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Clifton homes Tour: Splendor and Charm

Featuring a country estate, a brick Colonial, a charming Victorian and a cozy cottage, Clifton's annual Spring Homes Tour will offer a wide range of houses to suit a variety of tastes.

Sponsored by the Clifton Community Woman's Club, the tour is Thursday, May 15, from 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. An associated boutique will run that day until 5 p.m. and will also be offered, Wednesday, May 14, from 6-8 p.m.

The Clifton Primitive Baptist Church will host an exhibit of Needlework through the Ages, and there'll also be a silent auction, Clifton Closet (home accessories, etc.) and a selection of gently used books. Tour tickets are $15 in advance and $20 on tour day; all proceeds go to charity and scholarships. For more information, call 703-830-3418 or 703-830-4352.

"We're really excited about our lineup of homes this year, and we're hoping for a large turnout," said Meg Curry, co-chairman with Diane Smith. "And we encourage everyone to come out and shop at the boutique and place a bid at the silent auction."

The tour is the club's primary fund-raiser, and proceeds comprise three scholarships to GMU and one to NVCC. And organizations previously benefiting from the event have included: Christian Children's Fund, Hospice of Northern Virginia, Fairfax Women's Shelter, Camp Easter Seal and Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding.

Tickets are available in Clifton at Antiques of Clifton, Baskets and Boughs, Cottage Art and the Heart in Hand restaurant; in Burke Centre, Temptations Gifts and Special Touch Gifts; in the Colonnade Shopping Center, Temptations Gifts; In Old Town Manassas, Social Butterfly; in Occoquan, Clifton Gallery; and in the Twinbrook Shopping Center, Judy Ryan of Fairfax.

The Heart in Hand, the Hermitage Inn and the Clifton Store will be selling lunch. The Clifton Town Meeting Hall on Chapel Road will host the boutique, silent auction, Clifton Closet, books table and a Women in Business display. Silent auction items include stays at Bed and Breakfasts, restaurant meals and gift baskets.

Below are descriptions of some of the visual treats to be found at the homes on tour:

<mh>The Huntsmans

<bt>This breathtaking country estate in the Balmoral community has been the home of Marcie and Kenneth Huntsman for nearly two years. The 12,000-square foot main house has a French Country Romanesque exterior with the interior of an elaborate hunting lodge.

The Huntsmans wanted to bring as much of the outdoors into the home as possible and create a casual, laid-back atmosphere, so the interior is decorated with lots of stone and wood. The home has three levels and a partial fourth, and three of the five bedrooms have lofts.

Marcie's favorite room is the master suite — a blend of both masculine and feminine touches, with a wall-covering adorned with hydrangeas and an overall color scheme of green, peach and ecru with touches of pink and red. Kenneth's favorite room is his office with wormy-chestnut wood and an embossed, leather ceiling.

The furniture throughout is a mix of antiques and modern, but everything is functional and comfortable. And lights, windows, music, thermostat, security cameras, etc., are controlled by a computer touch-panel.

Outside, an upper wading pool features a waterfall that cascades into the lower main pool; there's also a hot tub/spa. There's a gazebo and a stable, and a spiffy sports court is all ready for tennis, volleyball, Rollerblading, basketball or soccer.

<mh>The Andreottas

<bt>Custom built for Valerie and Mark Andreotta, this stately Colonial was completed in June 2001. It has three finished levels, seven bedrooms and seven full bathrooms. The furnishings are Colonial, and the rooms are painted in deep colors such as dark greens and golds.

Valerie once lived in Australia and brought back with her some pews from a church that was being renovated and no longer needed them. They're of dark, Australian ash and are used as accents in the various rooms.

The kitchen features a center island with breakfast bar and cherry cabinets, and one of Valerie's favorite rooms is the wicker-decorated sunroom because of its lovely views of the forest which the Andreottas enjoy all year 'round.

Valerie's vast spoon collection is on display, as are items Mark has brought back from travels to places such as Greece and South America. The Persian rugs are quite lovely, and the paneled study is highlighted by West Point and professional sports memorabilia.

There's also a graceful, double staircase, a plant-filled screened porch and an elegant master suite with adjoining sitting room. And the upper-level rooms afford beautiful views of the Town of Clifton.

<mh>The Watts Home

<bt>This charming Victorian home on Clifton's Main Street belongs to Jo and William Watts. Built in 1991, it's also known as the Clifton Creek House.

The Wattses have lived there three years, and Jo re-wallpapered and repainted everything. The couple also re-bricked the walks around the house and added a conservatory, plus a new deck with hot tub.

Just off the kitchen, the English conservatory holds a table and chairs and is glass all around for gorgeous views of the trees and landscaping outside. But Jo especially loves the kitchen. She gave it a new stove and added dark-granite countertops, a couch and blue-and-gold French country wallpaper.

The home's furnishings are eclectic; featured are a crystal collection, P. Buckley Moss prints, Blue Willow china, antiques and even an original border pole that once stood between East and West Germany.

The dining room and living room have back-to-back corner fireplaces, and the guest room is decorated with heirloom furnishings and vintage memorabilia. And don't miss the collection of miniature lighthouses lining the conservatory windows.

<mh>The Kuemmerles

<bt>Built in 1929 as the home of the Robeys, who ran a large dairy farm, this flagstone house on Chapel Road is now the guest cottage of Donna and Steven Kuemmerle. The stone came from the quarry across the road and was carried to the site by mules and wagons.

The King of England granted the land to the Ford family; it then went to the Robeys and was called Frosty Meadows. In 1981, the Kuemmerles bought 20 acres, adding the guest cottage — which was the original farmhouse — and seven more acres in 2001. Since 1985, they've lived in a house on the hill overlooking the guest cottage.

They gutted the cottage, leaving nothing but its stone shell, and completely renovated it into a cozy, Cape Cod cottage. The interior pale blues and oyster whites, plus the Nantucket-type furniture, give it a beach feel. The kitchen features slate floors and an old, country-style breakfront made out of cabinets.

In addition, the Kuemmerles re-did the smokehouse and turned it into a potting shed — complete with the chandelier from the original farmhouse living room. The old, bottle-sterilizing house became a playhouse for the couple's three grandchildren, and Steve transformed the cow barn into a place where he now does custom woodworking.