Tucked away just outside of Charlottesville is an absolutely charming 1850 farmhouse situated on top of a hill. The farmhouse of “Blue Dog Farm” was originally built in 1850 and retains so many original characteristics. It is a working farm and has been nonstop since 1850, a rarity for this area.
You won’t want to leave the hospitable, welcoming home Mary Beck and her husband have worked so hard over the past 30 years to restore.
Mary Beck has horses, sheep, chickens, and two sweet Newfoundlands that run the farm.
When the house was on the market 30+ years ago, the former owner mistakenly thought the siding was made of asbestos. It was scaring potential buyers away. Thankfully, Mary Beck’s husband realized it was actually wood siding and nothing to be afraid of. They fell in love with the property and set to work raising their two daughters and son there.
The original front porch ran along the front of the house but the sun setting made it incredibly hot inside. (Even today the house has no air conditioning!)
Inside the House
As soon as I set foot inside this house I fell in love with it. I could just feel the good bones and happiness permeating from the house, I’m not even kidding. I’m pretty sure you just have to smile when vintage front doors greet you into an old home!
When you walk in, there’s a spacious living room directly to the left. Mary Beck saw the painting that now hangs on the wall years before she bought it and thought to herself “one day I’m going to own that painting.” I love how it gives the living room a more modern vibe.
Sometimes old farmhouses can have living rooms that feel like they haven’t been touched in centuries. This room manages to feel fresh and also respect the age of the house, a tricky balance that is perfectly pulled off here!
I love the mix of old and new every where you look. And all the sunshine! Love all the natural light.
Off the living room is a little side nook that used to have the kitchen back when the house was originally built. Now it houses a beautiful piano and floor cloth hand painted by Mary Beck herself underfoot.
The dining room is behind the living room and used to also have the kitchen in it. (Funny how rooms in old houses can shift purposes so much, isn’t it?) For the first ten or so years that Mary Beck and her family lived in this house, the corner where the oil painting is now is where the kitchen was.
Speaking of the oil painting, it comes from Mary Beck’s husband’s side of the family. According to family wills, the male descendants in the family must display it on the wall of their home. (Like it or not, it’s heading to Mary Beck’s son one day and he’s got to hang it up!) It is a beautiful piece that gives the room a lot of pizzazz and depth.
Opposite the oil painting is a fun nod to the equestrian part of the family.
That area in the front of the house that used to be part of the front porch makes an excellent little nook for these two chairs.
They have an extensive record collection. Also of note: those cool bins that say “Blue Dog Farm” on them. A lot of the wood furniture in the house comes from lumber from trees on the property!
Addition in the Back
These sweet Newfoundlands are clearly right at home. This hallway was where the bathroom was until the addition was completed.
Check out this wool tapestry of a sheep. “Macchiato” is the name of this guy (he’s now in Mary Beck’s freezer, ha!) who sired all of the 30 or so sheep in the pastures. This tapestry was made using their wool as is– it has not been dyed– and shows the breadth of colors the sheep come in now. What an incredibly meaningful touch with which to decorate this farmhouse.
Kitchen/ Family Room
The kitchen and family room are one giant room and it is ridiculously large yet cozy at the same time. I love the warm paint color on the walls and how it picks up on the warm wood tones of the beams in the ceiling, butcher block countertops, and furniture throughout.
This large picture window looks out over the horse fields. Not a bad view from the kitchen, is it?
This farmhouse has so many charming characteristics but one of my favorite is the windows. There are so many windows and each window looks out to see mountains somewhere or another!
Sun Room Area
Behind the kitchen and the family room is a sunroom area that has an adorable coffee nook made with wood milled from the farm’s trees.
And in the corner is something I’ve always wanted that Mary Beck told me she has too: a little eat-in breakfast nook. These remind me of living in Germany with the solid wood built-in benches. This incredible butcher block table was made from a piece of wood found in the barn. Be sure to note the black painted wood floorboards… stylish and classic. It really sets off the furniture.
Dog Room/ Mud Room
I am incredibly jealous of this dog room/ mud room area. As someone with a love of giant dogs, a room devoted to dog stuff would be so handy.I love having a designated space for a crate that is right by the door going outside. This seems like such a functional space that works so well for a working farm!
Cistern Turned… Wine Cellar!
Mary Beck and her husband knew there was a little cistern by their laundry room on the side of the house and a few years ago, her husband decided to see just how big the cistern actually was. Upon further exploration, they discovered it was an enormous cistern, so big that they could walk in it. They had it drained and dried out and then realized it was directly underneath their Baby Grand piano upstairs so quickly reinforced the flooring below the piano. After the reinforcements, they still had plenty of room… so they did what all practical well meaning people would in this situation and turned it into a wine and beer cellar!
This spiral staircase leads from the main floor down to the wine cellar. I love the twinkling Christmas lights that decorate the railing. Mary Beck used some old windows from the barn to cover up pipes and whatnot in the background– a fun decoration that makes the whole space feel so intentional.
How incredible is this wine cellar?! It’s well lit and oh is it perfect for storing wine and beer. (Also, next time there’s a tornado warning, I know where I’m heading!)
Staircase & Hallway
The stairs going up are painted a beautiful light blue. Funny story: Mary Beck was sure she knew the name of the light blue paint color that she’s used so frequently throughout her house (think front door, dining room, etc.) and every time she goes to the paint store she inadvertently picks up a different shade of blue. It cracks me up. Anyway, the light blue is beautiful here! I admire the chips in the paint.
The showstopper in the hallway is not the blue painted floors, as beautiful as they are– but the wallpaper. It was here when Mary Beck and her husband bought the house thirty years ago and it’s still in amazing condition! I can’t believe this is so old! It makes me want to wallpaper my hallway with a really good quality wallpaper that will last decades.
Is that not beautiful? It’s a charming wallpaper pattern too that picks up the light blue accents but is also warm and welcoming.
The first room you come to upstairs used to be Mary Beck’s son’s room, but after he moved out she and her husband turned it into their yoga room. (Note: empty nester goal for me one day!) I love how they have cultivated this space just for them.
Here’s the view they see from the window while doing yoga. I think I would hold Warrior Two a few extra breaths if I were looking out over horses and farmhouse roof gables.
The next room upstairs is the master bedroom with an utterly charming wallpaper. Similar to the light blue paint color, Mary Beck was trying to match the original wallpaper that hung on these walls and when she was at the store, saw this pattern and was convinced it was a match. Turns out, it was not. 🙂 She went ahead and redid the room’s walls anyway and I love the vibes it gives now. It’s so country and so sweet.
The fireplace mantle looks at home in this room.
A little reading area in the corner seems perfect here (again with views of the mountains).
The yard around the house is well kept up, and I honestly don’t know how they do it all on top of working/ taking care of livestock/ maintaining the house. Here’s the patio to the side of the family room & kitchen addition:
Those mountains are simply breathtaking.
The brick and stone motif around the pathways outside works so well for a house this old. It feels timeless.
I find this farmhouse and farm to be inspiring on so many levels. You can just feel the warmth and it’s obvious this family has had many happy memories together here.
The most important part of Blue Dog Farm isn’t the dogs, horses, or even farmhouse. It’s the feeling of respect that Mary Beck and her family have obviously cultivated: respect for the land, respect for the home, and most of all, respect for each other.