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Photography by Michael Patch 

Boonsboro House Curated to Create Beautiful Moments

They say, “home is where the heart is,” and my heart truly lives in this home. In 1994, my mother, Patsy Pollard Wilkinson, purchased the 1927 brick house with a slate roof, located near what was then the Oakwood Country Club golf course. It was the perfect fit for a hard-working single mother, her teenage daughter and their faithful Labrador retriever. 

Patsy, otherwise known as Mom, was originally an art teacher in Lynchburg City Schools, after being an art major in college. She grew up surrounded by a family of women who loved to garden and make their homes beautiful. Her grandmother and mother both had extensive gardens, and Mom proved to be an apt pupil when it was her time to learn the ways of flowers. 

Upon moving back to Lynchburg, Mom purchased The Flower Pot in 1988. She was the sole owner of this business, which consisted of a plant nursery, landscape design services, antiques and floral arranging, for almost 20 years. Many homes and businesses in the community were touched by her garden design influence. In 2007, her home was open for the Garden Club of Virginia’s Historic Garden Week Tour. Most recently after retiring, she has returned to her love of painting and actually has time to work in her own garden (as well as mine). 

Welcome home
Nicknamed “Cobb Webb Cottage,” Mom’s home is truly her own work of art. A greenstone walkway leads guests to the Chippendale front door, painted the same green as Poplar Forest. Mom enlarged the front stoop in 2019 to allow more than one person to stand on it at a time and to make the entrance more noteworthy. At the front of the yard, the home features an antique wrought iron fence, which Mom had stored for 20 years, waiting for the perfect place to use it. Mom traded a pig farmer a landscape design consult for the fencing, which accentuates the cobblestone-lined semicircle driveway that she added for more parking once I started driving. 

Upon entering the front hallway, original hardwood floors come into view. The pale green walls have an unusual accent of rope fabric trim lining the molding. Antique botanical prints hang on the walls going up the centrally located stairway. The living room and an enclosed porch reside to the right of the front hallway, while the dining room, den and kitchen reside to the left. 

An original wood-burning fireplace provides the focal point for the living room. Mom painted an abstract, done in all the colors of the room, which hangs above the mantel. It is flanked on either side by a pair of antique crystal sconces. Rose Medallion and Canton plates and Staffordshire figurines sit atop the mantel. Two pale green chairs, echoing the green in the hallway, sit on either side of the fireplace and face a sofa covered in blue and white floral fabric. This sofa fabric is repeated in the curtain panels. A deep blue art deco oriental rug grounds the sitting area.

In the course of a weekend, Mom painted tone-on-tone yellow stripes on the living room walls. This gives more dimension to the room and allows the artwork to really stand out. Original paintings of pastures and gardens dot the striped walls. A 1700s cupboard filled with a large collection of Rose Medallion sits along the back wall. A glass front antique hanging corner cabinet highlights even more of collection. 

Artful living
Back in the 1990s, Mom enclosed what once was a side porch. This light-filled room flows off the living room, and its brown-painted walls allow the large antique Gould prints of birds to really shine. A black chinoiserie mirror, inherited from her mother, sits above a curved table, with small-scaled original paintings by Douglas Cave on either side of it. Imari plates rest on the many tables in the room, along with antique leather books. Mom purchased an antique jelly cupboard in Appomattox that sits along the back of the room and provides loads of storage for the space. A handmade dollhouse also lives in this room. Mom’s Uncle Harry, modeling the design after our first home, constructed it. He made all the furniture and his wife Sally needlepointed all the rugs for it. It is one of Mom’s most special treasures in the house. 

The dining room flows off the front hallway to the left. A small oval pedestal dining room table sits underneath a crystal chandelier that was a gift to her mother back in the 1950s. The antique inlaid sideboard was also inherited from her mother. A funky gold mirror with sprays of flowers bursting from the top resides above the sideboard. Sterling dishes and Bok Choi vases and plates round out the accessories on top of the sideboard. An 1800s grandfather clock from Franklin County is set to the time my daughter Lawson was born; a grandmother’s love never wavers. 

