a few more sweet nuggets:
There is a real nature study aesthetic all around the house:
While all of the walls are crisp and white, S & K’s careful editing of antiques, oriental rugs, artwork and objects add so much warmth to the modern space.
Curious about that lamp? The lovely and talented Christina Michas made the gorgeous shade for them as a wedding gift:
The house is still a work in progress, but I kind of dig these little traces of it:
To read more about the project, check out Strata Projects Design.