A cornucopia of visual delights is in store for all those visiting the houses on the Clifton Community Woman's Club Annual Homes Tour. Guests will see everything from an African art collection to American antiques to a home with a koi pond in its foyer.
"We have some absolutely fantastic homes this year," said co-chair Diane Smith. "Two are historic houses in the Town of Clifton, another has antiques and is beautifully decorated in a traditional style, and another has an open floor plan and a kitchen that's every woman's dream. And there's a very dramatic, contemporary home in Fairfax Station — a must-see for everybody."
The tour is Thursday, May 20, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 the day of the tour; they're available at Antiques of Clifton, Baskets and Boughs, the Heart in Hand restaurant and Cottage Art in Clifton; and at Temptations in the Colonnade at Union Mill shopping center.
SPONSORS ARE Cottage Art, Patio Enclosures Inc. and Sun Design Remodeling Specialists Inc., and proceeds go toward local charities and scholarships supported by the Woman's Club. Three scholarships are to GMU, and one is to NOVA. "Last year, we donated $16,000, and my goal this year is $20,000," said Smith.
Besides providing admission to the five homes on tour, the tickets will also enable tour-goers to visit the boutique and silent auction in the Clifton Town Meeting Hall at 12641 Chapel Road. Boutique hours are Wednesday, May 19, from 6-8 p.m., and Thursday, May 20, from 9:30-5 p.m. Silent auction hours are May 19, from 6-8 p.m., and May 20, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The boutique will offer a variety of charming home accessories, craft items and candies. And at the silent auction, people may bid on a Hilton Head, S.C., vacation; Washington Redskins box seat tickets; Baltimore Orioles box seat tickets; theater and performing arts tickets; and 25 gift baskets made by Woman's Club members in various themes, such as books, movies and gardening.
Also up for bid will be gift certificates for meals at restaurants including the Heart in Hand and Hermitage Inn in Clifton, and for a jewelry store, a plant nursery and a salon and day spa.
And new this year is a local Women's Art Exhibit at the Clifton Primitive Baptist Church at Chestnut and Main streets. Visitors may view and purchase original oils, acrylic paintings, photographs and sketches done by artists throughout Fairfax County.
AT THE FAIRFAX Station Museum, also included on the tour, visitors may buy gently used books and obtain information from the Women in Business table. Lunch reservations will be taken at the Heart in Hand (703-830-4111) and the Hermitage Inn (703-266-1623), and The Clifton Store will be selling boxed lunches, sandwiches and soup.
As for the houses on tour, event co-chair Meg Curry describes them as "exciting — ranging from the very contemporary to the historic. People always enjoy seeing the homes, and we invite everyone in the area to come."
Smith also advises visitors to wear comfy shoes. Spike heels aren't allowed inside the houses — nor are children under 10, including infants. For more homes tour information, call 703-803-1425. Highlights of the houses on display are as follows:
* The Berg Home — Owned by Michael and Lisa Berg, this unique and unusual home in Fairfax Station is built of concrete, copper and glass with cantilevered balconies overlooking a wooded setting. The huge foyer features a glass wall, koi pond, rippling fountain and four paintings, and the glass, fireplace mantles give the illusion of water just starting to flow over the falls. There's also a collection of original Native American, Asian and 20th century American art.
* The Peterson Home — Tom Peterson's Main Street home was built in 1876 by Lewis Quigg and later restored and modernized by local architect Jim Hricko. It's furnished with 19th-century antiques, including an old Singer sewing machine. The mahogany staircase railing and pinewood floors are original. A baseball fan, Peterson also has a collection of baseball memorabilia.
* The Mills Home — Home to Peter and Mary Mills, this house on Clifton's Main Street has come alive with color, thanks to the interior-design talents of Mary Mills. This 130-year-old home on Main Street boasts a red-wallpapered dining room and kitchen with a country French ambiance. Added in the 1990s, the family room features a mix of cheerful fabrics and patterns.
* The Robertson Home — Ron and Debi Robertson live in Clifton Hunt, and their library boasts a collection of African and Peruvian art. Artifacts from around the world, as well as many Virginia antiques, also grace this home. Furnishings range from a drop-leaf desk from Belize to a Civil War-era hoop-skirt chair.
* The Moulton Home — Home to James and Donna Moulton, this hilltop home on Knight's Forest Drive was patterned after Drayton Hall, built in Charleston, S.C., in 1743. Adorning the walls are lovely floral paintings done by Donna's grandmother and framed by her husband. French doors in the front bedrooms upstairs open to the second-story verandah and a peaceful, wooded vista.
* The church — At the corner of Main and Chestnut streets, the Clifton Primitive Baptist Church was built in 1869 by former slaves and their families. It's been restored and is still used today — often, for weddings. It also has the distinction of being the oldest, African-American church in Fairfax County.