Family Home Full Of Heart And History
You could easily drive by the entrance to the Chisoms’ historic home in Daleville without knowing what you’re missing. A simple wooden fence borders the road, and a pea-gravel drive edged with trees shields the property from view. The lane winds gently back through the 24-acre estate, arriving at a circular driveway. The meandering white clapboard and red brick home is topped with a metal standing seam roof and set amid rolling lawn, mature trees and ancient boxwoods. Rusty, an 8-year-old Labradoodle, greets visitors at the drive, along with his owners, Jim and Kathy Chisom. Jim, an investment advisor, and his wife, Kathy, bought this stunning property from Kathy’s cousins, Joe and Laura Logan, in 2008. It has been in the Logan family for close to 100 years, and the scene of many family events through the decades.
Though you can’t tell from looking, the hidden heart of the Chisom home is a one-room log cabin dating back to about 1790. In the early 20th century, an addition that is now the dining room was built. In the 1920s, a kitchen and library were added, and in 1938, major additions were done by noted Roanoke architects John Thompson and Randolph Frantz. The result of all this improvement by successive generations is a 6,133-square-foot home featuring six working fireplaces, five bedrooms, four full baths and two half baths, and a layout filled with charming nooks and hidden staircases. Add to that acres of lush landscape to explore, and you have the perfect set-up for the Chisoms’ family of five. Kathy says, “We thought it was a great place for three young boys to play.”
A brick pathway leads off to a courtyard in front of the living room, while a second path leads to the kitchen entrance, which is the one the family uses regularly. The current kitchen design is thanks to the Logans, who bought the property in 1983 from Joe’s aunt, Maud Logan Hopkins. Maud married Garland Hopkins in 1916, not long after he had purchased the property, which was then an orchard. The Hopkins ran “Garland Orchards” for many years, and “Mrs. Hop” was responsible for much of the home’s 20th-century renovations. The kitchen was actually remodeled twice during Joe and Laura Logan’s years here, and if most of the house retains its historic character and style from Mrs. Hop, this room has all the comforts of modern living. The space is airy and fresh, with high ceilings, walls washed in pale green, and polished Saltillo floor tiles accented with black diamond inserts. Near the entry is a family command center outfitted with a cork bulletin board, outlets for charging electronics, and storage cubbies for mail and personal items. The eating area features a farmhouse table surrounded by chairs finished with a distressed green paint. The Chisoms bought the set 20 years ago, and Kathy had seat cushions made from fabric purchased at The Second Yard. She had the cushions laminated and states that, having raised three boys, it was one of her best decorating decisions.
The kitchen features granite and butcher block countertops. White custom cabinetry offers ample storage space, and the central kitchen area is flanked by a pantry on one side and a wet bar on the other, offering even more cupboards. Modern amenities include a Dacor six-burner gas range, Bosch dishwasher, Subzero fridge, warming drawer, prep sink and convection oven. The backsplash above the stove includes hand-painted tiles the Logans bought in Italy. The tiles, featuring farm scenes, inspired Laura to paint a matching mural along the front of the kitchen counter, certainly the room’s most charming feature.
The arch and keystone above the range echo other arched doorways in the house, which were installed by Maud Hopkins during her 1938 renovation. According to Laura Logan, Mrs. Hop took a trip to Williamsburg with the architects, Thompson and Frantz, to point out all the things she liked. Arches, along with old-fashioned door hardware and hinges, are the result of this visit, along with the home’s distinctive short, wide doorways, and wood paneling. Near the wet bar, a slightly crumpled oil painting of the
Eiffel Tower has a funny backstory. Kathy bought it on the streets of Paris and says, “I was running across the Champs-Elysees with my sister, and it dropped and got run over. So I had to smooth it back out, but I saved it.” Another piece depicting a scene from Pawleys Island is by well-known Roanoke artist, Eric Fitzpatrick. Eric is a friend of Jim’s, and several of his works hang in the house.
The kitchen leads to the formal dining room, which the Chisoms believe was added onto the log cabin in the early 1900s. They are unsure of its original layout and how many rooms it encompassed, but today it is an expansive space over 27 feet long. Apart from its size, the most stunning aspect of the room is the Bailey & Griffin hand-blocked wallpaper, with a matching drape framing the window. The Logans purchased it through Stedman House to replace the original hand-painted silk wall coverings whose tropical scenes had become extremely yellowed over the years. A Queen Ann cherry dining table rests on a vegetable-dyed Oriental rug that Kathy and her father purchased at Green Front Furniture in Farmville. Although the table seats eight, at Thanksgiving and other family events, the Chisoms often host 20 to 30 guests by adding several additional tables to the room to accommodate everyone. Their home is the gathering spot for their extended family. “It’s wonderful for holiday eating because you can all be together,” says Kathy.
