Since I live in the oldest town in West Virginia and a mere 10 minutes from the Antietam Battlefield, I tend to stroll around at night hoping for a glimpse inside the historic 18th- and 19th-century homes that line our tiny streets. On the weekends, I’m usually found driving the backroads of the eastern panhandle of WV, admiring the grand estates and sturdy farmettes that dot the countryside. After 17 years in pricey, cramped NYC apartments, like many city dwellers, I longed to get out and realize the dream of living in a home outside of the confines of the city.
When my architect friend Abby told me her cousin and her family had relocated from Fort Worth, TX and bought an estate in the farthest reaches of Jefferson County and there was an old schoolhouse on the property, I begged to drop by the house with her to get an inside look at the type of home I’d been long admiring.
When I met owners Megan Carpenter and Dan Gloyd, they graciously showed me around their 1830s Federal-style home they share with sons Jackson (16), Harlan (2), and cats Sergio and Goose. After the grand tour, they brought out several binders which documented the home, with notes and photographs dating back to the late 1800s. The house itself is circa 1830. (See some of the old photographs in the slideshow above!) We leafed through at least three binders in the front parlor which Megan, a law professor, and Dan, a designer, were using as a makeshift home office and library while they decided on how to adapt the room to their needs. While they loved the history behind their new home and the surrounding area, they found their city life sensibilities lingering and craved the variety and unexpected sights and sounds their former metropolitan lifestyle provided. The family was searching for the perfect balance of both worlds and turned to a single room to experiment with. They choose the front parlor and with the hope of bringing some of their old life to their new forever home, they collaborated with Megan’s nearby cousin, Abby Reese, an architect and interior designer, to create something special. —Caitlin
Megan and Dan wanted the parlor, directly off the main hall, to feel different than the rest of the house that had been meticulously restored and painted in neutrals, so they began the almighty color search. Choosing a low-odor, eco-friendly paint was a priority because it aligns with their values, and they wanted a safe environment for their children and pets. They were prepared for an exhaustive search, but were thrilled to have found their top-of-the-list paint brand, Colorhouse. Colorhouse paints contain no VOCs (the “stinky stuff” in paint), no reproductive toxins, and no chemical solvents. Plus, Colorhouse has a curated palette of 128 interior hues, so no more sorting through thousands of colors to find the perfect shade. Ultimately, they chose a deep peacock blue named DREAM .06 that looked amazing with — and even seemed to minimize — the heavy, dark wood Victorian fireplace that dominated the room. Colorhouse is available online through The Home Depot and Amazon, as well as select retailers.
Once the room was painted in Colorhouse’s DREAM .06, part of the Color of Hope Collection, Megan and Dan knew it was the perfect place not only to get energized for their “working-from-home days,” but also for getting together in the evening with friends and playing music. (Megan plays the dulcimer and Dan plays the guitar.) They knew they loved the bold, rich color, but they were even more delighted to discover that the hue shifted from bright and energetic to moody and sultry, depending on the time of day.
This post is brought to you by Colorhouse — makers of paint for the people and the planet. See their earth- and people-friendly curated palette of 128 beautiful interior hues here.
More about the home:
Fairview, originally known as the Withers House, is an example of early 19th-century vernacular brick architecture in the Federal style. Situated on high ground in southern Jefferson County, WV, the home has a commanding view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The estate once covered 1,000 acres and dates back to the 1820s.
Built in the “center hall” design, common for the area at the time it was constructed, the house has four rooms downstairs and four bedrooms upstairs. The house also features a large open attic and a half basement with an outside entrance, and the original kitchen with a giant cooking fireplace, complete with the original ironwork. A back stairwell served as the servants entrance to the main floors.
The property, set on 11 acres, includes a three-story home, a limestone outdoor bake oven, and a widow’s walk that offers panoramic views for miles. The Withers family also constructed a one-room schoolhouse for their children. Adjacent to the schoolhouse is a small shed used as an icehouse, where straw was utilized to insulate blocks of ice.
More from Megan and Dan:
“Dan is a history buff. He had read the book Uncommon Vernacular: The Early Houses of Jefferson County, West Virginia, 1735-1835 by John C. Allen and fell in love with all of the historic homes in Jefferson County, WV. Megan’s cousins live in Jefferson County, so when it came time to move closer to family, we decided to look at homes in this area. After looking at a lot of properties, we fell in love with this one. The house is a beautiful, historic manor that dates back well before the Civil War, and sits on the top of a hill. It has 360-degree views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and is surrounded by corn fields and apple orchards. The historic schoolhouse, ice house, and corn crib on the property made us fall in love. The hand-hewn beams, 200-year-old hand-turned banister in the stairway, and widow’s walk sealed the deal. The house has a noticeably positive energy. Every room in the downstairs has a fireplace, including the kitchen. Every nook and cranny is welcoming.
As we approach projects, we recognize that we are not just homeowners, but stewards. It is an honor, a privilege, and a challenge. There is so much history that has happened inside these walls — births and deaths, love and loss. As we come down the 200-year-old stairway in the mornings and our feet pad on the 200-year-old floor, we know that we have the opportunity to preserve something meaningful for the future.”
You can follow Megan & Dan’s documentation of their life at Fairview on Instagram @ourfairview.