Classic homes never go out of favor. They stand the test of time—and they defy time, allowing owners the privilege of stewarding the home through its next iteration.
Gallison Hall in Charlottesville, Va., is such a classic. The sprawling Georgian Revival estate has been called one of Virginia’s most important country homes of the 20th century, backed up by its listing on both the state’s landmark register as well as the National Register of Historic Places.
Gallison Hall, built in 1933, is grand but comfortable, the kind of place people can immediately envision themselves in: reading by the fire, hosting a dinner party, relaxing on the sofa. “The living space is functional and the flow of the house is just easy,” says Ann Hay Hardy of Frank Hardy Sotheby’s International Realty in Charlottesville.
Gallison Hall is on the largest lot in Charlottesville’s most exclusive community, Farmington. The residence is set on 43 park-like acres with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The University of Virginia and downtown Charlottesville are minutes away. “Nothing compares to the feel of a country estate with so many amenities at your doorstep,” Hardy says.
Everything about Gallison Hall tells a story. A wine cellar, home theater, and indoor pool pavilion proclaim a tradition of entertaining on a grand scale. Indoor tennis courts and a croquet field beckon as a place to play. A library and English-style gardens tell of quiet contemplation and country life.
The original owners and visionaries behind the home were Julio and Evelyn Galban. The couple spent years visiting colonial-era plantations, great houses, and mansions for inspiration, incorporating architectural details such as stacked chimneys, a marble entrance hall, and arched niches. They even referenced the 18th-century staircase design of Gadsby’s Tavern in Alexandria, Va. The tavern was a favorite haunt of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams.
The Galbans hired prominent and prolific architect Stanhope Johnson, celebrated for his luxuriously detailed buildings throughout the South. They also hired an equally celebrated landscape architect, Charles Gillette, whose fusion of formal 17th-century gardens with more natural 18th-century gardens produced an elegant regional style called the Virginia Garden.
Energy executive James Francis Scott purchased the property in 1992, added a pool pavilion and filled the home with art, antiques, and furnishings. A year after his death in 2017, Scott’s collection was sold at a Sotheby’s auction in New York. It included vintage arcade games, ancient Egyptian funerary masks, and signed letters from Thomas Jefferson.
Today, the furnishings are gone and Gallison Hall has been transformed. “Eclectic with a modern twist” is how Charlottesville-based interior designer Wendi Smith describes it.
The approach to Gallison Hall passes through stately wrought-iron gates, up a long tree-lined approach. “But when you walk into the home, you instantly realize anyone could live here,” Smith says. The formality fades away. “You immediately feel comfortable.”
The home’s large rooms feel warmer and cozier, brighter and light-filled. “There’s not one room you’re afraid to sit down in,” Smith says.
Opulent yet intimate. Bucolic yet in the heart of it all. “There is nothing like this on the market in Charlottesville,” says Hardy. “It’s really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”