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Wonders and Delights on Clifton Homes Tour

Five local residents open their doors to the public.

Antique pottery from the Orient, an outdoor kitchen and a pond filled with koi and are just some of the treats awaiting those taking next week's Clifton Community Woman's Club Homes Tour.

THE ANNUAL event will be held Thursday, May 19, from 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. and includes five breathtaking homes and a church on display, an art show, boutique, book sale and great escapes silent auction.

"We've got wonderful homes, plus a lot of other things going on at the same time, and that makes our homes tour unique," said Diane Smith, co-chairing the event with Betty Bosanko. "All of the money raised goes to charity, and most of our contributions are spent locally."

Proceeds fund three scholarships at GMU and one at NOVA and benefit several organizations, including: Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding, Fairfax Association on Aging, Virginia Special Olympics, Bethany House Women's Shelter, Capital Hospice, Fairfax Symphony's education program, Main Street Child Development Center and Ronald McDonald House — Northern Virginia. And because of last year's homes tour, said Smith, "Last Christmas, we gave $700 each to four food banks."

Homes on this year's tour range from a French country estate to a farmhouse built in 1910. Tickets, $15 in advance and $20 on tour day, may be purchased at Antiques of Clifton, Baskets and Boughs, Heart in Hand restaurant, and Cottage Arts, all in Clifton, and at Temptations Gifts in the Colonnade shopping center.

The Heart in Hand and Hermitage Inn will take lunch reservations. A boutique is open May 18, from 6-8 p.m., and May 19, from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. A great escapes silent auction will be held May 18, from 6-8 p.m., and May 19, from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Both the boutique and silent auction will be in the Clifton Town Meeting Hall, 12641 Chapel Road. Call 703-803-1425 or see www.cliftoncwc.org.

MORE THAN 60 items will be up for bid at the silent auction, according to committee head Linda Dunleavy. They include Washington Redskins club-seat tickets, a variety of themed gift baskets, a chiropractic evaluation, and gift certificates for restaurants, spas, photography studios, garden centers and GMU'S Performing Arts Center.

The Clifton Presbyterian Church, behind the Hermitage Inn, will host a sale of used books, trinkets and "treasures" in its manse, and the church, itself, will be open to visitors. Dating back to 1870, it contains carved wood and stone elements, a Bible printed in 1858 and a stained-glass window design patterned after a mosaic cloth found on the tomb of Roman Emperor Justinian.

And a Women's Art Show featuring original artwork by many local artists will be presented May 19, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., in the conservatory of the Hermitage Inn on Main Street. Organized by Bosanko, it will feature oils, acrylics, watercolors, pastels and photography. Subjects include landscapes, abstracts, florals and portraits.

"There's a huge assortment," said Bosanko. "Last year was the first time we had an art show, and it was wonderful. The variety was amazing and the work was so professional."

This time, some 20 artists will show nearly 75 pieces, and most will be for sale. Artists include Clifton residents Phoebe Peterson and Bosanko, displaying acrylic paintings and landscape photography, respectively. Denise Salter, formerly at the Torpedo Factory, will show her pastels.

Before Christmas, Diane Smith began looking for houses to be on the tour. And since January, about 25 Woman's Club members have been working hard to bring together all the elements to make this year's event truly spectacular. The homes on tour are as follows:

<sh>Huddleston Home

<bt>Owned by Jim and Sandra Huddleston, this house on Daingerfield Way in Fairfax Station is a Colonial home with dramatic lines and a definite presence. A sense of elegance and style are found in both the home's interior and exterior and in its classic, traditional design.

Guests are greeted by a soaring foyer and a commanding staircase. Other delights include French doors, fireplaces, high ceilings and exquisite millwork, plus artwork of women, children and bunnies.

An interior decorator, Sandra Huddleston chose lovely shades of soft camel, taupe, warm merlot and hot lime green in her decorating scheme. There's a mix of Chippendale, French country and eclectic furniture that the Huddlestons have collected over the years, as well as stunning Oriental rugs.

<sh>Rauch Home

<bt>Fran Rauch's six-bedroom, four-story Colonial in Clifton has a rock front face and an interior decorated in a neo-classical style. She's a professional faux painter, so the entire house on Clifton Springs Drive is beautifully adorned with her decorative painting done via many different techniques.

Rooms are finished to create walls that appear to be burl wood, linen, trefoil, sand texture, etc. The master bathroom is done in a bronze, checkerboard design, and the master bedroom is in olive. Bold, deep, earth-tone shades are throughout the home.

The foyer is adorned with faux diamond shapes in taupe and tan, and the living room is in a sage gray/green. The kitchen is warm gold, and the cranberry-red dining room is highlighted by an antique crystal chandelier. "And in my 10-year-old daughter's room, I handpainted vines and unicorns," said Rauch.

Other highlights include Thomas Kinkade landscapes, an antique piano top and a collection of bronze statues.

<sh>Harper Home

<bt>Jeff Harper's lived in his 95-year-old country farmhouse on Clifton's Neuman Road, less than a year. But with help from local craftsman, Tim Pizzurro of Fairfax Station, he's already made many major improvements.

"I tried to stay true to the old architecture, restoring the old walls and replacing missing trim," said Harper. "And I kept the original, pine-plank floorboards. But I completely gutted and re-did the kitchen with dramatic, black-granite countertops, white cabinets and all-new appliances." And now that the downstairs is done, he's working on the upstairs.

His favorite part of the house is the downstairs. Said Harper: "The kitchen, den, sunroom and living room are so comfy — great for chatting with people." Decorations include watercolor paintings by Vonnie Whitworth. Outside, there's a red tin roof and a white picket fence, with Castle Creek gently flowing through the backyard.

<sh>Boles/Nirenberg Home

<bt>A French country estate on Balmoral Forest Road in Clifton is home to Linda Boles Nirenberg and Jack Nirenberg. They've lived there four years, and Linda designed the whole floorplan. "We built it from scratch," she said. "I took the best [ideas from] several houses and put them in here."

The home features beautiful, embroidered, silk draperies in rich patterns, plus custom-designed, upholstered furniture and fabulous lighting. "And the kitchen is to die for," said Linda. "I have an island that sits up to six people, so it's really like a family room."

The home's color pallet is creams, browns, taupe and tone-on-tone with gold accents. Exquisite, silk floral arrangements are throughout the house, and there are two family rooms so, said Linda, "Every square foot is lived in." There's also a built-in, outdoor kitchen and a 1,500-square-foot deck.

<sh>The Duggan Home

<bt>Chris and James Duggan have lived in their arts-and-crafts-inspired home on Clifton's Spruce Valley Lane for almost six years. Built in 1999, it was designed by Clifton architect Royce Jarrendt and even won a Northern Virginia architectural award.

Some of the interior beams were brought from old warehouses in upper New York state. And marble and granite accents can be found in the bathrooms and a pavilion indoor swimming pool.

It's decorated with "a wonderful mix of Oriental and English [furnishings] — a little touch of Tudor, plus antiques from the Orient, Japan and Korea," said Chris. "And we have antique Japanese and Korean pottery, as well as some museum-quality woodprints."

The fireplace in the dining room/library has a seating alcove, but Chris' favorite part of the home is the kitchen. "It's the center of the house and has a deck looking out onto one of the two ponds on the property," she said.

In harmony with its environment, the home features a lovely Japanese garden with a running waterfall and a koi pond. And the garden was designed by the former gardener at the Japanese embassy.