Elegant Country Estate

Location: Winchester, VA

Homes are just not built like they used to be. The materials, tools and know-how are disappearing before us and relatively few companies have the expertise to tackle historic projects. Fortunately we have the knowledge, personnel and inclination to take on the many challenges associated with historical project like this.

We were asked to design a large three-story addition with wrap around porches, a new foyer, and repair the current radiant floor system on a historic 1840s brick manor house. With a home of this age and stature, there were challenges.

Perhaps the biggest obstacle was managing the construction of major additions, window replacement and the design and implementation of an entirely new HVAC system while the clients lived in the home. We had to solve structural and drainage issues too since the new rear addition was being built directly over an existing swimming pool. To compound matters, we uncovered an eight-foot diameter cistern next to the pool on the first day of excavation.

The things you don’t see we not easily overcome either; like minimizing the use of bulk heads and the seamless integration of new electrical systems and plumbing into a historic residence. The engineering and calculations needed to incorporate the energy efficient HVAC system were no small task.

From an aesthetic standpoint, mating new materials like roofing, bricks and windows required careful sourcing and real skill to integrate since floors and walls were seldom level or plumb. The brickwork, windows, columns, copper standing seam roof and lighting are nearly indistinguishable from the original. We even whitewashed the new brick to match the old. Special features in the basement such as the custom-built banquet table, custom stair rail, built-in kitchen, dark stained beans, stone fireplace and floors create a rich space with the feeling of an old rathskeller or pub. To the untrained eye, it appears that the home has always looked like this, which is a true testament to the entire design/build solution.