Last Touches at Woodstone

We (and our architect, Jen Hart) have always loved the railings that are on the pavilions at the University of Virginia on the Lawn and at Monticello,all designed by Thomas Jefferson. These designs were our inspiration for the railings on the side porches of Woodstone.

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The railings were assembled first in our barn-waiting for a sunny, warm day to put them up.

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Finally we got some good weather in April and up they went!

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Parquet Floor from Monticello

A few people have asked about the parquet floor that we did in our front hallway-what was the inspiration for it?

The truth is, that was in the works from the very beginning. At our very first meeting with the architect, my husband mentioned the parquet floor. Right away Jen Hart, the architect, lit up-“I have always wanted to do that!” she said. The reason? They both went to the University of Virginia and love Monticello in Charlottesville. This floor is in the parlor (pictured below) and is made of cherry and beech. It is said that Thomas Jefferson designed it himself, although the thought is that he may have seen something similar during his years in France as the  Ambassador in 1784-89.
Each unit is constructed of a center square of cherry and a border of beech. When first installed, the contrast between the woods would have been even more striking than it is today, with the cherry coming across as a rich red and the beech a golden blonde. Beeswax was the only substance used to bring out the color of the woods. Additionally, the squares were installed with their grains going in alternating directions, which would have added further nuance to the regular geometric pattern of the floor, depending on the angle of light and where one was standing.

J J Hardwood Floors from Acton,MA certainly did a very good job of replicating the floor for us. We were all very true to the design as well as the woods used for the project and the installation.

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Sara Campbell

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Sara Campbell is built on giving back to the community, while creating and delivering not only a unique and beautiful product, but a transformational shopping experience in their boutiques.
Their “Made in USA” commitment is a hallmark of Sara Campbell clothing, as is their dedication to giving back to our local communities through participating in charitable and other fundraising events, including sponsoring such events in their own stores.

Blending luxurious fabrics with both timeless and on-trend silhouettes, Sara Campbell is the premier destination for women’s apparel and accessories. Sara Campbell styles, including the well-known Magic Dress, are celebrated by many women around the country. Along with surprise detail and unique trims, the goal is to design with a genuine feeling of integrity in all their garments. The collection represents the chic but modern woman.

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I was lucky enough to meet Sara several times- at the airport and at her store opening in Richmond VA and then in her Plympton Street store in Boston where she showed a friend of mine and me her work areas. It was fascinating! She divides her designs by the time of day-5:00,6:00,7:00 and 8:00 so that they get gradually more dressy. She also has Holiday wear and Resort wear. I LOVE her clothes!DSCN1504

She started in Boston on Plympton Street, then opened stores in Wellesley and Concord. Now she has many stores in all the great spots-Naples FLA, Lake Forest IL, New Canaan CT, Alexandria VA and so on-check it out!

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This is from her website:

We believe in people helping one another. It’s that simple.

 Helping our neighbors, communities, fellow business partners, and our customers is important to us. In addition to making beautiful clothing, the mission at the heart of all we do at Sara Campbell is to give back.

It is a pretty basic philosophy but it only counts when you are good on your word. We work hard to live up to that ideal.

Sara Campbell

We Care

Richmond, Virginia

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I had one very busy day in Richmond a few weeks ago, but I learned and saw a lot. Most interesting to me were the statues of soldiers on horses all the way down Monument Avenue. There are several statues but the one of General Robert E. Lee is the largest and was the first installed along Monument Avenue. If a statue is facing north, the soldier died in the Civil War; if the statue faces south, the soldier lived, as in the case of Robert E. Lee. No other city in the world has statues commemorating a war that it actually lost,which is an interesting fact!

Richmond was the Capital of the Confederacy, a commercial center for the slave trade, and the site of several major battles – in fact, the entire downtown was burned to the ground, days before Abraham Lincoln walked the streets. Richmond, Virginia was “ground zero” during the Civil War. This makes it a rich and powerful region to tour, and the ideal place to begin a multi-state Civil War and Emancipation immersion.

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The Jefferson Hotel was supposed to open on November 1, 1895, but at the last minute it was realized that November 1 was a Friday, and it was considered bad luck to start anything on a Friday. So the hotel was opened on Halloween, 1895 instead. The staircase in the center of the hotel is the one said to have been copied for the “Gone With the Wind” scene later in the movie, where Rhett Butler carries Scarlett up the grand,beautiful staircase.

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In his autobiography, The Moon’s A Balloon (1972), Academy Award-winning actor David Niven described a trip from New York to Florida in the late 1930s, when he decided to spend the night at the Jefferson Hotel. Niven said that, as he was signing the guest registry in the lobby, his eyes snapped open with amazement when he noticed a full-sized alligator swimming in a small pool located six feet from the reception desk.The alligators at the Jefferson became world famous. Old Pompey, the last alligator living in the marble pools of the Jefferson’s Palm Court, survived until 1948. Bronze statues of the alligators now decorate the hotel. Its restaurant, Lemaire, has a theme of alligator motifs.

Ash Lawn-Highland

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Ash Lawn-Highland, located near Charlottesville Virginia and adjacent to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, was the estate of James Monroe, fifth President of the US. Purchased in 1793, Monroe and his family permanently settled on the property in 1799 and lived at Ash Lawn–Highland for twenty-four years. Personal debt forced Monroe to sell the plantation in 1825.

President Monroe simply called his home “Highland.” It did not acquire the additional name of “Ash Lawn” until after his death.

The estate is now owned, operated and maintained by Monroe’s alma mater, the College of William and Mary.

