It’s a long way from London to the woods of northern Albemarle County. Paul and Ginger Ferrell lived in the British capital for 24 years, and as they eyed retirement from across the pond, they zeroed in on Charlottesville as the perfect place to relocate.
When asked if they considered living in town, they laughed. “No,” said Ginger. “In London we were only the thickness of two bricks from the neighbor, so we were ready for some space.” They bought a forested lot in 1999 and four years later were ready to hire an architect.
Ginger saw a Japanese-inspired house designed by Chris Hays, and she knew she’d found the right person for the job. For one thing, the Ferrells shared an interest in Japanese architecture. Hays and his wife Allison Ewing were then transitioning from posts at William McDonough and Partners to begin their own firm. “We didn’t have any preconceived idea of what the house should look like,” said Paul. “We left the design process up to Chris.”