Erika Howsare



Photo: Michael Bowles

Mix and serve: Scaling up history in a salvaged house

Everybody talks about marrying old and new, but there are different ways to do it. You’ve got your fixer-upper farmhouses, into which you can insert contemporary elements like stainless steel dishwashers. You’ve got your new builder homes that nod to tradition with way too much crown molding. Here is something totally different, and very unusual. […]

Jen Fariello and Chris Conklin wanted a bigger, better farmhouse kitchen that incorporated the patio. Conklin did most of the work himself, including milling the window trim and building the poplar and birch pantry hutch. Photo: Andrea Hubbell

Up and out: A tall, spacious Albemarle kitchen takes in the view

“This was a poor man’s farmhouse,” said Jen Fariello of the classic 1890 abode she shares with her husband, Chris Conklin, and their 5-year-old son. It’s a far cry from that now. Ten years after the couple bought the place, they’ve just completed their second major update, and the house is looking polished and modern. […]

Photo: Thomas Jefferson Foundation

Permission to dream: Visitors reach new heights at Monticello

What could be loftier than Monticello? Well, at least physically, Montalto is—by 410′. The neighboring mountain was once part of Jefferson’s holdings, and these days, after decades in private ownership, it’s returned to the fold. In 2004, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation bought the mountain and the grand house, called Repose, that sits atop it. To […]

Photo: Mycaar.com

Intelligent design: A mid-century Rugby home defines true class

We might have found the exact opposite of a McMansion. It’s upscale, not showy. It’s stylish, not trendy. It’s anything but gauche. It’s just a well-designed, beautifully-built home that has stood the test of more than six decades in ways that are kind of astonishing. Meet 2016 Spottswood Rd. Let’s bypass, for now, the white […]

Photo: Andrea Hubbell

Clean slate: Taking a kitchen from flood to flow

There’s nothing like a flood to rearrange priorities. Soon after Andrea and Brian Hubbell closed on their Rugby neighborhood house last March, the supply line to their kitchen sink gave up the ghost, spraying a geyser at the ceiling. Because the Hubbells weren’t yet living in the house—a 1950s brick structure—they didn’t discover the problem […]

Photo: Stephen Barling

The new traditional: A fresh farmhouse updates an American classic

Sometimes, choosing an architect isn’t just business; it’s personal. That’s how Emily Umberger and Pradeep Rajagopalan felt when they met the folks at Wolf Ackerman in 2005. “We really got along with those guys personally,” said Rajagopalan—crucial when embarking on any project, but especially the design and construction of a new house. The feeling was […]

Photo: Stephen Barling

Scene setter: The curtain rises on a fresh Live Arts

More than a decade ago, three of Charlottesville’s signature arts organizations got a beautiful new home—the City Center for Contemporary Arts, housing Live Arts theater, Lighthouse Studio, and Second Street Gallery. Yet, since 2003, the lobbies of the building—on floors one, two, and three —have been unfinished. “It was an awesome achievement—a very, very ambitious […]

A lot has been done to turn Edge Hill into a lovely homeplace, but the Nelson County farmhouse still needs plenty of TLC. Photo courtesy Jim Faulconer

Almost heaven: In Nelson, a farm to come home to

For certain buyers, there’s nothing more romantic than a big old farmhouse on a fair piece of land. Throw in a view and some large shade trees, and some people really get stars in their eyes. Tack “swimming pool” on to the above description and you might even elicit a swoon. Edge Hill, a 56-acre […]

The seven-story Battle Building, which opened in June, brings all of UVA Children’s Hospital’s pediatric care specialists together under a single roof. Photo: Peter Brentlinger

Tell me a tale: UVA’s Battle Building aims for happier endings

Kids and hospitals are not a fun combination, but at least the visit can be as convenient as possible—and maybe even educational. When UVA Health System opened its new pediatric outpatient building, the Battle Building, in June, its aim was to revamp the experience of visiting the hospital, for both patients and their parents. For […]

Architect Richard Williams designed Matthew and Barbara Black's home "from the inside out." Photos: Stephen Barling

From the inside out: Interior life defines a Rappahannock home

It is commonplace for architects to speak of “bringing the outside in”—usually via plentiful glass and a toolkit of other tricks. When Richard Williams describes his firm’s design process on a Rappahannock County home, that familiar goal—connecting inhabitants to the landscape—takes on an unusual cast. “On our first site visit,” he said of his clients, […]

"The garden grows from the home," said landscape designer Cole Burrell about this Albemarle County project. Photos: Simon Holt

