Barbara and Mark McIntosh are not the type of people who want to live in a new house, which is why they were attracted to this circa 1765 log house in Burke, Va.
“Mark and I should have been born a long time ago,” Barbara said.
The McIntoshes like old houses. Every house they’ve owned, starting with the Craftsman-style house in Seattle’s Capitol Hill area, has been about 100 years old.
When work brought them to Washington, they lived in an 1800s house near Eastern Market in the Capitol Hill neighborhood until their first child was born. Mark found this house while searching on the Internet.
Known as King’s Grant, the house was once two log cabins that were built on the Ravensworth estate. Ravensworth was the largest Colonial land grant in Fairfax County. William Fitzhugh purchased the 24,112-acre parcel in 1685. His tobacco plantation had three mansions — Ravensworth, Oak Hill and Ossian Hall. Oak Hill is the only one remaining. One of the cabins that form this house supposedly belonged to a farm manager on the estate.
Just as Ravensworth was carved into smaller parcels over the years, with few traces of it remaining, this house retains only echoes of its past. The logs that are the bones of the house are mostly covered up. Only the formal living room, with exposed logs along one wall, hints at its origins.
The cabins, which were joined to form a single house in 1952, have been added onto and modernized over the years. But a few original details remain, including the random-width pine floors. Four fireplaces, including one in the master bedroom, provide warmth on cold winter days.
“When you walk around in that older part of the house, it’s solid,” Barbara said. “Nothing creaks. It’s just a solid house. It was so well done.”
The 2.33-acre property has established perennial gardens and mature trees, including magnolias, boxwoods and dogwoods. There’s a seven-stall stable left over from when a former owner operated a riding stable. The McIntoshes added a chicken coop at one end of the stable. A barn and a four-car garage provide extra storage.
There are two outdoor fireplaces. One is built into the exterior of the house. The other was once part of the separate cookhouse. The cauldron and stones from the fireplace are all that’s left of the cookhouse, although the McIntoshes saved the wood from the structure.
Because of its history and its setting, King’s Grant is a place that stays with anyone who has spent time here.
“We’ve had [previous] owners come to our house over the years and say: ‘Oh, I used to live here. Can I just take a walk through? I loved it here.’ They would cry,” Barbara said.
Although she might not shed any tears, Barbara said she is going to miss living at King’s Grant.
“You’re in the middle of suburbia, and it feels like you’re on vacation,” she said. “It feels like you’ve gone far away. You’ve got a huge backyard. You can disappear. I’m going to miss having the best of both worlds.”
The four-bedroom, three-bathroom, 3,108-square-foot house is listed at $999,000. Open houses are scheduled for 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Listing: 9587 Bronte Dr., Burke, Va.
Listing agent: Nancy Heisel, RLAH Real Estate
Previous House of the Week
More Real Estate: