Virginia Kennedy was initially a little reluctant to include her home in this year's Woman's Club of McLean Holiday Homes Tour. She was not sure it was what they were looking for.
"For me, it's really a home, it's not a museum piece," said Kennedy. "We have lots of people in here, I have young kids — this is definitely a homier home."
Kennedy's friend Suzanne Emery had the same thought about her house.
"I'm intrigued by serene contemporary spaces but I've never lived in one," said Emery with a laugh. "My house is busy and cluttered, and we do have three children, so it's very lived in."
Ultimately the two friends reached an agreement on the matter.
"I said you know, you really should volunteer your house because you do such a magical job, and everything is all done up and these lovely ladies do such nice things with the money, and she said, 'I'll do it if you do it,'" said Emery.
The two also came to the conclusion that owning "lived in" homes might not be such a bad thing after all.
"We talked about it and I said you know people like to see functionality in a normal home," said Emery.
Virginia Kennedy and her husband Jim Kennedy have lived in McLean for six years, and their house is frequently used for entertaining guests and fund-raising events.
"The brick is gorgeous and the setting is really pretty," said Kennedy. "There is a really pretty stream in front with willow trees. I think the space is well used."
The house of Alvin and Sharon Hall is also a part of this year's tour, and like the Kennedy residence, it is frequently used for entertainment.
"We do a tremendous amount of entertaining, so our home is designed with entertainment in mind," said Sharon Hall. "We have large outdoor entertainment areas and my husband loves to cook, so there is a huge kitchen with an island in the middle ... we worked very hard to take a large space and make it warm and intimate."
Alvin Hall is CEO of development company Miller and Smith, and the Hall residence is part of The Reserve community in McLean. Completed in 2003, it is one of the newer homes featured in this year's tour.
Suzanne Emery and her husband Jon Emery moved to McLean in 1998.
"One thing I have to say in this land of 'McMansions' and new construction, while ours is certainly not historic in any way ... we really have taken an older home and made it new again. I really think there should be more restoration and less tearing down," said Emery.
*TICKETS FOR THE WOMAN'S CLUB of McLean 38th annual Holiday Homes Tour may be purchased at: Beyond The Garden Gate in Falls Church, Golden Pineapple in Great Falls, Karin's Florist in Vienna, Artisans in McLean, Curves in McLean and Mesmeralda's in McLean. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 the day of the tour. All proceeds from the tour will go toward various local charities that benefit the McLean community. Tickets may be purchased on the day of the tour at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer. The tour will take place on Thursday, Dec. 1 between 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. In addition, The Marketplace will be open for no charge at the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on the same day as the tour.