Environs

Stan and Peter's house in Del Ray, Virginia

By Sean Bugg
Photography by Todd Franson
Published on September 2, 2004, 12:00am | Comments

Del Ray is Del Gay in this 2 BR, 1 BA cottage where a passion for collecting, a bit of tropical flair, and great use of space combine to make a feast for the eyes. Grab a coconut cup at the tiki bar out back and channel your inner Ginger -- or Mrs. Howell.

Stan Bondurant and Peter Lundgren made the foray into Del Ray well before the Alexandria, Va., neighborhood blossomed into the neo-urban hip destination sometimes known as "Del Gay." As their relationship has grown, so has the house -- where others have chosen to make for the far ‘burbs, Stan and Peter chose to make their house fit their home.

Peter: I don't know if all the development [along Route 1] has made a big difference in why Del Ray took off. But people are tired of cul de sacs, tired of suburbs. They want to be closer to work. Here you see old women who move into nursing homes, then their houses go up for sale and a young couple moves in without children. They get a dog, then they get pregnant and then they move. We've seen it happen a number of times. That's kind of the Del Ray way.



Stan: [In the living room] The RCA Victor [floor model radio] was my grandparents. It's from 1937. I used to play with it when I was a kid. I thought it was a speedometer because it never worked. When I got it [as an adult] I looked in the back at all the tubes, a lot of them were in the wrong sockets. I just put them in the right sockets and sure enough, it plays very well.



My parents owned an antique store in Old Town in the 70's. Of course, I hated it. I had to go down there all day on weekends, and on these buying trips that they'd go on. But I guess as I got older the antique thing kind of stuck with me. There's a lot of my grandparents in this room, actually. That was my grandparents' piano. I learned to play on that piano. Unfortunately, I never use it.




Peter: We bought this club chair in Louisville several years ago. It's in nearly perfect shape. It was so wild looking with the tropical theme fabric, and we just started to go on with it. The two bamboo club chairs over there are a project in the works right now. We decided this is going to be a 40's art deco room.



[In the bathroom] A woman who owned the house before us had this god-awful Victorian floral wallpaper, and this Victorian awful thing in here. The tile is original lavender -- some people say it's pink but it's actually lavender. What are you going to do with two gay guys in a house with lavender tiles? So I tried my hand at sponge painting the walls, and we started adding Florida things. Some friends of ours who lived in Miami called it our South Beach bathroom.



Peter: [In the great room] We had this buit a few years ago -- it was either move or build an addition. The house is only two bedrooms -- it's a small house and we got tired of always bumping into each other.

Stan: We thought that if we sold this place we'd have to buy something expensive.




Peter: There are so many ugly big houses or McMansions that have no character. We realized we can have a small house with a sensible addition rather than just buy some big thing way out in the suburbs.

Stan: That's the thing. We've got the subway here, restaurants, a grocery store, the YMCA. You can walk to everything. It kind of makes Del Ray perfect.



Peter: We pretty much live in this room all the time. We wanted it to be big and open like this, with the dining room out here to have more space. We kind of went back and forth on the fireplace – there's convenience with gas, but I grew up in a house with fireplaces and I made fires when I was a kid. There's nothing like having a real wood fire when it's snowing outside, so I think we're glad we have a fireplace.

Stan: [On the back porch] We're going to have a party here in a month or so. We haven't had a party all summer. We like to entertain a lot, but for some reason this summer we've been booked and just haven't had a chance.


Peter: We're having our third annual chili party. Last year was the second one and we had more chili than the first year, but we still ran out. So this year we're going to have a lot of chili.

Obviously, I've been on the "tiki" theme this past year. For the tiki bar [I found] honest-to-god palm thatch, so I just built the frame and got it up this spring. We were going to have a Gilligan's Island party and everybody would have to come dressed as their favorite character Maybe that will be the theme of the chili party -- a chili/Gilligan party.

Does your house, condo or apartment have a story to tell? Let Environs know about it. E-mail environs@metroweekly.com.


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