(Renovations and Additions)

This project involved renovations of, and additions to, an existing, late eighteenth-century log farmhouse owned by an architectural historian and her husband.

The client’s program called for adding dining and living rooms, adjacent to the recently renovated kitchen that would capitalize in the panoramic view of the mountains. The client also wanted to move the master bedroom from the second floor down to a former living room on the first floor, and to add closets and a master bathroom. The client had written her master’s thesis on Scamozzi Ionic column capitals, and wanted the design to somehow incorporate this type of column.

The existing house was a two-story, gabled roof, log house with an attached summer kitchen ell. The house had extremely low ceilings, small windows, minimal daylight, and virtually no views of the spectacular Blue Ridge Mountains to the southeast. Designing the addition was challenging because the summer kitchen ell appeared awkward and out of scale with the original log house. The addition attempts to relate to the architectural forms and massing of both of these structures, mending their disparate scales.

The design solution involved reorienting the house. Instead of retaining the existing front porch entrance, which would have resulted in entering the house next to the new master bedroom, the main entrance was relocated to a new courtyard created by the dining room/living room addition. This new entrance is closer to the parking area and vehicular loop and is more convenient to the barn and fields. The reorientation also allows the log portion of the house to contain more private spaces, while the addition serves more public functions. The former dining room became an entry foyer, with a new half bath and coat closets. The existing utility area was reconfigured and added to, to contain a master bath, closets, laundry room, and storage.

The form of the new dining room mimics that of the summer kitchen ell. The dining room is comprised of two volumes—the low ceiling area beneath the shed roof is used primarily for circulation and serving, while the high ceiling are under the gable roof, with a curtain wall facing the mountains, is used for dining. The beam separating the dining room’s two rooflines is supported by a fluted column with a Scamozzi Ionic capital.

The living room, which is open to the dining room, mimics both the form and fenestration of the log house. It is tilted slightly to the west, in order to provide a different orientation within the space and a different view. The dining and living rooms have eleven- foot- six and twelve- foot- ten ceiling heights, respectively, in order to offset the log house’s oppressive, six- and- a half- foot high ceilings. The living room closes to the neighbors and the road to the north, while opening onto an arbor to the southeast and the mountains beyond.


  • Builder: Jon C. Duvall, Winchester, Virginia
  • Structural Engineer: Structural Concepts, Inc., Winchester, Virginia
  • Photographer: Hoachlander Davis Photography, Washington, D.C.