Sometimes, buying a house offers a chance for a bold stylistic change.
Eight years ago, Guy and Paige Schiavone bought a Federal-style house in Ginter Park and began renovating it. The house had been built in 1920, and it needed updating.
“We renovated every square foot of that house,” Guy Schiavone said.
Among the bigger projects: converting the kitchen into an open-concept space.
(If you’re a fan of “Homeland,” the Showtime TV series, you may have seen the house. It was the home of Carrie Mathison’s sister, Maggie, in Season 7.)
The Schiavones enjoyed living in the Ginter Park house, but their family was growing.
“When my wife got pregnant a second time, we decided to move,” Schiavone said.
That’s when Schiavone saw a listing for a Contemporary-style house in the Bexley subdivision in Chesterfield County.
In many ways, it was the polar opposite of the Schiavones’s Ginter Park house. Built in the late 1970s in a suburban setting, it had large expanses of glass, a flat roof and an open-concept floor plan.
“I said, ‘We have to go look at it,’” Schiavone said. “We did, and we bought it.”
They signed the contract in March 2015.
It wasn’t simply a boldly designed Contemporary house, though.
“This was the first Richmond home to win a national design award” from The American Institute of Architects, said Robert A. Steele, FAIA, principal architect of Richmond-based B.O.B. Architecture.
And it had an unusual backstory.
The house’s early years
Joseph A. Boggs, FAIA, an award-winning architect with an office in Annapolis, Md., designed the house at 2830 Newquay Lane. Back in 1978, though, he was still a student at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.
“This was Joe’s first significant design,” said Steele, who opened the Richmond office for Boggs & Partners Architects in the early 1980s.
Boggs’s parents, Beryl A. and Helen S. Boggs, were his clients for the house. They were also the builders.
Beryl Boggs started building the house in 1978, but it took a while to finish because he worked on it while employed full-time as a mechanical engineer at Allied Chemical Corp., Steele said.
“Even in 1983” – when the house began receiving international attention – “it wasn’t entirely finished,” Steele said. “Beryl was experimenting with things, like the way he’d do trim details. He was constantly improving it.”
Beryl Boggs used the experience to jumpstart a new career as a homebuilder, and he built several Contemporary homes in Greater Richmond before retiring in 1995.
“The lower portion of the house was his shop and construction office,” Steele said.
The Boggses sold the house in 1999. It had two other owners before the Schiavones bought it.
The house today
Even before the Schiavones signed the contract to buy the house, they were discussing renovations. They decided to undertake them in two phases.
In the first phase, they updated the master bedroom with a full bath, as well as updating the two other bedrooms for their two sons. They also added a guest bedroom, where Boggs’s construction office had been.
In the second phase, the Schiavones updated the kitchen, along with a home office and a laundry room.
“People don’t use kitchens the way they did in 1976,” Schiavone said. “We needed a kitchen for how we use that space now, with an open-concept layout.”
Renovation work wrapped up in August 2018.
Steele, who opened his own firm in 1988, was the architect of design for both phases of renovation, and it marked the third set of owners he has worked with on the house. The most extensive work was a complete rehabilitation undertaken in 2006. (It received an AIA Richmond Design Award – the house’s second – in 2008.)
“I’ve known this house for 36 years,” Steele said.
Today, the house has four bedrooms and three full and two half baths, and it has approximately 4,600 square feet of living space.
“Every house should get better with time, and this one has,” Steele said. “It’s better today than the day it was built.”
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