They already had the ideal lot, 5.25 acres in Seven Lakes subdivision in Stafford County, so all Deb and Pat Gallagher had to do do was find the ideal house to put on it. They chose a classic French Country design by Jack Arnold, the renowned Oklahoma architect who specializes in Old World European designs.

By 2011, the Gallaghers were making 3 Meridan Lane their home, creating carefully appointed spaces that, along with the specially chosen materials built in from the beginning, would turn the house into their home.

They were no strangers to the process.

“Houses have become a hobby, a passion for my husband and I, and we poured ourselves into this one,” Deb Gallagher said during a tour of the property earlier this week. “There is really nothing in it that we did not meticulously choose. I just want it to be loved.”

Now, with the kids grown and scattered across the country, it’s become more house than they need. They’ve listed the property with Carole Riddle and Lisa Ross of Century21 Redwood in Stafford. The asking price is $950,000.

The house has 6,155 square feet of living space on two levels, with four bedrooms, three full bathrooms and a half bath. There’s a huge unfinished basement that’s framed and has roughed-in plumbing for future use.

Thanks to its large lot, 3 Meridan Lane is set back from the street and has a gently curved driveway leading to the parking area and attached three-car garage. The garage is topped with a cupola and weather vane.

The distinctive French Country design gives the home plenty of curb appeal. It is covered in stucco all around, and has a tall hip roof with copper gutters and downspouts. The expansive grassy yard includes professional landscaping all around.

A theme of architectural arches begins with the front of the house and continues inside.

Features that set the home apart are evident immediately upon entering the foyer, starting with a long sight line through the back door to the rear patio that’s a trademark of Jack Arnold’s designs. Wide, arched entryways define living spaces but promote the open and airy floor plan.

Immediately to the left is the library, with walls covered from floor to ceiling with built-in bookshelves. Credit for the library’s design goes to local designer Kate Koch of Simply Beautiful Spaces in North Stafford. Like many other main level rooms, the library has french door access to the outside.

Elsewhere and throughout the house, design credit goes to Denice Deneke, a veteran interior designer who also happens to live in Seven Lakes. Among other things, she designed the Portstone patterned brick inlays that highlight areas of the scraped hardwood flooring.

Because the library was designed in the original plans to be the dining room, it is connected to the kitchen via a butler’s pantry that’s used by the Gallaghers for wine storage and is equipped with a room cooling device. Racks have space for 180 bottles.

Across the foyer from the library is the formal dining room. Designed originally to be the living room, it’s a large room with space for a piano as well as the dinner table.

Both the dining room and the adjacent family room have fireplaces with cast stone mantels and surrounds. The fireboxes themselves are known as Rumfords, an 18th century invention that’s designed to put more heat in the room and allow less heat to escape up the chimney.

The family room is a comfortable space with french door access to the side patio. To give a bit more volume to the space, the family room has an 11-foot ceiling, a foot taller than those elsewhere on the main level.

Once again, a wide, arched opening between the family room and kitchen helps define the spaces while maintaining the open floor plan feel.

Deb Gallagher is particularly fond of the eat-in kitchen, which is designed to make both cooking and cleanup a breeze. “I wanted to make it as efficient as possible,” she said.

A wall of windows keeps the area awash in natural light. The large walnut center island holds one of the kitchen’s two dishwashers as well as a small sink with disposer. Stools can pull up for snacks and conversation.

Surrounding the island and breakfast area table are marble-topped counters and top-of-the-line appliances, including a Miele refrigerator, which is covered in cabinetry, a large Wolf stainless steel commercial range with hood, and a drawer-type microwave. The custom, cream-colored cabinetry was made by Cabinets by Graber, an Amish company based in Indiana. Beadboard backsplashes enhance the overall look.

Tucked away by itself at the rear of the house is the main-level master suite. A true owners’ sanctuary, the suite includes a sitting room and sleeping area with a cathedral ceiling and patio access.

In the master bath, which is served by a tankless water heater, a freestanding tub takes center stage. It is surrounded by marble vanities, a large, open shower with dual fixtures and a faux marble tile floor. There are separate his-and-hers walk-in closets.

Across the rear of the house is a gallery hallway with display shelving. Along the hallway is the powder room with copper vessel sink, and nearby is the laundry room that also holds a backup refrigerator. Access to the oversized, three-car garage is found here as well.

A back stairway leads to Pat Gallagher’s home office above the garage. It could become a recreation room or serve a variety of other uses.

The main staircase up and down is curved and is one of the home’s interesting architectural highlights. Upstairs there are three secondary bedrooms. Two of them share a jack-and-jill bathroom, and the other has its own bathroom, creating a nice guest suite.

Some other features the house includes are a four-zone heating and cooling system, and whole-house indoor-outdoor sound with hidden speakers in some rooms. Perhaps thanks to the highly insulated walls, 5/8-thick drywall and premium casement windows, a riding mower going by outside can be seen but not heard on the inside.

There are two patios, a covered one at the rear of the house and a large, open one on the side.

Richard Amrhine: 540/374-5406

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