The crystal chandelier above the table is a French antique ordered from California, and complements a pair of antique bronze crystal sconces that flank the buffet and are original to the room. A large gold mirror looks vintage but was actually purchased at Reid’s Fine Furnishings, an example of the Chisoms’ careful blending of old and new. Other finds come from local estate sales, such as the antique cherry corner hutch with wavy glass, purchased in Raleigh Court. Jim says, “It was one of the first things we bought after we were married. I was cruising down Grandin Road and saw signs for an estate sale.” An early 19th-century lady’s writing desk was purchased at the estate sale of Sally Fishburn Crockett, a Roanoke civic leader and philanthropist.
Two sets of French doors lead to the library, which was built in the 1920s. “We spend a lot of time in here,” says Kathy, “It’s a nice place to read.” The room is long and narrow, and the walls are lined with built-in bookshelves and six-over-six windows, whose slightly wavy panes are topped with grasscloth shades to filter the ample sunlight. A pair of lounge chairs are from Reid’s Fine Furnishings, while other pieces are from Logan Furniture, the store relatives once operated in Salem. (In fact, Andrea Reid Waide, owner of Reid’s, worked at Logan Furniture before going out on her own when the shop closed.) Kathy has added several personal touches here, painting the interior of the bookshelves a classic hunter green and outfitting the window bench with custom cushions made of silk fabric purchased from The Second Yard. In front of the bench is a chess and checker game table which Jim says has been the site of “epic battles” between their sons. During the holidays, the bench offers extra seating, particularly for game spectators, and is also a favorite spot of their youngest son. The library shelves are filled with an assortment of antique books and objects garnered from estate sales or passed down from family. The Berber carpet is from Carpet Art Home Accents and Design in Daleville. Owner Sandra Harter helped the Chisoms with several carpets and area rugs in the home.
The focal point of the library is the wood-burning fireplace. The mantel, along with a few others in the home, is pine and was purchased by Mrs. Hop from an old house somewhere in Botetourt County. Mrs. Hop was evidently a fan of repurposing materials; some of the brick used in her 1938 renovation was acquired years earlier from much older buildings—supposedly from Washington and Lee University—and stored on the orchard grounds until needed. “She was green before green was cool,” says Jim.
Above the fireplace is an impressionist painting by Radford-based artist Mei Shui, who is also the wife of Dr. Z.L. Feng, a fellow painter and Radford University art professor. The Chisoms have one of his watercolors above the mantel in their living room, which is located on the other side of the dining room. (Both the dining room and living share a wall with a small office whose footprint is the original log cabin.)
The living room measures almost 30 feet long, and was built in 1938. The Chisoms painted the walls in Benjamin Moore’s “New Chestnut,” which sets off the dentil crown molding and complements the warm tones throughout the space. An Oriental rug from Olde Salem Furnishings frames a furniture grouping that includes a round tufted ottoman, antique cream armchairs in the style of Louis XVI from Present Thyme, and a sofa that rests beneath a massive gilded mirror. The impressive mirror, whose scale, detail, and slightly tarnished silvered glass declare it a piece from a bygone era, is a family heirloom from Philadelphia. It has been hanging in the same place since 1938, and Jim and Kathy joke that there are decades of photographs showing various family members on various sofas beneath it. Furnishings also include a pair of antique leopard-print chairs, also from Present Thyme, and a pickled wood chair and ottoman covered in toile that the Chisoms had custom-made about 25 years ago.
The couple is particularly proud of a walnut armoire that Kathy and her cousin, Rob Logan, found at an estate sale. Rob, whose parents owned Logan Furniture and an antique store, immediately recognized a gem in this battered armoire. It is an early 1800s piece that breaks down into sections, as it was originally designed to be transported on wagon trains. Rob convinced Kathy to buy it, saying he knew a man at Logan Furniture who could restore it, and today it is in pristine condition.
The large fireplace, with a white custom wood surround, houses a pair of large brass andirons. Dr. Feng’s watercolor has pride of place above the mantel. The room also features an oil pastel by Roanoke artist Bonnie D. Burt, and an oil portrait of their oldest son at age four, done by the late portrait artist Dottie Pierce of Salem. Similar portraits of the other two boys also hang in the home.
