New modern house at Byrd Park hits the market for $2M

The modern-design house at 810 Westover Road. (Jonathan Spiers)

As Timothy Zingg was building his new modern-design house overlooking Byrd Park in the past two years, one question he said he kept getting from passers-by on the street otherwise lined with century-old homes was: “Is this a house?”

The rectangular-shaped structure at 810 Westover Road, facing the park’s Shields Lake, could have been mistaken for an office building as Zingg and collaborator Chris Wolf were overseeing construction, doing a lot of the hands-on work themselves, they said.

“I get it,” Zingg said of the recurring question. “Most of the time, it just looked like big rectangles of voids, open spaces, which in theory it is. But once you get into it and once you start to feel and walk around the house, you start to understand it and it becomes more comfortable and more cozy.”

Timothy Zingg, left, and Chris Wolf designed the house and steered its construction. (Jonathan Spiers)

The duo behind 7 Doors, a local design shop ranging from homes and interiors to furniture design and fabrication, recently listed the 4,600-square-foot house with an asking price of just under $2 million.

They listed it with Remington Rand of Rand Properties, who said the price tag takes into account the time and expense put into the project, as well as a lack of comparable homes in the area. While some modern-design homes have popped up in the neighborhood in recent years, Rand described the Westover house as without peer.

“The house doesn’t really have any other comparable properties in the city,” he said. “When you look at the location, the amount of capital that was put into it, including how expensive the lot was to begin with, you have to start recognizing that we are unique and we are the comparable house.

“We needed to put it in a place where it was going to get the job done but also set the bar for what the Richmond real estate market is willing to do for a unique, modern, one-of-a-kind house.”

Years in the making

The house represents a trial run of sorts for Zingg, a Chesterfield native with a background in restaurants whose interest in interior design has led him toward homebuilding.

Having designed and built another modern-style house on Hillwood Road in the West End that he makes his residence, Zingg, 51, said he originally eyed the Westover lot for his home but ended up holding onto it until the real estate market picked up. He and his wife purchased the land in 2006 from local contractor David Gammino, whose residence next door had included the lot.

City property records show the lot was purchased for $300,000. The latest city assessment valued the 0.35-acre property and house at $1.02 million.

The house was listed April 27 after two years of construction. (CVRMLS)

Zingg said he had helped Gammino renovate his home when the opportunity arose to purchase the lot, which he said Gammino had been eyeing for a house flip. Zingg said he valued the lot for its view of the park and initially envisioned it for a more-traditional architecture style.

“We were getting ready to go to permit with it, and I just didn’t want to do it,” Zingg said. “In my heart, I wanted to do a modern house, so we decided to scrap that project after a year of development and go with modern.”

Working with Wolf, 39, a local architect whose experience includes a stint at Midlothian-based Balzer and Associates, Zingg said they designed the two-story house to take advantage of the view of the park and surrounding trees, with lots of floor-to-ceiling glass and windows bringing in plenty of natural light.

Zingg said the design mixes several architectural styles, including International, Bauhaus and Mid-Century Modern, with large-scale, linear spaces accentuated with high ceilings and oversized doors, and detailed minimally with wood furniture that he and Wolf designed and built largely themselves.

“Flow and layout were really the most important things for us,” Zingg said. “Knowing a family is going to buy the house, it was important for me for that family to really be able to engage that park every day, from almost anywhere, because that’s what that lot is about: the park.

“The last thing you want to do is close that off, so we didn’t have to think about it much,” he said. “It was meant to be glass, and we just had to figure out how to get as much glass as we could in a house and still make it elegant and inviting and warm.”

Floor-to-ceiling glass fills the ground floor with natural light. (CVRMLS)

Hands-on project

Warmth is achieved literally through the home’s concrete floors, which are heated along with an attached two-car garage. LED lighting and other systems controllable by phone are used in the home, which includes a sprinkler system and backup generator.

Pullout cabinets in the kitchen are camouflaged in the walls, and the upstairs is filled with three bedrooms and bathrooms. An additional bedroom and bath are located downstairs, on the other side of a covered patio and courtyard that the horseshoe-shaped floor plan wraps around.

While Zingg and Wolf contracted out certain parts of the project that required more hands, they said they handled the bulk of construction themselves with help from friends and colleagues, hence the amount of time put into the project. While construction started in 2017, they said design work began three years before that.

The horseshoe floorplan wraps around a covered patio and courtyard. (CVRMLS)

Having self-funded the project, Zingg said how it sells could determine if more home collaborations are in his and Wolf’s future.

“We just have to see how this one goes,” he said.

Since listing the house April 26, Rand said he’s received some inquiries and lined up appointments to view the property. He created a website to market the house, which he’s targeting to out-of-towners from New York or the West Coast who may be more familiar with modern-style homes.

Modern-design homes have been popping up in unexpected places in Richmond of late, with several developers fitting the style into established neighborhoods.

