stone gateway entrance with word ovoka etched into slate

Ovoka

Ovoka is a historic farmhouse that sets the bar high for Virginia farmhouses all over. Situated on rolling hills in Paris, Virginia at the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Ovoka is gasp worthy at every turn. Originally built in 1830, it is an icon that is what historic farmhouse dreams are made of.

two stone columns with gateway in between virginia farm entrance

The front of the property has an old stone wall running parallel to the road, and these stunning stone columns flank the gates leading to the driveway.

white farmhouse in middle of green pastures with stone wall in foreground

Exterior of the House Itself: A View to Take In

Most of the time, the best views are from a house looking out. Ovoka’s placement in the rolling hills of the Blue Ridge mountain foothills is nothing to scoff at. It is utterly serene. In my opinion, though, the best view is of the house itself. The front of the house has four beautiful two-story columns that look out to the fields in front of it and beyond that, the stone wall the runs parallel to the road. It is perfection.

white house with four two-story columns red roof and black shutters

The way the house looks now is far different than how the current owner, Karen Way, believes it was originally constructed. It appears that it may have originally been known as Avoka. How the name changed along the way is a mystery.

image of book entry of renovated virginia farmhouse ovoka

The house has been renovated and added on to many times, most recently by Karen when she added the rooms in the back. The view from the back is just as beautiful as– perhaps even more than– the front. I love the symmetry and all the details that go into making this so beautiful.

white farmhouse in virginia with red metal roof and matching wings with dormers to the sides situated on green lawn

The two wings going straight out are not original to the house, but you wouldn’t really know what is original from the outside. The little balcony connecting the wings allows for more light to reach the upstairs. I love the wall of French doors bringing light into the downstairs and also inviting people to go in or out.

back of historic virginia farmhouse ovoka with wall of french doors connecting wings of house

One small detail is that even though some of the additions are new, they were built to look as if they really were old. Check out the shutters below, for example. Real shutters with real shutter hardware make it impossible for me to tell how long that window has been there! It’s something so small and subtle but with a house of this size, I love the attention that went into every square inch. The culminating effect is just gorgeous.

close up view of shutters and original antique shutter hinges of historic farmhouse

I loved having a chance to see this gorgeous house in person. Something about the red metal roof makes it cheerful and farmhousey. It is both approachable and statuesque.

white farmhouse with black shutters red metal roof in virginia countryside

Front Portico

front door of historic virginia farmhouse ovoka with columns front porch

Ovoka follows the Southern tradition of painting the ceiling of the front porch haint blue (I’m totally into this trend!). I love the blue ceiling bringing out the blue in the blue stone floor of the porch. One of Karen’s two rescue pups, Bryce Harper, was the perfect model for me when I was taking photos of the beautiful transom glass around the front door.

front door view of historic virginia farmhouse ovoka with dog on blue stone porch floor

The boxwoods surrounding the porch are what Virginia farmhouses everywhere seek to emulate: healthy, large, not overbearing, and accentuating the timeless design of the farmhouse itself.

side view of ovoka historic virginia farmhouse white plaster two story columns

Front Hallway: Understated Elegance

As soon as I stepped into the front hallway, I knew I was going to love this farmhouse from first scent. Old house lovers know the scent. It’s something about antique wood furniture, or maybe old wood floorboards. Going along with that perfect scent was a perfectly elegant hallway entrance. The creamy yellow walls make you feel like the room is drenched in sunlight.

front hallway of historic virginia farmhouse ovoka with red carpet and yellow walls

The banister was simple and clearly old. I love the effect of the wainscoting against the wall with the wood trim on top mimicking the wood railing.

