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before and after

Our First Before, Before & After: The Front Parlor at Fairview

by Caitlin Kelch

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.

Colorhouse_cmyk_ol

 

 

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.

 

A 200-Year-Old Parlor Before & After, on Design*Sponge
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A 200-Year-Old Parlor Before & After, on Design*Sponge
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Before: Although they tried to make the room work as-is, Megan and Dan felt like they were "trapped in a Victorian vanilla pastry that had seen better days." They realized that color was the key to transforming the staid space and fell in love with a deep peacock, Dream .06, from Colorhouse.
A 200-Year-Old Parlor Before & After, on Design*Sponge
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After pouring over the curated color palettes of Colorhouse's 128 harmonious hues, Megan and Dan edited their choices down to four favorites; WATER .05 (from the more muted Earth's Color Collection), PETAL .06, CREATE .05, and DREAM .06 . "We were drawn to the vibrant hues in the Color of Hope collection. We also had high hopes of what the room could be for us!" They chose the rich, deep peacock blue - DREAM .06.
A 200-Year-Old Parlor Before & After, on Design*Sponge
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"We love the feeling we get when we slide open the doors and fall into a sea of blue. The center of the room is reserved for random chairs pulled from the dining room for picking parties with local musicians." Dan plays the guitar and Megan plays the dulcimer. Interior design throughout by Abby Reese.
A 200-Year-Old Parlor Before & After, on Design*Sponge
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This antique bureau holds treasures to be looked at in the sunlight at the desk and shares its surface with a lovely portrait of Megan's grandmother, Shirley Dollison.
A 200-Year-Old Parlor Before & After, on Design*Sponge
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Before: The front parlor had become a storehouse for furniture and pieces used to try to make the room "work" for Megan and Dan. Working in the parlor before the color treatment was tolerable, but not ideal, the couple says.
A 200-Year-Old Parlor Before & After, on Design*Sponge
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Megan and Dan both work from home, so having a desk to accommodate a laptop was important. Angled in this corner to catch the afternoon light, the desk also serves as the place where objects can be examined at close range, like old photos of the families who lived at Fairview during the past two centuries and Dan's wood bone carvings.
A 200-Year-Old Parlor Before & After, on Design*Sponge
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The deep blue hue graduates color throughout the workday at the desk, with a virtual light performance showing off a huge range of blues and greens.
A 200-Year-Old Parlor Before & After, on Design*Sponge
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"The built-in bookshelves were a bonus and perfect not only for our massive book collection, but also for our rotating collections of things we love." Megan's dulcimer, made by Jim Good from West Virginia sumac, has found its perfect spot on the shelf next to Dan's guitars.
A 200-Year-Old Parlor Before & After, on Design*Sponge
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We love how the rich color, Colorhouse DREAM .06, takes on different characteristics as the light moves through the house. Here, a dark corner illuminated by the late afternoon sun creates an energizing turquoise shade.
A 200-Year-Old Parlor Before & After, on Design*Sponge
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This corner is perfect for reading or for a guest to watch the musical shenanigans that tend to take place in the center of the room. Megan's Nancy Drew collection brightens up the shelves above, while Dan's vintage saws and Civil War-era objects found on the property serve as a museum-like display on the shelf below.
A 200-Year-Old Parlor Before & After, on Design*Sponge
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In front of Megan's treasured childhood book collection are sculptures by Laura McLaughlin, renowned Pittsburgh clay artist, and a piece from the exhibition "Sixteen Cows from Morgantown," created by a Chinese artist during a residency in West Virginia.
A 200-Year-Old Parlor Before & After, on Design*Sponge
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The previous owners, who restored the home with care and precision, left Megan and Dan an incredible collection of historic artifacts related to the home and the people who have lived at Fairview, including artifacts from the Civil War found on the property (some seen here), a map used by the Confederate Army in the Civil War that has the house marked on it, and a detailed history of the former owners of the house, dating back to the original builder (a brother of General Robert E. Lee's Commander of Artillery).
A 200-Year-Old Parlor Before & After, on Design*Sponge
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"The ornate mantel stands between the 1980s bookcase additions and is a great spot for our collection of American Indian seed pots. We are thrilled that the bold color of the walls outweighs the dominant Victorian mantel structure, which was a bit overwhelming before we painted."
A 200-Year-Old Parlor Before & After, on Design*Sponge
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"The massive fireplace feels more friendly in the sea of deep blue, Colorhouse DREAM .06, instead of taking over the room. The paint looks amazing with dark wood, so we actually ended up adding some of our bulkier wood pieces in the room."
A 200-Year-Old Parlor Before & After, on Design*Sponge
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Megan spends weekend time sorting through antiquities and old photographs while Dan is busy carving intricate bones out of wood as seen here. The photograph shown here is one of the former residents of Fairview who lived in the home over the last two centuries. While Dan is a designer for technology products, as an artist, he particularly enjoys working with natural materials. Currently, he is working on carving bones - human and animal - out of wood that comes from some place of personal significance. (Examples include cedar from a friend's ranch in Texas, oak from an old church pew, cherry and walnut from Megan's family's farm in West Virginia).
A 200-Year-Old Parlor Before & After, on Design*Sponge
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The dining room next to the parlor. Megan said that this is the mood felt in the parlor even though the Victorian touches were long gone.
A 200-Year-Old Parlor Before & After, on Design*Sponge
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The front hall at Fairview where the Withers family had set up a makeshift living room sometime in the early part of the 20th century. And yes, it's that large.
A 200-Year-Old Parlor Before & After, on Design*Sponge
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An old photo of some of the members of the Withers family on the front porch of Fairview. The text reads "Fairview, the birthplace of Addison L. Withers (March 9, 1873) was purchased by his father (Addison L. Withers) shortly after the Civil War. It is on the Withers LaRue Road (Rippon - Summit Point) and was later purchased by his brother Robert L. Withers. The original six room house was remodeled about 1906."
A 200-Year-Old Parlor Before & After, on Design*Sponge
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Fairview as seen from the adjacent field circa 1910. Megan tells us that the "surroundings are inspiring: The way the sun turns the Blue Ridge Mountains purple as it rises and sets. The stars. The sounds of animals - the hawks, geese, horses, cows, and turkeys. Discovering something new every day."

