WOW. This stunning estate deserves a little extra attention! Its history book-worthy provenance, exemplary architectural features, and massive acreage make for a once-in-a-lifetime buyers opportunity. We’re squealing “oooh” and “aaaah” at every detail – take a closer look with us!
Frascati is one of the Piedmont’s best-documented 19th century dwellings. The original building contract is preserved in the collections of the Virginia Historical Society and called for “exterior walls of the whole house to be faced with rubber stretchers well burned…” with the brickwork also “to be equal to any… at the University of Virginia.” It was designed by John M. Perry of nearby Albemarle County, Virginia. Perry was one of the master builders employed by Thomas Jefferson both at Monticello and the University of Virginia. Frascati’s Tuscan portico and classical detailing are Jeffersonian architectural characteristics. (Wikipedia)
It was built for Philip Barbour, Associate Justice for the Supreme Court. James Madison’s home, Montpelier, Jefferson’s Monticello, and James Monroe’s Ashlawn are all under 20 miles away from the property. It’s well situated amongst a veritable who’s who of spectacular historic properties, to be sure.
Video footage does wonders for communicating the scale of the 62.74 acre property – an idyllic, roaming slice of paradise in the Somerset area of Virginia’s Orange County. The original formal gardens still exist – with magnificent 200 year old boxwoods and extraordinary specimen trees.
Most of the acreage is open, high-quality pasture that is suitable for any agricultural pursuit. The gently rolling land boasts superb views of the Blue Ridge mountains and is surrounded by large farms. Frascati is protected with a conservation easement with the Virginia Outdoor Foundation and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.
The interiors are also worthy of protection! Drool-worthy details are offered in high volume. The main entrance has paneled double doors with a large, semicircular transom and complementing sidelights – all encircled with elaborately patterned wooden tracery. Gorgeous!!
The parlor exhibits extremely ornate plasterwork ceiling medallions and entablatures, the latter copied from a design in Asher Benjamin’s American Builder’s Companion (1806).
In addition to the manor home, the restored, rear summer kitchen now serves as a charming guest cottage, complete with kitchen, winding staircase, the original open stone hearth, and more.
A large and lovely Gunnite swimming pool is tucked away in a “secret garden” in the rear and there are several useful barns and sheds. If you’re looking for an equestrian property or an entertainer’s dream, this one checks both boxes.
Frascati was a large plantation, Phillip Barbour was certainly a slave owner, and the manor house’s incredibly well-executed build must be assumed to be, at least in part, the work of those forced laborers. Aside from the manor house, the rear summer kitchen is the only other structure on site that exists from that era.
The history of enslaved people in Virginia is well documented and presented at nearby Montpelier, which is owned and managed by The National Trust for Historic Preservation. We recommend a visit and tour of Montpelier, should you visit Frascati, to aid in a visceral understanding of the complex history of former plantations like this one and all of their inhabitants’ contributions.