Like most 1800s farmhouses, the woodwork on the stair risers was beautifully made.

close up view of the stair woodwork of historic virginia farmhouse ovoka

Serene Country Living Room

chartreuse living room with floor to ceiling drapes

To the immediate right of the hallway is the calm living room, with an unexpected chartreuse wall color. I haven’t seen this shade of green in a historic Virginia farmhouse but wow does it work well. It picks up the natural surroundings of the green rolling hills but it’s a little bit different, too, which makes it interesting. I love how the piano just pops against it. You can tell lots of gatherings have happened in this room.

chartreuse living room of historic virginia farmhouse ovoka with grand piano

Study

On the other side of the hallway is an office space that is just elegant. It is dark and full of warm wood tones. I love the fireplace in this room and the paneling above it. Check out the leather fireplace fender– that seat going around the hearth. I love how much character and warmth that adds!

close up view of historic fireplace mantle in renovated virginia farmhouse ovoka

There is a large antique desk in this room with a view looking out of the windows in the front of the house. The view with the giant two-story column and green hills in the background is so calming (side note: if I lived there, I’m 99.9% certain I would get no work done in this room because of the view from the window and the fireplace… I’d just stare at my surroundings all day long!).

view of leather desk in historic virginia farmhouse next to window

Back Hallway

Beyond the front hallway is a spacious room connecting one wing of the house to another.

hallway with chairs on either side of doorway leading to front door of historic farmhouse

It backs out to the patio behind the house, and on one side is the dining room/ kitchen, and on the other side is a den and guest room.

wall of french door windows historic virginia farmhouse ovoka

I love the red throughout the house; it feels vibrant and picks up on the cheerfulness of the red metal roof outside.

view of wide living room with cream walls and oil paintings in historic virginia farmhouse

Karen said when she bought the house, she kept finding antique skeleton keys. She eventually just decided to put them all in a glass bowl in the hallway and figured if she ever needed a key she could search for one from there! Definitely an old house dilemma isn’t it?

antique wood buffet with glass bowl of skeleton keys and tulips on top

Generous Light-Drenched Dining Room

The dining room I think made me actually gasp when I stepped in. It. Is. Gorgeous.

extra long dining room table under crystal chandelier with pink walls

It’s just so simple. No fancy wainscoting or wall paneling. No fancy art on the walls. (The chandelier is clearly a work of art, but the real showstopper is the windows with the amazing views looking outside.)

view of backs of dining room chairs in pink dining room with floor to ceiling drapes

I love the beautiful wood floors too. The room comes together so beautifully.

Jaw Dropping Farmhouse Kitchen

The wing to the left of the house appears to be historic in that the dormer windows are little, tricking you into thinking there are short ceilings downstairs and a little space above them like how smokehouses used to have extra space on top. Karen says she can’t take credit for this addition; the previous owners designed it and constructed their dream kitchen inside, and it turned out to be anything but little with short ceilings!

addition to farmhouse with red metal roof white dormers

The room inside actually soars to the top of the roofline and it manages to be cozy, inviting, and crisp at the same time. Wood beams go across the whole room with the dormers coming out above them, which just adds so much light. The slate floor is reminiscent of Virginia farmhouse porches and works so well against the cream colored kitchen cabinets.

renovated historic virginia farmhouse eat-in kitchen slate floor

The overall effect is cheerful and utterly charming.

floor to ceiling kitchen cabinets flanked by windows

This kitchen design has thought of everything. I could spend hours looking at it all. Check out the little key molding at the top of the upper cabinets, which is cool because they don’t go up to the ceiling. And also note the stainless steel countertop on this little area below. I love the juxtaposition of the stainless with the country wide wood plank backsplash.

built in espresso machine kitchen farmhouse

The piece de resistance is the AGA range. Set against a brick backsplash that appears to have been an old fireplace, the blue pops and can’t help but be the focal point of the room.

eat in farmhouse kitchen slate floor white cabinets range

I love the timeless molding around the brick and how it echoes the cabinetry throughout the kitchen.

built in aga range with brick backsplash farmhouse kitchen

The coolest detail in the kitchen, which Karen also credits the previous owners, is the handpainted tile backsplash behind the kitchen sink. At first glance, someone wrote the names of herbs on the various tiles, which is nothing to write home about. But upon closer inspection… the name “Ovoka” has been painted on as well!

