In 2018, Gruver Cooley was asked to assist the Oak Spring Garden Foundation consolidate work space on the sprawling Mellon estate in Upperville, Virginia. The Foundation, which was established by Rachel "Bunny" Mellon to carry on her love of horticulture upon her death, needed a central headquarters for the many people who help manage and maintain the large property. Their desire was to create space which would improve staff communication and coordination and provide areas for meetings and meals. At the same time, the Foundation was cognizant of the need for any new facility to blend seamlessly into the existing agricultural setting. To achieve these goals, an old barn and silo were dramatically and effectively repurposed while a new barn wing was added to the structure.
Working with Architect Tim Clites of Middleburg and Gruver Cooley's Interior Designer, Cathleen Gruver, Foundation representatives created a highly functional space which seems as if it has always been a part of the historic property. The exterior of the two-story addition off of the silo is Hardiplank board and batten siding with a standing seam metal roof to match an existing barn. The silo was sealed, waterproofed and had two large windows with mountain views installed to convert it into a central dining and kitchen area. Interior finishes were chosen to provide continuity with other spaces on the property, brightness and durability. In the kitchen these finishes included custom white Shaker-style cabinets and low maintenance white speckled quartz countertops.
The finished product is a bright, functional and innovative space whose character perfectly reflects its deep roots in Virginia's hunt country.