Properties that qualify as both remarkable and unique are rare finds, but it’s not surprising to find one in Spotsylvania’s Carriage Hills, a large-lot subdivision where the residential architecture is anything but cookie-cutter.
The home at 9 Olde Plantation Drive dates to 1985 and was inspired by the Prairie-style designs of forward-thinking architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who lived from 1867 to 1959. In this case, the custom design was the work of Williamsburg architect Roger Guernsey, who followed Wright’s philosophy of functional and environmentally friendly design that results in open floor plans and comfortable living spaces.
For current owner Jesse Stommel, it was love at first sight.
“I wasn’t 20 feet up the driveway when I knew this was the house I wanted—100 percent certain,” said Stommel, who shares the home with his husband and co-owner Joshua Lee and their 2-year-old daughter, Hazel. “All I thought was: Imagine what we could do with it.”
When they bought the house three years ago, Stommel and Lee thought they might live the rest of their lives there, but time has a way of changing life’s priorities—especially when there’s a little girl who wants to be closer to her grandparents.
So they’ve listed the house with Linda Catullo of Century 21 Redwood Realty in Fredericksburg. The asking price is $624,900. The house is listed with four bedrooms, four bathrooms and 3,678 square feet of living space on two levels. It sits on a 5-acre lot.
Wright’s influence on the home’s design is immediately evident as one enters the asphalt driveway. The low-slung look and the earth-tone colors—deep red brick, beige-painted cedar siding and cedar shake hip roof—are intended to help it blend with its surroundings.
Architect Guernsey, reached at his Williamsburg office, said over the course of his career he’s designed a handful of these Wright-inspired, Prairie-style homes, which he called a graceful, down-to-earth design.
“I’ve always been a student of his architecture,” he said. “Hip roof, low-pitch and horizontal lines are the main elements” of the Prairie style.
Also typical of the style are the wide, overhanging eaves on the Carriage Hills house that contribute to passive solar design, an early example of energy-efficient construction now borrowed by modern architecture. The overhangs help keep the home shaded from the sun when it’s high in the sky during the summer, while welcoming sun’s light and warmth when it is lower in the sky in winter.
Surrounding the house are lots of mature hardwoods and low-maintenance landscaping. The property is lush with roses, azaleas, rhododendrons, hostas, dogwoods, Japanese maples and ivy-covered arbors. Thousands of daffodils planted long ago still come up every spring. There’s even a small formal garden with a small waterfall, various shrubs and diagonal pebble walkways.
“It’s always blooming,” Stommel said of the plant-filled yard.
The overhang-protected main entry opens to a foyer that was once a porch enclosed by previous owners. The Wright influence is again apparent with a relatively narrow hallway that leads into the home’s interior.
Straight ahead is a stairway that rises to a loft suitable for use as a home office, artist’s studio or spare sleeping area. It has a built-in desk and book shelves, and a row of clerestory windows that welcome natural light and offer bird’s-eye views of the home’s surrounding greenery.
Back downstairs, a right turn from the foyer hallway leads to an open area with the dining room and a sunken living room that also suggests Wright’s influence. All living spaces are notable for the large, grid-free windows that provide expansive views, and the rich-looking red oak hardwood floors used in most rooms and areas.
The living room shares a two-sided fireplace with the family room. A soaring two-story ceiling is featured in the family room, lending volume to the already-open floor plan. Both the living and family rooms provide access to the rear deck and backyard.
Adjacent to the family room is the large and inviting island kitchen, with tile-covered counters, stainless-steel appliances, dark oak cabinetry and a new stainless-steel subway tile backsplash, one of the many upgrades made by the current owners. An adjacent pantry provides extra space for storage and meal staging.
To the left side of the house is the master suite, with a vaulted ceiling and outdoor access. Soft cork flooring used here and elsewhere is among the renewable materials added by the current owners. The master actually has two separate bathrooms, one updated with contemporary fixtures and the other, which is also accessible from the main living area, partially remodeled. The suite also includes a large walk-in closet.
There are two other secondary bedrooms. One of them has its own bathroom and serves as a guest bedroom. The other is Hazel’s bedroom, which Stommel decorated with painted squares from Wight’s favored color palette.
Converted into living space by former owners is the spacious attached garage. It is now a multiuse area, with workout equipment, laundry machines, home office and even a bed for overflow overnight guests.
The garage was replaced some time ago with an oversized, detached two-car garage that’s architecturally consistent and helps create a compound feel to the outdoor space. A potting and equipment shed is nearby.
Stommel explained that because the rear deck’s design was worth preserving, he and Lee used a material made from recycled soda bottles to cover and protect the deteriorating wood surface. The comfortable space invites outdoor gatherings or quiet contemplation.
“If we could only pick this place up and put it down someplace else, we would,” Stommel said.