Event at historic home to beneft Little Garden Club of Winchester, Blue Ridge HospiceBy Josette Keelor
Interior designers from around the region have united on a project that not only highlights their own designs and talents but also will raise money for the Blue Ridge Hospice and the Little Garden Club of Winchester.
The Winchester Showhouse & Gardens 2013, which takes place at Long Green, a northern Frederick County property off U.S. 522 that belongs to the Headley family, has revived the historic 1760 country house to showcase the designs of area artists in September.
The home, which belonged to Glynnell Headley until she passed away last October, has been uninhabited for about three years, said Mary Ann Kaplan, co-chair of the show house event.
The Headleys have been using the house as office space for the family's auction business, which takes place in the property's red barn.
Now its rooms reflect a new warmth and color, with designers from the Northern Shenandoah Valley and Northern Virginia pulling out the stops to show what they can do and what visitors might also recreate in their own homes. A brochure for visitors shows before and after photos of the rooms, many of which have been transformed from their original uses.
An upstairs dressing room off the main hall previously was a nursery and a sewing room, but is more useful now since most bedrooms from the 1700s did not have closet space.
Kathy Huftalen of Closets By Design in Manassas, added shelving units that hide away clothes and maximize space.
"It was the idea of this designer to turn the room into a closet," Kaplan said at a Tuesday preview tour. "I truly do want this in my closet." And even if many visitors to the show house don't have space for their own walk-in closet at home, she said they can still draw inspiration from the dressing room. "You can do just one section, right?"
"That's the beauty of this. Everything is in sections," Kaplan said.
The upstairs bathroom was gutted and redesigned by Kathy Gray Designs out of Orleans. She removed blue fixtures and white tile from the 1960s and replaced them with more appropriate décor for the home's 18th-century look.
Gray also mixed polished nickel fixtures on a pedestal tub with brush nickel on the shower ring to add to the feeling of the changing history of the home, which includes an addition downstairs and a wing built in the 1800s.
A vanity in the bathroom is a reproduction of a 1700s piece made by Joe Headley and his son, Gray said. The room, mostly gray and white, focuses on use of textures instead of color.
Around a four-cornered hallway upstairs designed by Susan Meredith of Redecorate Today, four bedrooms invite in visitors with a mix of comfort and country settings.
Dan Moore, of David and Daniel Design in Hume, had the difficulty of designing a master bedroom without a closet or bathroom.
Still, he said, "this is a very comfortable room. I like kind of natural ornaments. It kind of fits in with the terrarium and the leaves."
"I really tried to use my local resources," he said.
Where vertical stripes in the master bedroom's window treatments make up for a lack of crown molding, in a neighboring room designed by Brenda Miller of the Miller House in Stephens City, a blue boarder painted along the room's ceiling draws the eye up the walls, giving the illusion of greater height.
Her color scheme also uses soothing gray and cheery yellow accents, which she said marries into a perfect guest bedroom. A tiger maple bed set diagonally to the room and a floor rug offset at a curious angle help to showcase the room's old floors, Miller said.
"I like to show off the old floors," she said. "You don't see wide pine flooring like this anymore."
Downstairs, the entryway was designed by Paola McDonald of Creative Elegance Interiors in Haymarket and the dining room was done by Nancy West of Noble-West Design in Middleburg. Both use horse country in their designs, imagining guests entering into their cozy interiors after a wearying day of riding or hunting.
Similarly, A Man's Best Friend Office, by Deborah Langfitt of Classic Touch Interiors in Winchester, offers a retreat near the back of the house with a mural by Michelle Luttrel depicting the two resident dogs, Sugar and Cinnamon, and reflecting a dog theme in everything from the wall paper to the "I Love My Dog" lettering on built-in shelves behind a desk.
But it's not only the inside that will attract visitors. Both porches have been redesigned, and the back porch, with brown trellises and a blue ceiling designed by Nicole Hull of Auspicious Interiors in Ashburn pays tribute to the home's history and area folklore.
"I chose to paint the ceiling this color and then weave this color throughout the design, and the purpose was three-fold," she said. "One, it's reflective of what the home was at one point. ... Two, this color, according to southern lore, is said to repel insects because insects believe the blue is the sky, therefore they will not linger or build nests. It's lore, it's not scientifically proven," she added, laughing.
"And three, and probably the most interesting reason that I chose this color is that again according to southern lore this particular color dispels what is known as haints. Those are unsettled ghosts. And since the Headley estate is known to have two ghosts here on the property, I felt it only fitting that I do a wink and a nod to that fact."
Hull also incorporates a wheel theme into the design, because of the Headley's wheel collection.
The show house will be open for three weeks, Kaplan said, and almost everything the designers brought into the house will be for sale. Shoppers can pick up their purchases after the showcase ends, before the house reverts to the home it was before.
The concept of a show house in the area is new to Winchester, and Kaplan said she hopes visitors will spread the word.
Tell your friends, she said, "You got to go see."
The Winchester Showhouse & Gardens 2013, located at 498 Long Green Lane, Winchester, will be open from Sept. 7 to Sept. 29, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Saturday, and open late until 8 p.m. on Thursdays. On Sundays it will be open from noon to 5 p.m. Tickets are $20 each with special pricing available for groups of 15 or more with advance booking. Volunteers are needed. For more information, call 540-313-9268 or visit www.winchestershowhouse.com.
Contact Community Engagement Editor Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or firstname.lastname@example.org