Quietude is a historic property in Hanover County, Virginia. The main house was built in the early 19th century, and has been home base to old Virginia families, enslaved women, a Confederate infantry captain, and a handwriting expert whose testimony played a part in the famous Lindbergh kidnapping trial in the 1930s. When you walk through the home, you can feel the layers of history left there by the broad swath of people who inhabited it. After the house lay dormant for some time, Gananath Giri came along in 2016 and purchased the place with the vision of turning it into an educational center with self-guided tours and classes for others who are interested in restoring historic homes. For now Quietude is a work in progress, which they let me document for a day. Conservation work has to be slow and careful, yielding progress by degrees. On this cold and surprisingly snow-laden January day, a volunteer had driven out from the city to help with various projects that needed both her work and her artist's eye. By the end of the day, the house was better off than at the beginning. And so life moves forward.
Benson, a pup who was there with his owner. Since puppies and historic homes don't mesh very well, it was a more restful day for him.
Rolling out the floor mat for work - this would have been the 18th century solution to not having enough money for super fancy flooring. It's like a really sturdy canvas that is painted to look like marble (read: colonial linoleum).
Kristin, the super-talented artist in charge of making the floor mat.
Snow day sight at the end of the foyer.
Upstairs, where you can see more of the literal shape/bones of the house.
The crew made us a meal straight out of colonial recipe books. As Gananath told me, recipes back then were more of a baseline; cooks used whatever ingredients/spices/sweeteners were available at the time.
Bean fritters frying up.
After lunch, Gananath took me on a walking tour of the property and all of the outbuildings.
I was a little startled to see a face in the window, until I realized it was just a painting.
Looking down into the well.
Back inside, working on beautifying the parlor.
Gananath is an ordained Hindu priest, adding another layer of history and culture to the house.
Some staircase still life to send you on your way. Thank you to Gananath and the Quietude team for having me!