Today I get to share a sweet historic farmhouse nestled in the Shenandoah Valley with y’all: Pebble Hall. Touring this farmhouse was a real treat for me and I just hope my photos can enable you to feel its simple beauty too!
If you’ve ever been to the Shenandoah Valley, you’ve no doubt driven by dozens of beautiful old farmhouses dotted across the rolling hills. I love to think about the story behind each house– who built it and why, what’s happened to its surroundings over the years, how has it changed throughout the generations, and so on.
Pebble Hall is one of those farmhouses I’ve driven by many times. It’s clearly got a cool story to tell. I’d always admired its plaster look and simple porch.
I’m so glad I got to meet Tom and Kathy, the current owners, and hear some of this farmhouse’s amazing renovation story. Tom and Kathy raised their four kids in this house and their love for the property shines through.
We won’t judge them for being New York natives because they made the right choice by relocating to Virginia years ago. They have made a lot of improvements to Pebble Hall since they bought it in 1995. They worked not just to renovate the farmhouse, but to restore so much of it to its original beautiful state.
Exterior: Poured Plaster Farmhouse
These columns used to be covered in layers of paint. Like almost every surface in the house, Kathy painstakingly stripped each layer of paint off herself to reveal the original wood. When she set to work on the columns, she uncovered the below text: “Augusta County Sept 7th 1873.” There’s more written underneath that’s difficult to make out. I love that someone in 1873 took the time to write this out and commemorate the front porch’s existence at that point. Obviously this house was special to someone back then, something that apparently holds true no matter what century it is.
Two things that stood out to me about this front porch were the beautiful Jeffersonian chinoiserie railing on the sides (I like how it’s only on the sides but open in the front– makes it more inviting to me but also closes it in) and the classic bluestone porch floor. Bluestone is (get ready, this will shock you) a blue stone. It’s a specific kind of limestone quarried from the Shenandoah Valley and is often confused with slate. It’s timeless, classic, and unique to this area of Virginia. I love it, and I love how it adds a local yet historic component to Pebble Hall.
Let’s talk about the poured plaster of Pebble Hall’s exterior facade. This is just incredible. Back when this was constructed in 1880, Tom told me that actual pebbles were used to construct the exterior wall of the front portion of the house. He told me this was done by people building the mold for the walls in place out of wood, then pouring pebbles down in between the wood then pouring plaster over those pebbles. It’s mind blowing and incredible.
The name Pebble Hall comes from the pebbles (some of which can still be found around the property) used to construct the front part of the house.
Woodwork Details Inside
The front door and transom/ side lights surrounding it are absolutely beautiful. As I came to understand, this was no simple farmhouse. The woodwork was indicative of some serious craftsmanship.
Below is a photo from the living room right off of the hallway. Check out the beautiful wood mantlepiece. Two noteworthy things: 1) that used to be painted and Kathy took the paint off herself. (Can you imagine how much work it must have been to take the paint off of each of those little circles?) 2) scroll back up to see the photo from the exterior of the plaster and you’ll note the trim around the windows is the same circular pattern as the mantlepiece. I’ve never seen such a cool detail mimicked in both exterior and interior parts of a house.
Here’s another view of that gorgeous mantle. The wainscoting all around the room was also covered up by paint when Tom and Kathy bought the house. I’m in awe of the patience it must have taken Kathy to restore the wood to this gorgeous state– she said she stripped paint constantly while her kids were at school. Talk about dedication!
I also love the wood trim around the doorways. Like I said– the woodwork in this house is extraordinary for a regular old farmhouse. Pebble Hall’s been well, well loved.
I could not get over the CRAZY thick walls leading out of the living room to the rest of the house. These walls are over a foot thick and add a real gravitas to the place, don’t they?
Behind the living room is a sweet dining room that connects to the kitchen. There used to be just a small doorway opening to the kitchen but Tom and Kathy decided to expand the opening a bit more. (I love that it’s not fully open, by the way, because old farmhouses by nature just don’t have open floorplans. But I also love that it’s not blocked off so that it’s able to be functional for a family to hear and see each other in the kitchen and dining room areas.) This also leaves room in the kitchen for a corner cupboard, which is awesome for extra storage.
