One look at this property and you know there must be an interesting story here. The house looks like a cute red barn with white trim, but it was never a barn—it was always a house that was built to look like a barn.

Quite a bit has changed since Molly Limbacher fell in love with 9216 Rapidan Drive and bought it in 2013. For one thing, she wasn’t even Molly Limbacher until she married Paul Limbacher a little while back. And the house, which dates to 1976, didn’t look anywhere near as spiffy as it does today. It was a real fixer-upper that she and Paul have thoroughly transformed over the past five years into the into a picture perfect five-acre horse farm. They call it Hope Springs Farm.

The house, which also recalls Dutch Colonial style, is listed with three bedrooms and three full bathrooms on three levels, with 2,640 square feet of living space. It’s part of a subdivision called Rapidan Retreat in northwestern Spotsylvania County.



Outbuildings include a oak horse barn with five stalls, tack room and a hay loft that dates to the 1970s, a large equipment barn and a full-size, covered dressage arena with a sand and rubber base that was built in the mid-2000s. Three-board fencing surrounds the property and encloses several paddock areas.

Another big change is that Molly has become a grandmother, and being closer to her little granddaughter is the one reason she’d say good-bye to Hope Springs Farm. She’s listed the farm with Lisa Bartley of Keller Williams Superior Realty in Fredericksburg. The asking price is $524,000.

“This house has a way of wrapping its arms around you,” Molly said during a tour earlier this week. “It’s the happiest place on earth.”

Thing is, Molly had a vision for the place that some of her friends and relatives didn’t share at first. “It had been neglected and everything dated to the ’70s. It was in bad shape. They wondered why I wanted to be all the way out here,” she said. “But I really felt I could breathe life back into it.”

And then with Paul’s help, that’s just what she did. Visitors arrive to see the red barn of a house with its Dutch Colonial barn roof set back down a short lane off Rapidan Drive. You might think you’ve seen it as a calendar photo, or the idyllic scene used for a jigsaw puzzle.

It’s framed by trees that Molly and Paul say are among the property’s best assets in that they are so plentiful—providing cover in the summer that helps keep the house cool and much of the property shaded. These days, without their leaves, the trees allow the sun’s warmth to come through.

A covered porch made of composite decking protects the main entry. Two sets of french doors open the spacious main living area that is the full width of the house. At one end is one of the home’s two fireplaces.

The open floor plan continues into the expanded peninsula kitchen that Molly had totally redone with granite counters, rich wood cabinetry, a classic white porcelain farm sink and white tile backsplash. The stainless-steel appliances are nearly new and the handsome laminate flooring looks new as well.

A wall between the living room and kitchen was removed, opening up the kitchen space. The larger kitchen provided room for an island that adds to food preparation and storage space.

The bright dining room with beadboard wainscoting and farmhouse furnishings provides views of the paddock area and horse barn out back. Molly thinks the dining room previously served as a main-level master in the original floor plan, hence the full main-level bathroom that’s next to it.

She recalls that when she first moved in, the dining room was her personal space as renovation work was undertaken elsewhere in the house. She found it the perfect spot to sit with her morning coffee and watch the horses.

A sunny mudroom with the back door and laundry machines sits behind the kitchen. A glass door shuts out the noise from the rest of the house but lets the light come through.

Upstairs are three bedrooms, including the master, that share a full bathroom. A pleasant surprise for Molly was the master’s large walk-in closet. Better still is the master’s french door access to the outdoor balcony over the front porch.

Of the two secondary bedrooms, the smaller is set up as her granddaughter’s nursery, and the other is Paul’s home office.

The basement has a recreation room with fireplace that’s set up as a bedroom, plus another room used as a small guest bedroom. There’s also a full bathroom down here.

Basement utility and storage space includes a steel dog wash station and, thanks to the terrain, a ground-level walk-out door for the basement.

The renovation included a new central heating and cooling system. An emergency Generac generator is ready to power virtually the entire house in the event of an outage.

About a quarter-mile north of the house is the Rapidan River, and about a mile downstream from there is its confluence with the Rappahannock.

Richard Amrhine: 540/374-5406

ramrhine@freelancestar.com

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