What once was a stable for a famous stallion has been thoughtfully transformed into a bucolic retreat on an equestrian farm in Boyce, Va.
As champion thoroughbred racehorses go, Teddy never had the career of Secretariat or Seabiscuit. But as Anne Peters wrote for the Thoroughbred Heritage website, the bay horse was “one of the most important stallions of the twentieth century and a truly international star. . . . Three of his offspring — Sir Gallahad III, Bull Dog and La Troienne — changed the face of American breeding altogether.”
Teddy sired 65 stakes winners plus the fourth dam of Secretariat. Kenneth Gilpin and F. Wallis Armstrong bought the French horse in 1931 and shipped him to America, where he spent the end of his life at Kentmere, the Clarke County domain of the Gilpin family. Many say that he is buried somewhere on the grounds.
Henry Gilpin, Kenneth’s father, bought Kentmere in 1896. The sprawling estate is named after the family seat in Britain’s Lake District, where land was awarded to Richard Gilpyn by King John in 1215. Kenneth Gilpin and his wife, Isabella, lived at Kentmere after they married in 1918, and their heirs remained there until Ellen Carroll acquired it from the family 20 years ago.
After a fire destroyed the main residence, Carroll, with the help of architect Page Carter, converted what had been the carriage house and stallion barn into a charming home.
“It’s country and traditional mixed with a more-modern point of view,” Carroll said.
In the transformation from barn to home, the dwelling embraced its past. Whitewashed posts and wooden planks on the ceiling give it a rustic feel. The open layout and 11-foot ceilings create an airy space.
Carroll repurposed many items from the stable, including the barn doors from Teddy’s stalls. Wooden blocks that covered an aisle in the barn now form a cobbled floor in the foyer. The weather vane atop the turret adds a touch of whimsy.
The home is tucked into a 50-acre property that features 300-year-old oak trees, rolling hills, picturesque stone walls and expansive lawns. A mahogany pergola with a wisteria bower overlooks a swimming pool. A log cabin provides storage for pool equipment. A twig gazebo seems plucked from a fairy tale. Two cottages — one with three bedrooms, the other with four — offer extra rooms for guests.
Kentmere’s long and distinguished equestrian legacy is well deserved. The center-aisle stable has 10 stalls including two broodmare stalls, a wash stall with hot water and a heat lamp, and a heated tack room. It also has a charging station for electric cars. The bluestone arena has lights to encourage nighttime riding. There are more than a dozen paddocks and pastures.
Kentmere is listed at $2.29 million.
Listing: 473 Millwood Rd., Boyce, Va.
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