In the pale yellow foyer, visitors will see custom paneling, a coffered ceiling and a turned staircase, all designed by George Cumming. The design of the paneling and the egg-and-dart molding on the ceiling, reflect paneling and molding that frame the outside of the front door. The paneling under the staircase swings open to reveal storage space. An otherwise obtrusive structural beam disappears into the design of the coffered ceiling. The turned staircase satisfied Kathryn Cumming's desire to eliminate the shotgun hallway typical of many Fan houses by diverting traffic into the living room. It also fulfilled their 4-year old daughter's wish for a balcony.
Having long admired octagonal rooms, George Cumming copied the angles of the bay window at the very front of the house to enclose a small, eight-sided library to which he added built-in bookcases. Kathryn Cumming chose blue walls and a copper glaze for the ceiling. Diminutive furniture upholstered in rich browns and gold make a cozy room for reading, watching television or tucking a 2-year-old in for an afternoon nap.
The centerpiece of the sunny yellow living room is a marbleized slate mantle from a home in Baltimore. Family treasures fill the room, including an ornately carved sofa and two chairs brought here in the mid-1800s by a Belgian ship captain as a wedding present for his daughter. An Oriental rug provides a kid-friendly covering to the new oak floor. An eclectic collection of paintings and photographs covers the walls, including a scene of cows painted by Kathryn Cumming's great-grandmother and a painting by local contemporary artist Joe Dejulio.
Inspired by a treatment she saw in England, Kathryn Cumming chose green walls featuring large framed panels of French wallpaper to make the dining room a cool counterpoint to the living room. She points out that the dining room is usually the largest room in a Fan home, so she used the wallpapered panels to give hers a cozier feeling. A French crystal beaded chandelier and an ornate sideboard add to the elegant feel of the room that the family uses daily.
Beyond the dining room is a contemporary pantry and kitchen designed by the previous owners. While the area differs dramatically from the rest of the house, Kathryn Cumming says she's grown to appreciate the efficient space especially the generous countertops. Out the back door, she says, the addition of a wraparound deck to the small bricked rear yard has "added an extra room."
The Cummings hope their house will show tour participants that raising small children is not incompatible with elegant Fan living. And no space has to be off-limits, Kathryn Cumming says: "We live in every room."
What: 43rd Annual Historic Fan District Holiday House Tour
When: Dec. 10 and 11; 1.-5 p.m.
Where: Park free at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church, 1627 Monument Ave.; HeartFields Assisted Living at Richmond, 501 N. Allen Ave., or Binford Middle School, 1701 Floyd Ave.
How Much: Tickets are $25 in advance, online at www.fandistrict.org, or at various retail locations call (804) 254-2550. Day-of-tour tickets are $30, available at HeartFields Assisted Living of Richmond. Tickets allow one visit to each of 12 homes, which may be visited in one day or over both days.
Where the Money Goes:
What to Know: Comfortable shoes and warm clothing. This is a walking tour. Trolleys are also available. Refreshments and restrooms available at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church and HeartFields Assisted Living of
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