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Comments

  • This is a lovely room! The modern color of the walls compliment, but do not distract from the original architecture of the room. I would love to see more of this home! My husband and I live in a home that is 107 years old in Portland, Oregon. We as well, feel like stewards of our wonderful home. Well done!

  • SO gorgeous! Teal is my all-time favorite color. I painted my bathroom a very similar shade. Beautiful transformation!

  • Seriously, I think this is one of the most beautiful rooms I have ever seen. And the little bits of history of the home that you shared are amazing.

  • Fascinating, and a lovely job updating the home. I am from West Virginia, originally, and so I love to see care and love given to old homes to restore them to a more current glory. Beautifully done.

  • I was in West Virginia – Charlestown (?) for the very first time last weekend. We went to Virginia last year and the Blue Ridge Mountains actually took our breath away. I absolutely love the people we met in Virginia and West Virginia. We currently live in Connecticut and are hoping to move “South” within the next year or two but a lot of decisions have to be made before that. Love your blot.

    • Hi Patty,

      Fairview is twenty minutes from Charles Town! Come on down and join the neighborhood :)

      Caitlin

  • I love those teal walls and, oooh, the mantel on the fire place! I have a copy of Uncommon Vernacular that I always enjoy flipping through for ideas. I’ve been especially enjoying these West Virginia-themed posts as I live in nearby Winchester. Keep ’em coming, thanks!

  • This is just beautiful. I love that they went with the deep blue (and love did not climb on the the grey bandwagon). I also love how honest they are about the fireplace being overwhelming. Balancing it with the strong colour was such a thoughtful solution. And finally I love how they put in an orange armchair, it looks fantastic with the blue walls. And I too would love to see more of this house!

  • I’m SO happy to see a home in WV featured on Design Sponge!! I’ve lived in Huntington my whole life & I’ve been an avid DS reader for years. I was bummed out for the longest time to see every state but my own featured on your site. Bummed out no more! Thanks!

    • Hi Leanna!

      Caitlin here (a Jefferson county WV native)! I’m so happy this post made your day. I like to think of our state as a ‘best kept secret’ but the update in this home was too good not to share. I moved back to WV after 17 years in NYC and couldn’t be happier. Nice to meet a fellow West Virginian on D*S. I’ve had the privilege for working at D*S for 5 years now and I truly feel like I have the best of both worlds. Enjoy your neck of the woods!

      Take Care,
      Caitlin

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