“It hadn’t been touched for 50 years and was a beautiful disaster.” That was Belle Haven, Jan Glennie-Smith’s historic Scottsville estate, when she moved there 22 years ago. The house, built around 1880, overlooks the James River and anchors a sweeping tract of woods and fields. “I started just by uncovering the foundation gardens,” she […]
Behind Kelley and Susan Blanton’s home, outside Staunton, is a symbol of its new-meets-old spirit. In a juxtaposition of technologies from different eras, a large array of solar panels, propped on an angle, shelters a stack of firewood. The Blantons have a deep appreciation for what’s old: low-tech craftsmanship and natural materials. When they built […]
After decades spent living on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Don and Minna Doyle found themselves facing catastrophe when Hurricane Katrina flooded their house with 12′ of water in 2005. “It was structurally sound, but everything had to be replaced,” Minna remembered. While many of their neighbors threw everything away, the Doyles were more inclined to […]
The camellia is an all-around surprising plant. First of all, this evergreen actually blooms in, of all seasons, winter. Autumn-flowering camellias bloom from November through mid-January. And while spring-blooming camellias aren’t supposed to put out flowers until March or April, “last winter and this winter they’re already blooming” by the third week of January, said […]
Sometimes, inspiration doesn’t look the way you expect it to. In 2008, Rhonda Matthias was gathering ideas for a new house she and her husband, Cary, planned to build. They had the land—a four-acre parcel in rural Goochland County—and they thought they wanted a “traditional farmhouse,” something with two stories. “But we couldn’t settle on […]
Fascinated with orchids? So is anyone with eyes, at this time of year when the world outside tends toward browns and grays. Orchids can bring a splash of tropical color and a certain joie de vivre to your indoor environment. Aren’t they hard to care for, though? Not necessarily, says Stephen Shifflett, co-owner of Floradise […]
Forty years ago in Charlottesville, modern houses were not nearly as common as they are today. Walter and Ruth Wadlington lived on Yorktown Drive with their four children, and when a new house began to go up next door, they took notice of its contemporary look. It had been designed by an architect and UVA […]
The remaking of one Charlottesville house is a study in contrasts. It was a modern addition to a traditional (though not very old) house. It didn’t change much about the original structure—except for turning it from a dark, unpleasant space into a light-filled and open home. It bumped up the house’s square footage considerably but […]
It was supposed to be a small project. Debra Weiss had owned her North Downtown house for seven years when, in 2003, a city ordinance changed to allow homeowners to build detached rental properties. She was ready with what she thought was a simple, low-key idea: Turn her 400-square-foot garage into a tiny rental cottage. […]
Twenty-five years in one kitchen is enough time for several eras to unfold. “I moved here in ’87 and I’ve been here ever since, much to my surprise,” said Leigh Glassmire of her Charlottesville house. Perhaps a resonance with the places of her Northern childhood is the reason: “This house reminded me of upstate New […]
A regular on both the craft show circuit and local farmer’s markets—look for him at both the Nelson and Charlottesville City markets—Brian Rayner is a multifaceted artisan, creating both furniture and sculpture. If you want to see him in his native environment, find him on the Artisan Studio Tour. Check out brianraynerdesign.com or call him […]
For Katie and Ty McElroy, the white-picket-fence, manicured-lawn version of the American dream wasn’t appealing. Preparing in 2010 to move to Staunton from Lexington, the couple set their sights on something different: an urban loft-style space, a home that would indulge their interest in design while allowing them to participate in a walkable, downtown lifestyle. […]
If you’re looking for a true conversation piece—whether chest of drawers or wastebasket—check out the wares of Sang & Serena, an import company based here in Charlottesville. Sourced from Rajasthan, the region in India with a long tradition of inlaid furniture, its pieces are luxe objects that feature botanical patterns in bone or mother-of-pearl. And […]
Somewhere between painter and textile artist, Maria Pace is an Orange County original who makes a variety of lovely objects for the abode. And she’s an artisan with a conscience: Besides designing her own textile patterns, she likes to repurpose secondhand fabrics and uses only American-made materials. “It might be a lot cheaper to get […]
“How do we touch this and not mess it up?” That was the question that Tim Burgess asked himself in 2010 as he and Sharon Shapiro considered buying an 1860 Louisa County farmhouse. The house wasn’t a museum piece; previous owners had installed a modern kitchen and loft. But the historic nature of the property […]
Keep your eye on this blog; the conversation here is set to grow.
It’s my last week of blogging. Here are some old faves.
Greatest hits from Green Scene history.
Wendy Vigdor-Hess explains what "excitotoxins" are and why you might not want to eat them.
Human and natural community grows together.
Digging beds and shoveling manure, old fashioned like.
Christine Gyovai and Reed Muehlman built an extra-big deck to support their yurt, so that they’d have outdoor hangout space around it. (Photo by Andrea Hubbell) It’s a moment familiar to countless homeowners: You look around the house and think If only we had a bit more space. More room for storage, a place to […]
The Department of Forestry comes over for a chat.