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Annual Reston Home Tour raises money for Historic Trust

by Janet Rems

2013 Reston Tour’s five featured homes

Agnew, town house, Hemingway Drive, North Point’s Ridgewood Cluster: Peter Agnew, a 23-year resident of Reston, and Nedra Agnew, a 13-year resident, have lived in this home for five years, during that time completely transforming it. The Agnews were interested in creating a house that brought the outside in and took the inside living spaces out.

“In many ways it’s like living in a tree house,” Nedra said. A board member of the James Renwick Alliance, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing scholarship and education on contemporary American craft, she describes their home’s style as “handcrafted modern,” The Agnews own collection includes commissions of many well-known American artists, as well as many items from their travels abroad. Everything has a meaning for them, the couple said.

Casson, single family home, Wild Bramble Way, Estates of North Hills: The original owners, Kim and Don Casson moved to their home in 1994. An interior designer working with builders, Kim was hired by Van Metre to do its model in the Estates of North Hills. Shortly after, they bought their cul de sac lot in the family friendly neighborhood. Since designers are always redesigning, this eclectically decorated home, where the Cassons raised three sons, has grown and changed with the family’s needs, including adding the “Casson Family Tree House,” an elevated screened porch overlooking their wooded yard. Another special feature is a stacked stone arch and wall in their kitchen that was hand-built by stonemasons, The latest renovation, the master bathroom, will just be completed in time for the tour. And because Kim, who works from a design studio on the lower level of the home, is also a “dedicated shoe connoisseur,” the master bedroom boasts an expansive closet complete with a chandelier to hold them.

Miceli, single-family house on golf course, Red Oak Circle: Mary Miceli, a 30-year Reston resident and Realtor, and her husband, Len, moved to Reston 15 years ago when they married. They purchased a 1960s rambler with the intention of “renovating to make it theirs.” They hired architect Humberto Vasquez, and with his help redesigned the house using certain criteria — ease of living, function and a house that was inviting and fun, with a touch of elegance. Besides gutting the interior, they “popped the top,” which added a loft office, attic, exercise room and upper deck offering great golf course views. Other changes included an addition to the master bedroom to accommodate their king-sized bed and a three-season glass porch. One of their favorite spaces is the kitchen, designed by Humberto and Mary, with custom cabinets and a table built by Precision Millwork. The big kitchen table was a must for Mary, one of 12 children, who has always had a very close family and lots of friends around her. Even today she says their home is not finished, and it will probably take years before it is “almost complete … as our lives are.”

Swerdloff, Midtown condominium, Market Street, Reston Town Center: Carl and Marsha Swerdloff have lived in Reston for more than 45 years. They raised their daughter Jill there. Today Jill and her husband, Dean, are raising their own family in Reston. Deciding like many “Boomers” to simplify and downsize but wanting to stay in Reston, they moved into a Midtown condominium in vibrant Reston Town Center. Taking a leap of faith, they purchased their condo from a blueprint three years before the unit was ready to occupy. Six years ago they moved in, and they love their social lifestyle with many new friends just “down the hall” and all of Town Center’s attractions just outside. Their unit’s favorite space is the “glass room adjoining the kitchen.” Leaving a larger space forced them to prioritize and to take only meaningful things. But they love to “junk around” and have visited flea markets from Virginia to Paris. Their fusion of styles, and inclusion of reds, is both eclectic and exciting.

Vongsavat, historic Waterview Cluster town home overlooking Lake Anne, Orchard Lane: Once the residence of the very first family to occupy a home in Reston in 1964, this Waterview Cluster townhome, designed by Chloethiel Woodard Smith, is now owned by Ketsana Vongsavat. Ket — who grew up in Reston, the son of Laotian immigrants who arrived in this country after the end of the Vietnam War — searched for 14 years throughout the country to find his dream home, finding it finally back home in Reston. The third owner, he describes the home, with its “amazing views of Lake Anne,” as “a one-of-a-kind house.” With the help of a friend who is an interior designer and “innovative contractor,” he has made the home his own, using ideas from his world travels. Also, throughout the house are many items of great sentimental value, gifts from family, friends, loved ones and neighbors that remind Ket of his journey through life.

Special to The Times

Home tour buffs most likely have the annual Reston Homes Tour already on their calendars. The self-guided tour, always held in October, is regarded as one of Northern Virginia’s best.

This year’s tour, always a fundraiser for the Reston Historic Trust and its Reston Museum, takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 19.

The theme of the 2013 tour is “Celebrating the Vision,” said Bonnie Haukness, the tour’s longtime chairwoman.

“With Reston’s 50th Anniversary just around the corner, I thought it would be good to celebrate the vision that was [Reston founder] Bob Simon’s. He was a man who could see what could be, rather than what was, and that has made all the difference in the way Reston has evolved and grown,” she said.

The tour features five distinct and noteworthy private homes, plus two Reston-related films that will be screened at the recently upgraded Bow Tie Cinemas in Reston Town Center.

“The documentaries at Bow Tie Cinemas will bring some of Simon’s vision to life for the tour attendees. I always ask the homeowners why they selected their home. Every one of this year’s owners responded with an answer that was about their attachment to Reston, to its community spirit and amenities and especially to the open space,” Haukness said. “And, what creative and exciting homes they have all created — another vision to celebrate!”

Both films were produced and directed by Rebekah Wingert-Jabi, a Peabody Award-winning filmmaker who grew up in Reston.

Shown at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., the first is a short documentary, made especially for the Initiative for Public Art-Reston in cooperation with the Reston Museum. That film will give viewers a sense of the scope of public art in Reston and explain how public art has always been part of that community’s original vision.

That film will be followed by the first public showing of the trailer for “The Reston Story,” currently being produced for Reston’s 50th Anniversary in 2014.

Following the films there will be a discussion, featuring IPAR Executive Director Anne Delaney and Wingert-Jabi. The entire program — screenings and discussion — will last approximately one hour.

Reston Homes Tour tickets are $30 online from when paid for with a credit card. They are $25 each when purchased prior to Oct. 12 and $30 from Oct. 12-19. They may also be purchased in groups of 10 at $20 each.

Tickets are sold at the Wine Cabinet at North Point Shopping Center, the Greater Reston Arts Center and Appalachian Spring at Reston Town Center, Reston Museum and Reston Florist at Lake Anne Village Center.