An Ode to Europe in Waterford

A detailed renovation of an iconic home brings garden villa living to new levels.

Article by Hann Livingston

Photography by Roman Caprano, Sky Blue Media

Originally published in Leesburg Lifestyle

Originally built in 1824 as a House of Entertainment (aka a bar and hotel) Waterford’s iconic “Pink House” has served as an officer’s billet during the Civil War, an apothecary and doctor’s office, and general store. The property was converted into a home in 1940 and after four years of renovation starting in 2005, was transformed into the masterpiece it is today.

There is a solidity and peace to the home, like a European villa, but like any historical home, it is difficult not to imagine children buying penny candy and ice cream when it was a general store, or local residents visiting Dr. Connell for pharmaceutical cures and to use the first telephone installed in the area in the late 1800s. Even the original advertisement announcing the Hotel’s opening reminds us of the home’s current capacity for entertaining: “His bar will always be supplied with liquors of a superior quality; his table with the best the neighbourhood can afford; his house is furnished with good beds and servants; and his stable with the best of provender, and attended by an attentive hostler.” Old Houses speak to you.

This old house has been lovingly taken into the 21st century with every modern luxury while adding even more Old World, detailed flare. The entire home features Venetian plaster walls with imported pigment from Rousillon, France that change in appearance depending on the light of the day. This is an important feature as the multi-level gardens are essentially a part of the home…inviting the outside in. And the closets are placarded with imported French closet fronts and doors, built into the walls. This home is about detailed precision, and asked why they love it, the current owners say: “For its comfort, its warmth, the incredible ease it offers for entertainment. It is extremely rare to find a home that can be opened to the exterior on three different levels and each level provides ideal spaces for entertaining, or privacy for intimate gatherings. There is also a fourth level at the top of the limestone and boulder staircases…they take you to another world, whether to nap in a hammock, host a luncheon under the white wisteria tunnel or the garden cottage for cocktails or a quiet read.”

The Kitchen

In the kitchen wing, added during the renovation, the floor is handmade 17th century terra cotta tile from Orvieto, Italy, but is heated (like the living room, bathrooms and sunroom) with radiant heat.  Any chef will appreciate the Fourneaux Delaubrac professional range from Lyon, France and the commercial vents and fan. The pantry is made of French reclaimed exterior glass doors and antique French oak shutters and the sink is handmade copper. The antique chandelier is from Paris and the sconces are one of a kind from Luberon in Provence. The cathedral ceilings with antique beams combined with the glass door and French mahogany windows connect with the patio so perfectly, you feel as if you are in an outdoor living space.

The “Hyphen”

The site of the home’s previous kitchen (like many old kitchens was separated from the main house to reduce house fires and heat), this area now connects the kitchen to the living room and contains the new staircase. It features a Traulsen commercial refrigerator, limestone floors and a hand-carved limestone sink. It is the perfect spot to arrange flowers brought in from the gardens.

The Living Room/Dining Room

A large open space is the perfect spot to relax in the evening or entertain a group. The original mantels are from the 1820’s and added gas inserts light stone facades and soapstone hearths. The limestone floor from central France continues the stone theme. Even the bookshelves are built in and made to look like furniture. A half bath is housed in the old coal chute.

The Bedrooms

The en-suite guest and master bedrooms could make the home a perfect rental option or small bed and breakfast. Each bathroom has with rain showers and soaking tubs. A sunroom with French antique terra cotta floors and casement windows and French doors was added to the master to open to the gardens and private terrace. The fourth floor is perfect for sleeping children or a play/reading nook.

The Gardens and Patio

Creating an outdoor space that so effortlessly blends into a home it becomes part of the living space is no easy feat. The terracing and continuity in imported stone both blends the indoor aesthetic and allows for access from three of four floors. An outdoor fireplace and seating area extend the kitchen for al fresco dining and from there you travel to multiple levels and planting areas to suit your mood. A fountain from Provence and a lotus pond accentuate the variety of flowers and trees.

It is no surprise the current owners are only leaving to pursue their dream of living in Provence. The good news is that they are leaving their own version of European villa living in Waterford. Offered by Christy Hertel, Hunt Country Sotheby’s, Christy.hertel@huntcountrysire.com

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