White clapboard, black shutters and a flagstone path beckon visitors to the crest of a well-manicured hilltop with unobstructed panoramic mountain views. An old-fashioned rope swing sways from a stately tree as you travel the driveway to the home of Dori Boudreau and Paul Huddleston.
The home’s classic style and details have the sensibility of an elegant country estate home, perhaps something that’s been a part of the landscape for generations, though Shelter
and Associates built it in 2000.
A circular driveway surrounded by formal gardens loops by the front of the house. A porte-cochère connects the main house to a matching carriage house and leads to a courtyard garden, pool and open-air pavilion on the back lawn. The two-story main house has four bedrooms, four baths and two powder rooms under its copper roof. An apartment above the carriage house adds additional living space to the home with a full-sized bedroom, seating lounge and bathroom.
Dori and Paul have four children ranging from in age from college to middle school and they enjoy having their home be “kid central.” In fact, they’re passionate about kids! Paul has been involved with the Boys and Girls Club of Central Virginia since 2008 and currently serves the organization as its Vice President of Operations. Paul says, “I’m involved with Boys and Girls Club to help young people reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens—it makes our community a better place to live.”
With the wisdom that only a seasoned mother has, Dori has an interesting theory that every seven years, a family changes—therefore, so does what you need from your house. She says that they feel as though they’ve all grown up with the house and as their family’s needs have changed, they’ve made adjustments to their home.
The first adjustments the family made included a cross-country move from Houston, Texas and later, a cross-town move to this house in 2005. Then, as the children grew older, physical transformations have been made to the house to accommodate the needs of their bustling family.
The Formal, Entertaining Spaces
The first update Dori and Paul made to the home starts in the spacious foyer, where they drastically changed the character and color of the wood floors in many of the downstairs rooms. The floors were once so pale they resembled a basketball court. Dori explains that the hickory wood’s density makes it problematic to stain and that their gleaming result came only from the patience and skill of Preston DuPrey of DuPrey’s Fine Floors.
A gallery hallway intersects the space between the foyer and the great room— connecting the dining room, family room and kitchen to the left, to a powder room, library and master bedroom suite to the right.
While DuPrey was working on the floors, Paul took the opportunity to add a personalized feature to the entrance of their home—Texas’s iconic Lone Star inlaid into the floor, created from the wood of pecan trees growing on the ranch in Texas where he grew up.
An oak huntboard, flanked by two upholstered Parsons chairs, and a long Shaker bench filled with an array of decorative down pillows furnish the gallery hallway on either side of the Lone Star. Paul’s grandfather’s spurs rest on the huntboard next to framed vintage photographs of his Texas ranching ancestors.
To the left of the foyer is a large dining room, framed by an extra-deep cased paneled opening. Not only is it an attractive construction detail, but the space is also put to good use: two roomy closets reside on the foyer side of the opening.
Dori and Paul added paneled wainscoting to the walls under the chair rail to enhance the room. Rustic, antique cupboards tuck into the corners on each side of a large window and an antique buffet sits on the wall opposite the window. A neutral wool rug warms the floor under an oval-shaped drop-leaf table with cabriole legs and surrounded by six Windsor chairs. The terra cotta-colored wallpaper adds color and a faint shimmer to the room.
Dori enlisted the talent of designer Michelle Willis Adams to create a cohesive interior décor scheme and to select artwork and upholstery fabrics for her base pieces of furniture when they first purchased the new home. Dori says, “It was a brand-new house, so everything was perfect, maybe a little too perfect. I wanted to add texture and give it a lived-in look. Michelle knew just what to do to achieve that.”
Adams says that even small design details like the subtle texture in the sisal rug and the hand-blocked appearance of the dining room wallpaper contribute to creating that patina. She says that her goal was to design a neutral—but stylish—backdrop for every room. Adams tied the look together by carrying the color palette from space to space, along with other elements like the natural tones and textures in the rugs. Adams says that because the background is subtle, it’s easy to add dashes of flair to keep Dori’s home au courant.
When Dori recently wanted to add a few contemporary touches to her décor, she turned once again to Adams for help. Adams says, “Because we had great bones to start with, it only took small changes to update the great room and the gallery hallway.” Adams helped Dori select new, geometric upholstery fabrics and then added a few accessories like drum lampshades, a starburst mirror, a new occasional table and a different coffee table to give these spaces a fresh look.
Adams says, “Accessories are the best way to update the character of your room. When you trade that traditional side table for a glazed ceramic garden stool or upholster an ottoman in animal print, it adds a touch of whimsy and keeps you from taking your décor too seriously.”
The walls in the great room are painted celery green—a color that’s picked up in the dining room draperies and repeated in upholstery fabrics in the nearby family room. On one end is a marble-trimmed fireplace with bookshelves on either side.
Large windows overlook a flagstone patio and mountain views. On the patio is a grill and an outdoor dining set made by Brown Jordan. Dori says they frequently dine outside because the views are so beautiful.
The Casual, Everyday Spaces
You can access the kitchen and family room from the gallery hallway or a doorway at the far end of the great room. The kitchen, family room and a breakfast nook encompass one large, open space smartly divided into different zones. Jeff Easter helped Dori and Paul remodel this entire space plus the outdoor spaces it overlooks. Outside, Easter installed flagstone patios, a pool and a copper-roofed pavilion featuring a fireplace for three-season enjoyment.
