Erika Howsare



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; […]

This former Kluge home on Coopers Lane could use some love both inside and out. Photo: Courtesy Garnett Falls

Living in the past at a one-time Kluge nest

Every place has a history, but the past at some homes looms especially large. In Albemarle County, the name Kluge is synonymous with lavish wealth, wine and, unfortunately, bankruptcy. Locals—and the rest of the country—watched the fortune of Patricia Kluge rise and fall over her three decades or so in town, and a curious byproduct […]

Photo: Robert Radifera

From STEM to STREAM: Charlottesville Catholic School expands the possibilities

Time was, when students at Charlottesville Catholic School wanted to do a science experiment, they’d have to contend with the elements. “Students would be heating minerals over an open flame,” recalls Principal Michael Riley. “They’d use a Petri dish with an alcohol flame. They’d be doing it outside”—because there wasn’t a properly ventilated spot indoors—“and […]

Charlottesville artists' work can be seen elsewhere in the home, too, as in the dining room, where a landscape by artist Dean Dass dominates a wall and a table by furniture maker Michael Keith grounds the space. Photo: Kip Dawkins

It’s all in the mix: A traditional house gets a modern facelift

A 1942 Marshall Wells-designed home in tony Farmington: What could be more traditional? Except when it isn’t. For the last three years, designer Kathy Heiner of KLH Designs has been transforming this home in collaboration with its owners, making it a showcase for an eclectic, unfussy style. “This house is all about friends and family,” says […]

The open layout of the kitchen, living and dining area makes a strong, minimalist statement. Photo: Virginia Hamrick

Design on display: A Nelson home becomes an art collector’s haven

When Kristen and Glenn Martin dropped their daughter off to begin her college career at the University of Virginia in 2013, they weren’t planning on renovating a house in Nelson County’s Stoney Creek development. But, less two years later, that’s what the Pennsylvania residents found themselves doing. “It was very outdated,” says Glenn of the […]

The view from this A-frame in Afton is its biggest seller. Photo: Courtesy Frank Quayle

Above it all: Off the parkway, a character of a house

A lovely view is lovely, but a spectacular one might be life-changing. Think we exaggerate? Get ye to Elk Mountain Road in Afton on a clear day, and feast your eyes on the kind of vista that can truly alter your outlook. Number 885, which faces east from a lot just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, […]

Ten Flavors' co-op office in the Treehouse Building downtown features high ceilings, an open layout and a communal conference room to accommodate 11 businesses that share the space. Photo: Stephen Barling

A workplace that works: Design co-op settles into the Treehouse

Ten Flavors, a co-op that includes 11 mostly design-related businesses, has been around for about 35 years. Members have come and gone, and the co-op has moved offices several times, always on the Downtown Mall. But Jim Gibson, a longtime co-op member, says the Ten Flavors folks really, really liked their last home, a high-ceilinged […]

Photo: Bill Mauzy

Time travel: A country landscape spans the centuries

The weekend home of a Washington, D.C., couple sits not quite in the middle of their 76-acre property north of Charlottesville. They didn’t choose the most lofty site for their cottage, but instead gravitated toward a spot that snuggles into a treeline and offers a broad, rolling view of fields and woods. “This was our […]

Sweet spot: Lynn Easton’s city house revels in a woodsy landscape

Sweet spot: Lynn Easton’s city house revels in a woodsy landscape

The old saw about real estate—“location, location, location”—also sums up what Dean Andrews and Lynn Easton Andrews appreciate about their house. They love the neighborhood, Lewis Mountain; they love the landscape that surrounds their home; and they love the spot it occupies in Charlottesville history. “We are crazy for it,” says Lynn. That’s not to […]

Photo: Marlo Allen

Cabin comfort: The early American house, circa 1990

We’re conditioned to think certain thoughts when we see a log house: wilderness, rugged individualism and bootstraps by which someone is ascending. Yet it’s been a long time since hardy frontier settlers constructed theirs from fresh-felled trees. We never see cabins in cities, but that’s just a convention at this point—modern log homes can be […]

If you've found a lot in the city (what luck!), you'll need to think about everything from the value of what you're putting on it to the city's tap fees. Photo: Robert Llewellyn

Tight market: Inventory is low for vacant urban lots

Scrolling lazily through the MLS, looking for a vacant city lot on which to build your dream home? You can scroll to your heart’s content, but you’re not too likely to nab your quarry. “They don’t come on the market very often at all, but when decent lots do come on the market, they’re gone […]

The home takes every opportunity to drink in the view, like from the glass sunroom, where the dining room is located. Photo: Stephen Barling

On a grand scale: A Jim Tuley house takes a broad view

In houses, so much depends on scale. A room that feels big in one house will seem cramped in another; furniture seems to shrink or expand depending on where it’s placed. On a hilltop in Ivy is a home that reaches toward the maximal end of the scale. Inside and out, it feels larger than […]