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A Designer's Dream

Family that built house on 6-acre estate in Clifton must say farewell to dream home.

Teri Capps' home is her castle, and sadly, soon it will belong to someone else.

After spending most of the past four years dreaming, drawing and designing her home, the Brigadoon VI on Henderson Road in Clifton, Capps, her husband, Bart, and their four daughters are moving to Chicago, where her husband's company has been relocated.

"This house took so long to do," she said of her 18-room, 14,000-square-foot estate in Clifton, each room decorated to the nth degree in complementary but varying patterns and colors.

From the hand-selected stones that cover the front of the house and its sandstone staircase to the symmetrical windows; the personally drawn and individually painted stencils on tiles in the bathrooms and hallways to the lodge-themed basement decor — not a square inch of this home hasn't been injected with some of Capps' personality.

"We thought we'd be living in this house forever. We invested our life savings and our lives into this home," said Capps, an interior designer by trade. "I had dreamed that maybe, one day, one of my girls would want to live here with her family."

Since her husband told her of the relocation to Chicago, they considered keeping the home. He would commute, they thought, coming home on weekends and whenever he could to be with his five girls. But eventually, Capps said, they realized it wouldn't be fair to their daughters to miss out on playtime with dad because of a house.

"He's a very hands-on type of father and I appreciate that, being a working mom myself," she said. "It just wasn't a realistic thing to do."

Now the Capps are selling their home, the Brigadoon VI, so called for the 6 acres of land it sits on, the six people who live there, and called "Brigadoon" for the mystical land that appears every 100 years, unchanged by time.

"Clifton is Virginia's Brigadoon and it just seemed to fit," said Capps, who designed the mud room of her home with Americana themes to pay homage to the tiny town with which she's fallen in love.

THE CAPPS family relocated to Virginia from Ohio in 2000, and Teri Capps found the opportunity to take all the ideas for her ideal home and make them a reality. After being shown homes in Great Falls and McLean that weren't quite what she was looking for, she asked if there was any other place where she could build the home she'd always wanted. She discovered Clifton by accident.

"I wanted to take some clients to a nice, elegant place for lunch and someone suggested the Heart In Hand in Clifton, and when I came here, that was it," she said with a big grin. She had found not only the amount of land she'd been looking for, but the energy and atmosphere she'd wanted to make her dream real.

As president of the Teri Capps Interiors, she is accustomed to interviewing clients before starting on a project. She sat down with her husband and daughters, ranging in ages 5 to 21, to discuss how they envisioned their home.

"They all had fun participating, but I had the final say," she laughed.

The impact of her husband's suggestions are most apparent in the office she designed for him, with columns and replications of the Declaration of Independence paying homage to Thomas Jefferson and his beloved University of Virginia, where her husband went to college.

Their shared love of Virginia is tucked away in tiny details, like squirrels that make their way onto hand-painted tiles in the kitchen and sitting room on the first floor and in Capps' favorite room, a bathroom in the basement that showcases an oak leaf-tiled shower with acorns and squirrels everywhere.

Every part of the home has Capps' professional detail in it, from the painstakingly pieced-together wainscoting and moldings to the custom-cut grill work on the walls of the formal entrance.

"As a designer, you visualize a lot of stuff," she said, sitting on a deep red couch in her living room. "I had in mind exactly what I wanted. I always envisioned having a big family and I had hoped this would be our hub during the holidays for many years."

The idea of having to sell her home used to make her cry, she said, and the thought of someone else living there, maybe changing her dreams, still makes her uneasy.

"I don't know what's in store for us," she said, adding that there's no possibility of trying to recreate her home in Chicago. Most likely, the family will look into purchasing an older home and modifying it to meet their needs.

"I like the feeling of living in a home, knowing that you're a part of something that has been here long than you and will remain after you've moved out," she said. She has the same hope for her home in Virginia.

CAPPS' TALE is not without a bright spot, however: she was recently contacted by Barbara Corcoran, a real estate "powerhouse," to feature her home on Corcoran's show "Hot Estates," which will air on the Fox News Channel.

"She is a real estate mogul. She's worked with everyone from Donald Trump to big name celebrities," Capps said. "Someone from her show called me up and said they were doing a piece on great estates and had found our home on the Web site. She thought my house was magnificent and wanted to feature it," she said.

Over two hours of footage was filmed for the installation, which will air during Corcoran's show on Friday, Dec. 23, at about 11:45 a.m., she said.

"It's an honor to think someone like her knows the value of my home, both for entertaining and for living," Capps said. "People have a hard time trying to balance both of those things and in this interest, I've been told I've been able to do it and do it well."

Carolyn Pollack, a producer with Barbara Corcoran Productions, said the show usually gets referrals for properties from Realtors, but Capps' home "stood out" when she found it while searching the Internet.

"I found this home as a fluke," Pollack said. "I love how much detail she put into the home, in every inch. She obviously has a passion for the home and for Virginia."

Pollack said she showed the Web site to Corcoran, who "fell in love with it" and contacted Capps about being on the show.

"We do a segment every week and we feature three homes from around the world," Pollack said. "Each home gets about a minute of footage and Barbara will talk live about each home when the show is on."

A home from Connecticut and one from Minnesota will also be featured along with Capps', she said.

"It amazes me that Teri is selling her home, she's obviously put so much love and passion into it," Pollack said. "The house has a very old look for a new home and she pulled it off beautifully."

One person Capps credits with the interior of her home is Tim Knepp, a Manassas-based artist, who painted some of the murals along with the mud room in the Brigadoon VI.

"Teri developed the house as a show house for her interior design work and it just turned out amazingly well," Knepp said. "Many people don't think about incorporating art into the design of their home the way she does."

Over the course of a year, Knepp worked on murals throughout the house, including the livestock featured on a portrait of the University of Virginia in the foyer and a smaller scale portrait of the campus in the upstairs office.

"I really hope the house stays together," he said of the future owner of the home. "The whole house was so much fun to do, there's just so much detail. Every time you turn a corner there's something new."

Sandy Payne, a painter with Canvas Sky in Sterling, said she was "very happy" to be involved with "such a special project."

During the seven or eight months she and Knepp worked on the home, Payne focused mostly on the mural in the foyer of UVA and the map of Virginia that sits at the top of the staircase near the master bedroom.

"This was a larger project than what I usually do," Payne said. "It was definitely a collaboration, but we would make some samples of murals and show Teri to make sure it was what she had in mind."

Payne also painted the portrait of a cherub on the ceiling near the master bedroom, modeled after the Capps' youngest daughter, Emma, who was only a year old when work began on the house.