Encouraged by his close friend, Thomas Jefferson, Monroe purchased a deed for one thousand acres (4 km²) of land adjacent to Monticello in 1793 for an equal number of pounds from the Carter family. Six years later, Monroe moved his family onto the plantation, where they resided for the next twenty-four years. In 1800, Monroe described his home as:

“One wooden dwelling house, the walls filled with brick. One story high, 40 by 30 ft. Wooden Wing one storey high, 34 by 18 ft.”

Over the next 16 years, Monroe continued to add onto his home, adding stone cellars and a second story to the building. He also expanded his land holdings, which at their greatest included over 3,500 acres (14 km²). However, by 1815, Monroe increasingly turned to selling his land to pay for debt. By 1825, he was forced to sell his home and the property.

The home today consists of a one-story, three bay by three bay, original frame section connected to a two-over-two central hall addition by a short wide hall serving as a parlor. The addition dates to the mid-19th century. The front of Ash Lawn faces north toward Monticello, which is visible from the front porch. Also on the property are a contributing gable-roofed ice house, a gable-roofed cabin with an exterior end brick chimney, and a smokehouse with a pyramidal roof.

Highland was featured in Bob Vila’s production, Guide to Historic Homes of America.

Today, Ash Lawn–Highland is a 535 acre (2.2 km²) working farm, museum, and a performance site for arts, operated by the College of William and Mary. It is open to the public year round, though with limited hours from October through March.

-Wikapedia excerpts

Monticello

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Architect,gardener,scientist,philosopher,mathematician,horticulturist,politician and spoke 5 languages…Jefferson was truly a man of the enlightenment. Beginning with entering the front hallway of Monticello you are told by the tour guide that he specifically made the entrance a “Museum” with relics from the Lewis and Clark expedition,maps, and antlers of animals both rare and native to Virginia.He felt that if anyone was waiting for him, they surely should be learning while waiting.

Also in the entrance hall there is a clock which not only tells the time but tells the day of the week. He ran out of room as the ball descends to Friday afternoon so he merely cut a hole and put Saturday in the basement! He also had extensive notes on the weather each day.

He thought about ease and convenience in many instances. He invented the swivel chair, a double door which when you open on one side, has a pulley system he invented to open the other. He had a dumb waiter that spins around for staff to collect  dishes after a meal , a pulley system to the basement where new bottles of wine can be brought up,the empties taken away. His closet above his bed(which to his specification is 6’3″ to be 1/2 inch longer than his 6’2 1/2″ to not waste room) has holes for ventilation but is a clever way to hide his clothes and not take up room. His bed was conveniently positioned between the bedroom and the office so he could leap out to begin his day’s work and study.

Jefferson was very fond of the architect Andrea Palladio. He spent over 40 years altering and working on Monticello-always discovering something new that he saw when he resided in Europe several times. Even now there is much work going on-they are building cabins that would look like the slave quarters seen at Monticello in jefferson’s day.

On this topic,slavery, Jefferson never resolved his own personal feelings. He definitely felt that all men were created equal yet he had over 200 slaves on his property.

Jefferson stated in a letter to a friend “All my wishes end,where I hope my days will end,at Monticello”. He died on July 4,1826-just hours before his friend John Adams in Boston,and 50 years to the day of the enactment of the Declaration of Independence which he penned.

If you have not made it to Monticello which is located near Charlottesville, Virginia- you really need to add it to your list.

6 Things You Might Not Know about The Fourth!

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1. Perhaps the greatest misconception of this American holiday lies in the name and its equally iconic date. The true “Independence Day” depends on your definition of when such an official declaration was indeed truly official. It’s widely believed that America’s first Continental Congress declared their independence from the British monarchy on July 4th, 1776. However, the official vote actually took place two days before and the “Declaration” was published in the newspapers on July 4th.

2. It is also often believed that when the vote was made official, everyone signed it on that fateful day, a moment that’s often portrayed in popular paintings. However, it took an entire month to get all 56 delegates together to put their “John Hancock” on the document. In fact, the only person to sign the document on July 4th was also its first signer: John Hancock.

3.One of the Declaration’s signers and future presidents wrote a famous series of memorable letters to his beloved wife Abigail detailing the events that led to the nation’s founding. The one he sent announcing the Congress’ vote regarding the official Declaration of Independence predicted, “The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.”

4.The publication of the Declaration of Independence may have accidentally made the Fourth of July the official day of independence for America, but the deaths of two of its founders cemented its creation of the date’s designation. US Presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams passed away on July 4th. The even more amazing coincidence is that both died on the same day in the same year of 1826 by a difference of five hours with Jefferson passing first at age 82 and Adams at age 90.

5.Fourth of July celebrations these days are filled with fireworks, clothes and ornaments covered in red, white and blue. Such colors weren’t widely available for decoration in the shadow of the nation’s birth, especially in the heat of battle during the Revolutionary War. The first few Independence Day celebrations used greenery as decorations instead. They also fired artillery used in battles following the completion of the war for the Fourth of July, but the practice dissipated as the cannons fell apart over time and were slowly replaced with fireworks.

6.The American flag has gone through many alterations as the regions grew and even reached beyond its borders. The modern “50 star flag,” however, has an interesting story behind its creation.
High school student Robert G. Heft of Lancaster, Ohio was assigned to create a new “national banner” for America that would recognize the statehood of Alaska and Hawaii. Heft simply added two extra stars to the flag to give it an even 50 and stitched his own design. His teacher only gave him a “B-minus” for his effort, so he sent his project to President Dwight D. Eisenhower for consideration and a change of grade. Eisenhower chose his design personally and the new flag was officially adopted in 1960. His teacher then gave him an “A” instead.