The family room next to the kitchen is the most popular room in the house. The access to the kitchen and the back stairway from the children’s rooms makes it an easy place for the kids and their friends to hangout. A television is concealed behind raised paneled shutters when not in use. Jeff Easter’s brother, Barry Easter of Cabinet Solutions, refaced the wood-burning fireplace and mantel with black marble and did all the other cabinetry work in the kitchen and mudroom.
The room has numerous windows and four pairs of French doors. Dori and Paul added the French doors during the renovation. They open onto a pergola-topped flagstone patio, set with rocking chairs and a porch swing. It’s the perfect place to supervise pool parties and admire the gardens that are refreshed each season by J.W. Townsend Landscapes.
A durable, synthetic rug that looks just like sea grass covers the family room floor. The color palette in the room includes shades of green ranging from celery to pear and variations of gold and buttery yellow—all set off by cranberry-colored accents.
Comfortable his-and-hers club chairs are upholstered in a modern floral print. A pair of solid, pale green chenille sofas provides ample seating in this cozy room. An antique piano bench serves as a quirky side table and a large bamboo coffee table grounds the seating arrangement. The unique wood bowls on the coffee table were made from wood found on Paul’s uncle’s ranch in Texas.
The breakfast nook is a bay that features windows on three sides and a built-in hutch that looks like a freestanding piece of furniture. Tall, spindly Shaker chairs are neatly placed around the unfinished wood farmhouse table.
The kitchen has a French Country vibe, with an impressive black CornuFé stove as its focal point. Dori laughs, “My youngest child says it’s just like the one in [the Disney animated film] ‘Ratatouille.’” It has five burners and side-by-side ovens. Dori says that Ferguson Bath, Kitchen and Lighting Gallery ordered it for her, while the local Ferguson store on Seminole Lane helped her with the other appliances.
Black granite countertops and oil-rubbed bronze hardware accent the stove and outfit the kitchen. The center island intentionally does not match the rest of the cabinetry, which gives the kitchen a one-of-a-kind look. It features stained wood cabinets and a large apron-front sink. Three copper pendants shine overhead.
All the other kitchen cabinets are painted in a slightly distressed cream-colored paint—another design detail that keeps things from looking sterile or “too perfect.” The refrigerator and freezer are concealed behind cabinet fronts for a seamless appearance in the expanse of cabinetry.
Down the back hallway are a butler’s pantry, laundry room, mudroom and powder room. Dori is an organized homemaker, aided no doubt by the workspaces in this area of the home, though she gives the credit for her home’s tidy appearance to the Busy Brooms housekeepers.
The butler’s pantry is outfitted with a variety of handy organizational features, from built-in filing cabinets to shelves that are perfectly sized to hold platters and serving pieces.
The laundry room has side-by-side front-loading machines, a utility sink (for soaking muddy soccer uniforms) plus additional storage. This cheerful workroom is treated like a real room
and has a chandelier, pretty wallpaper and a glass-paned French slab door. Dori says laundry day feels like less of a chore in a pretty space. A frilly window sheer installed three-quarters up the interior doorframe obscures the view of the machinery yet allows natural light from the room’s window to shine into
The mudroom is the epicenter of the home’s hardworking practical spaces. It’s an octagonal-shaped pass-through with slate floors and board-and-batten paneling reaching three-quarters of the way up the wall. Shaker pegs hold an array of riding helmets over a built-in wraparound bench. Due to all of this custom cabinetry, there is truly a place for everything in Dori and Paul’s home.
From here, it’s only a few steps down the cabinet-lined hallway to the porte-cochère, the carriage house and the backyard. A small powder room is located near the exit for convenience.
The Quiet, Private Spaces
From the kitchen, the gallery hallway leads to a handsome floor-to-ceiling wood-paneled library. This is the place where family members bring their laptops and sneak naps. Raspberry-colored velvet club chairs, a small sofa and a dainty table add feminine touches to this otherwise masculine room. A powder room is located nearby in the slope-ceiling space underneath the stairway in the foyer.
The master bedroom suite is across the hall, decorated in serene shades of pale green and blue. A four-poster bed and mismatched bedside tables add visual interest to the room, along with the wool “jute” rug. The window panels have blackout liners for sleeping, but Dori keeps them open during the day so she can admire the mountain views and enjoy the natural light pouring in from the windows.
The children’s rooms are upstairs, each with its own bathroom and decorated in colors and styles to suit each child’s interests. The spacious central hallway is large enough to house a built-in homework station. Tall cabinets hold everything from art supplies to tech equipment, with everything neatly stored in cubbies, drawers and labeled baskets. Three people can sit comfortably at their computers or work on projects at the built-in desk.
Over the past seven (or so) years, Dori and Paul have created a hospitable family home that is both pretty and practical. It’s been custom-tailored to suit their family’s needs with the help of talented local artisans and designers. Dori and Paul have accomplished their mission of becoming a favored hangout for their children and their friends. What transformations will the next seven years bring to this family and their home?