Erika Howsare



The wildfire, which started on Rocky Mount April 16, 2016, burned for 14 days. Photo courtesy Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah wildfire highlights changing views of the forest

“This is going to be catastrophic.” That was Jeff Koenig’s thought on the second day the fire burned, last April 17, in Shenandoah National Park. Koenig had first laid eyes on the flames the day before, when he pulled his truck up to Two Mile Run Overlook. It was a Saturday afternoon. A fire had […]

Piedmont Place, which combines two-bedroom apartments, restaurant, a yoga studio and more, promotes a communal experience. Photo: Rammelkamp Foto

Piedmont Place merges many functions

The idea of a “new downtown” in Crozet has been in the air for years. With the opening of Piedmont Place—a lively, mixed-use building just across the street from the Crozet Library—it is suddenly looking like a reality. “My wife Michelle and I moved to Crozet in 2011,” says developer Drew Holzwarth, who manages residential […]

Photo: Isaac Miller

Latitude 38 experiments with the horizontal

You can often spot a Latitude 38 house from a block away. The Charlottesville company, owned by husband and wife team Jeff Erkelens and Joey Conover, has tended to build tall, vertical structures, with a fresh, quirky asymmetry. But one Latitude house, found in the Riverside neighborhood adjacent to Riverview Park, breaks the mold. More […]

Photo: Stephen Barling

Mix & match: A rustic house gets a modern update

Kristi Williamson’s house in Ivy is one of those that has evolved with the times. Built in a rather rustic style in the ’80s, the original, Williamson says, has a DIY feel. “There were lots of funky doors and different kinds of trim,” she says. Subsequent owners made additions; Williamson and her husband, John, bought […]

Photo: Stephen Barling

A big addition stays under the radar, and welcomes the neighbors

It’s not easy to nearly double the square footage of a house without bulking up its street profile. But that’s just what happened at Mike and Karen Ball’s North Downtown home. Not only did the couple, and their three young children, gain a lot of living space with the renovation/addition designed by Bushman Dreyfus Architects, […]

An original log cabin with later additions, the Ivy cottage stays true to its rustic nature but layers in a restrained, Scandinavian aesthetic at the hand of interior designer Yvette Freeman. Photo: Virginia Hamrick

Timeless style: An Ivy cottage gets ready to welcome guests

When Justin Rood went house-hunting in Charlottesville, he looked really hard. Many dozens of properties into his search, he still hadn’t found just the right place—but not because he was picky. Intending to create a vacation rental in an older house, he needed to find a rare combination of location, character and function to serve […]

For architect Jim Rounsevell, the heart of the project was about staying in the background. “We wanted the inventory to be paramount,” he says. From the beginning, he and Gardner agreed that the store should essentially be a “white box.” Photo: Andrea Hubbell

Bigger size, bigger style: Refreshing how Scarpa looks —and works

There are a few iconic local retailers in Charlottesville, and Amy Gardner’s store, Scarpa, is one of them. The women’s boutique—which started out selling shoes nearly 23 years ago and recently expanded into clothing—has been a mainstay in the north wing of Barracks Road Shopping Center, and in the Charlottesville imagination, as a bastion of […]

The area immediately around the house has obviously received lots of attention from a happy gardener, but carries no whiff of capital-D design. There's a homegrown feel to the perennial beds, stone walls and pea-gravel walks that lead to the main entrance. Photo: John Wade

Cottage character: Lots to love at an Ivy country place

“The most interesting faces generally oscillate between charm and crookedness,” writes Alain de Botton in his Essays in Love. Replace “crookedness” with “quirkiness,” and you’ll have a fair description of why we’re drawn to this listing in Ivy: It it isn’t intimidatingly perfect. It’s lovely but not bland, and it feels real. Sited at the […]

This one-time stable-turned-guest apartment floods with light in the daytime, due in part to the polycarbonate exterior. Photo: Stephen Barling

Shape shift: A ‘rural loft’ in a reimagined horse stable

The farm was inspiring, in part because of what wasn’t there anymore. Roxanne Sherbeck and Jon Jackson bought a 19-acre property near Charlottesville in 2010, and as they got to know it, they started to realize that it was dotted with the decomposing stumps and logs of oak trees. The absence of those trees—or the […]

Photo: Hank Bilek

Barns and barrels: Two local reclaimed lumber projects

Reclaimed wood has been a hot item for years now. Most people are familiar with the idea of giving old wood, from barns or other sources, new life. Most often, the salvaged stuff ends up as flooring, though cabinetry, furniture and ceilings are also big. But the folks at Mountain Lumber, the Ruckersville company that’s […]

Element Construction helped give Random Row brewery a palette that incorporates reclaimed wood, concrete and steel. Photo: Stephen Barling

Random Row Brewing Co. brings you closer to your pint

Customers at a small local brewery might enjoy seeing how their lagers and pale ales are actually brewed. That’s what the folks behind Random Row Brewing Co. were betting on when they designed their tasting room on Preston Avenue, which opened in mid-September.  Gleaming metal tanks are a major design element in the space, which […]

This ground-floor spot in Woolen Mills turns the condo concept on its head. Photo: John Wade

Down by the river: Sweet details in Woolen Mills

We don’t know about you, but when we hear the not-too-charming term “condo,” we tend to conjure images of dwellings that are longer on convenience than character. You know—concrete balconies, underground parking, stacked washer/dryer, that sort of thing. Well, along comes a condo that shatters the stereotype. Let’s start by considering the neighborhood. We all […]

Photo: Stephen Barling

The light touch: A few small changes make a kitchen all new

Designer Wendi Smith found not just good but excellent bones to start with when she tackled a recent kitchen redo. And that was lucky, because the look of this kitchen was very different from what her client ultimately wanted. “She definitely has a style,” says Smith of her client. “She likes neutral and calm colors; […]