A long driveway wends through woods before emerging to unveil a stone house nestled into the pastoral landscape of White Post, Virginia. The big reveal, though, happens at the home’s threshold.
“The front door is centered on a peak in the Blue Ridge Mountains,” says the husband, a retired business owner. “When you walk in, your eyes go straight back to the mountain view. It pulls you in.”
That view proved irresistible when the then-Winchester residents were searching for an idyllic site on which to build their retirement home. The couple purchased 155 acres in Clarke County, land once belonging to Long Branch, a 200-year-old house and farm. They then reassembled a team—architect Page Carter, designers José Solís and Paul Sherrill and landscape architect Richard Arentz, all of whom had collaborated on a nearby renovation project for friends—to create a home that would take full advantage of its bucolic surroundings.
Simplicity served as the guiding principle. An image of a restored convent in the South of France, with a plain façade and repetitive window openings, started a conversation about the exterior look. The traditional, rectangular-structure farmhouses dotting the local terrain influenced the design too. As Page Carter reveals, “We morphed French Country with the architectural form of Clarke County.”
Removing an existing house made way for the spacious new abode, clad in locally sourced limestone. “Many historic houses here are stone,” notes Carter, whose firm Carter + Burton Architecture is based in nearby Berryville, Virginia. “We wanted to connect to the vernacular of the county.”
Capitalizing on the southern panorama of fields and mountains was the primary goal. Carter’s asymmetric plan, laid out on an east-west axis, maximizes the light and views in spaces the owners use the most. The breakfast area, family room (or “keeping room” as the team dubbed it) and kitchen—lined with windows and French doors—extend across the scenic, south-facing rear. The grand living room stretches from front to back. The dining room and office overlook the woods in front. “We considered the natural landscape elements and tied the plan to what was there,” explains Carter. “We worked from the outside in and from the inside out.”
Arentz’s landscape plan enhances the site’s natural beauty with an allée of hawthorn trees on one side of the house, a pool bordered in stone on the other and gardens teeming with flowers and herbs.
Upstairs along the back of the house, the master suite and another bedroom—claimed by the couple’s 25-year-old daughter when she’s back from school in California—offer stunning mountain views. A study and two guest rooms line the front. The lower level includes recreation spaces, a home gym, a catering kitchen and a guest suite, the preferred roost of another grown daughter and her family.
Carter, Solís and Sherrill put their heads together on the interior-architecture details. The floorboards and wall planks were milled in part from walnut trees cleared from the property prior to construction. The windows are unpainted sapele. “There is a bareness, almost a monastic quality,” says Solís of the finishes. “The materials feel very honest.”
For the couple, the move from a Georgian-style abode in Winchester to a bright country house meant the chance to start fresh with furnishings. “They had a traditional home and wanted to move into a more timeless style, with very simple lines,” explains Solís.
Sherrill adds, “The landscape is a powerful thing. We didn’t want the interiors to compete with it.”
Taking a pared-down approach, the design duo chose low-profile furnishings that do not obstruct the views and covered them in richly textured fabrics, within a serene, monochromatic scheme. “The interiors are country with a refined elegance,” notes Sherrill. “You definitely don’t feel like you’re on Park Avenue, but there’s a modern elegance about them.”
The dining room teeters between the two style worlds. Paneled walls and a bare floor mix with a dramatic glass-droplet-and-bronze chandelier. The metal repeats throughout the house, from the entry hall’s hanging lanterns to the master bedroom’s window-treatment rods. “Each room has its own feel, but the overall look is very uniform,” notes Solís.
The architect and designers worked with Poliform | sagartstudio to execute their vision for a sleek, open kitchen. Windows won out over upper cabinets, while lower drawers fill the storage void. A walnut feature wall adds visual warmth and conceals a bar on its reverse side.
The couple now delights in sharing their home’s spectacular setting. “The view is why we have this house,” says the wife, who says she “cooks all the time” for visiting family and friends. “We have dinner parties and open the French doors. It brings the outside in—which was our whole emphasis.”
ARCHITECTURE: Page Carter, AIA, Carter + Burton Architecture, PLC, Berryville, Virginia. INTERIOR DESIGN: José Solís Betancourt and Paul Sherrill, Solís Betancourt & Sherrill, Washington, DC. KITCHEN DESIGN: Poliform | Sagart Studio, Washington, DC. BUILDER: Horizon Builders, Crofton, Maryland. LANDSCAPE DESIGN: Richard Arentz, ASLA, Arentz Landscape Architects, LLC, Washington, DC, and Marshall, Virginia.
THROUGHOUT Home Automation: imsva.com. Windows & Doors: tradewoodindustries.com. Walnut Floor Finishing: classicfloordesigns.info. Stand-seam Copper Roofing: tomlinsoncoinc.com. Custom Cabinetry: ivancdutterer.com.
LIVING ROOM (CLOSEST TO FIREPLACE) Sofa: interiorcraftsinc.com. Sofa Fabric: romo.com. Chairs & Ottoman: michaelbermanlimited.com. Chair Fabric: romo.com. Round Table: dessinfournir.com. Table Lamp: visualcomfortlightinglights.com. Wall sconces: profilesny.net, paganistudio.com and portaromana.com. Rug: edwardfields.com. Coffee Table Near Fireplace: hollyhunt.com.
LIVING ROOM (CLOSEST TO WINDOW) Sofa: interiorcraftsinc.com. Sofa Fabric: romo.com. Chaise Lounges: interiorcraftsinc.com. Fabric: zinctextile.com. Table Lamp: barrygoralnick.com. End Tables: Custom through mlfcoinc.com.
DINING ROOM Table: Custom by dessinfournir.com. Dining Chairs: dessinfournir.com. Fabric: edelmanleather.com. Chandelier: ochre.net. Artwork On Wood Panel Wall: by Jason Gubbiotti. Drapery Fabric: leejofa.com. Sconce: hollyhunt.com.
KITCHEN Kitchen Design, Cabinetry & Hood: poliformdc.com. Perimeter & Island Countertop: silestoneusa.com. Bar Countertop: stonesource.com. Pendants: dwr.com. Cooktop, Oven, Dishwasher & Stools: mieleusa.com.
BREAKFAST ROOM Table: bermanrosetti.com. Bench: desiron.com. Bench Fabric: majilite.com. Dining Chairs: janusetcie.com. Host Chair & Light Fixture: gregoriuspineo.com. Host Chair fabric: delaneyandlong.com.
FAMILY ROOM Sofas: interiorcraftsinc.com. Sofa Fabric: gretchenbellinger.com. Ottoman: lonadesign.com. Arm chairs: hollyhunt.com. Fabric: huttoncollections.com. Window panel fabric: coraggio.com. Art above Fireplace: numarkartadvisory.com. Floor Lamps: phoenixday.com.
MASTER BEDROOM Bedding: ef-lm.com. Bed Fabric: rodolph.com. Bed linens: matouk.com. Rug: rugs-direct.com. Drapery Fabric: villanova.co.uk. Light Fixture: visualcomfortlightinglights.com. Chaise Lounges: Custom through hollyhunt.com. Chaise Fabric: kirkbydesign.com. Nesting Tables: custom by solisbetancourt.com. Fabrication: mitchellyanosky.com. Floor Lamps: thomaslavin.com.