Vacation Homes: River and Coast

When these locals need an escape, they head to points south.

Judy and Dusty Rhodes’ riverfront property in Montross, Virginia | Photo by Helen Norman

To the River

It’s been 38 years since Cherrydale residents Judy and Dusty Rhodes bought property in the tiny town of Montross on Virginia’s Northern Neck, not far from where the Potomac feeds into the Chesapeake Bay. But Judy still describes the place as a best-kept secret.

Nautical elements include a vintage boat wheel and canoe paddle from Currey & Co. | Photo by Helen Norman

“I love the idea that everyone who lives there doesn’t want anyone else to know about it,” she says. “It’s less than two hours from Arlington by car, but when you get there you’re in another world. The pace slows down to nothing. There are sandy beaches with lots of places to explore by boat, not to mention great fishing, crabbing and shark’s-tooth hunting.”

Driftwood mirror from Currey & Co. | Photo by Helen Norman

The Rhodes’ 2,400-square-foot cottage has a charm that befits its sleepy setting. Built in 1979 on a shoestring budget (about $100,000), the four-bedroom abode has a few eclectic parts, including a newel post and stair railing salvaged from an Arlington home that was torn down to make way for Bluemont Park in 1978. “We call it ‘the house of found objects,’ ” says Judy, an interior designer with Whittington Design Studio in McLean. (Dusty is a retired shop teacher and builder.) And those found objects are ever evolving.

In the living room, painted wicker chairs complement an antique wood table, which the designers outfitted with casters for easy moving | Photo by Helen Norman

Principal Melanie Whittington, who has a summerhouse in the same area, played a hand in the cottage’s most recent refresh. “This go-round, we added fun color and contemporary furnishings on the main floor,” Whittington says, “and we redid the galley kitchen. Mostly, we kept things easy and airy, keeping the eye on the spectacular views.”

Photo by Helen Norman

With its shiplap siding and maritime touches, the space has a carefree aesthetic that feels like vacation. The furnishings are a blend of vintage, antique and flea market finds. “We use it a lot and love to share it with friends and family,” Judy says. “It truly is a multigenerational house.”

Photo by Helen Norman

Project Credit
Whittington Design Studio

Categories: Home & Design