Erika Howsare



Photo: Christian Hommel

Getting the look: A postwar kitchen joins the new century

When Jon and Lauren Thompson bought their Rugby neighborhood house three years ago, it was more than 60 years old and “in need of significant updates” throughout, said Jon. “The kitchen was the low-hanging fruit.” Besides aqua-hued formica countertops and a “gross” linoleum floor, the old kitchen suffered from layout problems. An exterior door to […]

In the renovated Signature Financial office space on Water Street, the hallway provides "jewel-box views to the staff, while inviting shared sunlight into the hallway," said architect Maggie Schubert. Photo: Christian Hommel

Design that works: History lives in a modern workspace

There’s no architectural union more typically Charlottesville than the marriage of new and old. And the project of marrying a historical legacy to a fresh, modern sensibility isn’t limited to the residential world. At the Water Street offices of Signature, a financial management firm, past and present combine in an upscale office that honors its […]

Photo: Robert Radifera

Make me a match: Color unifies a landscape

“I’m a firm believer in editing,” said landscape architect Anna Boeschenstein. On a project at a historic Free Union property, her tendency to omit the useless came in handy. The house dates to the 1700s and has received numerous additions since it was built, resulting in “all these disparate elements—house additions, patios, pergola, the pool […]

Photo: Justin Ide

Material world: A Valley house tells stories in wood

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 […]

File photo.

Winter wonder: Color the cold with camellias

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 […]

Photo: John Robinson

This month’s artisan: Brian Rayner, furniture maker

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 […]

The kitchen "is probably bigger than it should be," Katie joked; it features stainless-steel backsplash tile and custom cabinets. Photo: Andrea Hubbell

A Staunton couple envisions a surprising downtown home

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. […]