Cisco co-founder says she’s ready to say farewell to the farm


Ballroom of Ayrshire Farm in Loudoun County, which is for sale. (Courtesy of Ayrshire Farm/COURTESY OF AYRSHIRE FARM)
June 14, 2013

Cisco co-founder says she’s ready to say farewell to the farm

In 1996, Sandy Lerner, co-founder of Cisco Systems, purchased Ayrshire Farm in Upperville, Va. She carefully developed a sustainable farm, the first in Virginia to meet both Certified Humane and Certified Organic standards, while restoring the manor house to its former glory.

The 17,000-square-foot mansion, constructed of cypress wood and fieldstone, is on a 600-acre farm with two ponds, a stable with a six-bedroom farm manager’s home and 20 acres of gardens.

“I’ve reached the phase where I don’t want anything anymore but my cat named Thing,” Lerner says. “I think everyone who makes money goes through a ‘house phase’ and I loved restoring the manor house, but it’s a lot of upkeep.”

So now she wants to sell it.

Lerner, who lives on an adjacent 200 acres in an elegant restored cabin, says the manor house is used once or twice a month for charitable events and fundraisers.

“Anyone who wants to buy this home won’t need to do anything to it,” Lerner says. “They can even buy the furnishings if they choose.”

Lerner restored the heart pine floors in most of the house, put on a new roof and shutters, replaced the electrical and plumbing systems, and added a new furnace and central air-conditioning. When she bought the home, she says, the moldings were falling from the ceiling and the residence hadn’t been heated in 10 years.

“I tried to keep as much of the original elements of the house as possible, including these amazing bathroom fixtures,” she says. “It was very modern when it was built in 1912, designed for indoor plumbing, central heat and electricity. The scale of the place is amazing; it’s 75 feet tall.”

Ayrshire Farm is surrounded by 14 miles of rock-wall fencing.

Lerner says the house isn’t listed with a real estate broker, but she’s letting people know it’s for sale through word of mouth. She says she would like $30 million for 600-acre property. Interested parties should contact her accountant, D. Brook Middleton, at 703-380-0160.

Carriage house carries couple into new career

When Jennifer and Karl Bieberich wanted to build a carriage house on their property in Edgewater, they never dreamed that the project would turn into a new career. Karl Bieberich, the captain of Miss Grace Charters boat and co-owner of Chesapeake Dock Outfitters, needed space for his business, and the couple needed space for entertaining.

“We’ve owned our home for six years and enjoy a rustic-country lifestyle,” Jennifer Bieberich says. “All the outbuildings on our property are red, and so we decided to work with Yankee Barn Homes to build a red carriage house.”

The Bieberichs passed on the interest in their home to the owners of Yankee Barn Homes in New Hampshire, who, in turn, asked the couple to become its Mid-Atlantic design managers. Yankee Barn Homes has built custom post-and-beam style homes throughout the United States since 1969, including farmhouses, barn homes, cottages and additions.

Jennifer Bieberich says the Edgewater Carriage House, which has 1,050 square feet, looks old, as if it has been on their property forever. She says two-thirds of the lower level functions as storage space, and the other third is a “horse stall” with double bunk beds for guests. The second level is an open great room for entertaining, with wood beams and a cathedral ceiling. The carriage house also has a Murphy bed and a full bath. It cost about $200,000 to complete.

“We sell Christmas trees on our property, and this past year we had tons of people asking to tour the carriage house and bringing friends to see it,” Jennifer Bieberich says.

The Bieberichs’ territory includes Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia and southern New Jersey, where they will work with Yankee Barn customers throughout the design process to share the expertise they gained during their home project and other renovation projects.

An Open House will be held at the Edgewater Carriage House on June 22 from noon to 4 p.m. For more information, go to www.yankeebarnhomes. com/carriage-houses/edgewater .

Calypso St. Barth to open in Georgetown

Georgetown has long been known for its fashionable stores and upscale restaurants, but these days, the western stretch of M Street NW is an HGTV-watchers’ dream.

The newest retailer on the block, Calypso St. Barth, recently signed a 10-year lease with EastBanc and Jamestown for a 2,700-square-foot retail space at 3307 M St., near West Elm and CB2.

Calypso St. Barth, which sells resort-style clothing as well as an exotic home collection, is part of EastBanc and Jamestown’s Georgetown Renaissance portfolio of properties, which include international and local home furnishings stores with lofted ceilings, glass and steel walls, exposed brick walls and skylights.

The home furnishings at Calypso St. Barth include pieces by American and European designers, and natural textiles from around the globe. The Georgetown store is expected to open in early spring 2014.

Writer, contributorsto Post win awards

Kathy Orton, Web editor of The Washington Post’s Real Estate section, won a third-place award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors for an article she wrote on a super-energy-efficient home built for a low-income family.

The organization representing journalists covering the real estate industry also recognized Post contributors Katherine Salant and Kenneth R. Harney for work which appeared in The Post. In total, Orton, Salant and Harney won five awards from the association.

Salant was named a gold or first-place winner for best column. She also won the president’s silver or second-place award for best freelance collection.

Harney won a bronze award in the breaking news category for a column he wrote about home equity protection insurance that was pulled off the market. The columnist, who is syndicated by The Washington Post Writers Group, also won a silver award for best column.

Carisa C. Chappell, another freelance writer, won an honorable mention for an article that appeared in a Philadelphia publication.

— Michele Lerner

Lerner is a freelance writer. Want to pass on an idea or a news item? Contact us at realestate@washpost.com and put “Town Square in the subject line.

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