A Delaplane couple enjoys the good life in a home of elegance and efficiency which provides a perfect location for their fundraising initiatives.
By Maria Massaro
If walls could talk, they would likely express their appreciation for people like Tully and Lauren Krastins, owners of a truly unique home in which beauty, utility, and ingenuity come together in a most welcoming way.
Completed in 2003, the 4,800-square-foot stone and stucco house has two levels, six rooms, and 73 framed windows, each capturing a view that is redolent of a Wyeth painting. The Krastins worked with builder Calvert Clark of Warrenton and architect John Tingley of Nokesville to design a home that combined the styles of Frank Lloyd Wright and Sarah Susanka, bestselling author of The Not So Big House: A Blueprint for the Way We Really Live. “Her specialty in architecture is using the eye to deceive the concept of space. As a result, she uses texture to draw things out and to minimize the feeling of boxes and walls,” said Lauren of Susanka’s knack for designing a dwelling to perfectly suit the way its occupants live.
Bookended by personalized private areas, the sleek common area holds a mammoth Wright-inspired fireplace composed of 22 tons of stone and mortar. The clean, spacious, and efficient design of the house extends to the kitchen and walk-through pantry, both of which Lauren customized to facilitate her culinary feats and alleviate the aftermath of formal meals: “It takes fifteen minutes to clean up the kitchen, even after a major dinner. That’s how fast you can clean it up. That was one of the joys of moving in.”
Constructed with convenience in mind, the home also has wheelchair access, extra-wide hallways and doorways, and whole-house vacuum and air filter systems. Moreover, its many windows and soffits keep the place cool in summer and warm in winter. “The home was designed to be what we would call an ‘easy keeper,’” said Lauren. “It’s designed to be enjoyed, to be simple to keep clean and keep up. It’s just very easy living, and it all flows. Since we’ve been here, it’s just been incredibly comfortable.”
With serendipity playing a role, Lauren’s contented home life was actually sparked by a sense of constraint. With a business requiring ample and fertile ground, Lauren and her late husband felt they had outgrown the land on which they were breeding Missouri Fox Trotter horses. “We thought of ourselves as refugees from Loudoun County,” she explained. “We had a farm up in Hamilton, and it was getting terribly crowded. Many of our friends were looking for other property, and so were we. Things came together, and we found this property, which was the right place at the right time.” Good luck, good timing, and a lot of research guided them to Delaplane and an ideal spot to relocate their farm, aptly named Arbormont (Latin for “a quiet place of trees and mountains”).
Not ones to simply adapt to a spec home, the couple was intent on creating a utilitarian yet organic abode that was in harmony with their personalities and surroundings. “When we sat down with the architect, he insisted we do bubble diagrams,” Lauren continued. “That kind of diagram is where you just draw a circle of where you spend time—in the bedroom, in the kitchen, in the library, on the patio. Then you go back to this every day for about three weeks to a month, and the more hours you spend in a room, the larger you make the circle. Well, at the end of the month, what you have—and it’s really not as intuitive as you think—is a diagram of how you live your life in your home. And that’s how we came up with this home.”
Now semi-retired, Lauren devotes herself to meaningful and rewarding projects that reflect her flair for business development and her love of nature. She splits her time between outreach work for Hospice Support of Fauquier County and two home-based businesses that she co-manages with Tully, her husband of two years. Also segueing into retirement, Tully remains just as busy as his wife, maintaining the grounds and making repairs as needed on the couple’s 53-acre property, which now doubles as a tree farm and horse boarding facility. “It’s a rhythm,” remarked Lauren on the rewards of farm life. “If someone likes to be an observer, this is a good place to be, because after a while you sense a different rhythm, a rhythm that engulfs you. Yes, it’s challenging and it’s hard work, but it’s also very fulfilling.”
Adjacent to Route 66 and nestled in between three wineries, the bucolic property is the epitome of prime Virginia real estate, a huge perk that is not lost on Lauren. “I love that it’s in the middle of horse and wine country in northern Fauquier. It doesn’t get better than that,” she says.
And with a 1,400-square-foot patio encircled by a panorama of pristine pasture, the residence also serves as an ideal venue for the socials the Krastins host to benefit veterans and their families. With their last event attracting over 200 people, they are primed to hold another one in the summertime and are currently working with neighboring Miracle Valley Vineyard to organize a barbeque and wine tasting fundraiser on behalf of the Wounded Warrior Project and Hospice Support of Fauquier County. While charity may begin at home, the Krastins show it also begins with a home.
When asked about particularly special memories attached to the house, Lauren thoughtfully noted, “the abiding laughter and joy of all the people we’ve been able to share this with. When people start driving up the driveway, there is a sense of tranquility right off the bat, even before they see the house. We felt that way as well, which is one reason we have always felt a commitment to share the house and the land, because people need that.”
And upon entering this remarkable residence, visitors are reminded that a home is more than a carefully constructed edifice of stone and stucco; it is also a manifestation of our values, a catalyst for our greatest work, and a means for expressing our best selves. For the Krastins, home is indeed where the heart—and soul—is.