At the far end of the room, three steps lead to the back quarters of the house, which contain four of the five bedrooms. The first belongs to their oldest son, who is now at UVA, and has another fireplace with one of Mrs. Hop’s pine mantels. Down the hall is the master suite, a light-filled room painted in “Friendly Yellow” by Sherwin Williams. The cherry four-poster bed is from Olde Salem Furnishings, and the floral linens are from The Second Yard. A yellow chaise rests in front of the fireplace, above which is a painting by the late Salem artist Harriet Stokes, a wedding gift.
A large window looks out onto the formal boxwood garden, designed in 1938 by landscape architect Albert A. Farnham, who also designed Hollins University’s Beale Garden and the garden at the historic Rockledge home on Mill Mountain. The garden has been the scene of at least six weddings for nieces and great nieces of Mrs. Hop. Several of the boxwoods are over 200 years old, and during the Logans’ time, several aged specimens in the central parterre were replaced with bulbs and red-bark maples to open up
The Chisoms renovated the master bathroom two years ago, replacing a smaller version by knocking out walls and incorporating an old sewing room. The work was done by H.M. Darby Construction of Roanoke, and the stunning result is a spacious bathroom complete with Picasso travertine floor tile from Valley Tile, and granite double sinks by Premiere Stone Fabrication, both of Salem, plus cabinetry from Restoration Hardware, chosen for its resemblance to the fireplace mantel. Jim says, “We were looking through magazines trying to get ideas, and saw the cabinetry and said, ‘That’s the mantel!’ Why try and have something made when it’s right there?”
The pièce de résistance is the 9-foot walk-in shower—Kathy’s request—that boasts rain showerheads, two sets of four body sprays, plus a handheld spray. A soaking tub sits next to the shower, with a hotel towel rack on the wall above. The bathroom also holds some of Jim’s favorite artwork, several watercolors he found during a 50th birthday trip to Scotland with three of his best friends.
Heading back through the hallway that leads to the master suite, Jim opens a small door to reveal a surprising set of winding wooden stairs. This is the secret entrance to the upstairs wing where the two younger sons’ bedrooms are found. Gabled ceilings, leaded glass windows, lacrosse sticks, wood paneling with built-in shelves, a fireplace, and even a cozy built-in bed give these quarters a classic lad feeling. The two bedrooms are linked by a hallway filled with dormer windows and six cedar-lined closets. The amount of closet and storage space is unusual for a home of this era—yet another example of Mrs. Hop being ahead of her time.
The last of the home’s five bedrooms can be found by returning to the kitchen entry, where a covered walkway leads to what used to be the office for Garland Orchards. These days it is a guesthouse complete with a wood-paneled living room with fireplace and large TV, as well as a kitchenette, the bedroom and a bath. Jim jokes that it’s the most coveted guest quarters during family get-togethers. During other times of the year, Kathy says it’s a popular spot for teenage hangouts and slumber parties.
The covered walkway is lined on one side by a spectacular gnarled wisteria, which the Chisoms believe was planted around 1939. Beyond it, the backyard is a brick patio with an in-ground pool by National Pools. The Chisoms redid the pool with Italian tile to complement the patio space and surrounding rose and perennial gardens designed by Chip Callaway of Charlotte. A fun feature is a row of fountain jets concealed in the adjacent raised bed, which shoot streams of water into the pool, and is how the pool is actually filled.
The Chisoms point out that during their years here, apart from the master bath renovation, their main focus has been on preserving the home’s beauty while updating items such as the heating and cooling system to make it more energy efficient. They added custom shutters designed to match the original ones of the home and completed extensive interior and exterior painting. Much of the restoration was done by Joe and Laura Logan, who not only installed new wiring and plumbing, but also reclaimed the garden from honeysuckle and wild grape vines, and added more plantings. There are over 5700 trees on the grounds, and the property has been featured in Roanoke’s Historic Garden Week Tour four times (1948, 1955, 1970 and 1990).
Jim and Kathy say their many fond memories of time spent at Garland Orchards inspired them to purchase the property seven years ago. They have enjoyed continuing the family gatherings and holiday celebrations, as well as making new memories with their boys, and hope that their conservation efforts will help protect the beauty and history of the property for many years to come.
Artist Bonnie D. Burt, Artist Dottie Pierce, Dentil Crown, Grasscloth, H.M. Darby Construction of Roanoke, Hollins University's Beale Garden, Labradoodle, Logan Furniture, Mill Mountain, National Pools, Sherwin Williams, Steadman House, Travertine Floor Tile
Here’s to Joe and Laura and Jim and Kathy for taking Mrs. Hop’s home and updating it.
She would be very proud of what you have done.