by Charles McGuigan
Though it didn’t rise from the ashes, Holly Lawn, a rare and long-lived home in the Hermitage Road Historic District, was resurrected from the rubble by its owners who spent the better part of two years lovingly renovating this architectural treasure, which is on the National Historic Register of Places and has been called one of the finest examples of Queen Anne Style in Virginia.
On June 16, 2016, a line of fast moving storms stampeded through the heart of Bellevue, uprooting massive trees like spring onions. A local meteorologist called it an “historic wind event”.
And it was.
The next morning my son and I rode our bikes through the neighborhood and witnessed massive trees felled by the high winds. A number of cars were crushed beneath these green giants like matchbox toys. A classic arts and crafts cottage on Claremont, just east of Fauquier was almost cleave in half.
And on Hermitage Road, a queen among the other royalty lining line that North Side boulevard was damned near decapitated when a 175-year old red oak sheared away most of the home’s front elevation, ripping off the porch and shattering one of the turrets, and causing untold damage to the entire structure. The owners decided to save the building, and for the next 24 months they performed a miraculous reconstruction.
This September, Holly Lawn will be unveiled in all her new glory. The Richmond Symphony Orchestra League (RSOL) selected this North Side gem as the 2018 Designer House. Some of Virginia’s leading interior designers will transform the 14,500-square foot home which sits on a beautifully landscaped 2.1-acre parcel. The RSOL’s Preview Gala on September 14 kicks off the 18th annual Designer House with a fabulous party, along with music provided by Richmond Symphony Orchestra musicians, and a preview of Holly Lawn. The Designer House will be open for tours from September 17 through October 14. The ever-popular Thirsty Thursdays—featuring beer, wine, live music, and home tours—will be held September 20 and 27, and October 4 and 11, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. “We are thrilled that the owners have made such a generous contribution to open Holly Lawn as our 18th Designer House to support the Richmond Symphony,” says Ann Burks, RSOL president.
Holly Lawn’s main house features five bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, a sun porch, a library, a living room, a formal dining room, a spacious foyer, a kitchen with butler’s pantry, and a sweeping Southern-style front porch. The house also includes a 1973-addition. One of the earlier homeowners named the estate “Holly Lawn” for the holly trees that ring the estate.
Proceeds from the Designer House, which in the past has attracted 7,000 visitors, will benefit the Richmond Symphony Orchestra. The Richmond Symphony Orchestra League supports the growth and development of the Richmond Symphony. For more information and tickets for this event visit www.rsol.org