Inspired by American mills of yesteryear, architect Donald Lococo forges a Leesburg, Virginia, home that’s both rough-hewn and glamorous

Karl and Diane Kelley’s wish list for their dream house did not include a romantic ruin, though that became the inspiration for the glamorous Goose Creek residence they now enjoy.

The couple cast about for the right style in which to build  on a prized plot along this protected Potomac River tributary near Leesburg. When they chanced upon a sparkling rendition of a farmhouse by architect Donald Lococo, Karl Kelley was smitten—but the architect knew better.

“You don’t want this house,” Lococo said. “You want your house.”

And so began a months-long adventure in which desire was distilled from childhood memories of waterways past. Karl Kelley, a Richmond native who runs a strategic research consultancy, and the Canadian-born architect both grew up floating under old railway bridges and by remnants of

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