Room To Grow

Transforming an 1850s rectory into a rural retreat proves irresistible for designer Daniel Moore.

Cavernous ceilings form a memorable entry to the white stucco rectory Daniel Moore shares with his partner Shawn Cox in Hume—uncharacteristic as they are for an 1850s dwelling. 

But their 11-foot height—built to welcome patrons from nearby Leeds Episcopal Church—proved an ideal fit for Moore’s six-foot-three frame and his even bigger vision for transforming the home.

“One of the nice things about this house is it wasn’t built as a house,” says Moore, an interior designer who found the property and its extensive gardens irresistible. “A typical farmhouse from that period would have had much lower ceilings.”

Daniel Moore

Though the 2,500-square-foot structure has been occupied as a home since the 1950s, the accommodations were too monastic for modern living by the time the couple bought it in 2011. In addition to adding a bathroom and powder room, Moore reconfigured the floor plan with a few simple tweaks. A master bathroom became en suite by moving a door, and French doors now encourage dinner guests to spill from a refurbished kitchen into the garden. 

“When I’m designing a house,” says Moore, “the possibilities are endless, so you have to create some rules and constraints. I decided to pay attention to this specific context—in the middle of the Old Dominion hunt country.”

Moore and Cox sold or loaned Asian pieces that had decorated their previous home in an effort to honor the area’s deep equestrian heritage. 

They also redesigned an early 1990s addition to the rectory, replacing baseboards, doors and hardware—“Everything was made to look like it was part of the original thought,” Moore says.

A large white porcelain tub inspired the couple to design a bathroom around it, using Arabescato marble. In the kitchen, they added soapstone countertops sourced locally in Virginia. “The counters are called ‘Old Dominion,’’’ says Moore. “That speaks to me.”

This article originally appeared in our 2018 House + Garden issue.

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