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Welcome to “Wilderness”

July 27, 2011

Oh, do I have a treat for you! The amazing Gleason from Gypsy Lady Designs is back with a visit to the home of Stephen Ramsey, an antique collector and dealer in Virginia. Stephen invited Gleason over to explore and photograph his never-before-documented homestead. This is part 1 of a three day series and I have no doubt you’ll be as spellbound by Stephen’s home and graciousness as I am.


Wingina, Virginia is a real place. Located in Buckingham County and tucked away in the hills between Charlottesville and Lynchburg, Virginia, it is full of undeveloped land, rich in local history and home to few residents. It may be less than an hour from my hometown but I had never heard of it until meeting Stephen Ramsey. Stephen was a customer at an antique mall I used to manage in Charleston, South Carolina. Finding out that I grew up down the road from him—as well as the fact that we are both passionate antique collectors—made us instant friends!

Last fall I roped my Momma into spending a day antiquing with me, driving from Lynchburg to Charlottesville with a stop to see Stephen at his home. We pulled down a gravel road surrounded by woods and entered a beautiful open field with two gorgeous homes and a handful of construction workers running around rebuilding a chimney. Stephen made us coffee and gave us a tour of his home and his antiques that were for sale. Well, I was captivated! Not only by his home but the gorgeous pieces of our history that he surrounds himself with on a daily basis. Stephen could have easily been an interior designer. He decorates with extraordinary antiques but the way he displays them makes you feel relaxed and right at home.

I have a feeling that this passion of his runs thick in his bloodlines, like mine. His whole family seems to be in a field that relates to the past—antique dealers, antique boat restorers, log cabin preservationists and the list continues on. They all seem to live in houses that date back to, at least, the 1800s and requiring their blood, sweat and tears to preserve them. Stephen collects from wherever and whenever he can—estate sales, auctions, antique stores etc. His collection is Southern American antiques and he also has a love for anything discovered in nature. I would describe Stephen as a kind, quiet, Southern gentleman, with an unforgettable Virginia mountain accent. After each visit, I leave in awe of the knowledge just passed on to me and hopeful that there is something I am able to share with Stephen as well.

Following Stephen’s annual Boxing Day party this past December, I asked him if his house had ever been documented. When he responded no, I offered to come back and photograph it, and he kindly obliged. I returned this past spring and spent over four hours capturing every little nook and cranny.


Welcome to “Wilderness,” tucked away on twelve acres of woods and hills, built in 1780 by the Jones family, of Wales. In 1855 the Cabell family purchased the property and then it became Stephen’s in 1996, and he has called it home since.

With the grounds covered with as many gems as the interior, you can’t help but try to take in every inch.

What a wonderful collection of millstones. My Momma was drooling!

Even the barn has character.

Momo, the horse, saying hello.

Twinkle, the donkey, shying away.

The property cemetery is filled with beautiful headstones and history buried deep.

The arrow rock was given to Stephen by a nephew, who discovered it under a building’s foundation that he was restoring.

More Exterior Details…



Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow

Images via Gypsy Lady Designs

7 Comments leave one →
  1. July 27, 2011 3:58 pm

    This is AMAZING!!!!

  2. Liz permalink
    July 27, 2011 9:03 pm

    Oh my gosh – I am the “Momma” written about in this article and, even though I have been to Stephen’s house, I can’t wait to see the next edition of this blog. Stephen is truly amazing in his collection of saleable antiques. They are exquisite and he is reasonable for what it is he is selling. The pictures shown in this blog are amazing and I can’t wait to see what else Gleason has to offer about this piece!

  3. Lauren Kaeser permalink
    July 27, 2011 9:35 pm

    I always enjoy Gleason’s guest posts…can’t wait to read the follow up!


  1. The Interior « Salvaged Grace
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