Diana Cummings worked with Virginia architect Mark Buchanan to build a house on her scenic acreage about 50 miles from Washington, D.C. Diana, an avid horsewoman, wanted a French-inspired country house with a "rugged elegance" and weekend attitude.
Drawing inspiration from a 17th-century French single-stall-wide horse stable, Buchanan created a home that featured local fieldstone for the exterior, a tiled hipped roof, dormers, and shuttered doors and windows.
A pea-stone courtyard fronting the house is shaded by a black iron tonnelle, or arbor, with a bamboo roof. Here Diana and her friends like to relax and discuss the horse circuit. A water faucet by the front door serves as a ground-level drinking fountain for Diana’s two dogs and two cats.
A Cordova cream limestone fireplace is flanked by Harden Furniture armchairs, with the backs covered in fabric from Kravet’s Museum of New Mexico Collection. Interior designer Shoshana Datlow finished the plaster walls with a three-color wash, creating a warm, mellow ambience. The classical bronze on the mantel is Woman with Deer, circa 1900, by Karl Bitter.
The house’s hub is the combined kitchen-living-dining area, anchored by a handsome farm table of American chestnut under a rustic antler chandelier. The homeowner appreciates the kitchen’s open L-shaped work area, which accommodates a Viking stove and Sub-Zero refrigerator.
To give authentic farmhouse character to the interiors, architect Mark Buchanan incorporated natural elements such as weathered Douglas fir ceiling timbers and oak-plank or limestone-tile floors.
A clever pet door in the mudroom allows the homeowner’s two dogs, two cats, and even visiting dogs such as this curious pooch to pop in and out on their own schedules. Because the animals have the run of the house, fabrics and finishes are durable and pet-friendly.
French doors in the den open to a sheltered courtyard and views of the Virginia countryside. An inviting gold armchair, floor lamp from ABC Carpet & Home, and built-in bookshelves designed by architect Mark Buchanan make the room a cozy reading spot.
The spacious master bathroom is homeowner Diana Cummings’ sanctuary, with a lofty vaulted ceiling and windows that look out on the garden. Simple plantation shutters provide privacy and keep the space light and airy. The deep soaking tub and faucets, towel-warming rack, sink faucets, vanity top, and round stool are from Waterworks.
Photography: Ron Blunt
Architect: Mark Buchanan, AIA, Neumann Lewis Buchanan Architects, P.O. Box 1144, Middleburg, VA 20118; 540/687-3917, nlbarchitects.com.
Interior designer: Shoshana Datlow, Lifestyle Interiors Inc., P.O. Box 3, The Plains, VA 20198; 540/253-5571.
Builder: Jim Eicher, J.D. Eicher Builder Inc., 50 S. Fourth St., Warrenton, VA 20186; 540/347-7591.
Landscape contractor: Rich Shoemaker, Shoemaker Landscape Inc., 9183 John S. Mosby Hwy. , Upperville, VA 20184 ; 540/592-3800.