Here are some images from a few projects in Albemarle County, Virginia done over the last few years:
Blue Ridge Farm
Cory Gibson and I did this project together. He and I first worked together in France in the summer of 1979 when I was working on a recording studio for for the Monty Pythons. Cory was traveling and had my address from a mutual friend in Charlottesville. I needed some help and Cory was willing to work. Since then we have worked together over the years on larger projects. The stone is called Catoctin Greenstone and is unique to this area. I furnished the stone from my own source in the Blue Ridge Mountains to match the original work in place that was built with mountain stone. Extremely hard, it is hard to work with hammer and chisel, and must be laid up more or less the way you find it, so finding good shapes is the key to good work. There is another stone typical of the area of the Piedmont at the foot of the mountains that is a brown granite. Back in the 1970s, before commercial stone companies began carrying building stone, these two types of stone were about all we had to work. Now I think I am about the only one still offering this native mountain stone and willing to work with it. Even though it is notoriously hard to work with, it does make a beautiful wall when laid up carefully. Here are some other examples of our work at Blue Ridge farm in some pictures Cory took:
These last few images show some of the brown granite stone that we used to restore and add to some existing walls at Blue Rige Farm that had been built with stone from the fields on the farm. I furnished the matching brown granite stone we used here from my own property in Albemarle County. We restored the terrace paving using the original Blue Stone from the 1920s installation designed by Charles E. Gillette.
In these last images you can see the raised joint we were asked to use to match some of the surviving original work. This was a typical local style in the early and mid 20th century. The General Contractor for the landscape and outbuildings was Chris Pax, who was a pleasure to work with. The architect in charge of the project was Madison Spencer who kindly listened to me when I proposed the idea of battering the entrance columns to make a more dramatic appearance. Mr. Spencer and his highly professional and supportive staff provided invaluable assistance with full scale drawings we were able to use for tracing the templates for the serpentine walls.
Farmington Country Club
Cory and I have done several projects together at private homes along the golf course at Farmington. For these I recommended the use of the buff colored Ohio Limestone. This is a project designed by John Rhett, architect to replace a circa 1960 retaining wall that had begun to fail. We suggested the use of the limestone as pavers in borders and bands in the driveway.
This is another project at Farmington, designed by Madison Spencer, architect. Cory and I did the excavation and concrete work as well as the block and rock work. It gave my old farm tractor quite a work out! We rented a small track hoe for the final shaping and used my tractor to move the soil out of the way. This project was challenging because of the elliptical curves and battered walls. This required elaborate overhead templates and strings to define the shape of the wall in space so we could set the stone for the desired result. Again, Mr. Spencer and his staff provided invaluable assistance with full scale drawings for the templates and with ready answers to our many questions. Cory and I were particularly pleased with the result of this collaboration.