Homeowner Nichole Brown, and her husband, Michael, had a strong vision of what their family wanted in their Nokesville home: “A forever home, where our kids (Emma, 11, and William, 7) could grow up. We’ve lived in numerous other houses and have learned a lot about what we wanted and didn’t want in our house,” says Nichole.
With that mission, they turned to Middleburg-based architect Timothy Clites, AIA, of Clites Architects. No stranger to custom-crafted homes, Clites was an architect with DC’s Barnes Vanze Architects for 11 years before opening his namesake architectural firm in 2010.
“This was a very successful and enjoyable project for us,” says Clites of the four-bedroom,
5,295-square-foot modern farmhouse he collaborated on with Warrenton-based builder Jonathan Caron. “Jonathan introduced us to the homeowners. They needed an architect who would be open to their ideas and help them create a successful design,” he adds.
The one-and-a-half-story, custom-built farmhouse is on an expansive, open floor plan, incorporating living, kitchen and informal dining areas on its main level, as well as the master bedroom suite.
“The homeowners wanted the massing to be balanced, not symmetrical,” says Clites of the basic structure. “They liked a variety of gables and dormers on the second floor, with a humble, slightly whimsical quality.”
The effect is a timeless, modern farmhouse, with crisp, white siding, standing seam metal roofs, wide porches and a seamless connection to its rural site. The interior continues that clean, airy, welcoming vibe.
“We selected 8-inch-wide white oak hardwood for the flooring in a Mono-
coat finish,” says Caron. “It’s durable, has a matte finish and brings out the natural
features in the wood, but doesn’t yellow over time, like polyurethane.”
Other classic interior finishes include what Clites references as “a mix of shiplap, painted paneling and drywall, with brick and timber accents in that ‘new farmhouse’ style, with its intentional eye toward design.”
Caron adds, “We actually installed 600 pieces of shiplap in this house!”
Shiplap is easy to wipe down and maintain—important to a family with young
kids and their friends running around.
Nichole, from the very start, was especially involved in material selections. The high-contrast palette originated with her vision, with black-framed windows
and bright-white walls in the main living spaces; the master bedroom, with its
vaulted ceiling, is finished in a moodier dark gray paint on horizontal paneling.
“I liked adding more textures and patterns, with wallpaper and tiles, while
keeping the palette mostly black, white and gray,” she says. “Elements like the
reclaimed wood beams and old bricks bring a lot of character to the house,
without being too rustic.”
The crafted archway into the main living area from the foyer, and the floating fireplace, separating the hearth and living areas, are both made of repurposed old bricks.
“With the foyer arch, we didn’t have the support below for solid bricks,
so we had to use brick veneers,” says Caron, who worked with a local mason
to make the quantities and cuts work, using reclaimed brick from an old factory in Chicago.
Triple-timbered beams add visual separation to the open floor plan, anchored at one end by the living area and at the other end by the kitchen. The informal dining area sits between the two. Featuring fully inset paneled cabinetry, simple oil-rubbed bronze hardware and a herringbone-tiled backsplash, the open kitchen is the hub of the home. Kids are always around the island, snacking or doing homework.
“Because it was open to the main living space, much of the normal clutter of a kitchen was moved to an adjacent pantry, with open shelves, housing all the necessities for cooking,” says Clites.
The homeowners, who love to have family and friends over, did request a more formal dining room (off the kitchen, through an open casement), which is defined by 3/4-inch-high wainscoting finished in matte black. It also features pretty, black-and-white, botanical wallpaper.
Nichole furnished the house in keeping with the modern farmhouse’s fresh aesthetic, with a budget- and family-friendly approach, using a neutral blend of upholstered, wood and pleather furniture. Home accents add color and switch out seasonally.
“It’s no secret that buffalo check is popular, especially in black and white, so that was my go-to for the dining room chairs, as well as the armchairs in our hearth room,” she says of interjecting contemporary takes on country patterns, which also appear in tilework, home accents and wall coverings.
A large, sectional sofa grounds the living area, facing the TV sandwiched by custom built-ins, while the informal dining area features a rustic farm table and bench crafted by Steve Dohl (Poppy + Chalk) in Culpeper.
“When designing a home and building it, you hope you have no regrets—and we definitely don’t! I wouldn’t change anything about our home,” says Nichole, adding, “I love having people over for holidays, parties, you name it. Having a big open space, with lots of seating and room, has been a blessing for when friends and family visit.”
“Each team member on this project was extremely responsive to their role. We produced well-crafted architectural plans, Jonathan had a solid team of workers and craftsmen on board and, most importantly, the homeowners did an amazing job of making selections to elevate the design,” adds Clites of the effort involved in delivering the seamless modern farmhouse.
This post originally appeared in our May 2020 print issue. For more on interior design in Northern Virginia homes, subscribe to our weekly Home newsletter.