One Couple’s Dream of Building a Custom Home

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Inn at Sugar Hollow FarmYears ago Dick and Hayden Cabell dreamed of owning and running a Bed & Breakfast.  They looked high and low for the right area – one that would offer year-round guests – and found beautiful Albemarle County in Virginia.  In pursuit of the perfect site, they happened upon an old farm along a country road, with a running stream, big mountain views and backed up to public lands, and a “For Sale” sign in the ground.  They looked at each other and knew they had found the place for their dream.

Wildflower Room Inn Sugar HollowThe project called for building the Inn, so they began the process of finding the perfect builder for their dream.  They researched 5 or 6:  meeting, calling references, calling folks from the building trade, seeing projects.  “We treated the whole thing like a grad school thesis,” laughs Hayden.  The Cabell’s had never built before so they were extra cautious.  Dick and Hayden were impressed with Smith & Robertson, who made every cut.  “Glenn was such a good listener – a very good listener – who never tried to sell us a bill of goods,” remarks Dick.  One afternoon, after the umpteenth conversation with a reference who spoke so favorably about Ron & Glenn, Hayden hung up the phone and shouted, “That’s it!  That clinches it!  We’re going with Smith & Robertson!”

Timberpeg Sugar HollowNow it was time to design the B&B.  Dick and Hayden had decided on a lodge-type building, but after some strategic design meetings with Glenn, it was determined that a better fit for their program would be a Virginia Farmhouse style, that could later be used as a family home.  They truly enjoyed the building process, and opened the doors of The Inn at Sugar Hollow Farm on Labor Day weekend 1994.  The Inn has been a resounding success, with the frequent comment:  “when did you renovate?” which makes Dick and Hayden smile.  They had achieved their goal:  to look and feel like an old farmhouse tucked into the landscape.  The quality of the detailing, the construction, and the excellence of the floor plan has led to many return guests and referrals to friends.

Timberpeg frame Sugar HollowTime passed and the Cabell’s were itching for a new building experience, a new project.  They watched their friends build custom homes with Smith & Robertson, many with beautiful timber framing, and were reminded of their attraction to the more relaxed “lodge-type” structure.  Dick and Hayden fell in love with the timber frame system of Timberpeg and dreamed of building one for themselves.  When an irresistible property just up the road came available, they grabbed it. 

Sugar Hollow master bedroomPicking the builder was a no brainer.  “They are the only one we wanted,” says Hayden.  “Glenn gets to know his clients so well.  Takes the time… he’s a very intuitive person.  We trusted him.  He knew what to suggest, knew our personalities.  It’s such a personal and emotional thing” (to build a house).  This time it was their dream home, a more creative project.  “The property calls for a home that would magnify the mountain views,” remarked Dick.  The design of Dick and Hayden’s new home is completely individual, and takes perfect advantage of the unique site characteristics, under the artistry of Ron.  The Timberpeg portion and detailing actually sings in these hills.  There are public rooms and private rooms and even a special balcony opening form the master bedroom to the great room, framing the mountains.  Protected by a tall forest canopy, yet open to a heart-stopping mountain view, the Cabell’s call their new home a “beach house” … “our vacation house in the mountains.”

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I am fortunate enough to be living in a house designed and built by Smith and Robertson. I absolutely love my house and wouldn’t change anything about it.

Andrea | Earlysville, VA

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