List Price: $1.775 million
The Property: Some people bring home pictures of picturesque old homes they admired while traveling. Ted and Ellen Roberts of St. Charles went one better: they built a replica of the governor’s mansion in Richmond, Virginia, a Federal-style home that they happened upon on when visiting the onetime Confederate capital in the early 1990s.
Built in 1813, the Richmond residence is the country’s oldest state executive mansion still used for its original purpose. The Roberts’s home in St. Charles duplicates the mansion’s exterior and much of its interior, but with enhancements, such as a two-story central hall ringed on the upper floor by a wooden banister and crowned by a stained-glass skylight. (The central hall in the governor’s mansion is a one-story space.)
The Robertses have no connection to Virginia beyond Ted’s having done business there. Ellen explains that they were preparing to build a home for themselves on the Royal Hawk Golf Course in St. Charles and were looking at the Tudor homes on the North Shore (where they both grew up) for inspiration. But when they discovered Virginia’s governor’s mansion, designed by Alexander Parris, they asked their architect, Michael Dixon, to copy it.
Built in 1995, the Roberts’s home stands out from the multi-gabled brick look that typifies Royal Hawk and other large-lot subdivisions. The floor plan, too, stands out, thanks to that central gathering hall. Five second-floor bedrooms and a sitting room open onto it, “so our family all come together when we come out of our bedrooms,” Ellen explains. On the first floor, three parlors and a dining room open onto it as well, creating a nice flow for the many parties the family has hosted. The impressive dining room offers a broad view over the rear terrace to the lake and rolling terrain beyond.
As you will see in the video, Ellen Roberts takes pride in the many details that went into creating this modern-day replica of a historic home. One example is the skylight, which, instead of being leaded-in, has the glass laid into a wrought-iron framework, making it less expensive both to install and to maintain or repair. There are also nods to the desires of a modern family, such as a wall of lockers in the mudroom, a playroom in the basement, and radiant heat in the basement and garage.
Price Points: Having raised four children in the house, the couple put it up for sale in October. The house is one of 11 that are now listed in St. Charles with asking prices between $1.5 million and $2 million.