It may be the Flint Hill Public House today, but there was time when locals knew our building as the Flint Hill School (1906 – 1960). As a matter of fact, the property still proudly hosts the original merry-go-round and playground slide.
The building became The School House Restaurant in 1992 and was a locals’ favorite dining spot until closing in 2008 as the Public House. Many who loved this important landmark were grateful when local businessmen William Waybourn and Craig Spaulding purchased the property and began an extensive effort to resurrect it.
Waybourn and Spaulding were dedicated to preserving the historic character of the structure, but also wanted to transform it into something creative, unexpected and modern. They hired noted Washington, D.C. architect Ernesto Santalla, and began a process that in the end exceeded expectation.
The complete renovation took the building down to the bare walls and included the moving of an interior stairwell to the outside to provide 24-hour access to the four luxury suites and lounge area on the expansive second floor – all of which can now be enjoyed privately by overnight guests of the Flint Hill Public House Inn.
Waybourn and Spaulding were committed to using American-made products whenever possible, and took great strides throughout the renovation to ensure the new structure would be an eco-friendly, green certified space.
The end result was a stunning modern interior cradled in historic character and charm. The open space, bright interior, and elevated ceilings are enhanced even further by the breathtaking artwork adorning the surround. Waybourn and Spaulding also own a hip art gallery in DC and wanted to be able to share their love of art with guests of the Public House. Some of the pieces on display are from their private collection, but several are available for purchase through their gallery – Long View Gallery, Washington, DC.
One of the most talked about works of art greets visitors at the entrance. Lovingly known as Paladin, this longhorn sculpture, completed by artist Bettye Hamblen Turner, is constructed of stainless steel and chrome that was repurposed from automobiles and motorcycle parts. Paladin measures 89” x 93” x 128” and is the perfect bold welcome required.
In the News
The Washington Post Magazine features owners William Waybourn and Craig Spaulding
With its welcoming front porch and flower-filled window boxes, the Flint Hill Public House exudes the country charm expected of a location in rural Rappahannock County, Va. Much of the onetime schoolhouse’s exterior was preserved when it was renovated as a restaurant and four-suite hotel.
On the other side of its red door, however, is a complete contrast to the early 1900s facade. Clean-lined, light spaces open up before visitors. White leather chairs rest on dark-stained wooden floors. Floor-to-ceiling mirrors reflect windows and decor. Colorful contemporary prints and paintings stand out on the smooth pale walls.
The interiors bring to mind a chic boutique hotel plucked from the city.
“We did everything we could to take the country out of the country inn,” says Washington architect and interior designer Ernesto Santalla, who directed the renovation.