Addison Lineberry is a planner. A serious, no-detail-is-too-small type of planner. He and his wife Ashleigh knew that they wanted to build a special house—one that reflected their style, but also one that would serve as a true homeplace for their four children and their extended family. So Addison compiled a list of things the house would include, which turned into a 40-page notebook to be presented to the builder. After about 14 months, the vision of a grand, Craftsman-style farmhouse became a breathtaking, red-roofed reality.
“We knew up front that it was going to be a beautiful house,” says Randy Gantt, of R.M. Gantt Construction, the builder of the Lineberry home. “It gives the Lineberrys a very unique house, one with a lot of thought put into it. It’s a house that they are extremely proud of, and we are as well.”
Before the House
Addison and Ashleigh lived in Forest’s Farmington neighborhood—and loved it. But with three young boys and thoughts of another child, both Addison and Ashleigh thought they might like a little more land. They wanted mountain views, and a pond. And Ashleigh had a hankering for a garden like the one she had tended with her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
So they went on a hunt for the perfect house. Instead, they found land—163 overgrown acres tucked off of Cottontown Road in Bedford County.
Before breaking ground for the house, a barn was constructed. The barn is a traditional style; there are three stalls (maybe they’ll have horses one day, says Ashleigh) and a hayloft. But half of it is now being used as a garage, and they had an electric car lift installed so Addison can tinker on old racecars when he finds the time.
While the barn was being built, the entire family came out to the property daily. They put in that garden that Ashleigh, now pregnant, pined for—tomatoes, squash and peppers. With the boys in tow, the whole family started bonding with the land. They brought out the family’s four-wheeler, hung swings, and got a tractor.
And the property, dubbed Ivy Croft, became a working farm. The Lineberrys visited daily.
Addison, who consulted with a high school friend who runs a local farm, researched breeds of cattle, and settled on Red Devons (Red Devons were raised by several famous Virginians including George Washington, James Madison and Robert E. Lee) and Red Angus, both valued for their beef. They learned about sheep too, and now have a flock of Katahdin, also raised for their meat. The Lineberrys are also caregivers of nine ducks they adopted after a local kindergarten class raised their eggs and watched them hatch.
During this time, new neighbors would drop in and introduce themselves if they saw anyone on the property, and welcomed the family to the neighborhood.
“We started meeting people and everyone was so friendly and welcoming,” says Ashleigh. “Everyone around really made an effort to meet us, welcome us, and we really felt connected right away—maybe even more than in a traditional neighborhood.”
The Lineberrys were initially concerned about how their boys, and the baby, would adapt to being out in the country, but all of their fears have been allayed.
“It’s giving our kids the opportunity to get back to our roots. They are seeing cows and helping in the garden, and seeing where our food comes from,” says Addison. “I’m hoping one day,” he chuckles, “they’ll be better eaters.”
A Farm Needs a Farmhouse
Although Addison and Ashleigh had found house plans they liked online—it was an award-winning Petoskey design—the design wasn’t perfect, and, they were a tiny bit dubious if online plans were legit.
“I have a friend who is a major architect in Atlanta,” says Addison, “and his wife has been on HGTV. So I called him.”
Once the friend in Atlanta gave the Lineberrys the green light, they incorporated their changes to make the design their own. Some weren’t too much of a big deal: swapping the mantelpiece in the family room from rock to wood, making built-ins symmetrical, changing coffered ceilings to beams, and making the master bedroom and bathroom bigger. Others, including taking out an elevator, moving a powder room, and changing the layout of the ground floor, were more involved.
The next step was finding a builder. They wanted someone with whom they could collaborate, who would understand the plans they had, and who would work with some commercial subcontractors whom Addison preferred. Once they met Gantt, and his partner and wife Rosie, they knew they found the right fit.
“We needed someone we could trust to let us know about whether the changes we were making were weird,” says Addison. Gantt said that all of Addison’s attention to detail made his work easier: “Everything went to plan; there were no surprises … One big decision was where to site the house, because it is such a large piece of land,” he says.
Addison and Ashleigh also wanted unobstructed views of No Business Mountain, wanted to be able to sit inside the house without being blinded by either the sunrise or sunset, and wanted to keep the land as pristine as possible. Once the house was sited, construction began in short order.
Building a Home
There were thousands more details to attend to: cabinetry, countertop surfaces, hardware, plumbing and lighting fixtures. But Gantt, who specializes in custom construction, offered the Lineberrys help—in the form of his wife, Rosie.
She has been working alongside her husband for years to help clients with the minutiae that can make or break a custom-built home. Their office has an extensive showroom stocked with higher-end materials, and it’s not uncommon for Rosie to meet multiple times with homeowners to understand their design aesthetics, along with what they may need in the way of soft goods and furniture.
“Typically, when we meet with clients we spend hours up front helping them with some of those decisions,” says Rosie Gantt. “Building a house is one of the largest, if not the largest, investment someone can make. We try to eliminate the stress.”
So, long before the floors were in, Ashleigh and Addison had modified those initial plans to their liking, and had picked out just about everything you could pick out in a house. Then they turned their attention to making it a home.
The collaboration with Rosie really helped transform the bones of a house into a forever home, agree both Ashleigh and Addison.
Ashleigh and Addison made choices and were confident in their selections, but Ashleigh likened the process to hitting a moving target because they made so many choices months before installations. But Rosie kept them moving forward, helped them pick furniture, and accompanied them on several trips to Farmville to get all the pieces they’d need.
“I was worried it wouldn’t feel like home,” said Ashleigh “But it did. Instantly.”