tile backsplash of kitchen with handpainted herbs and name of farmhouse

Karen was inspired by the subtle personal touch and when she was in Italy a few years ago, commissioned a set of handpainted Ovoka pottery to be made too.

hand painted italian pottery with name ovoka written on lid

I love the shade of blue in the pottery and how well it goes with the AGA stove. This kitchen has thought of it all, folks.

hand painted farmhouse pitcher with name ovoka written in

Mud Room

Behind the kitchen cabinets are two Dutch doors that open up into a well designed mud room.

dutch door opening to mud room of historic virginia farmhouse

Every farmhouse could benefit from one of these, but especially a kitchen on a working farm like Ovoka where you really do come in for meals after being out with livestock. It’s got storage and a place to clean up (I wouldn’t mind scrubbing my hands while enjoying those views through the windows!).

mud room with soapstone farm sink and slate floor of historic farmhouse

Cherry Room

On the other side of the house opposite the kitchen is a room known as the “cherry room,” where the walls are made of boards of cherry trees that grew on Ovoka’s property. This room is certainly older. When you walk in, it smells like leather.

cherry paneled walls with old fireplace and leather surrounding

This fireplace also has a fire fender seat that appears to be antique. Wouldn’t you love to sit there next to a fire in the fireplace on a cold night?

fireplace and couch of cherry paneled walls in living room of historic farmhouse

This room is absolutely cozy and feels tailor made for curling up and staying a while. There’s a television in the corner, of which I appreciate the placement. (We also stuck our television in the corner of our family room and have the focal point be the fireplace, but all too often the television is made the focal point these days.)

cherry paneled room with upholstered furniture and antique door

These door handles and locks are just awesome! Look at that! It makes me think of all the times the door’s been used to welcome in a friend. Ohhhh if doors could talk.

close up view of door handle of renovated historic farmhouse with cherry walls

Downstairs Guest Bedroom

guest bedroom of historic virginia farmhouse with fireplace and four poster bed

The downstairs guest room mirrors the dining room in that it juts out behind the house and has windows on three sides. I love, love love this room. Something about the natural light just feels amazing. Karen used a professional interior design firm to help her with Ovoka and their work certainly paid off in my opinion.

pale blue chair in bedroom of historic virginia farmhouse

Don’t you wish this were your guest room? Talk about tranquil.

Downstairs Half-Bath

Every bathroom at Ovoka is well designed. I wanted to include this half-bathroom downstairs because I love the way the antique mirror picks up the wallpaper. So much attention to detail in every inch of this house!

wallpapered half bathroom with copper sink and gilded mirror

Split Staircase Landing

Going upstairs is actually a treat to experience. The staircase is stunning. At the top, it splits into three sections: you can go right, pass a window and go left, or make a U-turn and keep going toward the front of the house. (This reminds me of Beauty and the Beast. Anyone else?)

view of staircase with red carpet in historic virginia farmhouse

There’s a lot of light coming in and the beautiful white wainscoting adds depth.

split staircase landing of historic renovated virginia farmhouse with red carpet

This is a view from the top if you’d made a U-turn. I love the wood trim at the ceiling that matches the top of the wainscoting. No art on the walls is needed when you’ve got such stunning architectural details to look at. (And be sure to notice those floor boards, swoon!)

hallway view with yellow walls and white wainscoting and historic wood floors

Master Suite

The master suite is perfectly simple and continues the calm vibe from the rest of the house.

wooden king bed with windows in background

(As if naming her rescue dogs after Washington Nationals baseball players weren’t enough, #1 fan status is proven by the way Karen decorates her bed!)

