This year’s annual Holiday Homes Tour, sponsored by the Woman’s Club of McLean, will highlight a 6-1/4-acre estate in the Ballantrae Farm area and two large, elegant homes on Benjamin Street in Langley Forest. The tour, set for Thursday, December 5th, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., will be the club’s 53rd and is mounted every year to support local charities and nonprofits, such as SHARE Inc., Second Story, Veterans’ Transitional Housing, the Falls Church—McLean Children’s Center, the McLean Volunteer Fire Department, middle-school music and safety awards, and other educational programs.
The Ballantrae Farm estate includes a three-story, Colonial Revival manor house built in the early 20th century and renovated and enlarged several times through 2014. It has an above-grade living area of 9,700 square feet and a full basement. On the main floor are a great room, a billiard room that can be converted into a dining room seating 24, a living room, a library/office, and a farm-style kitchen. A magnificent white oak tree, estimated to be 250 to 300 years old, overhangs the home’s front entrance, which leads to a gracious foyer. The beautifully appointed living room and adjacent spaces suggest the classic elegance of yesteryear.
The grounds are extensively landscaped, with stone patios, decorative plantings, perennial beds, and paved walks. There are a swimming pool, a koi (fish) pond, a tennis court, a soccer field, and even a large tree house, hidden within a grove of spruce trees.
Also on the grounds are the restored, original farmhouse, dating to the mid-19th century and referred to as “Little Ballantrae”. It had previously been on the site of the future manor house, where it occupied one of the highest spots in Fairfax County. The hand-hewn timbers, wood spikes, and nails typical of the period are still visible in some of the rafters and floor joists. In 1922 Little Ballantrae was moved down a slight hill to its present location. In the early 1990s, the house and its grounds were purchased and reunited with the manor house, and in 1996 the landscaping of the two was blended. Little Ballantrae was renovated at this time and again in 2018, when a bathroom was added to the master bedroom. It now has four bedrooms and a kitchen and is used as a guest house.
The Ballantrae estate is connected to Ballantrae Farm Drive by a long, gated driveway. Visitors may either park on the street or take vans that will be available during the tour at Trinity United Methodist Church, McLean.
Both of the tour houses on Benjamin Street are large and beautifully appointed and are sited on about one acre. One home is relatively traditional in style; the other suggests contemporary north European design. The more conventional home displays “casual elegance with a nod to traditional southern living”, as described by the owner. There are 10-foot ceilings and “designer touches throughout”. A spacious basement accommodates sports activities, as well as a fifth bedroom and a full bath. The house area is 5,300 square feet, and the large yard is beautifully landscaped: it is certified as National Wildlife Sanctuary.
The more “modern” home is distinguished by an open floor plan, straight lines, and large, uncurtained windows for maximum light. The house area is 8,500 square feet, and there is a capacious basement for sports activities and access to a geothermal heating system. Behind the home are large patios, a swimming pool, a garden house, and a dining cabana. A three-car garage is attached to the home.
During the homes tour, a “Mini-Marketplace” offering lunch, tour tickets, and gift items will be set up at Trinity United Methodist Church, in McLean. Tour tickets, which will cost $30 before tour day and $35 after, will also be available at Mesmeralda’s Gifts of McLean, Karin’s Florist of Vienna, and Great Dogs of Great Falls and will be obtainable via credit cards and PayPal on the WCM website, www.mcleanwomansclub.org