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The architect loves life here

November 9, 2012 12:10 am


Gothic flourishes accent the Palladian window on the upper-level balcony of the Holles' Hartwood home. hh110912waldenram09.jpg

The sunny breakfast area is adjacent to the kitchen, which features an island with a counter at bar height. hh110912waldenram06.jpg

A second-story porch - off the main floor of a 5750-square-foot brick colonial in the Hartwood area of Stafford County - offers views of Lake Maria. The home and ten acres is listed at 895,000. (Nov. 5, 2012) (Robert A. Martin/The Free Lance-Star) ------ three col color photos hh110912waldenram05.jpg

The master bedroom provides access to the main-level screened porch. hh110912waldenram04.jpg

The living and dining rooms of the home combine as the main living area. The library/balcony overlooks the space, and the soaring wall of windows provides a panoramic view. hh110912waldenram02.jpg

Three porches off the west side of the brick colonial in the Hartwood area of Stafford County. Designed by architect Henry Holle, the home on the market listed at 895,000. (Nov. 5, 2012) (Robert A. Martin/The Free Lance-Star) ------ three col color photos hh110912waldenram01.jpg

The property is all about taking advantage of the setting provided by the 10.5-acre lot. At left, the Colonial brick home sits nestled amid the trees. The screened porch (center) is definitely a multi-season space for dining, entertaining or simply relaxing. The rear of the property (right) slopes gently down to the wildlife-attracting pond.


Once you have a look at 135 Walden Lane, in the Hartwood area of Stafford County, you may not be surprised that the architect who designed it also owns it and lives there. You might be a little surprised to learn that it was built in 1992, and doesn't trace its roots to the Colonial era.

The house is inside the gated subdivision known as Walden 10, and it instantly turns one's thoughts to Colonial Georgian architecture. Its classic appearance is enhanced with Palladian-style windows with Gothic flourishes in the arches, and other windows topped with keystone pediments.

And this is a real brick house, not just one with a brick veneer. The front is done in Flemish bond, and typical of true Colonial homes the Flemish bond is limited to the front--the side of the house most people see.

These features, combined with the hip roof, columned portico, brick water table (the bull nose bump-out at the foundation line) and front entry with transom and sidelights pay homage to the stately Virginia homes of the mid- to late 18th century.

Designed by renowned and prolific Washington-area architect Henry Holle and built with his wife, Gail, serving as the general contractor, the house is actually going on 20 years old, not well beyond 200 years old. That is the beauty of such a formal, historic-looking home built for a modern family to enjoy and share.

"We chose the lot because it let us take advantage of the wonderful southern light," said Gail Holle. "The lot lent itself to this house."

Henry Holle said the house has features that both he and Gail wanted, based on their experience with architecture and design during his 35-year career.

"With this house we brought it all together," he said.

The Holles are ready to let go of the dream home they built for themselves, and have listed it with agents Peter and Matt Romani of Long & Foster Realtors of Fredericksburg. The asking price is $895,000.

Altogether, the house has five bedrooms, three full bathrooms and two half-baths. It has about 5,750 square feet of living space.


The story of this home and its setting has only begun. The 10.5-acre wooded lot includes a significant portion of Lake Maria, a large pond named for the wife of Walden 10 developer Joseph Winslow. The property has 1,000 feet of frontage on the pond, which has a path leading to it and along it from the house. There is the occasional bench to take in the bucolic setting, and a cute little humpback bridge along the way.

The floor plan designed by Holle, who is described by his wife as "a magician with space," is at once open, spacious and cozy. Sight lines run from one end of the house to the other, and from back to front.

Guests are welcomed into a two-story foyer and are ushered into a two-story great room that is rimmed at the second level with a balcony lined with bookshelves on two sides.

The large central room holds both the living and dining rooms, the latter positioned within a half-turret-style wall of windows that overlook Lake Maria a couple of hundred feet away.

To the left of the main living area are a study and the eat-in kitchen. The study, currently a TV room, could easily convert to a dining room given its proximity to the kitchen.

Cherry cabinetry, modern black appliances and Corian countertops make up the kitchen, which includes a cooktop island with serving bar. There's plenty of room for informal dining in the breakfast area, which also overlooks the lake. An interesting architectural touch is a pass-through to the main living area that can be sealed off with mirrored doors.

On the opposite side of the house is the main level master suite. Closet and storage space abound here. The master bedroom and bath are bisected by a hallway that leads to the large screened porch, one of three porch levels.


A staircase leading upstairs from the foyer lands in a seating area, flanked by library shelving, that takes advantage of the second-story Palladian window offering a view of the treed front yard.

There are four secondary bedrooms up here, each pair sharing a full bathroom. One of the bedrooms is currently an office that holds Holle's architectural drawing table.

The attic can be accessed in one of two ways, up a spiral staircase, or through a ceiling opening that's equipped with a pulley to raise large items easily.

The bedrooms on the west side have sliding-door access to the rooftop porch, which provides a bird's-eye view of the surroundings and is done in maintenance-free Trex flooring and vinyl-clad railings.

Basement space is divided between the drive-under two-car garage, and a substantial recreation area with a wet bar that can be configured in any number of ways. The space includes a half-bathroom, laundry room and access to a covered patio.

Each level of the home has a gas fireplace. The house has a 400-amp electrical system, a whole house generator, dual water heaters and a replacement multi-zone HVAC system that was installed in 2006.

Richard Amrhine: 540/374-5406

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