Fairfax County

Fairfax County Will Let You Live in a Historic Home Rent-Free If Renovated

Many of us are obsessed with watching home renovation shows, but do you really have what it takes to transform a home?

Fairfax County is hoping to entice residents to fix up some of its historic homes by allowing people who are up for the job to live in the homes rent-free.

The Stempson House is the first home that's part of the Fairfax County Park Authority's new Resident Curator program.

“It is very significant in the history of the Lorton Prison. And it was actually built by prisoners,” said David Buchta, who oversees the program.

Inmates built the house in 1937 likely for the superintendent or warden of the Lorton Prison.

Signs of the home's history are still visible throughout the interior.

“You’ll notice the woodwork here is actually handscribed,” Buchta said. "The stairway is original. You can see some of the hand detailing on that."

No one has lived in the Stempson House for 20 years and Buchta said it needs a significant amount of work, including restoring its entire infrastructure.

“This is the kind of challenge that I really enjoy,” said Lt. Cmdr. Steven McCullough, the resident curator for the Stempson House.

The county is providing the basics such as electricity and plumbing, but the rest is up to McCullough.

"The idea of accomplishing things like this myself that I know I can do -- why pay somebody else to do things that I can do myself?” McCullough said.

You can check out more information on the Stempson House renovations here.

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