You'll want to take a closer look at this 1770 farmhouse that was purchased and began renovating over ten years ago with the owner's husband, architectural photographer Ron Blunt. The couple fell in love with this glowing white house, set against green trees and heirloom boxwoods, with romantic porches and a wonderful view of the barn. It has amazing energy. Indeed, there is much to admire about the farmhouse, which has retained much of its original character and exudes the kind of quiet beauty one would cherish in a country home. Officially dubbed the Hiram Hedges House, it's set on five peaceful acres that also include a barn, original smokehouse, and outhouse (a two-seater). The couple is the first outside of the Hedges family ever to reside in the home, and recently for only the second time in 247 years, the farmhouse property was placed back on the market (it has since sold).
The renovation took years to complete, but the couple is understandably proud of the serene, light-filled space they've created. The home was structurally sound when they purchased it, but the interior was bare bones in what they likened to a vanilla box. The farmhouse needed quite a bit of aesthetic work, but that was a welcome challenge for Swan, who knows old homes like the back of her hand. A creative director, stylist, and design industry veteran, she also happens to carry a graduate degree in historic preservation.
For her, the farmhouse was an easy sell. She had been living in crowded cities for 20 years. When she finally met her husband and they started looking for a home, she wanted to find something historic and architecturally interesting. The location mattered, too, for the newlyweds. Their creative minds needed the quiet of the country, yet they wanted to be close enough to Washington, DC (where they work and socialize) that they didn't feel totally isolated.
With its proximity to the city despite a feeling of being a world's away, the Shenandoah Valley seemed to be fit their needs perfectly. In between bouts of designing, painting, and landscaping (she dug holes for 400 iris bulbs), Swan reminisces fondly about the couple's spontaneous weekend drives, pausing to buy heirloom pumpkins in the fall and fresh herbs in the summertime. Bucking what they refer to as the house museum decor, Swan and Blunt took a fresh and modern approach to the farm homes design. Their vision was to preserve the historic character and original elements while introducing modern functionality and European farmhouse style. The home was inspired by Scandinavian design and the surrounding nature, they employed a clean, airy color palette that gives the home a luminous quality.
Despite the modern touches, there's still a strong sense of history at play in the home. Original hand-hewn log chinking has been preserved along with the trim and paneled doors. Artifacts discovered during the renovation remain hidden in the home, such as a pair of lady's shoes buried in the logs above the main stair, an Old English superstition against bad luck. The original parchment land grant from Lord Fairfax of England, who granted the property to John Hedges in 1754, was discovered in the attic. And thanks to Swan's research work, the home has been deemed eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.
More about this story can be found at: Circa Old Houses