Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Words To Decorate By

"...neutral rooms are not necessarily about the absence of color, they are simply a vehicle to showcase that which you find important or beautiful...even if just for a moment." - Thomas Pheasant in Thomas Pheasant: Simply Serene

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

An English Manor in Virginia Hunt Country

Just as man cannot live by bread alone, yours truly cannot live by Holiday Inns alone so a stopover at Keswick Hall outside Charlottesville, Virginia was a welcome interlude during the nine-day road trip we took to tour colleges last month.

Nestled in the rolling landscape, the original Italianate-style villa on the property was built as a private home in the early 1900's. In the 1990's the building was expanded into the 48-room hotel it is today - the exterior remaining true to the existing architecture...

...but the interior is pure English country. Though the property has changed hands twice since its conversion, the interiors remain influenced by the original developer - Lord Bernard Ashley, widower of designer Laura Ashley. Our room could not have been more comfortable or elegantly appointed.

The serene, home-like atmosphere continues outside one's room.

All of Keswick Hall's public spaces are furnished like rooms in a gracious private house and each one has a working fireplace. During our late-winter trip there was a fire burning in every one.

Antiques, oriental rugs, portraits, and personal details feature throughout.

The sitting room in the 'Villa Crawford', the original portion of the building.

The hotel's excellent restaurant, Fossett's, features seasonal, regionally-inspired menus.

I love these light fixtures.

From the hotel's entrance, symmetrical wings are reached by two lantern lined halls. One wing is the original 'Villa Crawford.'

In every direction are views of the 600 acres that encompass the hotel property. Numerous outdoor activities are available to guests including golf, archery, fly fishing and the opportunity to walk with the hounds of the nearby Keswick Hunt.

Other amenities include three swimming pools, a fitness center and spa.

Charlottesville has a lot to offer visitors. For architecture and history buffs the surrounding area is dotted with the homes of three American presidents - Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, James Madison's Montpelier and James Monroe's Ash Lawn-Highland. Design aficionados will enjoy exploring the numerous antique shops in and around town. And any one of the local vineyards is worth a visit.