The Plains is a beautiful area of Virginia that, once discovered, you feel like you’re in on a secret only locals know about. Located in the foothills west of the DC metro area, The Plains doesn’t have the same humid mugginess that I grew up with inside the Beltway. It’s a rural, elegant place filled with charming cottages and old farmhouses throughout.
This particular home, originally called “Summer Hill,” was built around 1908. At that time, people in DC took a train out to The Plains in the summertime to escape the swampy mosquito-filled humidity. Summer Hill was designed to be a summer getaway rental cottage, not dissimilar to the Airbnb or VRBO rental market that exists today. Apparently, several of these rental cottages were located on the hill in The Plains.
Summer Hill changed ownership over the years, and also names. Sometime in the late 1920s or early 1930s, a woman named Frances Fleming acquired it and changed the name to Homewood. She renovated the simple shingle cottage and made it her primary residence. Frances sold it to Clarissa Fleming in 1948. Clarissa owned it for 32 years, with her family member Harriot joining her on the weekends from D.C. Togethter, Clarissa and Harriot created beautiful gardens surrounding the house.
Clarissa passed away in 1983 and left Homewood to a relative named Mike Harris, who lived elsewhere but rented Homewood out. He leased it to a relative named Henry Rust, who ended up purchasing it from Mike in 1988. Henry lived in and renovated Homewood. He then moved to California in 1995 and leased it out until he sold it to the current owners, George and Rita Fenwick, in 1998.
In 2000, the Fenwicks added on a large addition (in the photo above, it’s the part of the house to the left of the wraparound porch). They thoughtfully asked the previous owner, Henry Rust, to design the addition. Isn’t that sweet? The end result is a seamless enlargement.
Screened-In Wraparound Porch
The screened-in porch in the front (and side) of the house is probably my favorite part. I love the tall ceilings, just perfect for catching a breeze.
Front Living Room/ Entryway
I love the panels on the front door.
When you walk in from the screened in the porch, you enter into a massive living room. On one side of the room is the staircase going upstairs. I love the lack of a formal foyer; so often in old houses there’s a hallway with a staircase, but this room serves as both the foyer and a living room. It definitely seems made for hosting fun gatherings!
Directly across from the front door is this beautiful fireplace mantle.
Check out the beautiful hardwood floors and radiator heat. And don’t you love the casing trim around the doors and windows?
There is so much to look at in this house. I love how the Fenwicks have decorated it over the years.
Through the living room on the side opposite the staircase is an opening into a large dining room. The kitchen is beyond the dining room.
This is one of the largest dining rooms I’ve encountered. The tall ceilings make it feel even larger. It hosts this stunning piano in a corner (and there’s still plenty of space for the dining table and chairs!).
Plants seem to love this house too! These tall ceilings = tall windows = so much light.
The sweet country kitchen sits past the dining room with doors opening to the patio on the side.
I know I said the wraparound porch was my favorite part, but this might actually be my favorite part: the back staircase in the kitchen. It’s tucked away behind the kitchen table next to the double doors going to the patio. You might miss it if you didn’t know it was there. Back staircases like this are utterly charming.
Behind the back staircase is a sweet mud room area. Like everything in this country house, it is both charming and functional.
The downstairs office is a vibrant red color with an antique door welcoming you inside.
I love the built-in bookshelves. And I really love this sweet fireplace mantle tucked in the corner of the room.
Family Room Addition
The large family room takes up much of the new part of the house, added on by the Fenwicks around twenty years ago.
They did a great job making it look like it was always part of the original structure. Aren’t those pine wood floors gorgeous?
The back of the house has lots of areas to gather, but unfortunately due to the snow when I visited much was covered up. I love the fun orange paint color on this door!
As you can see from a little farther back, this house gives the appearance of being added to and added to and added to. I love that about old houses. It’s so much more interesting to me to see how the house has grown with the times. (Also: I’m practically swooning over those mature boxwoods around the house– stunning.)
I am so grateful for the opportunity to visit this beautiful country home in The Plains. It is absolutely serene and you can feel the good energy here from so many happy memories. From the setting outside to the sweet and fun decor inside, this house is a charmer, through and through.