The architectural wood in the top of Will and Teri Fry’s front door does not spell out a “V” for the University of Virginia, as the UVa enthusiast across the way teases. Neither is it a “VT” for Virginia Tech, as other neighbors have suggested. The design is a custom touch to a front door that promises an even more special interior.
The Frys – he is a surgeon and she is a former physical therapist – relocated to Roanoke from Colorado three years ago. At first they searched for a home to buy, but were unable to find just what they wanted. Their “required” checklist included a first-floor master bedroom, a combined kitchen, dining and living area and extra attention to energy efficiency through the use of natural materials and geothermal heating.
After a futile home search, the couple turned to Brent and Suzi Fortenberry, builders-developers of The Preserve at Two Ford. The southwest Roanoke County neighborhood marries Old World craftsmanship with smart technology and energy management. Teri Fry drew on her Japanese heritage to help the Fortenberrys design a contemporary home with an Arts and Crafts feel and a decidedly Asian influence.
The Fry home has been christened Cherry Blossom Cottage for its Zen style. (All homes at the Preserve have botanical names.) Its landscaping pays tribute to Japanese style gardens with pathways, a waterless boulder and sand garden (a Karensansui) and natural plantings.
Beginning with the front door created by Swede McBroom of the Natural Woodworking Co. in Floyd, the house has many lines that draw on a “cloud lift” design. This design, in which there is a rise in a horizontal line that’s formed by two connecting arcs, is reminiscent of Asian architecture. It was represented by The Gamble House Museum in Pasadena, Calif., designed by Charles and Henry Greene, who are considered leaders in the Arts and Crafts Movement.
The open floor plan has been carried out with sustainably harvested hickory floors, solid cherry interior doors, base molding and banding and natural stone. Light fixtures are handcrafted as is the vanity in the powder room. The cherry and walnut vanity was created by Phoenix Hardwoods in Floyd.
“I was shown the wood the vanity would be made from,” says Teri. The center doors of the piece gain their design from the highly striated crotch wood of the tree trunk. The piece is reminiscent of work by George Katsutoshi Nakashima, a Japanese architect and furniture maker who was another of the “fathers” of the 20th-century American craft movement.
From the entrance to the home, a visitor can see the full living, dining and eating area and, with a short movement, also be aware of the guest powder room to the right of the entrance and the doorway into the master suite to the left just beyond the glass and stone slab granite fireplace.
The spark flame fireplace sends up a rich ribbonof flame that not only looks good, but warms anyone standing nearby. Will spotted a similar gas fireplace on HGTV and decided they should add one to their home.
The large television above the fireplace is also easily seen from the galley kitchen, with its commercial grade appliances that include a wine refrigerator. A handcrafted walnut bar top is a nice contrast to the granite countertop and the glass and stone tile backsplash.
To the left of the kitchen, a large pantry can be entered through a shoji screen door. The screen in this door and one in the master bath are acrylic rather than rice paper.
At the back of the kitchen, a hallway leads to the garage and also houses a combo mud room and shower for the family dog, and sometimes for Will Fry upon his return from an energetic trail ride on his bike.
At the other side of the house, a master bedroom suite includes a bath with soaking tub and steam shower and a walk-in dressing room. It also has a glass door leading to the screened porch. All doorways are 36 inches wide.
Stairs to the second floor are just to the right of the entrance to the home. The steps’ hickory treads and cherry skirts offer an eye-pleasing contrast. Upstairs are a den with ceiling speakers, two guest bedrooms that share a bath and another bedroom with private bath. This room is occupied by the couple’s son on his breaks from college.
The entire house is wired for whole-house music, but rooms include iPod docking stations so that each person can play his or her special selections. The son’s bathroom even has an iPod dock.