A place where swans, and friends, are welcome

House Tour: Oct. 19-20

For more information on the 58th annual Trinity House Tour & Dried Flower Sale Oct. 19-20, sponsored by the Trinity Episcopal Church Women of the Parish, call 540-675-3716 or visit facebook.com/trinityhousetour. Maps of the tour can be picked up, and dried flower arrangements are on display, at the church on tour days. Tea is served from 2 to 5 both days at Middleton Inn. Admission is $30 for all three houses, or $10 for one.

The newest house on the 58th annual house tour this year is Swan Lake Farm, a 13-year project of owner Lynn Sullivan, who has lived part time in Rappahannock County for the past 25 years. She first built the blue barn for her horses, then the cottage to live in as the house was being built, and now delights in the open spaces and sweeping views of her finished home on Rediviva Lane in Washington.

Named for the five swans she once had on her pond (and who occasionally come back to visit), her property combines everything one might need to enjoy the delights of country living.

Sullivan is determined to integrate the beauty and serenity of Rappahannock with the ability to earn a living; to that end, she has teamed with a leading media group to develop and launch project “Thumbelina.”

She has more than 25 years of experience with Fortune 500 companies in the development and sale of innovative, institutional financial services, specializing in services that increase cost efficiency and cash appreciation

The front door of Lynn Sullivan’s home opens onto a dining room furnished with a table and two end chairs built by furniture maker Peter Kramer. Courtesy photo.
The front door of Lynn Sullivan’s home opens onto a dining room furnished with a table and two end chairs built by furniture maker Peter Kramer. Courtesy photo.

Outside her home are a pond, with an island with designed plantings, another bigger fishing pond, a lavender garden and a stone patio with views of Old Rag and a 270-degree panorama of the Blue Ridge. All of it provides a background for a Provencal house, its windows oriented to the views. Set on a knoll and quietly dominating the scene, the house is built for entertaining.

Open spaces, generous proportions and separate entrances for guests give both a practical and aesthetic meaning to hospitality. The front door opens onto a dining room furnished with a dining table and two end chairs built by Washington furniture maker Peter Kramer. The other dining room chairs are unique and interesting antiques of all types, cane and rush, painted and carved. A corner desk provides working space and an armoire storage.

Dramatic artwork and sculptures fill the two-story space. Slate floors continue all through the first floor, into the living room with its intriguing antique Portuguese fireplace, red leather sofa and armchairs, and into the kitchen as well, where black cabinets and dark granite countertops make a dramatic statement in a room with all the modern necessities.

The kitchen table sits in front of the windows, so every sip of coffee is enhanced by the beauty of the mountains. The master bedroom features a Peter Kramer bed with a carved headboard. Sullivan shares this space with her two dogs, Finn and Tilly, when she is not offering concerts, parties, dinners and other entertainment for her many guests.

Living space at Swan Lake includes a red leather sofa and an antique Portuguese fireplace. Courtesy photo.
Living space at Swan Lake includes a red leather sofa and an antique Portuguese fireplace. Courtesy photo.

Accommodations for these guests are on the ground level, where two bedrooms — one dramatic with a headboard and footboard in black leather; the other practical, with two sets of bunk beds — are ready for any planned or unplanned visits. On the second level is an entertainment room, a generous space to watch TV, with a sink, refrigerator and other amenities to make life inside the house as pleasant as outside.

Sullivan now splits her time between the two Washingtons and New York. Her volunteer interests include “Outward Bound”-style innovative programs for middle schools, stem cell research grants and applications for therapeutic treatments.