Erika Howsare



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 […]

Photo: Stephen Barling

Simply beautiful: Making the most of a modest Staunton home

It was an exercise in moderation when Dennis and Ingrid Blanton chose their house in Staunton’s historic Newtown neighborhood. New to the area, freshly arrived from two years in Costa Rica, they began house-shopping and were tempted by some sizable homes. But, says Ingrid, “We wanted to simplify our lives.” At first glance, they’d dismissed […]

Master craftsmen in Italy used photos from 1870  to recreate the Rotunda's original capitals. Photo: Dan Addison/ UVA University Communications

Capital improvements: Craftsmanship defines UVA’s Rotunda renovation

A structure as history-soaked as UVA’s Rotunda has many chapters to its story. And, having served as a symbol of the university for nearly 200 years, it’s layered with meaning, too. The Rotunda is currently undergoing a major renovation; much of the exterior will be finished this month, allowing graduates to process around the building during […]

Photo: Sue Gouldman

Under the oaks: At Credenhill, updates to a Gillette landscape

How to bring many layers of history together in one contemporary garden design? Credenhill, a 1938 home in Ivy, had a bit of a pedigree attached to it, in the person of noted designer Charles Gillette. The challenge for current owners Bebe Heiner and Bill Atwood was to integrate the original Gillette design—along with subsequent […]

Photo: Stephen Barling

The book look: City library addition celebrates the written word

Libraries are the repositories not only of books, but of feelings. There’s the love of a good read, of course, but bookworms harbor other associations with libraries, too: discovery, solitude and the satisfaction of working hard. When architect Bruce Wardell and his colleagues were asked to design a library addition for a Charlottesville homeowner, they […]

Photo: Robert Llewellyn

A bit of earth: How to buy land in the county

If you think “groundbreaking”—as in the physical act—might be one of the more thrilling words in our language, you might need to get in the market for land. Selecting a site where you can build anew, on whichever hilltop you like best, is a welcome adventure. But, like all adventures, it has its share of […]

While the homeowners' style is maximalist rather than minimalist, austere elements like the fireplace provide a simple, smooth counterpoint to the home's other aesthetic details. Photo: Philip Beaurline

Playing with form: A Nelson County house makes room for fun

Tom Davidson and Marilyn Mars love to laugh, and their house shows it. When they moved to Nelson County from Florida, they sought a modern dwelling, commissioning Marilyn’s brother Randall Mars, a McLean-based architect, to design it. Though clean lines attracted them, Marilyn says, this house—full of colorful, detailed art and objects—is anything but minimal. […]

The Lewis & Clark Exploratory Center in Darden Towe Park draws inspiration from traditional boat forms and materials, a nod to the explorers' expedition. Photo: Christopher Hays

On the waterfront: Lewis & Clark center builds river connections

One can sometimes forget that Charlottesville is a river town, but Alexandria Searls keeps the Rivanna firmly in mind. As director of the Lewis & Clark Exploratory Center, she’s helped influence the choice of its location (overlooking the river in Darden Towe Park) and its mission (educating visitors, especially kids, about boatbuilding and nature-based aspects […]

To create a more open concept layout, the homeowners took down a wall between the kitchen and living room, making it one continuous, contemporary space. Photo: VA Home Pics

Into the future: Raising the bar at a ’70s ranch house

This is a full circle kind of story. A couple of years ago, on this very page, we got some advice from local contractor Troy Yancey about renovating an Earlysville ranch house that was then on the market. Troy recommended opening some walls to improve flow, adding a fourth bedroom and a few other fixes. […]