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Bleak Hill

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c. 1858. 215 Bleak Hill Ln. off VA 602, near junction with VA 640

One of the few Italianate Villa houses to command a view of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, this was the second Italian-styled house built by lawyer Peter Saunders and his wife, Elizabeth Dabney, on this rugged and isolated knoll. It stands on the site of a c. 1814 Palladian dwelling that burned in 1832. The present house is a simplified adaptation of Villa No. 1 from Minard Lafever's The Architectural Instructor (1850). The house has the characteristic Italian Villa L-shaped massing with a one-story Doric porch set in the reentrant angle. A heavy bracketed cornice supports a deep roof overhang. Rising from its deck-on-hipped roof are brick interior chimneys with clustered chimney stacks, each with four articulated flues. A number of outbuildings survive, including a frame cottage that served as guesthouse and schoolhouse, a brick kitchen, and a plank smokehouse with square corner-notching.

Writing Credits

Anne Carter Lee

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