Tuscany Comes to West Virginia
Inspired by antique woodwork, this vacation/retirement home transforms modest materials into a tower of light with classical proportions.
Synopsis: This ridge-top home, inspired by the pair of 10-ft. tall antique French doors which now make up its entry way, sits less than two hours from Washington, D.C., yet seems it would fit more appropriately beside the Parthenon. Both inside and out, this house is a melting-pot of classical design; the bathroom alone contains Mexican Saltillo paver tiles, African slate, and a Japanese shoji partition. Also included in this article is an interesting sidebar on the golden rectangle, an organizational design tool which takes its roots from classical architecture.
As I read Under the Tuscan Sun, I was captivated by Frances Mayes’s account of her idyllic life in the Italian countryside. She made it clear that somehow, just by looking over the valley from her renovated Italian villa, all of her senses were heightened. I could see it, smell it, and taste it, and I, too, wanted to live that life with a passion.
Unfortunately, with two kids in grade school, a husband with a career that’s not very mobile, and a homebody’s need to stay close to family, Italy was out of the question. And there was also the issue of money: We don’t have the Medici family’s purse to fund the building of a villa. But my husband, Bill, and I do have a vision of how we want to spend our lives together, both now and farther down the road. We wanted to build a vacation house that eventually would become our retirement home.
Not too close, and not too far
Both Bill and I have careers and family in and around Washington, D.C. We couldn’t stray too far from this gravitational center — about a two-hour drive at most — but we wanted surroundings that felt a world apart.…