I am nearly a lifelong resident of Northern VA and have been a real estate agent in the area for nearly a decade.
I have been inside of 1,000s of homes in the area, and 100s of neighborhoods in my life.
All of them have some features that make them unique. Different styles of homes, locations and neighborhoods built in various eras.
But there are a few neighborhoods that are so unique that they deserve extra attention. They are special not only to the residents that make up the neighborhood, but also to the greater community.
These neighborhoods are true gems, rich in history and feature homes that have styles that are rarely found in as you tour through Northern VA.
Holmes Run Acres, a mid-century modern neighborhood in Falls Church, is one of those gems.
Holmes Run Acres offers you a chance to own a piece of architectural history, a time capsule that captures a significant and unique era reflected in your home.
Because of its uniqueness, steps have been taken to make sure these homes are preserved.
Mid-Century Modern Homes
Mid-century modern (MCM) homes in America were designed and constructed after WWII, and the peak was in the 1950s.
The movement had a variety of influences. In Europe, many architects fled to the US and brought the Bauhaus modern architectural style from Germany.
The work of Frank Lloyd Wright, a pillar in American modern architecture, also has its stamp in the MCM homes. He also trained many of the architects that became known for MCM construction.
The design of MCM homes have very distinct features. These include:
- Low roofs
- Modern architecture style
- Floor to ceiling windows
- A focus on nature and outdoor spaces
- Efficient, open floor plans
- Minimalist design
Homes were built during this period all over the country, with the largest concentration being the west coast (particularly California).
MCM homes are rare for Northern VA. Only a small handful of neighborhoods have true mid-century modern homes.
Homes For Sale In Holmes Run Acres
Whether you are a enthusiast of the architecture, appreciate the wooded park-like setting or just want or just want a minimalist home that is convenient to everything, here is your opportunity!
The list will update as homes come on the market in Holmes Run Acres.
The History of Holmes Run Acres
There are 355 homes in Holmes Run Acres, built by three separate builders. The neighborhood was constructed between the early 1950s through the early 1960s.
Luria Brother’s Homes pioneered construction and the vision of Holmes Run Acres. Holmes Run Acres was a chance to own something different than the colonial and traditional homes that made up a large portion of the VA at the time.
Luria Brother’s Homes sold the remaining lots to Gaddy Homes, who continued the homes in the MCM style. The final builder, Bodor Homes, completed the community. Most of the homes were built by Luria and Gaddy, and Bodor is estimated to have built 13 homes.
Each builder has slightly different models, and the footprint of the homes got slightly bigger with each change of builder.
You will see as you drive down the streets of Holmes Run Acres the different homes. Some are 1 level built on a concrete slab, quaint and compact. Others are 2 (or in rare occasions 3) levels with an attached garage.
The interior of the homes is everything you would expect from MCM, with beautiful wooden vaulted ceilings, plenty of natural light through large windows and a heavy emphasis on outdoor areas.
Nature is a central focus in the neighborhood, keeping the essence of the MCM movement front and center. Many homes have gardens and plenty of mature trees, easily in view from large windows.
Construction in Holmes Run Acres
In a popular area like Northern VA, neighborhoods have a way of turning over as time goes on.
Pimmit Hills is one such example. There, the small 1950s ramblers are slowly being replaced with larger, more modern homes of various styles. There are tons of other examples where older homes are razed for new construction in closeby neighborhoods.
In Holmes Run Acres, there is a strong desire by many homeowners and other real estate enthusiasts to keep the mid-century modern homes in tact, roughly as they are or modestly expanded within the MCM construct.
How can this be done? The answer is to protect it via a Historic Overlay District. As of 2021, Holmes Run Acres is in the process of going through the application to get approval for this.
Historic Overlay District
In Fairfax County, a Historic Overlay District gives additional guidance (on top of zoning regulations) on what can be constructed in a given district, and also what that construction will look like.
The purpose is to protect areas of cultural and/or historical significance, both for the sake of the residents and the community at large. There are several Historic Overlay Districts in Fairfax County already. For example, Lake Anne Plaza in Reston (another display of modern architecture).
