House Tour: A Look Inside Reston

House Tour: A Look Inside Reston

The second annual Reston House Tour, benefiting the Reston Historic Trust, unlocks the doors to five homes.

Shortly after Rik and Anahita Crevits first moved to the United States from their native Belgium, they both fell in love with a lake named Anne. Three years later, their love is still strong.

"It reminded us of home," Anahita Crevits said. "It was very European. We knew we wanted to be near it and we still go there all the time."

If not eating at one of the open-air cafes or browsing books at the Reston Used Book Shop, the Crevits are often stopping in at the Reston Museum. Cyrus Crevits, the couple's 5-year-old son, often takes art lessons at the museum from local artist Pat McIntyre. Now the rest of Reston will have a chance to see McIntyre and her young protégé's art work up close in their native habitats. The walls of the McIntyre and Crevits homes are lined in orginal art and they are two of the five homes which will be opened to the masses on Oct. 18 for the second annual Reston House Tour, dubbed "At Home in Reston."

ONE DAY WHILE walking in the woods near Lake Anne Elementary School with their son Cyrus, the couple, temporarily housed in a nearby apartment, spotted a window-laden three-level home in the Hickory Cluster, known for its avant-garde architecture. "We saw this really big window," she said pointing to her living room wall of glass. "We knew it would be perfect."

One problem, it wasn't for sale.

The Crevits made the walk a regular part of their routine until one day the townhouse they had been eyeing actually went up for sale. Their Realtor kept showing the family traditional brick colonial homes, but they weren't biting. "That's not our style. We are not all Laura Ashley," said Crevits, an architect. "Once we heard about this house, we checked it out immediately and instantly we fell in love."

Crevits says she is looking forward to welcoming in an estimated 500 people into her contemporary home, with its sparse decor, completely renovated kitchen and Feng Shui principles. "I can't wait to see people's reactions," she said.

Harry Hilton, who runs the Reston Museum and Historic Trust, is appreciative for people like Crevits. After all, the tour benefits the museum and trust. Hilton says he is always surprised that people are willing to open their doors to the community. "I can't imagine doing it myself," he said, laughing. "They must really love the museum, I guess."

Tour-goers will find the Crevits' home reminiscent of their native Europe. When their friends come over, they often ask Anahita when they are going to furnish the place. Crevits can only laugh. "We don't need all that furniture," she said. "We subscribe to the less is more philosophy."

ACROSS NORTH SHORE Drive from the Hickory Cluster and nestled along the banks of Lake Anne is another of the five featured homes. Phil and Lynn Lilienthal have lived in their Waterview Cluster townhome since September 1968. Built in 1963, the Lilienthal home was one of Reston's original model homes overlooking it's original signature community. Despite their extensive world travels — both were in the Peace Corps — the Lilienthal's never seriously considered moving from their home of 35 years. "Why would we? We raised three children here and the house seems to expand and contract when we need it," said Lynn Lilienthal. "What's not to like?"

Despite three and a half decades along the tranquil Reston waters, Lynn Lilienthal says she still finds new experiences each day. A trip through the home is like a trip around the world with art and furniture from everywhere from Ethiopia to the Philippines.

While holding on to the charm that attracted them to the three-story four-bedroom three and a half bath home in the first place, the Lilienthal home still has new modern conveniences and additions, including a renovated kitchen and loft-style top-floor master bedroom suite, that keeps it up to date and fresh.

FOR HILTON, it was important to have a mixture of neighborhoods, home types and decorating styles in this year's tour. With two homes in Lake Anne, two in South Reston and one in North Point, organizers succeeded. Next year, in honor of Reston's 40th birthday, the tour will feature five homes, each one built in a different decade. "We try to be as inclusive as possible," he said. "We want people to learn their way around the entire community."

Besides close proximity to water, this year's crop of houses share little else in common, Hilton said. "Well, except that these houses are much more on the inside than they may appear on the outside."

This description may be most appropriate for Dick and Marion Stillson's South Lakes area home — not that the outside of the Stillson's California-inspired custom-built home isn't a pretty sight, tucked away at one end of the Lake Audubon.

It's inside, however, that the true artistry and functionality comes into play.

Built in 1982 by Warren Katz, the redwood-sided home was conceived and collaborated on by the owners and their architect, Bob Hodeson. A paraplegic, Marion Stillson is confined to a wheelchair and it was important that the entire home was easily accessible to the outgoing English transplant. From the extra-wide doorways to the lower than normal kitchen counters, every detail in this one-level contemporary home was planned in advance.

"The architect actually followed her around one day to get a better sense of our needs," Dick Stillson said.

Twenty-one years after building their dream home on the water, the couple couldn't be happier. Dick Stillson especially likes the screened in porch which he made sure was big enough to hang a hammock for those weekend afternoon naps. "That might be my favorite part of the home," the retired economist said.

Though away from her native England, Marion Stillson hasn't lost her green thumb for the classic English Garden which she tends to in the backyard nearly everyday. In fact, it was Marion Stillson who convinced her husband to check out Reston when they relocated to the Washington-area. "Even though she grew up in England, she had heard of Reston in a course she took on town planning," Dick Stillson explained. "We drove out here for the curiosity. Immediately we loved the ambiance. I guess we haven't looked back since."