The master bathroom is anything but simple. Look at this gorgeous wall tile mural!

wall tile mural in master bathroom of historic virginia farmhouse

I love the glass shower walls and all the storage space.

master suite with glass shower doors of historic virginia farmhouse

Upstairs Guest Rooms

There are what feels like dozens of guest rooms upstairs. I’ll just share some of my favorite pictures.

king size red bedspread in historic farmhouse bedroom

I love how each room has a fireplace.

detail of fireplace mantle in farmhouse bedroom

The guest room in the photo below sits above the dining room and it is also light-filled on three sides. It feels feminine without being overly so. (Side note: I love all the different fireplace mantles.)

four poster bed in farmhouse bedroom

The bedroom below actually sits above the cherry room with little dormers sticking out. I love the twin beds with classic white bedspreads. (Seems like a perfect place for teens to hang out!)

two twin beds with white blankets in historic virginia farmhouse

All of the bathrooms upstairs were cute, but this one in particular stuck out to me because of the charming blue and white wallpaper with the dogs in the motif. I love the cream trim and light blue ceiling too!

bathroom with blue and white wallpaper in historic renovated virginia farmhouse

Basement

Karen told me she wasn’t planning on renovating the basement at Ovoka, but the house needed some structural repairs when they bought it so it went on the list. An engineer helped design the repairs but for some reason (and I don’t know HOW this happened) there was a miscalculation. As the crew was working on reinforcing the foundation on the front wall of the house, it started to cave in! Karen said this was a massive, hugely expensive mistake that required emergency support from lots of people to prevent the house from falling over. Can you imagine owning this gorgeous property on the National Register of Historic Places and being responsible for it accidentally collapsing?

private movie theater in basement of historic virginia farmhouse

Needless to say, they fixed the foundation. With all the work that went into repairing the basement and beefing up the exterior walls, Karen decided to make the basement usable and finished it out. She put in an at-home movie theater that she said she ended up loving!

Working Cattle Farm

Ovoka is a beautiful farmhouse, but there’s more to the property than the house. The farm itself raises cattle (you can see their website here with more gorgeous photos of the farm!); a mix of Angus and Wagyu. There is quite a production going on with hundreds of acres in sustainable farming practices. If you have ever tried Wagyu, you know how excellent this premium beef is.

barn with red metal roofing historic virginia farm

Karen didn’t grow up aspiring to be a farmer. In fact, she was an attorney in Chicago before she and her ex-husband purchased Ovoka. She told me she only wished she’d known how much she would love farming so she could have started it 30 years sooner!

anguys wagyu beef cattle in pen

Karen bottle fed many of her cattle and decided to keep a few as pets, but she raises the great majority for beef production. She also has some miniature horses (she said they serve absolutely no purpose other than to make her happy!) and chickens (for the fresh eggs).

Pool Area

Tucked away to the side of the house in between some gorgeously tall boxwoods and fields of cattle is a saltwater pool.

backyard of ovoka historic virginia farmhouse

This pool and its surroundings belong in a magazine. It’s a dream. There’s an outdoor kitchen and game area with a television, a hot tub, plenty of places to sit, you name it.

view of pool with outdoor kitchen and hot tub surrounded by green hills virginia

I love the stonework everywhere that imitates the front porch floor. And I really love the boxwoods and views of fields everywhere you look.

view of pool with stone surround historic virginia farm

Backyard

I hope my photos have conveyed the historic elegance that Ovoka exudes.

renovated historic virginia farmhouse with white walls red metal roof black shutters

The patio in the back actually looks out on an old, old stone house that predates the current farmhouse. According to old diaries, George Washington actually stayed there when he was surveying this property as a young adult.

stone patio in back of historic virginia farmhouse ovoka with green hills in background

Karen has done such an incredible job with this beautiful property. Her love of Ovoka shines through the way she’s renovated and decorated it, and of course kept it all up. Houses this old are never low maintenance endeavors and the excellent condition throughout just makes my heart happy knowing this house is well taken care of.

stone patio with stone wall and urns overlooking green rolling hills historic virginia farm

I hope you enjoyed touring Ovoka as much as I did! This is such a special property that does Virginia proud.

1 thought on “Ovoka”

  1. I can surely see why you fell in love with this gorgeous home and property. I did too, just going through the photos, which were wonderfully done, by the author. As always, the prose written by the author really captures the mood of the place… Thank you for sharing such a beautiful gem in Virginia !

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