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Ask anyone who has ever fallen in love with an old house, and they usually always remember that first impression when they saw it for the first time. "It seemed to shine from within," says Keleigh Swan about this charming 1770 house that she bought and began renovating more than ten years ago with her husband, architecture photographer Ron Blunt. "We fell in love with this bright white house, surrounded by green trees, with romantic porches and wonderful views of the barn.
Of course, there is much to admire about this historic farmhouse, which has retained much of its original style and emanates that calm beauty that only the country houses transmit. Officially called Hiram Hedges House, It is built on a quiet plot of 2 hectares with a barn, smokehouse Original, and cabin. Keleigh and Ron are the first to inhabit it that are not from the Hedges family, and now, for the second time in 247 years, they have put the impressive house up for sale again.
The reform has taken years to complete, but the couple is very proud of the serene and light-filled space they have created. The house was structurally sound when they bought it, but the interior was very outdated, Swan recalls. It required a bit of aesthetic work, but that was a pleasant challenge for Swan, who knows those old houses like the palm of his hand. Creative director, stylist and veteran of the design industry, she also holds a postgraduate degree in historical conservation.
For her, the house was an easy sale. "I had been living in big cities for 20 years, when I finally met my husband and we started looking for a house, I wanted to find something historically and architecturally interesting." The location also mattered to the newlyweds. "Our creative minds needed the tranquility of the countryside, but we wanted to be close enough to Washington (where we work and go out) to not feel totally isolated."
Because of its proximity to the city, despite the feeling of being far from the world, the Shenandoah Valley seemed to be the ideal place. Between the design, painting and gardening sessions (she personally dug holes for 400 iris bulbs), Swan fondly remembers the weekend walks, where they bought pumpkins for the fall and fresh herbs in the summer.
Avoiding falling into what they call a "house museum" decoration, Swan and Blunt sought a fresh and modern style for the interior of the house. "Our vision was to preserve the historical character and the original elements, and introduce the modern functionality and style of the European country houses." Inspired by Scandinavian design and nature, they used a clean, fresh and bright range of colors.
Despite the modern touches, there is still a strong presence in the history of the house. The original structure of hand-cut logs has been preserved along with the doors, cladding and panels. Some curious objects that came to light during the reform remain hidden in the house, such as a pair of lady's shoes buried in the trunks on the main staircase, an old English superstition against bad luck. The original writings of Lord Fairfax of England, who granted the land to John Hedges in 1754, were discovered in the attic. And thanks to Swan's own research work, the house has been considered for the National Register of Historic Places.
Saying goodbye to such a special place is not easy, but Swan and Blunt trust that the next owners will appreciate, as they have done, the advantages of living in nature: "the centenary trees, the sunsets, the owls for the night and the curious birds, the deer that sleep in the field ... ". And like Swan, you will surely love to sit in the master bedroom in the sun, looking towards the barn and watching the raccoon mom's nest, every summer with her puppies in a nearby tree.
The house is for sale for approximately € 725,000
More information: Hunt Country Sotheby's International Realty
Via: Country Living US