Making a Community: The Story of Sabot Hill, by Kate Buford


The Project
Biography by Design was asked to write a short history of one family’s unique Virginia estate: 2,000+ acres of historic land, which they divided into 52 large parcels to create an environmentally sensitive development. An important mission of the book was to detail the conservationist ideals that inspired the various restrictive covenants that have made Sabot Hill a development model. Another was to emphasize the hospitable community ethos, dating back to the 1920s, that inspired its creation.

The Process
Biography by Design co-founder, Kate Buford, began by interviewing the client and extended family members, who then provided names of additional interview subjects: developers, attorneys, surveyors and residents. To enhance the context, Kate researched local and family history through private histories provided by the family, as well as reliable published and online sources.

Family members also supplied vintage photographs, objects and maps to bring alive the the distinguished contributions of their parents and grandparents to the Virginia Commonwealth. The layout was designed by the Blackwell Press in Lynchburg, Virginia, who also oversaw the printing. Working closely with the client, we chose a paper, font and cover style to suit the low-key but handsome look the client wanted to achieve.

The Product
The resulting book is everything that we and the client hoped for: a slim, 30-page volume bound in hardcover and filled with elegant writing and art. The book became an instant treasure for the current owners of the 52 parcels of land, as well as for the client’s extended family. “The book was exactly what I had hoped it would be,” the client said. “Kate did a perfect job in capturing the motives and feelings that were wound up in the planning and development of Sabot Hill. It couldn’t have been any better.”

June 8, 2018