Mom’s portrait, done by artist Janet Roller, hangs on the dining room wall as well. She is holding her favorite Ginny doll in it, which I am also holding in my portrait, done by Barbara Mayer. It hangs in the living room. Mom and I laughed, thinking about how we both had to actually sit for the portraits. Mom was bribed with being able to play with a cat afterwards, and I was bribed (by her) with being able to pick out a new Barbie doll. The horrors of having to sit still definitely scarred both of us! 

The dining room leads into a cozy den with watermelon pink walls. A second fireplace, with gas logs that Mom had installed, can be found in here. An antique oil painting of sheep in a pasture hangs above the mantel. This painting was done in the 1800s by a Maryland artist and originally had a small hole that Mom had repaired. Majolica plates and a real bird’s nest sit on top of the mantel. A sofa covered in yellow chinoiserie fabric faces the fireplace. On either side are two antique inlaid mahogany tables, inherited from her mom.

Local original artwork, hung in a gallery style, covers the walls. A built-in cabinet, which Mom added back in the 1990s, resides to the left of the mantel. Along with providing storage, it is a resting place for sterling picture frames with family photos. A collection of Mark Twain books is also on display here. Twain’s mother was a Bedford County “Pollard” (Mom’s maiden name), and he often came to the area to visit her. She loves the family link to him. 

The dining room also connects directly to the kitchen. In 2006, Mom updated the room, installing white Shaker-style cabinets and green silestone countertops. The porcelain sink sits beneath a window that overlooks the glorious backyard and the deck. Like the den, the walls are heavy with local original art and a few more of Mom’s pieces. Blue and white transferware platters are displayed inside the glass cabinets. A smaller set of steps connects to the main stairwell in here as well. The wall-mounted kitchen phone used to hang here, and I remember twirling that cord for hours, talking with my friends. 

Upgrades — inside & out
Right after updating the kitchen, Mom added on a new full bathroom to the back of the house. This was an upgrade from the original half-bath that used to be right off the kitchen. The thought was that a main floor bath, with walk-in shower, would be great in her older years. The blue-and-white color palette mimics the colors in the kitchen. A pantry incorporates vintage shutter doors and provides much-needed storage that the small kitchen could not accommodate. 

The upstairs of the house consists of three bedrooms and a full bathroom. The main bedroom houses a Craftique four-poster bed as well as an antique chest-on-chest with blue transferware platters sitting on top of it. The chest of drawers in the room was Mom’s very first furniture purchase after she graduated from college. Black-and-white formal photos of Lawson, Mom and myself hang above the chest. 

Mom hand-painted flowers onto the twin bed in the front bedroom. Built-in bookshelves hold a collection of leather-bound books and majolica. A sweet green vanity table has pink flowers painted on it and a stool covered in green zebra fabric sits under it. A sterling tray with brushes and perfume bottles lies on top of the vanity. The third bedroom also has a twin bed, painted green. Above it, hang original oil paintings by Douglas Cave, as well as antique French peacock plates. Yellow swag wallpaper provides a geometric backdrop for the artwork. The slant-front desk that sits in the corner was a Christmas gift from her mom. 

The yard is constantly evolving. With the boxwood blight, Mom has redesigned the front yard three times. Mom says, “Spring is my favorite time of year in the garden. The Lenten rose and daffodils put on a show that can’t be beat.” Antique climbing roses grow up the back wall, and a stone patio, surrounded by lilacs, leads into the backyard from the basement door. Peonies from her grandmother, hostas, phlox and boxwood make the yard feel like a dream. A personal favorite of mine is an engraved stone, a holdover from her days at the shop, which says, “Unattended children will be planted.” Nailed it! 

As I grow older, I find it ironic that home was a place I could not wait to leave when I was younger and now it is all I want to get back to. I am so lucky to have grown up in Lynchburg, but especially in the house that my mom made into a home. I can only hope that the home I am creating for my family will be as special as the one Mom created for me.

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