Design Done Right | New Home Infused with Family Memories

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The Inception

The Woodwards began to look for a place to build in Albemarle County in early 2011. Living in Virginia Beach, and with family living in Danville, they looked at several counties surrounding Albemarle, and decided to stay close to Charlottesville where Cindy’s daughter Lindsey, a UVA graduate, lived.

Cindy learned about Bundoran Farm from a friend’s daughter, Christy Chattleton, also a UVA graduate, who loved the area and the Bundoran Farm agri-community concept. The houses, each on their own acreage of land, exist within the protected area of Bundoran Farm, ensuring a pastoral and largely untouched area for the future. While they loved the overall setting, Kent found himself drawn repeatedly to North Garden on many of his trips to search for a place in the Charlottesville area where both he and his sister Bollie have established lasting friendships. Ironically, Kent had stayed at the bed and breakfast adjacent to Bundoran Farm 15 years ago when he first went house-hunting in Charlottesville. He can remember riding his bike down Plank Road and onto Edge Valley Road, which fronts their current home.

After looking at a number of lots and their designated building sites, Cindy and Kent selected their lot and closed in 2011. They chose land that enabled them to have 360-degree views of the hills, trees, creeks and farm life. With the lot selected, they spent a lot of time interviewing architects. They began with Bundoran Farm’s list of approved architects, and after almost a dozen interviews, they chose Russell Skinner, impressed with his enthusiasm for the potential of the site and his ability to envision how to incorporate the beauty of the area into the design of the house. The Woodwards decided at this early stage that Kent would be responsible for the exterior design and Cindy would be in charge of the interior design.

Regarding the design of the exterior of the house, Kent says, “Skinner’s goal was to make the house feel like it had been there for a long time. While many of the materials look traditional, many were chosen to require little or no maintenance. So in that way, they are not traditional.” With the help of Skinner, Cindy and Kent developed a short list of builders, and chose Greer & Associates.

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home-3Design As We Go

As you wind along the road toward the modern farmhouse, you catch glimpses of its back and sides in the distance. The house disappears from sight and reemerges just before you reach it, at a teardrop driveway in front of the house. White columns on the two porches on the front of the house enhance the crisp, clean lines of the exterior. The main living area of the house is flanked on the left by a breezeway leading to a garage, and on the right by a screened-in porch off the master bedroom.

Even though all the details of the design had not been finalized, work began in the summer of 2012, involving a “design as we build” philosophy. For example, the area above the entrance hall, originally slated to be a small alcove office for Cindy, grew in size and changed focus. As they built, they decided to enlarge the space along a hallway on either side, adding a full bathroom and closet, thereby turning the space into a large office or a possible bedroom.

home-4The landscaping, designed by Jill Trischman-Marks, is also a work in progress. Kent says, “Our plan is to develop the areas around the house in stages, so we expect to have a long-term relationship with her.” The landscape design began with the area closest to the house, and is moving out in three phases, with each phase cultivating areas further from the house. Trischman-Marks has worked and will continue to work closely with the review board at Bundoran to make sure that the materials are local or natural to the area.

When the House Becomes a Home

home-5Once the structure was built, Cindy began the process, with the help of designer Michelle Willis Adams, of designing the interior of the home. Cindy asserts that Willis Adams did the majority of the work, while Cindy herself added her own touches here and there. Willis Adams did an amazing job of designing the home to feature the personality of the homeowners. Cindy says, “I like to make a home a part of my life experiences. It’s not just where we live, but it’s a part of us, and we are a part of it.” The history of the family as well as the Woodwards’ love of travel and animals is apparent throughout the home.

The interior design began with a chandelier that hangs in the expansive great room that is the center point of the house and connects the front foyer, the kitchen and the bedroom wings. As the story goes, they loved the chandelier, which they found in Charleston, South Carolina, so much that they knew it would be the centerpiece of their home as they were deciding to purchase it. Kent is responsible for locating the special wood used for the mantel for their fireplace as well as their newel posts, which comes from Dan River Mills in Danville, where Cindy’s grandparents worked in the 1930s and 1940s.

home-6Cindy’s father contributed several key items to the house, allowing for family history to exist as essential parts of their home. The fluorescent, LOVE-themed wallpaper found in the bathroom that adjoins the upstairs office originated in Cindy’s 1970’s childhood bedroom. As Cindy tells it, her father, who meticulously saved antiques and heirlooms, removed the wallpaper strip by strip when her family moved from their house when she was in college. As Cindy and Kent prepared their Bundoran Farm house, Cindy’s father offered her the wallpaper, which had survived several moves. Cindy took the 45-year-old wallpaper to Adams, who determined there was enough in excellent condition to wallpaper an accent wall in her upstairs office bathroom. The 70’s-style accent wall is complemented by striking orange paint on the other walls and is contrasted with modern bathroom features like chrome fixtures and a glass-door shower. The brilliant orange continues from the bathroom into the walls, wallpaper, and accent pillows in the adjacent office.

home-7More of Cindy’s family history lives in the master bedroom, which contains glass bricks from the 1930s that her father kept in his basement for 40 years. The bricks were originally used in an auto parts store in Danville her father had frequented growing up, and when the store was demolished, he purchased them and saved them, using some in his home and offering some to Cindy to use in hers. Pete Sandford of Sarisand Tile—whom Cindy deems “magnificent” and notes how he was responsible for “every piece of tile in the house”—cleaned them up and used them in an interesting pattern in the dividing wall between the shower and sauna.

