The story below is an excerpt from our July/August 2015 issue. For the rest of this story and more like it subscribe today, view our digital edition or download our FREE iOS app!
The Fossett-Fox family finds a soulful balance between rustic Arts and Crafts and modern mountain home aesthetic.
In 2008 Leslie Fossett-Fox and Gregg Fox were pushing through the thick underbrush of a steep lot on Mission Ridge, trying to imagine balancing a house on that narrow mountain lip overlooking the Shenandoah River. It would be five years before their custom Harpers Ferry home would rise from the hard-packed earth, but the Fossett-Foxes weren’t willing to settle for anything less than their dream – what Tracy Moller, residential designer, drafter and owner of Fine Line Home Design in Maryland, calls “a modern interpretation of an Arts and Crafts mountain home.” Leslie just calls it a “a house with a soul.”
In 2015 the Fossett-Fox home rises organically from the tree line despite its angular silhouette and striking tower feature. Yet its size is deceptive. From the home’s long driveway the structure’s sheer elevation gives an imposing feel – a dusky blue castle hidden in thick green forest. But open the front door into the nearly two-story great room and an adjacent bank of wide windows opens up the space like a breath of mountain air.
“When you open the door it’s like you’ve been invited to share this incredibly inspiring, secret panoramic view,” Moller says.
The more than 3,000-square-foot Mission Ridge home is a breathtaking marriage of Arts and Crafts style and a modern rustic aesthetic. Faux timber beams, barn doors, etched glass and heavy brackets pair well with clean lines and contemporary details like cable railings and recessed lighting. In the great room, muted colors frame reclaimed barn wood inlaid into wall recesses while a massive stone fireplace is both centerpiece and window into a timber-framed screened porch. A spacious kitchen beckons culinary arts and conversation with a wide banquette and energy efficient appliances hidden from view behind white maple paneling.
An unexpected spiral staircase leads to a tower bedroom/sitting room and a balcony skimming the treetops. Even the master bedroom is a study in contrasts with its French-oak fumed hardwood floors, fireplace, and freestanding jetted tub tucked into a wide bay window overlooking the river.
Leslie says she’d always imagined having multiple generations living under her roof. In 2015 the home has three finished bedrooms and three and a half baths. Two in-law suites – one unfinished over the garage and one on the bottom floor – and an unfished elevator shaft now used as a closet, allow her to give both guests and family members their own separate and accessible spaces.
Yet the Fossett-Fox family is quite frank about the plot twists and literal cliffhangers in the story of their custom-home build, from hunting through several counties over several years to find the right property at the right price to squeezing their intended design into a narrow buildable space on the side of a mountain. But they took it all in stride.