Homeowners opening doors for garden tour

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 20, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Four houses in the Lake Prince community will be opened for the Nansemond River Garden Club’s annual tour next week.

The tour, which will run from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, April 25, will showcase four homes: one historic, one traditional and two contemporary.

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&uot;The homes are diverse but they share some similarities,&uot; said Linda Consolvo, the event’s co-chairwoman. For example, three of the homeowners are artists while the fourth is an avid art collector.

Garden club members will be making floral arrangements that will be placed throughout the homes on tour, she said.

Homes featured on the tour include:

— 3716 ARCANUM LANE, owned by Mr. and Mrs. C. Russell Chappell.

This home is a replica of the 1779 Saunders/Eley House. The Chappell family built the 11/2-story Colonial house in 1979.

Special features include the house’s sidewalk and Williamsburg gutters, both made of handmade brick, and a partially cobble-stoned driveway made from ballast on ships coming to Portsmouth in the 1800s.

The couple used items from old local homes in the construction project. This includes 18th-century wood flooring and hand-hewn wainscoting pulled from a Holland home; a 1735 wrought iron latch lock from Weston Manor in Hopewell; foundation sill beams from an 1812 Suffolk home; and a staircase banister from Six Oaks in Smithfield, which served as a bivouac site for Lord Cornwallis.

Of special note in this home are the pottery, paintings, needlework and copper works made by the owners, their son and Mrs. Chappell’s parents. An original print of Jefferson Davis and other memorabilia from the Civil War, WWI and WWII are among the family’s many collections. The fence-enclosed backyard has a patio designed by the owners’ son, Thad, when he was 12 years old, and a pergola built by Mr. Chappell. Refreshments will be served in the pergola.

Many heirloom plants from the owners’ grandmothers and family friends add to the beauty of this unique home.

— 4517 EXETER DRIVE, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Glynn Moore.

Exeter Place was built in the early 1830s for Edwin and Almedia Hancock Phillips. This Greek Revival-style house is constructed of swamp cypress and bricks from the plantation formerly known as the Saunders Farm. The present owners purchased the house in 1988. The property still includes remnants of a working farm with several dependencies, including barns, a smokehouse and a potato house. Since the Moore’s bought the house in 1988, they have been working to restore and enhance it. The house has the original heart pine floors, mantels and woodwork. Modern conveniences have been added with an eye to maintaining the integrity of the house. A spacious sun-filled den, galley kitchen and patio were added in 1994.

Mr. Moore, a regional mural artist, whose paintings have been featured in previous homes on tour, has enhanced several rooms with his faux and mural works. Of particular note is the mural on a dining room wall depicting the house as it might have appeared in the 1830s. The deep red walls of the dining room are the perfect setting for a seascape and painting of a Revolutionary fife-and-drum corps by Mr. Moore. Of particular note in this room is the 1800s mahogany ball and claw table.

The living room, with its decoratively painted panels, contains two turnip-foot chairs found by the owners on the property and restored and a Duncan Phyfe sofa from Mr. Moore’s family.

— 4940 EXETER DRIVE, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Daniel C. Frohman.

This lovely, brick contemporary home sits on seven acres on the banks of Lake Prince. Built in 1999, the home’s design boasts water views from almost every room in the house. A leaded glass door beckons you to a setting of colorful art and paintings. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide a spectacular view of the woods and the lake upon entering the home.

A dramatic painting by German artist Mueller-Erbach welcomes the visitor to a treasure trove of bold art with contemporary flair. Mr. and Mrs. Frohman’s ties to the Middle East are evident in the dcor of the two-story living room. Ornate, inlaid accent tables and chairs complement other collectibles from the region including an abstract painting by Lebanese artist, Nahle, and a bowl by French glass artist, La Chaussie.

In contrast, the formal dining room is 19th-century French Regency design with a French crystal Baccarat style chandelier accenting the burl wood dining table. Unique objects d’art, many of which were from Mr. and Mrs. Frohman’s family, are displayed in the china cabinet. The open gourmet kitchen with polished granite counter tops flows into the spacious family room. A Salvador Dali’ sketch, contemporary art glass by Dau Tona, a custom-designed, multi-textured area rug, are highlights of this inviting room.

— 4945 EXETER DRIVE, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Richard D. Hill.

Crepe myrtle and antique English light poles line the winding driveway to this beautifully landscaped property on Lake Prince. The traditional red brick house was designed by William Poole and built in 1996 with a fine eye for the time-honored details of jack arches, plat band and water table with bull nose.

This spacious home also has incorporated equally studied detail inside. An 1800s mahogany hall tree and a gentleman’s washstand, owned by Mr. Hill’s grandmother, sit in the white marble entryway. Other highlights of this house include handmade cherry cabinets and shelving in the kitchen and library, egg and dart cornice and upstairs and downstairs family rooms; and additional family heirlooms scattered throughout the house.

The seven-acre property is masterfully landscaped by the owners and includes an extensive collection of plants and trees. The white garden is nestled beside the green house and a traditional dependency. Other features of the picturesque property include gardens of hydrangea, rose, and cutting flowers; a boxwood parterre; a fish pool, with surrounding plants; and a collection of magnolias, a bald cypress, crabapple, pear and cherry trees.

A block ticket for all the houses cost $13 in advance, $15 on the day of the tour. Admission to a single house is $5.

Advance tickets can be purchased by calling Consolvo at 539-4244 or Elizabeth Smith at 539-9150. Tickets can also be purchased on the day of the tour at any of the houses.

All money raised will go to the garden Club of Virginia, which uses money raised by garden clubs across the state to restore historic gardens in Virginia.