As I’ve mentioned on this site before, one of my favorite farmhouse features is a staircase that has a few steps leading up to a door where you can see the stairs continue. Pebble Hall did not disappoint! Look at the gorgeous wood in the dining area. Kathy stripped this door/ wall too.
Modern Kitchen in Historic Log Cabin
Although the front part of the house is the fanciest with the plaster and beautiful trim, the kitchen in the back is in the oldest part of the house– a log cabin likely dating to 1850. The cabin was actually built alongside a trail that used to run on Pebble Hall’s property that connected trappers and traders from the Shenandoah Valley to the Ohio Valley.
This breathtaking fireplace was covered up when Tom and Kathy bought the house and, as you may have guessed, they opened it up themselves. The piece of wood on top of the mantle wasn’t originally there but Tom repurposed a piece of lumber from an old granary building on the property that was falling down and it matched perfectly. This makes for truly a spectacular focal point and adds so much charm and character to the kitchen.
When Tom and Kathy renovated the kitchen, they chose to keep things simple and not go crazy on new cabinetry. I love the finished result. No upper cabinets makes it feel authentic and keeps the historic vibe.
Behind the kitchen is a beautiful part of the house– the downstairs is currently used as a laundry/ mud room and I just had to share this photo of the wood walls because they’re incredible:
In one of the walls in the back mud room (there’s actually a little bathroom tucked into the mud room area) Tom salvaged the walls from the old granary and found the following signature– looks like it was signed by someone Henckel in July 1865 to commemorate their new granary. It’s a cool nod to the history of Pebble Hall. Of course the Civil War really impacted farms in the Shenandoah Valley and Pebble Hall’s original granary was almost certainly burned down, so in 1865 after the war they rebuilt a new one.
So. Much. Character. I love the varying thickness of the planks that make up the floor, walls, and ceiling. Tom sand blasted the paint off of the ceiling in this area and it’s left with a cool finish.
The back staircase leading up to an attic area (currently used as an office) are super steep and super narrow. And they are sturdy as can be!
Speaking of staircases, the front staircase is obviously newer and goodness look how wide those steps are. They feel grandiose especially in comparison to the old ones in the back of the house.
The front staircase leads to the bedrooms (there are five!). The railing hasn’t been finished with anything– just lots and lots of people touching it with their hands as they walk up and down over the years.
Master Farmhouse Bedroom
The master bedroom in the front part of the house has tall ceilings and perfect floors.
I love the humble fireplace and the beautiful built-in bookshelf.
How’s that for a view to wake up to? Goodness.
Bedrooms Full of Charm
The bedrooms at Pebble Hall have clearly been well loved. In this one, Kathy painted this mural herself and I am super impressed with how it turned out:
This bedroom has a beautiful pair of closet doors and I especially loved the tiny little doorknobs on each door. So elegant!
Another bedroom has its own private five steps up from the stair landing. I love how special it makes this bedroom.
This bedroom also has a mural handpainted by Kathy behind the bed. What lucky kids to have such awesome rooms.
In the middle part of the house, there is a covered upstairs porch that’s been converted into a hallway. The below photo is of a now-interior wall. Tom himself did the chinking between the logs here.
There’s a sweet little reading area in the upstairs hallway.
From when the hallway was still a porch, there’s a beautiful door leading to two more bedrooms and a back staircase. (This staircase goes between the dining area and the kitchen and is hidden behind that doorway, which I love.)
But interestingly, in one of the bedrooms with a wall literally touching that staircase, it looks like there is a remnant of another staircase. The floors have clearly been replaced. Oooooooh if walls could talk!
Pebble Hall is a special property with so much outside the actual farmhouse that is utterly enchanting.
Tom and Kathy run a pick-your-own-flower business on their property and there are flowers everywhere (to include a greenhouse in the back!).
With their kids all grown, they’ve made the tough decision to downsize and move to be closer to their grandbabies, so Pebble Hall is actually for sale now! (I found this out in their kitchen and their whole house is just such a labor of love. It makes me so sad for them to leave.) Whoever the next owner of Pebble Hall ends up being will be lucky, lucky indeed. This house has been well taken care of and as you can surely see, so many happy memories have taken place here.