A Welcoming First Floor
The front door opens to the living areas on the left. The ceilings in the first floor range from 12 to 14 feet, adding a sense of grandeur, and the windows are oversized, letting in both natural sunlight and tremendous views. Wainscoting is understated, with dimension added using varying tones of paint and interesting applications of additional molding. The entire level is unified by hickory floors stained a custom-mixed, rich walnut color.
To the left is a study, which shows off a secretary that has been in Addison’s family for generations, along with a large window seat and a comfy sofa. The camel-colored walls are a perfect neutral. An alcove carved into the back of the room boasts custom-built shelves, and a granite-covered workspace easily large enough for two.
Beyond the study is the dining room, which is open to the family room, kitchen and breakfast area. The dining room is designed around a magnificent brass and crystal chandelier the couple found and purchased in an antique store in New York City. This area is anchored by custom, glass-fronted cabinets—perfect for displaying china. A neutral rug helps delineate the space.
“When Rosie first showed me the rug, I wasn’t sure,” says Ashleigh. “But she said, ‘Trust me.’ She was so right. It just looks perfect.”
It’s a few steps from the dining room to the kitchen. A granite breakfast bar gets far more use than the couple initially thought it would. Five chairs fit around it easily, and it’s become a favorite place for the kids to hang out. The whole space, even on gray days, is filled with natural light from strategically placed large windows.
An eating area off of the kitchen features a Thomas Johnson table they bought at auction, and a customized chandelier made by an art gallery in San Diego scouted by Addison. The space is open to the family room; its focal point is a floor-to-ceiling rock fireplace, flanked by shelves that proudly display family photos. An oversized sectional is comfortable enough for the whole family.
The family room opens to the blue-ceilinged Trex porch that wraps from the side of the house around to the back. Chippendale-style railings are fixed into columns wrapped in the same white brick of the home’s exterior. (This particular brick is an “Old Virginia” style chosen by Addison—it’s a hard-to-find type of brick acquired from the company Old Virginia Brick, which shuttered its doors during the construction of the Lineberrys’ house.) If visitors could discount the view, the star of the porch would be its stunning fireplace.
The same might be said about the first-floor master suite. Another modification to the original plans added this fireplace as well as detailed built-ins, painted crisp white. A set of comfy chairs in front of it sets the tone for intimate fireside chats. Off of the master is a private deck, complete with pergola.
From the bedroom, it’s a few short steps to the ultra-luxurious master bathroom. A mirror lines a wall with his-and-her sinks, and crystal sconces add a sparkling effect. A soaking tub sits centered in front of a massive picture window, and a separate glass shower fills out the space.
The bathroom opens into the room Ashleigh loves the most: her master closet. “If you’re building your dream house, you have to have your dream closet,” she jokes. It features customized shelves and hanging spaces, and a place for everything. Shoes are corralled on one side; blouses on another. Handbags and luggage are on higher shelves. The whole space feels like a boutique, complete with a chandelier to match those in the bathroom, and a center island covered in granite.
Just past the closet is a washer and dryer, a space that also opens to the family’s mudroom. Each of the four children has a space for their things—boots, coats, sports equipment. This, say the couple, was not happenstance. They planned to have space for what they would need for now, but also for what will be needed in the future.
The mudroom also opens to the three-car garage, above which sits Addison’s office. A huge space with bright red Cape Cod walls and double dormer windows includes Addison’s desk, built-in shelves, a gas fireplace, exercise equipment, and a bathroom. Because he’s a planner, Addison did his own wiring schematic; all the house’s systems can be run from his office. (Another benefit of good planning: one switch to control all the family’s Christmas candle lights.)
Upstairs and Downstairs: Kid Zones
There is a common area for the children above the main living space, along with four spacious bedrooms, another washer and dryer, and three full bathrooms. There is also another granite-covered work space, which mirrors the one in the study. But there is one fun difference: this space features a chalkboard-painted wall that the children (and their friends) love to write on.
The boys’ rooms are all painted a neutral light blue, which can grow with them. For now, Jackson, 4, has what they call “the lookout room,” as it has a large window overlooking the driveway, and he uses the hall bathroom.
Nathan, 9, is a sports fan, and his decor shows it. He and Parker, 6, share a Jack-and-Jill bathroom, and often have “sleepovers.” Parker’s room, decked out with airplanes and bunk beds, also features an architectural cutout in the ceiling, in which he hung a bi-wing model airplane.
Daughter Aubrey, 1½, has “the upstairs master,” which is set two steps up from the other rooms. The Lineberrys joke that it’s a good thing she is a girl, because it made the decision of who got the upstairs master bedroom easier. If Aubrey had been a boy, says Ashleigh, there may have been some fighting for the bigger room and the en suite bath. Painted a muted lilac, it features an entire wall of windows.
While the two floors provide more than enough space for everyone, the Lineberrys know that in the blink of an eye, their children will be looking for more space. Hence: the ground level.
Complete with 10-foot-ceilings, the space is open and bright, with cheery yellow walls. The kitchen area (icemaker is key) features a bar with wainscoting created from a century-old chestnut tobacco barn that once stood on the property. The second family room also has a floor-to-ceiling rock fireplace. Also on this level is a guest bedroom/craft room combo and a large bathroom, which also services the pool area.
The entire space is lined with wainscoting created from the same salvaged wood that is featured on the bar. It’s a subtle nod to the outside, which features an oversized pool (a shelf on one end allows for the children to reach the bottom), a screened-in porch and a grill, always at the ready. Beyond the pool is a flat field, used for whatever sports the children are playing at the time and lots of other outdoor fun.
And while all the details and all the planning helped avoid any unpleasant and or costly surprises, there was one thing Addison hadn’t planned for: the feelings he has every time he drives down the lane to his house. “For me, it’s almost disbelief: the dream became the reality. This view never gets old. … This is really a long-term investment in family.”