On a trek through rural Loudoun County, a curvy one-lane road dotted with horse farms splits off to a mile-long drive. Meandering past vineyards and a pond, guests arrive at a residence that combines a timeless, Prairie-style sensibility and all of the amenities of 21st-century living.
With its Pennsylvania bluestone walls, deep-red window casings and two-story pavilion, the structure bears no resemblance to its previous incarnation as a nondescript rambler. A Virginia-based executive and his wife discovered the 100-plus-acre property while searching for a weekend getaway. The couple, who frequently host large fundraisers and family events, wanted to create a gathering place where they could spend time with their three children and welcome guests with ease. They fell in love with the setting, but the outdated house was another story.
“The existing house was small, dated and needed a lot of repair work,” says Heltzel. “But it had good bones and the foundation was in great shape. We decided to do what we could to salvage what was there and make the best of it.”
Working closely with their clients, Burch and Heltzel developed a plan that would completely overhaul the rambler—and eventually triple its size. “They told us they like mid-western, Prairie-style architecture and they wanted something that was sympathetic and compatible with the site,” recalls Heltzel. “As an architect, that’s exactly what you want to hear.”
The team deliberated over exterior and interior finishes that would blend new and old construction into a stylish, cohesive whole. “We threw everything out the window as far as standard design stuff,” says Burch, who has also worked on the owners’ main residence. “We sat outside for three weeks looking at different paint schemes, making sure it all worked.” For the exterior, they selected low-maintenance HardiePlank siding, standing-seam and architectural shingles for the roof and Weathershield windows, which come in a wide array of colors—including red.
A red, standing-seam roof tops a two-story, open-air pavilion connected to the home via a deck. Separating the pavilion from the house was a strategic move, says Heltzel, to preserve views from the interior and balance the height of the new construction. Cars drive under the “bridge” to access a lower-level rear garage while the driveway in front leads to a paved parking court and an upper-level garage.
The original entry vestibule still welcomes guests into the residence. But it now opens into a larger foyer, beyond which a two-story addition contains a great room and an open kitchen, dining and family room on the ground level. The cramped, existing main-floor spaces have been reconfigured into two comfortable bedrooms with en suite baths, a laundry room and a foyer. The lower level of the addition houses a media room, game room, gym and secondary kitchen. The makeover also created a luxurious, third-floor master suite atop the original structure.
Architectural details and a refined material palette—from hickory floors to coffered ceilings—impart a fresh twist on rustic style. “The moldings are oversized, somewhat simple, but still elegant,” says Burch. The kitchen combines custom cabinets in a gray-washed finish, honed marble countertops and a Viking range in red for contrast.
As the house grew to 6,000 square feet, the owner raised concerns about energy efficiency and at BOWA’s recommendation decided to install a geothermal system. “We did energy calculations everywhere to make sure it was as air-tight as possible,” says Burch.” And a smart-home system installed by A.B.E. Networks controls everything from HVAC to lighting, entertainment and automated window shades.
The house won a 2016 Grand COTY award for whole-house project over $1 million, and Home & Design’s Award of Excellence. Burch attributes this success to a seamless collaboration of owners, architect and builder. “John and I have worked on so many projects together that we know what the other is thinking,” he says. “It’s always fun and, production-wise, it went smoothly.”
The owners, who’ve hosted events for 150 at their new getaway, also enjoy quiet weekends spent hiking, skeet shooting and pond-fishing on the property. “During the summer,” says the husband, “we work in the vineyard and grow cut flowers that my wife loves to share with friends and family. We have a large extended family and the home easily accommodates multiple generations.”
Photographer Bob Narod is based in Herndon, Virginia.