Parts and whole: Design makes this property bloom

To Cole Burrell, landscape designer, a garden is an extension of a house. “There’s a million styles and a million vocabularies,” he said, “but none makes any sense unless it makes sense with the house.” One of his Albemarle projects illustrates that principle with a garden that seems to spring organically from the spirit of […]

When it came to the interior of Red Pump Kitchen, owners Dean and Lynn Andrews were inspired by their frequent trips to Europe. Photo: Meredith Coe

Pumped up: Downtown eatery samples Euro design

Red Pump, one of Charlottesville’s newest restaurants, carries the tagline “A Tuscan Kitchen,” and its menu—bursting with pizzettes, bucatini, and salumi misti—certainly bears out that designation. But when it came to the interior, owners Dean and Lynn Andrews drew upon a continent’s worth of influences. A Tuscan fire breathes at the back of the restaurant […]

Cory Spencer Partners updated and transformed a Free Union property into a playground where owners and guests alike can play while surrounded by archetypal Albemarle scenery. Photo: Andrea Hubbell

Come play: A horse farm gets a fun-loving update

It’s a luxury to imagine, then create, a playground—not only for children but for adults of many recreational persuasions. That is just what Brooke Spencer and her partner, Kim Cory, did at a Free Union property whose 97 rolling acres include mountain views, mature oak trees, and a spring-fed pond. Its present owners bought it […]

In a great location, this Earlysville brick ranch could use some updates. Photo: Max March

Refreshing the ’70s: Creating a better ranch in Earlysville Heights

In the heart of Earlysville sits a fine brick ranch at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac in the Earlysville Heights neighborhood. Fifteen minutes from Charlottesville and five minutes to Hollymead Town Center, this home currently features three bedrooms and one-and-a-half baths. We asked Troy Yancey of Teal Construction to give us his contractor’s expertise […]

Appliances and cabinets remained in this Belmont loft, but Formwork extended the kitchen's island to make an oversized, uninterrupted workspace with a dark gray quartz countertop. Photo: Scott Smith

The big picture: A condo goes oversize—and back to basics

Buying a condo might seem to be an exercise in ceding control—one has little prerogative to alter the building’s exterior, and a condo association has veto power over many other changes a homeowner might desire. Yet one resident of the Belmont Lofts, which were developed on a city brownfield near the railroad tracks in 2003, […]

A panoply of native species provides a changing symphony of color, texture, and scent. Photo: Bill Mauzy

At woods’ edge: A prime Albemarle property gets a light touch

It’s not always the case that a landscape design can actually encompass the entire landscape. But when a client owns 600 acres of woods and farmland, along with the headwaters of a small river, a landscape architect may find the opportunity to think on an ecosystem-wide scale. Waterstreet Studio had that chance at a bucolic […]

A Staunton company wanted architectural firm Shank & Gray to provide a connection to the outdoors from nearly every workstation. Photo: Philip Beaurline

Around the edges: Views light up a Staunton blade factory

Innovative companies may start in garages—or, in the case of one local concern, an old dairy building—but the successful ones will eventually need a proper home. Cadence is a Staunton company that manufacturers blades, needles, and other sharp components for medical instruments. Since its founding in 1985, it has graduated several times to larger workspaces. […]

Mossy Rock, Sue Sargeant's home, was designed by Bushman Dreyfus and built by Dammann Construction. Photo: Stephen Barling

Prairie home: A new home harkens back to big sky

Albemarle County and northwest Iowa wouldn’t seem to have much in common. The vast, table-flat spaces of the Midwest are utterly different than the private, wooded coves formed by Central Virginia’s endlessly rolling topography. But at Sue Sargeant’s home, Mossy Rock, the feel of her native Iowa is palpable. The house, designed by Bushman-Dreyfus and […]

"Landscape architecture was as important to me as the building," said Elizabeth Birdsall. Photo: Robert Radifera

Outer edges: A landscape unifies a modern complex

Time marches on! Last time ABODE visited Turkey Saddle—the Free Union home of Elizabeth Birdsall and Eric Young—it was 2008 and the house had just undergone a major renovation, led by local architecture firm Formwork. It was a serene, minimalist retreat, like a treehouse overlooking the Moormans River. Now, the vibe has changed a bit, […]

Remodeler sets his eye on a Free Union two-story. Photo: Christian Hommel

Make it your own: How to upgrade an oldie (but a goodie)  

Glenn Robertson, of Smith & Robertson, cast his remodeler’s eye on a Free Union two-story. Here are his ideas for bringing it up to date. 5315 Free Union Rd. $279,000 MLS# 516858 This home is worthy of a major remodeling project due to the excellent location and house site. The house is suffering from a […]