The circa 1820 house is a Waterford, Va., landmark and has served as a tavern, apothecary and bed-and-breakfast. (Roman Caprano/Blue Sky Media)

Some people have no interest in buying a house that needs work. They much prefer a move-in-ready home. Not Kathy and David Middleton, which is why in 2005 they bought the Pink House in Waterford, Va.

“We were looking for something that was a real project,” Kathy said. “We like projects. My husband builds restaurants, and I help people with the design and renovation of houses and gardens. It was a perfect thing for us.”

The Pink House was built by Lewis Klein between 1816 and 1824. Originally known as Klein’s Tavern, it was for many years an important social and commercial hub in Waterford, according to the History of Waterford Virginia website.

After serving as a tavern, the house went through various iterations, including an apothecary and a hardware store. G.E. Connell, a doctor, used it as his home and office. In 1884, Connell became the first person to have a telephone in the village, and he charged residents 10 cents a call. In the early 20th century, an addition to the house was used as a barbershop.

After the owner painted the exterior the color “of the setting sun on Waterford brick” in the early 1950s, the house was given its name, according to a history of the house on the Waterford Fair website.

Charles and Marie Anderson, the owners before the Middletons, lived there about 40 years and ran a bed-and-breakfast out of the house. They protected the house with a preservation easement through the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

The Middletons were attracted to Waterford by memories of the Loudoun County village from school field trips with their children. “It’s a very unique place, Waterford,” Kathy said. “You are in a different world. It was a big draw for us.”

Waterford was founded by a Quaker around 1733. The village was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1970. Nearly two-thirds of its homes were built before 1861, and only four were constructed after 1922.


kitchen (Roman Caprano/Blue Sky Media/Roman Caprano/Blue Sky Media)

The Middletons spent four years renovating the house, taking it down to its shell. In the process, they also modernized it, adding central air conditioning and radiant heat beneath the stone floors. Their design choices were influenced by their love of Europe, as can be seen in many of the materials, including the French limestone and the Italian tiles.

The Middletons, who once owned the Foundry restaurant in Georgetown, both like to cook. They wanted the kitchen to have an Old World feel — hence a cathedral ceiling with wooden beams, handmade terra cotta tiles from Italy, an antique chandelier from Paris and a handmade copper sink. But they also wanted modern conveniences such as a Delaubrac range with a piano cooktop from Lyon, France.

“The kitchen was an experiment for us,” Kathy said.


Gardens (Roman Caprano/Blue Sky Media/Roman Caprano/Blue Sky Media)

The Middletons spent as much time on the exterior as they did on the interior. The native Californians, who relish being outdoors, transformed the backyard into a terraced oasis. The gardens start blooming in March and continue through November.

“One of the main reasons we bought it is it’s really unusual to find a house that you can actually walk out of three of the four levels to another garden,” Kathy said.

After living in the Pink House for nearly 15 years, the Middletons are decamping for France — and their next project, building a new home that looks old. They are leaving behind a house and gardens that need no work.

The four-bedroom, three-bathroom house is listed at $1.7 million. An open house is schedule for Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m.