These districts are identified by a map, and then are governed by a set of ordinances. You can view the County’s existing Historic Overlay District ordinances here.
To build or make improvements to buildings (or other structures) in these districts, it must go before an Architectural Review Board (ARB). The ARB then determines if the proposed project will get approval or not.
The purpose of the Historic Overlay District and the ARB is, generally, to make sure that improvements in a given district are compatible with the design and architecture of the rest of the district.
So if Holmes Run Acres were to join the list of Districts, then an ARB would make sure that projects stay in line with the mid century modern architecture of the neighborhood.
MCM Additions in Holmes Run Acres
Many homes in Holmes Run Acres are compact. The 1 level Luria model is under 1000 sq ft of living space. For many people, this is welcome and prefer simplicity of a smaller home to a larger home.
However, some homeowners need more space, and/or more functionality.
The good news is, Holmes Run Acres is proof that you can have a mid-century modern home and expand it in a way that it retains the historical charm.
There are examples in the neighborhood of homes that have been expanded and still kept the low profile and mid century clean look. Both interior and exterior.
Some great examples are the projects in the neighborhood designed by Cook Architecture. Cook has done projects both in Holmes Run Acres and the surrounding Northern VA area, specializing in modern and mid century modern style.
Cook’s homes are everything you would want to find in a mid century modern home, with modest expansion and design to maximize the living space.
If Holmes Run Acres is successful in the pursuit of the Historic Overlay District designation, improvements that keep the look and feel of the neighborhood intact will become the norm.
Top Reasons To Live in Holmes Run Acres
• Historical Significance. Not only do you get a home, but an architectural landmark of a bygone era. Holmes Run Acres was also placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.
• Living with nature. True to the spirit of the mid century modern movement, natural beauty and the outdoors are pillars of living in Holmes Run Acres. You will see this even just driving down the streets and looking at all the diverse trees, plants and attractive landscaping.
• Strong sense of community. Their is a strong sense of community with lots of pride of ownership.
• Focus on preserving the architectural integrity. The Holmes Run Civic Association and many of the homeowners are focused on preserving the homes in the neighborhood in a time where there is ample redevelopment of surrounding areas.
• No through streets. This seems small, but it is actually a big deal in your day to day life. The neighborhood has 4 entrances off of Gallows Rd. There is no other way to enter or exit the neighborhood. This cuts down on traffic travelling through to other main roads or neighborhoods.
• Parks. There are several parks nearby, and Luria Park is a nice little haven located in the back of the neighborhood off of Executive Ave.
• Holmes Run Acre Recreation Association. Available to purchase memberships, amenities include pools, events, picnic area, basketball court and more.
• Providence Rec Center. Run by Fairfax County, you can also purchase memberships to this rec center. It has an indoor pool, sport courts, fitness center, classes and more. It is a quick drive away, and if you are up for a stroll you can walk their through trails adjacent to Holmes Run to the north of the neighborhood.
• School access. Woodburn Elementary School is conveniently located within the neighborhood. Falls Church High Schools is to the north, adjacent to the Rec Center.
• Inside the beltway. If you are not yet familiar with Northern VA, “inside the beltway” refers the neighborhoods and areas that lie within the DC side of 495. This means the neighborhood is easily accessible to the highway, and offers quick access to major commuter routes and nearby towns.
• Dunn Loring Metro. The orange line stop on the metro that runs into DC and other major arteries of Northern VA is a short drive away.
• Merrifield and Mosaic District. This is a top destination if you want to go have lunch, dinner, meet friends, see a movie or go shopping. The Mosaic District is a short drive north on Gallows Rd.
Holmes Run Acres Civic Association
Holmes Run Acres has an active Civic Association. They organize community events, hold board meetings and are instrumental in looking out for the best interest of the neighborhood and the historical significance.
To learn more information about the history of Holmes Run Acres, current events and more visit their website. They even have a guide on how to add improvements to your home using while keeping the mid century modern integrity intact.
Get in Touch
Are you interested in buying a home in Holmes Run Acres? Or, has the time come for you to sell your property? Get in touch with me today using the form below.