Bushman Dreyfus Architects

Bushman Dreyfus Architects

Charlottesville, VA


Heirloom Farm Cottage

2017 Virginia AIA Merit Award for Excellence in Residential Design

Discovering the old; mixing it with new. What appeared to be a simple, worn-out, early 20th century stucco cottage was to be modestly renovated as a weekend retreat. But when the contractor and architects began pulling away the interior wall finishes, they discovered a log cabin at its core (believed to date as far back as the 1780’s) and a newer addition (circa 1920’s) at the rear where the site slopes down. Initial plans were scrapped, and a new project was born that honors the original construction while accommodating new infrastructure and the clients’ modern tastes.

The original log cabin was entirely concealed behind painted wood paneling on the interior and stucco on the exterior. Logs were cleaned with a wire brush to maintain much of the original whitewash. Chinking between logs was carefully repaired, replaced and stained with tea to the perfect color. One of the log cabin’s original windows, boarded up when the 20th century addition was built, was revealed and turned into a display shelf for artifacts found during the renovation. A custom fabricated concrete fireplace surround adds a simple new element in contrast to the texture of the log walls.

The attic stair enclosure was removed in deference to – and in order to visually expand – the original one-room log cabin. Wood floors, partially ravaged by termites, were repaired and refinished. The interventions of new steel structure, simple black iron handrail and glass stair guard provide a distinct counterpoint to the rusticity of the original construction, while the color palette of warm, natural tones harmonizes the composition.

The intention of contrasting old and new continues in the bathroom, where the original wide plank ceiling is juxtaposed with new soapstone tiles and cabinets made from wood cut on site.

The kitchen is in its original location in the walkout basement. The countertop and the cabinets are made to look like they are one piece of concrete. The cabinet doors, drawer fronts and the lighted shelf are made from wood salvaged during construction. The existing concrete slab is acid washed. The new window seat looks out on the lower terrace. The original wood stair is stripped of paint and an elegant steel handrail was added.

A new large bluestone terrace was added to the back. A modern corten firepit is centered on the kitchen window. Outdoor pendant lights are hung from the tree branches above the dining table.

Read more

Status: Built
Location: North Garden, VA, US
Firm Role: Architect