Washington Life Magazine
Washington Life Magazine
Where Foxes Rest . . .
and So Does Everyone Else
by Sherri LaReaux

More than just foxes stop to relax at Foxes Rest in Bluemont, Virginia, just outside of Middleburg. Thegraciously sprawling, stone-covered home of Central Casting Agency's Dagmar Whitmer and Mike Turner hasalso become a refuge for old wooden carousel creatures, as well as a Jack Russell terrier named Maxie.

In the relaxing, raspberry-striped living room, multicolored wooden horses recline opposite a fancifulgiraffe, while a wooden rabbit leaps through the bars of a glass coffee table. The latest piece inDagmar's collection is a 200-year-old German primitive rocking chair, which joins the other animals inthe living room. There's a jovial pig on the wall of the kitchen, and a lion in the master bedroom. Inthe bar, a wooden horse in mid-stride commands the wall above the French windows which overlook apeaceful valley below. And directly across from that horse is a painting of two carousel horses escapingthe confines of their ride and dashing off into the gray-blue skies.

These touches of animal whimsy delight, as well as suggest, that the couple are a couple of kids atheart. Mike, a champion equestrian rider, still takes off into the woods to fox hunt. He is also thefounder and owner of the Snickersville Hounds. Dagmar likes a good ride on a horse every once in a whiletoo-particularly if it's a wooden one. The exquisite collection of wooden animals, most of which Dagmarobtained at auctions, serve as interesting accent pieces in each of the very different rooms theyinhabit.

Because every room in this hillside home has a unique theme, the house lends itself to relaxation for anyand all visitors. "I have no [one] style. I like everything," insists Dagmar, whose flair for amusing andlively decorating is mirrored in her memorable fashion displays at local horseraces. "I think places thathave only one style get boring." Case in point: her living room is decorated in a plethora of eras anddesign styles which in her competent hands, merge most harmoniously. A Queen Anne chair is placed near aFrench commode, and two dark Tudor-style chairs are contrasted against cream-colored desert reeds in thecorner.

Pass from the living room through the foyer fast enough and you may miss the fact that the marble room isnot marble at all. The octagonal space is painted in a faux-marble finish. The walls of the den arewarmed with rich pinewood paneling placed horizontally all the way up to the vaulted ceiling, with Mike'sfine collection of duck decoys perched on shelves across the wall. There, Dagmar and Mike's lovelyhodgepodge design techniques continue, with Indian rugs warming the walls and floors. The pine panelingis also in the dining room, here whitewashed, where Dagmar sets out black-and-white checkered placesettings of Mackenzie Childs.

Dagmar's favorite room, the downstairs bathroom just off the foyer, has the feel of a sunny autumnafternoon. In addition to sponge-painted yellow walls, with a leaf and acorn trim around the ceiling,Dagmar's three prized paintings-turkeys which seem to have human traits-fit perfectly in the largetriangle-shaped room. One of the large paintings shows a picket line at the Morandi Packing Co, Inc.,where angry turkeys hold signs declaring: "We Will Prohibit Christmas," "Drumsticks are Un-American," and"Outlaw All Cooks!"

Dagmar and Mike's home is an elegant retreat which now always manages to bring surprised smiles to itsvisitors' faces-but it wasn't always that way. About 13 years ago, Mike came to the house prepared topurchase a riding lawnmower. While he didn't purchase the lawnmower, he did purchase the house. Thestructure, however, had been neglected for some time, and Dagmar, who would have preferred the lawnmower,refused to move into the house until it was fixed up. A year and a half later, with much help fromneighbor and interior designer J.R. Miller, Dagmar is proud of her country home, where foxes and sundryother animals come to rest.


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