Across the breezeway from the main house, the guest house—which provides a bedroom, bathroom, living room, dining room and kitchenette above the garage—also contains gems from Cindy’s father, who worked for a privately owned newspaper for over 50 years. His office walls were adorned with a natural-color wallpaper with newspaper-like print on it. Cindy used the same paper to line the walls of the entryway of the Bundoran Farm guest house.

In the master bedroom, a rich purple color punctuated with green accents beneath a grand vaulted ceiling, a Henkel Harris hutch reveals more of the tight-knit family that contributed to making this house a home: dishes from Cindy’s great-grandmother’s china set. Cindy shares, “My mother told me that her grandmother, Mary Timberlake Crowder, during the Great Depression, did not buy the china all at once. She had 10 children and needed the whole set, so she bought it one piece at a time, holding some on layaway.”

The Woodwards’ love of travel is evident in almost every room of the house. The backsplash of the bar area off the kitchen and dining room incorporates, as part of Willis Adams’ design, ceramic tiles that Cindy and her daughter bought in Spain, to remember their experience seeing the Gaudi House Museum in Barcelona. Cindy and Kent have traveled extensively and have brought back at least one piece of art from each place they’ve visited around the world, adding their treasures to their homes in Charlottesville and Virginia Beach.

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home-12Cindy and Kent’s shared love of animals contributed to the design of the interior of the house as much as the artwork that adorns the walls. Their dogs, Lillie Mae, Maggie Elizabeth and Jack Dixon have a room for relaxing, that, like the rest of the house, has a fantastic view. They like to rest on the window seat across from the kitchen where they can smell food cooking. Even their cat, named Kitty, has a favorite window seat: the green velvet cushioned window seat in the master bedroom. Karen Turner, who designed the cabinet space here as well as the bathrooms and the kitchen, also designed a room for the dogs to clean and bathe, complete with their own tub. Another nod to natural life, Cindy uses birdcages as decorations, adding whimsy to her living spaces.

Artisans and Experts

home-9Many artists and experts have contributed to the Woodwards’ home in Bundoran Farm. Cindy says, “We have talented and great friends!” Along the walls in the foyer as well as the halls that lead from it are beautiful portraits of birds, done by David Hoffman. Cindy explains, “Dr. David Hoffman was one of my favorite high school teachers, 40 years ago. I was a journalism student, and he was a newly graduated journalism teacher who moved on to teach at a local university, Averett, where I received my bachelor’s degree. Dr. Hoffman became one of my favorite undergraduate teachers, too.” Cindy requested that Hoffman, who sells some of his photography, create nature pictures for their home. She says, “This is another way we can have a historical connection and make this more of a home. These bring back wonderful memories for me.”

home-11Michelle Willis Adams helped Cindy showcase the things she loves, like her collection of Mackenzie Childs plates. Willis Adams placed the plates under various light fixtures in public areas of the house, so they appear like framed art work. Cindy says, “She did an excellent job working things that mean a lot to me into the design of the house.” Karen Turner, too, provided excellent direction for design ideas. Willis Adams and Turner both encouraged Cindy to highlight personal taste in the house. In addition to considering what materials to use, they also focused on aesthetics, which creates the feeling of whimsy and personality incorporated within a timeless design. In the open kitchen next to the great room, white paneled cabinets, a white farm sink, and countertops made of soapstone from Alberene create a traditional backdrop for contrasting features like the creamy marble island complete with its own copper sink and multicolor tile backsplash behind the gas range. Sarisand Tile’s Sandford also played a key role in the interior design of this area.

Home is Part of Us

home-10The work on the house finished, Kent and Cindy moved in during the summer of 2013 to their new home, which is a seamless synthesis of their personalities and tastes. Throughout the house is gorgeous movement from neutral colors in certain areas to a blend of vibrant and wild colors. While soft earth tones, subdued in beige and white, represent Kent, Cindy’s personality pops with various shades of orange and purple. Cindy says, “Who you get depends on what room you are in.” 

The home has truly become a piece of heaven for the Woodwards. Kent does not separate the house from its surroundings. His favorite activity is to relax outdoors, sitting on one of the porches, enjoying the views and watching birds, trees and cows, or walking through the fields with Jack, their Golden Retriever. Cindy’s favorite features of the home are the exquisitely tiled master bath and steam room, as well as every one of the cozy window seats throughout the house, where she too gets to enjoy the beauty of Bundoran Farm.

Photography by Virginia Hamrick

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