- The Washington Times - Friday, November 29, 2002

Suburban town houses often suffer from cookie-cutter monotony, but many have distinguishing characteristics that are not always visible from the facade. In other words, you can't always tell a town house from its cover.

At Lake Audubon Terrace in Reston, a town house on the market for $410,000 separates itself from the crowd inside and out. A spectacular lakefront view sparkles outside the windows, and unique artistic decor distinguishes the inside.

The owners have transformed this 16-year-old town home into a work of art. Previous owners were satisfied with white walls, which the current owners viewed as blank canvases awaiting a vision.

Building on a theme of Matisse shapes and colors, the walls of the home are painted vividly to create a light and joyful backdrop for a life of entertaining close friends and family. One of the owners, an interior decorator, comes from a long line of artists, while the other is a master custom furniture maker, and the two collaborated on each room.

In addition to Matisse, other favorite artists represented in the color schemes and designs include Alexander Calder and Victor Vasarelli; still other designs come from the family's own inspiration.

Perhaps the most amazing features in the multilevel town house are the hand-painted oak railings. Each painted banister has a different theme and color scheme, and some include handwritten messages, such as "La vie est l'art," which translates to "life is art."

The main level, transformed in several ways, includes a former powder room that has been converted into a large coat closet. A small closet was removed from one corner of the living room and turned into an art niche with glass shelves. Nearby, one piece of the wall has been cut out to form a floor-to-ceiling opening overlooking the dining room and offering a glimpse of Lake Audubon. The railings for this opening also have been painted in the Matisse style.

The living room walls are painted a lively mango yellow; hardwood flooring is underfoot and recessed lighting overhead. Hardwood stairs off to one side lead to the upper level, where the hall also has hardwood flooring.

A few steps down are the open dining room and kitchen, where a sliding glass door leads to a deck, an atrium window fills the area with sunshine, and a double window in the kitchen allows the family chef to watch the light play on the lake while preparing food.

Corrugated steel was wrapped around the kitchen island and repeated as the backsplash on either side of the Jenn-Air cooktop. The owners added a stainless-steel side-by-side refrigerator and designed new cabinet fronts with glass, bird's-eye maple and lighting inside and underneath.

This elegant kitchen is the owners' favorite location for entertaining and enjoying the lake view, and the 10-foot ceilings overhead add to the feeling of space.

The lower level includes a full bath that has been sponge-painted in a dark blue with white and yellow splashes of color. Nearby are an oversized utility room with ample shelving, a workbench area with carefully installed lighting and a laundry area.

A few steps down is the family room, which has ceramic-tile flooring, a fireplace and several tall windows framing the lake. A sliding glass door leads to a large deck, which is partially covered, at the side of the lake.

Each room on the bedroom level has a different color scheme, identifiable from the hall by a matching door and trim. The master bedroom is a "spinach pasta" shade of green with a faux wall of white, gold and green and has a walk-in closet, a vaulted ceiling and two skylights. The lake is visible from the picture window on one wall. A short flight of stairs leads to the private full bath, which has a wall of glass, so the lake is visible at all times.

Off the hallway are two additional closets. Two more bedrooms and a full bath complete the level. One bedroom has a vibrant blue-and-white color scheme, while the other has been painted a rich shade of red. The owners matched the clothes rods inside each closet with the color scheme of the room.

In addition to the artistic improvements to the home, the owners added Berber carpets to the bedrooms, recessed lighting throughout, Internet and cable television wiring, and a whole-house fan.

At Lake Audubon, boats are pulled up along the shoreline and a community dock is available for residents. On the opposite side of the lake, one of Reston's 16 community swimming pools is easily accessible along with tennis courts and walking trails. Residents of Lake Audubon Terrace also can walk to a local shopping center with dozens of restaurants and shops.


Address: 11024 Thrush Ridge Road, Reston, VA 20191

Community: Lake Audubon Terrace

Age: 16 years

Price: $410,000

Size: About 2,000 finished square feet on site of 1,385 square feet

Taxes: $4,298 in 2002

Exterior features: Brick-and-siding contemporary town house, professional landscaping, mature trees.

Interior features: Five finished levels; three bedrooms; three full baths; hardwood flooring on main and upper level; ceramic-tile flooring in kitchen and lower level; living room with art niche; open kitchen and dining room with atrium window and sliding glass door to deck overlooking lake; large coat closet; master bedroom overlooking lake, with private bath a few steps above the bedroom; two additional bedrooms sharing a hall bath. Lower level has full bath, fireplace, sliding glass door to deck leading to lake.

Amenities: Lake view, two decks, artistic interior decorating, fireplace.

Close by: Within walking distance of shopping center, outdoor swimming pool and community dock, near Dulles Toll Road, Reston Town Center, Tysons Corner and Washington Dulles International Airport.

Schools: Sunrise Valley Elementary, Hughes Middle, South Lakes High

Open house: Sunday, Dec. 1, 1 to 4 p.m.

Contact: Realtor Kathi Robinson with RE/MAX Premier at 703/715-0004

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