Before + After: History in the Making

In the living room, the architects retained the essence of days gone by updating the wallpaper with a period-inspired print. Blue-and-white accents add to the story of this centuries-old abode. An alternate doorway to the right of one of the fireplaces replaced a small bookcase to increase flow and function and bring balance to the space.

Looks can be deceiving—or at least intriguing. Such was the case with Vaucluse, an estate located in Machipongo, Virginia, that featured a pair of matching porches and entryways. “When I first saw the house, I instantly fell in love,” says Stephen Muse of Muse Architects in Bethesda, Maryland. Homeowners David and Linda Rogers had a similar reaction when they came across the property. The surrounds were picturesque, and the structure was happily situated along Hungars Creek. However, further investigation revealed that much work was needed to make this house into a home.

The Rogerses had seen Muse’s work in a magazine story several years earlier and were aware of his expertise in renovating historic homes. So when they acquired Vaucluse, they enlisted Muse, as well as principal architect William Kirwan and staff architect Mary-Margaret Stacy from Muse’s firm, to transform the property.
“Driving over to the Eastern Shore of Virginia was like going back in time,” says Muse. “The house had a story to tell. Our approach wasn’t just to increase space or improve one area. We were thinking about how to make the entire house better. We wanted to know the history of the place to keep those important pieces of the story intact.”

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