THIS LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va., homestead was slated to have its farmland subdivided into 15 lots—that is, until it was purchased by a single owner who envisioned a more sympathetic restoration of the residence and its pastoral setting.
Architect Donald Lococo's inclination was to honor historic precedent, leaving the boundaries of the home's original living spaces largely intact. Two modest additions introduce service functions to the floor plan—specifically, a staircase to the north, and a mudroom, a home office, and a utility zone to the west.
Celebrating the homespun patina of the original dwelling was another major focus. “A lot of the effort was about flattering that masonry, and honoring its great imperfection,” says Lococo. “The stone has a movement to it—it's tighter in some areas and looser in others. Homogeneity is not what this house was about.”
Thus, interior stone mantels were carefully preserved, and the trimless wall stucco was re-skimmed. A new kitchen, masterminded by interior designer Rosemarie Howe, evokes a traditional farmhouse aesthetic with its paneled ceiling, rich wood floors, rusticated hardware, and antique light fixture (repurposed from an old fulcrum).
On the exteriors, native stone gathered from the site for the additions was exacted to match the original plaster and stone walls. To restore balance and symmetry to the front elevation, Lococo marched dormers across the roofline in alignment with windows below, swapping twelve-pane members (circa 1950s) for smaller, 16-pane windows. The front grade was lowered 3 feet to re-expose the base and reclaim the home's original proportions, allowing a walk-up entry stoop to create a sense of arrival.
Storied past notwithstanding, the remodel also considers how the home might yet expand. “Back then, homes evolved in a hyphenated way,” says Lococo. “This plan leaves a logical location for an addition on the east side for balance. It's an additive, quilt-like process in which new pieces are introduced over time.”
Category: Whole-house makeover or significant addition; Entrant/Architect: Donald Lococo Architects, Washing-ton; Builder: Jay Hafner, Edinburg, Va.; Landscape architect: Earth Design Associates, Casanova, Va.; Interior designer: Rosemarie Howe, Washington
TWO STEP Creating the appearance of restraint sometimes requires a few tricks. Take this home's existing stairway along the north wall, which was 30 inches wide with a head clearance of less than 4 feet 6 inches at the attic. Rehabbing it to code would have encroached on the home's historic footprint. Instead, the architects bumped out a new stair system, specifying a structure that is 8 feet narrower on the first floor than it is on the floors above. This move helped to preserve ground-floor views of the landscape, while the wider jog at the second level accommodates a proportional exterior gable. The structural wrinkle that transitions the stair from narrow to wide is concealed on the outside by a rear porch (above), and on the inside by built-in cabinetry (far right) at the second-floor stair landing. The handrail was fashioned from a walnut tree salvaged from the side yard.
Learn more about markets featured in this article: Washington, DC.