They don't build farmhouses like this anymore. That's why these Virginia homeowners polished a rural gem back to perfection.

The story of this house starts with a generous gesture. Once upon a time, intern architect Julie Dixon's parents decided to build a family retreat outside of Farmville, Virginia. Before they could get started, Julie's father-in-law, Gene Dixon, surprised her parents by saying, "I own a house you can have, if you'll just move it." Julie's mom and dad, Jane and Lowry Kline, accepted the offer. They dismantled the nearly dilapidated frame house and trucked it, gable by gable, to a handsome site on their farm some 30 miles away.

Staying in Character
Julie and architect Keith Scott spearheaded the challenge of rebuilding, restoring, and expanding the old farmhouse. They reconstructed or restored each of its unique features, including the elegant staircase, the early mantelpieces, and the oldest section: a log cabin room. Salvaged materials, down to the handmade bricks, were reused for authenticity.

Julie and Keith designed a two-story addition that provides the bedrooms, baths, kitchen, and other living spaces the Klines needed. A new porch that wraps around the rear of the house creates exterior dining and seating areas. Anchored by a pavilion that resembles a simple farm outbuilding, the clean-cut pool presents beautiful reflections of the setting.

"2007 Southern Home Awards: Best Before & After" is from the October 2007 issue of Southern Living.