In and around the Fan, developer Bill Chapman added a row of modern homes along a stretch of Floyd Avenue, while Danny Meyer of Dallan Construction tucked six modern-design townhomes between two alleys near Cary Street Station. Daniel & Co. is planning a similar infill development consisting of 18 modern townhomes at Cary Street and Shields Avenue.

Put on the market April 27, the Westover house joins a select group of Richmond-area listings priced at or above $2 million.

They include a West End house owned by members of Richmond’s Valentine family that recently was listed at $2.49 million. Last week, a 5,200-square-foot Tudor-style house on Riverside Drive hit the market at $3.19 million, while the 10,000-square-foot Windemere mansion at 5501 Cary Street Road was listed in April at $3.4 million.

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17 Comments on "New modern house at Byrd Park hits the market for $2M"

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Frank Smith

I think the design is poorly thought out. There are so many things which could have contributed to a “modern” home of this type. It does look like a commercial property.
For example, the cantilevered second floor looks like an abortive attempt to get away from the obvious ‘box’ here. I guess my whining is really that there is nothing interesting to look at, and nothing innovative.

Nick Feakins

I can appreciate all kinds of architecture and design, but it looks like a cross between a McDonald’s and an office building. I certainly don’t see anything close to $2m here.

Michael Dodson

This will never sell it for $2 million. As a Byrd Park resident this is way off the price point with even the larger homes on Lakeview and Westover. Exterior beauty is in the eyes of of the homeowner but I agree it looks commercial. Homes near CCV of similar size and on bigger lots are $500,000 less. And if you want a laugh/scratch your head moment look at the listing and especially the cabinet the stackable washer/drier is located. It looks either cheap pine or particle board on the inside.

Garry Whelan

The company might wish to pivot away from residential towards public. Put some double doors on the front side of the entrance ‘porch’ and this would make a fantastic front entrance to a middle school.
I see more Modern Mall Frontage and Early 2000s VCU influence than I do MCM or Bauhaus.

Jeff Howard

My first thought was… looks like an elementary school from the outside. Second thought…. wow the interior (mainly cabinets and doors) looks extremely cheap.

Jake Germel

Do realtors/sellers/builders pay bizsense for these marketing pieces?

Robert A. Steele, FAIA
Robert A. Steele, FAIA

As architect, there is so much to be celebrated in a modern design. The challenge for an architect is to create something that elevates that conversation, rather than diminish. Sadly, too many believe “modern” is nothing more than an application of material or a configuration of space and mass that is lacking in purpose. Such is the case here. This is not architecture. This is not modern. There is so much that is great about modern architecture. It pains me when it is suggested that something this ill conceived is deserving of the title.

Patrick Farley

Byrd Park is widely appreciated for its eclectic character, but the words applied to this particular addition to the neighborhood don’t comport with the outcome in any way…also, there must be a misprint on the construction start date as I am certain that I was regularly driving past it as curious onlooker in 2015/16 during the construction of the other “modern-design house” over on Lakeview, for which I was the architect. So, it would seem that the asking price is reflecting quite a bit more burden of sweat equity than reported…

Ellsworth Toohey

This is not modern architecture.

How are you suppose to walk around the house naked with all that glass?

Looks like a urology clinic with no privacy.

Dani Thomas
If you’re the type that likes to walk around their home naked, then this home isn’t for you. The people interested in this home want it because they want to enjoy and appreciate the view which is the lake and park. It’s unfortunate that the images on this article don’t show the home in all its glory. I was lucky enough to see the home in person. It was designed in a way that no matter where you are in the home, you get to have an incredible view of the park. It’s a warm welcome of the nature in… Read more »
William Muse

I’m reading a lot of criticism for the architecture in these comments, but I’m more concerned about peoples’ opinions on the business risk of building a $2M spec house in this market. As the top of the market is becoming more crowded in Richmond, I’m interested if buyers in that price point are looking for the ability to customize their dream home or if there is a market for the vision of a homebuilder? I guess we’ll see based on how long it stays on the market and how much someone is willing to pay for this property…

Kay Christensen

OMG… the comments here are horrifying…the owners must be devasted that their “work of art” is being largely panned. It does look hideous…

Brian Ezzelle

The buyers of this home should not be surprised when strangers walk in wanting to buy stamps or drop off their Priority Mail packages.

Matt Faris
What a beautiful view of the park and Shields Lake. While I’m obviously in the minority judging from the posts on here , I love the idea opening up to the surroundings and minimizing interior walls. Too bad that others’ opinions of what’s good and bad has to be listed here. Unless there are restrictions that I’m unaware of, these property owners have every right to build whatever they want as long as it conforms to local codes and ordinances. Would I rather it be more isolated? Sure. But the designers and owners have every right to create whatever they… Read more »
Julian Utley

Good design is not as easy as it looks!

Ramona Byrd

This is my dream home!

Ramona Byrd

This is my dream home because my last name is Byrd, also my husband is going to the world horseshoe tournament so he needs a house with a horseshoe design. I just need 2 million dollars. What I need is 2 million friends who will each send me a dollar…lol