With quarantine restrictions continuing to lift throughout Northern Virginia, a day of fresh air (and wine) could be the perfect escape from what’s become the new normal during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Luckily, Loudoun County is home to some of the finest wineries in the country. Here are three of our favorite wineries in Northern Virginia and why you should visit them.

Stone Tower Winery

19925 Hogback Mountain Road, Leesburg, VA 20175
stonetowerwinery.com

Stone Tower Winery is a picturesque destination for weddings, social events, or a laid back weekend with your family and friends. Mike and Kristi Huber chose to sow their vineyard into their roots on Hogback Mountain in Leesburg, Virginia with a very specific mission in mind: to produce world class wines, handcrafted from their estate vines. The choice of location on Hogback Mountain was very intentional because mountain vineyard sites have proven to be resilient to Northern Virginia’s high rainfall and humidity, leading Stone Tower to the creation of numerous award-winning wines. If you’re in the mood for a red, Stone Tower loyalists recommend the Estate Hogback Mountain; and for those looking for a white, try the Wild Boar Sauvignon Blanc. Our favorite is the Wild Boar Brute Rose Sparkling.

Quattro Goombas

22860 James Monroe Highway, Aldie, VA 20105
quattrogoombas.com

Italian for “four close friends,” Quattro Goombas’ founders Jay and Jody DeCianno and David and Carole Camden wanted that tradition of friendship to reign true at their beautiful property just off of Route 15 in Aldie. Quattro Goombas is more than just a winery: it’s a place where close friends and family come together to enjoy great wine, great brews, great pizza, and even better company. On these hot summer days, you can kick back with your close friends and enjoy a red wine frappe made with Cabernet Sauvignon and a handmade pizza from the Quattro Goombas Pizza Kitchen. Summer Friday’s have started with live music as well as food and drink specials—what a great way to kick of the weekend!

Fabbioli Cellars

15669 Limestone School Road, Leesburg, VA 20176
fabbioliwines.com

In 2001, and a decade’s-long dream, Doug Fabbioli and Colleen Berg planted their first vines in southern Lucketts, sowing the seeds of what would become one of the most awarded wine operations in all of Virginia. Since 2012, Fabbioli Cellars has seen nearly 40 wines receive Virginia Governor’s Cup medals, five of which were gold. Two of those wines—a 2011 Tannat in 2014 and a 2012 Cabernet Franc in 2016—were placed in the Governor’s Case, a placement reserved for the top 12 wines in the state of Virginia each year. While neither the 2011 Tannat or 2012 Cabernet are available any longer, Fabbioli Cellars does have a 2016 Cabernet Franc Reserve, a 2018 Cabernet Franc, and a 2015 tannat available for purchase.

We’d love to explore Loudoun’s majestic wine country with you. What’s your favorite winery in Loudoun County? Let us know in the comments below, then let’s grab a glass or two.

Catching up with lender partner Michael Kenyon on the loan market! The market continues to shift amidst the COVID pandemic and businesses trying to get back to normal.

I recall reading somewhere recently that homes with a home office sell for 9% more on average than homes without.

This is not at all surprising, especially right now. At no time has a home office been more necessary. With so many people working from home — and many likely to stay in that routine even when, God willing, this pandemic is over — claiming a room or even a quiet “nook” as one’s workspace is essential. And, in fact, many households may need 2+ offices for working spouses and even kids.

Fortunately, there are some creative things you can do to repurpose space into a home office. Of course, if you’re lucky enough to have a home built with a room intended for a home office, that’s perfect. You can customize the space with cabinets or bookshelves — either built-in or freestanding — as needed.

Here’s an example of a “traditional” style office with some nice built-ins…

home-office-with-bookshelves

You can even claim a loft or “retreat” space and install some inexpensive shelving and a nook for a desk, as shown in this photo. By being smart about utilizing wall space in this way, you also leave plenty of square footage for a couch, as shown, or even other office furniture if you have multiple people sharing the space.

inexpensive-office-shelving

This particular loft is light-filled due to the skylights above and makes a quiet getaway for productive work-time, far away from any noise and chaos on levels below! You could even fashion a home office in an attic, providing you are able to finish the space with heat and air conditioning. With the desk off to the side, you have room for a comfy sectional sofa, too!

loft-retreat-home-office

If you’re limited on space in the home and need to have a “shared” workspace, I love the idea of this table with his/hers chairs on either side. If that’s too distracting for you, you can always situate his/her desks against opposite walls. It’s fun to put a small sofa, chaise lounge or comfy chair in this space as well — for times when you want to relax and read or just take a break from working at the desk.

His-and-hers-desk-in-home-office

One of my favorite home offices I’ve run across recently was the one below, in a model home. Upon entering the foyer through the front door, you see this “wall” of wooden slats. It affords a degree of privacy but allows some natural light to filter into the office and prevents it from feeling closed off. It adds a cool design element as well.

Home-office-with-wall-of-slats

Another favorite — for a relatively small space — was this long, narrow space off the front foyer fashioned into a home office.

Home-office-in-small-space

The office above is on the left once you walk in the front door, and I love the barn door that is both functional and decorative.

Barn-door-to-home-office

Here’s a third view of this room…The first thing you’ll notice when looking into this room is the functional bookshelves framing the beautiful window.

Bookshelves-in-home-office

And finally, there are always creative ways to maximize even little nooks like this one under a staircase (it reminds me of Harry Potter’s “cupboard under the stairs!”).  While not large, it’s functional and private — with few distractions.

desk-under-staircase

Similarly, many years ago we had one of two large closets in our older son’s room converted into a nook with a built-in desk and shelves above. After all, a boy doesn’t need two big closets! Our contractor removed the sliding closet doors and crafted a beautiful desk with file drawers on each side and shelves above — and with track lighting shining down on the desk. Our son has actually used this desk regularly over the years (especially when he was home from college finishing up the spring semester online!)

So, as you can see, all it takes is thinking outside the box. You needn’t have a big budget, either. Feel free to email me at [email protected] if you need some ideas of how to better utilize your home’s rooms as your lifestyle adapts to the increased amount of time spent at home.